The Girl and the Great Grief Attacks

Since losing my mom 8 months ago, I’ve been having what I call “grief attacks”.  They come on suddenly, without warning and gut me like a fish.

There are triggers, but the triggers themselves are so unpredictable that it is all seemingly at random.  This morning I was blow drying my hair and I had the flash of a memory of my mom’s face when I opened it up as a Christmas present (it’s the Dyson blow dryer, 10/10 would highly recommend) and the pure joy she took in my joy.  And much like breathing, a passive bodily function, I started to cry.  I kept going about my business all while tears streamed down my just-makeup-ed face.

The first time I smelled the ocean after my mom died, I lost it – having no idea how closely I associated my mom with the beach and that salty air.  I sat on the retaining wall at Capitola beach, quietly sobbing to myself and scaring all the small children just trying have some fun in the sand.

The grief attacks have become a daily occurrence, sometimes multiple times a day.  So while I’ve gotten used to it, I’m still emotionally drained at the end of each day.  I lay in bed and talk out loud, to her, as if we are on the phone.  I tell her about my day, any new gossip from my group of friends, how work is going – the things we would normally talk about.  This is in one part, therapeutic “oral journaling” and in another an attempt at some sort of spiritual hotline where I hope I’m coming through on “the other side”.  That she can somehow hear me, know what I’m saying, is talking back.

There’s an old Twilight Zone episode where a little boy is able to speak to his dead grandmother from a toy phone.  I find myself wishing for that toy phone, “magic thinking” my friend Stacey calls it.  My friend Christyn told me about an old man in Italy who says he knows the radio frequency to Heaven and can communicate with it’s residents via CB radio.  Can I get one of those?

I can try and adjust to never seeing her again.  That’s what photos are for.  But it’s the missed conversations I am unable to cope with.  It’s her laughter, her wit that I desperately tried to keep up with, the stories both new and old.  The absence of which feels like an unnecessarily cruel punishment that is so undeserved.  So I lay there in the dark, babbling on and on to the ceiling with big, fat tears rolling onto my pillow.  I’ll get so congested from crying that I hear her voice in my head say “ooohhh, that’ll hurt tomorrow”.

Yeah, mom – it will hurt tomorrow.  And the next day, and the next, and the next…


Related – Because I love My Mom


Happy 2014!


Happy 2014 everyone!  Wishing you lots of kisses and pretty little things this year (and for more posts from me).

Custom New Year card by Free Byrd Studios

Jetset Gal

Jetset Gal

In the month of January, I stayed in five different hotels, in five different cities.  I was traveling all month for work and for fun and I actually find myself missing those giant makeup mirrors attached to the wall in hotel bathrooms.  Because I do find myself on the go so often I actually have my toiletry bag packed and always ready to go.  I have an extra set of essentials – toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, face cream, hair bands, etc. in there so when it’s time, all I have to do is throw that sucker in my carry on and I am ready.

Every now and then I come across a miniature version of one my product essentials and I squeal (out loud, in the middle of Target, for God and everyone to hear) then snap up 5 to 10 of them for my travel stash.  You can usually find small versions of products at the big places like Sephora, Ulta, Target, and your local pharmacy.  But when you’re a total brand loyalist like myself, it can get tricky.  I refuse to use anything but Dove deodorant, and I once came across a teeny-weeny stick attached to a normal sized one as part of a promotion – squealing ensued.

So what to do when you can’t find your favorite product in itty-bitty size?  Well, I have your solution!  I recently came across this website –  It’s genius.  It’s like a Sephora for Polly Pocket.  Just about anything you can think of is on here: really great skin care, amazing hair products and cosmetic lines I’ve never heard of before (which is rare).  I’m dying to try this facial mist for those flights that suck all the precious moisture from my skin.  They also have brilliantly curated kits of teeny-weeny products that serve a multitude of purposes – Gym Kit

Go Smile Kit

Top to bottom:  the gym kit and the Go Smile kit.  I have about half of the gym kit already – the cucumber facial towelettes, Herban Essentials antibacterial towelettes, and Oscar Blandi dry shampoo are all currently in my gym bag!  Love that they’ve come up a few other essentials and put them all together.

Here are some of my other travel essentials:

Clear travel bags to organize all the above mentioned itty-bitty-teeny-weeny beauty products

–  A cozy wrap that can double as a blanket during chilly flights

Tablet privacy screen cover, so that nosy neighbors don’t watch reruns of Real Housewives over your shoulder.  (*more importantly if you online shop on your iPad like I do – so they can’t see you enter your address or credit card information.  I once sat next to a man on a flight from Florida to California who informed me after our flight was over that he saw EVERYTHING and to be more careful next time.)

Safe travels my loves!

*top photo from Old Time Friend

Destination: Capitola

Capitola Lifeguard

My family has been going to Capitola for a few weeks every summer for as long as I can remember. I have a lot of great memories from summers in that town, and it’s a place I hold near and dear to me. For the past few years, I’ve only been able to shoot down for a few days or so – so when I’m there, it’s mostly sun bathing on the beach, or trivial pursuit at the beach house, and then I’m gone just as quickly as I arrived. Needless to say, I may have missed some lovely developments in that dreamy little village.

This past weekend I met up with a group of girlfriends from college that I haven’t seen in two years, so we all had a lot of catching up to do! (Quick recap: pregnancy! engagement!) We were originally supposed to stay in La Selva beach, but due to a strange twist of events (including a squatter and classical music no less) we changed plans and made a last-minute reservation at the Venetian in Capitola. I was excited because I thought “I know this town – I’ll show these girls around, no big!” Completely forgetting that for the past 3 or so years, I’ve reserved myself to the sand and my parents house whenever I’ve been there. Since it’s the middle of winter, laying out wasn’t really an option – so we went shopping! As we set about our excursion, I was pleasantly surprised. The last time I did any “real” shopping in Capitola, I was in high school – so it was more hemp ankle bracelets and platform flip-flops. They have some amazing shops, with some incredible finds and I’ve highlighted a few new favorites below.

Alphabet Blocks


{ quirky toys from Lumen Gallery }

1. Lumen – great gift shop/gallery with a post-modern flair.  Lots of interesting and funky toys, artwork and Jonathan Adler pottery.

2.  Euphoria Rio Mix – like a locally owned Forever 21.  Really cute costume jewelry, party tops and maxi dresses at very reasonable prices.

3.  Sweet Asylum – Ethereal/beachy themed women’s shop.  Light, flowy tops and skirts, cute vintage home goods.

4.  Yvonne – higher end women’s clothing.  Some amazing cocktail dresses and a large lingerie inventory including tons of Hanky Panky and Cosabella.

5.  Betsy’s Summerhouse Antiques – quirky little antique shop for the rare find.  I spent quite a bit of time exploring all the 60s-era Las Vegas matchbooks.

6.  Charley & Co. – adorable little gift shop with lots of quirky, homemade looking decor items.  They were unfortunately closed when I was there, but the window display was enough to make me want to come back – again and again.

7.  Just Baby – as stated above, our group is expecting a little one soon!  So the mama-to-be was showered with tiny little gems from this shop.  They also make their own custom clothing.

8.  Panache – one stop that was not new to me, I’ve been going here every year.  But it’s one of my favorites so I thought I’d give them a shout out.  Fantastic smelling lotions, bath gel, oils, as well as an array of other body products and gifts.  This year’s purchase – the shea butter coconut lotion.

9.  Vanity by the Sea – little sunglasses shop run by an adorable married couple.  Large selection of Prada, Ray Ban, Coach and Maui Jim.  Everyone in our group walked out with a new pair (except for me, I just got a new pair of these awesome House of Harlows)

Gilded Martini Glasses

Jade Necklace

{ gilded martini glasses and a jade style necklace from Zen Island }

10.  Zen Island by the Sea – home goods and women’s apparel shop.  Tons of amazing smelling Archipelago Botanicals and Illume candles.  Lots of delicate jewelry and the softest “Capitola” sweatshirts I’ve ever found.

It was such a fun trip, and it was so great to see these girls.  We may let a few years go by before we get together, but it never fails to feel like we all just saw each other yesterday as we pick up right where we left off.

While you’re out, have lunch on the patio overlooking the beach at Paradise Beach Grille , grab dinner at  Caruso’s Tuscan Cuisine (best Italian outside of my mom’s kitchen).  Then cap off the day at Cava Wine Bar.

Office Redux

Working and Being Fab

Recently, I relocated.  Moving to a new place is always fun and exciting; learning how to get around, what your new favorite restaurants are, etc.  Plus, it’s always a great opportunity to redecorate.  Since I am now working out of a new office, I have this blank, empty cube that is depressing to no end.  It’s time to get it Filthy & Gorgeous, stat!  I’ve been poking and perusing on Pinterest to get some ideas and so far I keep getting pulled in by rich aqua and reds with splashes of my favorite hue:  GOLD.  My cube will be looking fab in no time!

San Francisco Print


1.  A fun new print of your fun new town.

Decorative Monogram


2.  A decorative monogram to claim the cube as your very own.

Brilliant Ideas NotebookEnamoured Pencil Set


3.  A notebook and sassy pencil to jot down your genius.

Acrylic StaplerAcrylic Tape Dispenser


4.  I don’t think the stapler or tape dispenser need any explanation.  Their website also has a ton of other great work and office accessories.  LOVE.


5.  A custom Jambox to play the tunes that keep you motivated.

Gold Paper ClipsGold Binder Clips


6. Gold paper clips and binder clips to keep with the theme.

Carnaby Mug

7.  A jazzed up mug to keep you jazzy.

Minimergency Kit


8. A minimergency kit for her.  Honestly this thing is only about as big as my palm and has 22 items in it.  TWENTY TWO!  I have one in my purse and one at my desk.  Best.  Invention.  Ever.


top photo via The Glitter Guide Tumblr



Goals for 2013

It’s not too late for resolutions, is it?  Besides, I don’t really like “resolutions” anyway – always vowing to give something up – why not vow to add things – life goals –  that will enhance your life.  Focus on the positive!  These are my “goals” for 2013…


I will probably get started on learning how to make marshmallows before anything else, because I have a certain idea for some homemade Valentine’s Day treats, besides the fact that I think “Marshmallow” should be its own food group.  Priorities!

photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Fall’s Most Wanted (Home Edition)

Were you aware that Zara had a home collection? Yeah, me neither!  Until today – and I have seeeeeeen the light!  I could peruse this site for hours.  If you are unfamiliar with Zara clothing – it’s basically an H&M from Spain.  Great, thoughtful, forward design all at really reasonable prices.  The home collection is no different.  And I have seriously been searching for a horn soap dish for about six years – of course they have it.  Dreams do come true.

Now that we are in the full throes of Fall (brrrrrr!) I’ve been feeling inspired by warm metals, spooky skulls and natural materials.  I’ve picked just a few of my favorites above, which was a difficult task – believe me.

1.  skull flatware | 2. pitcher & tumbler | 3. cozy throw | 4. black vanilla candle | 5. chain link frame | 6. horn batch accessories | 7. pub stool