Friday, May 15, 2015

The long overdue New Zealand post

Hey, two years and three days ago me. My last post was on 12 May 2013. The way I wrote that date is the way it is written in New Zealand (day goes before month). I've been living here for 15 months now and have grown accustomed. Though it can still be confusing at times when you're writing it numerically. You have to write the date a lot in life, I find.

I'm currently waiting to hear back about a job I interviewed for last week that I'm excited about and that I'm praying will keep me here a while longer. It's been an interesting 15 months to say the least. I also feel like I'm just starting to really enjoy/settle into my life here, so I'm doing my darndest to hang on to that for a while. Life is short and all that jazz. If I can't...well I don't know. The possibility of having to start over is daunting, and quite frankly, unwelcome. I'm not ready to go yet. I hope God feels the same.  

I've been living in what's been dubbed "the coolest little capital in the world" for a little over a year now. Wellington is NZ's capital city - population 200 or so thousand. I liken it to a smaller Seattle with hints of Portland and San Francisco. Having lived in Seattle for 14 years prior, and SF being one of my fav cities, maybe you can see its appeal. 

Pic from my first visit to Wellington

That said, did I move clear across the world just to pick up in another city that reminded me of home? The answer is...I don't know. I'd only visited Auckland on a 4-day trip 6 months prior to making the move here, and I didn't know where I ultimately wanted to land before travelling the country some more. But, after travelling around the country for a couple months between house sitting, couch-surfing and taking a tour of the North and South Islands that involved sleeping in no less than 16 hostels, it became clear that I was incredibly ready for a place to call home.

Wellington was an overnight stop on the aforementioned tour, and after an afternoon spent exploring the city centre it became clear to me that I wanted to give living there a go. I'd also heard great things about it despite its other claim to fame as being one of the world's windiest cities - "Windy Welly" as it's colloquially known. 

Geographically, NZ is comprised of two islands - North and South - separated by the Cook Strait which connects the Tasman Sea and South Pacific Ocean. You can fly between them of course, or take a 3-hour ferry journey with gorgeous views if the weather Gods are in your favor. 

To be continued...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Mom c. 1989 from one of my old scrapbooks.

My mom Mary really is the best and has a great overall outlook in life. Here are ten things she's taught me:

Lay out your clothes the night before.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Being a good cook is priceless.
It’s never too late to learn.
Find a job that you love.
Open your home to others.
God doesn't give us anything we can’t handle.
Great hair solves most problems.
Be grateful.
Forgive people.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama. xo

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Good Stuff

Friday concluded my first two weeks at a new job; so far so good! I like being back downtown and working in (arguably) one of Seattle's coolest buildingsthe Central Library!

Seattle Public Library

I went to a women's benefit auction with my college friend Alison, her mom, and sister earlier this month up in Bellingham, WA. On top of winning a fun package I bid on for my mom (for Mother's Day) in the silent auction, I was also the very lucky winner of the most coveted raffle prize item. I still can't believe I won as I only purchased one of the $10 tickets (I'd already spent a pretty penny in the silent auction), but the prize was as follows:

A gift certificate for a two-night stay at a Cannon Beach hotel (I've been in love with Cannon Beach, OR since attending a wedding there a few years ago)
Fendi sunglasses
A nice leather purse
Another gift certificate for a store in Bellingham

 Alison and me at the luncheon
With my winnings! (glasses and purse pictured)

I've also been volunteering with the arts organization CD Forum and helping with their upcoming gala on May 3. For the past five weeks I've been spending Monday nights after work at event committee meetings. I'm in charge of running registration and I must admit I'm stressed out about it since all I've heard is how bad registration has gone in year's prior. Pressure much? I am happy to help out a cause I'm passionate about but I must admit I will be rejoicing come next Saturday morning when it will all be over!

I almost forgot! I had a week off before starting the new gig so I took a little trip to Austin, TX for a few days. I stayed with a girlfriend I used to work with for the first night, then in this cute little cottage I found on Airbnb the next two nights. I don't think I got a single picture of just myself on the trip but that's ok. Highlights included a jaunt to Barton Springs Pool on a hot day, a concert at Stubb's, lunch at East Side King (a popular local spot and brainchild of Top Chef winner and Austinite Paul Qui), a visit to the State Capitol (there was a pro-life rally happening outside and I sat in on a few Senate hearings), and spending time with a couple of Austin girlfriends who used to live in Seattle.
Barton Springs Pool

I am looking forward to some downtime after the first weekend in May. I have some reading to catch up on and writing on my arts blog; the Seattle International Film Festival kicks off mid-May and I'll be covering that. I also want to memorize a few poems and take an art history class.

Happy spring.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Curly hair don't care

I've been rockin' my "natural" (read: curly) hair lately. I know hair is a thing for most women (I mean we all want to look good, right?) but for ethnic girls and black women in particular, hair is a really big THING. Yes, it's an all caps situation.

I like my hair for the most part. It's thick, grows at a decent rate and can generally survive the torture I've given it with flatirons and hot combs. That said, I'm tired. It's a chore and some days it is so cumbersome I wind up being late for work or events trying to get it to look like something. I don't really have a signature look per se, but it's been generally shoulder length or longer and parted slightly off center for as long as I can remember. I also rock tight, low-buns more than I want to; a look I don't love but it only takes about 10 minutes to achieve when I've got someplace to be.

A retrospective:


January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

Today #curlyhairprobs

Curly Nikki has been my go-to for hair tutorials and learning about the natural hair community. I've discovered in a short amount of time that it truly is a lifestyle for many women. They document "hair journeys" and "big chops" and "transitioning" - lots of lingo out there to learn. I've been buying products geared towards curly hair (something I hadn't really done before) and it truly is trial and error. Some days I think it looks great! Other days, like today, not so much. #curlygirlprobs

At the risk of boring you to death I'll stop now and perhaps do another post or tutorial about what I actually do to style it if you're interested. I get A LOT of questions about my hair in general, so maybe I can direct people to a couple of my blog posts about it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On happiness

Have I talked about the documentary Happy before?

Happy - A Documentary Trailer from Wadi Rum Films on Vimeo.

If not, I should have! Have you seen it? If not—do.

I took some notes (below) on my phone while watching it a couple of months ago.
Intrinsic goals
Get really good at something and do it often
Close friends and family relationships
40% of happiness you choose
Acts of kindness
Happiness is a skill
The things we love to do are the building blocks of a happy life
Every Sunday night write 5 things you're grateful for
Sent from my iPhone

 Then today the Happy facebook page had this post up:
My Top 3 Happiness Boosters are:
1. ____________(fill in the blank)
2. ____________(fill in the blank)
3. ____________(fill in the blank)

*Keep your list visible - sometimes in the busy-ness of the day, a little reminder can be helpful.
Mine are:
1. Quality time with family and friends
2. Seeing shows (plays, concerts, et al.)
3. Dance classes at the gym
 I've really been into reading about happiness lately, and it seems like everyone's into studying it. What makes you happy?
Some reads about happiness: 
Man's Search for Meaning (I read this book in my first year of college; I reread it every year).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Music and Lent

Apparently I've been sleeping on Miguel, a young, sexy R&B singer hailing from Socal. He just won a Grammy for his song "Adorn," but "Use Me," another song off of his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream  has got to be one of the lustiest songs to come about since  Jodeci's "Freek'n You".

I also recently discovered Mikky Ekko (like yesterday, from a blog I read), another young, soulful crooner. He's on Rhianna's new song "Stay" (watch the video) but I cannot stop listening to "Pull Me Down," a sexy lament about wanting something you know you shouldn't, i.e. trouble. I'd describe Ekko as a mix of Allen Stone, Jamie Lidell, Little Dragon and Frank Ocean.

 On Lent. I've been meat-free with ease for a week now. I don't eat
much meat to begin with, and hardly ever cook it, so giving it up completely requires mainly forethought on my part. Seattle is also a remarkably easy city to eat vegetarian in. Alcohol on the other hand...already failed! Since I failed with red wine last weekend I've modified the fast to give up everything but red wine. I mean Jesus did turn water into wine, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Things: Valentine's Day Edition

My funny Valentine.

5 Things

1. My little sister graduated from Navy boot camp last week. She wasn't home for the holidays this year and we really missed her. I finally got to Facebook chat with her a little the other day now that she's in Pensacola, FL for "A" school and she seemed so grown up  (we're 8 years apart). I'm proud of you, Nellie!

My sister Chanel

2. I've been ramping up on my other blog and seeing a ton of shows lately. I saw "War Horse" at The Paramount last night and I think it might be the coolest play I've ever seen! I'll be writing a review of it shortly so you can look for it here. I also got to visit the newly opened Museum of Hisotry and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle and Chihuly Garden and Glass due to work events recently. I recommend both!

Looking totally natural on the set of  the 90s TV hit "Frasier" at MOHAI

At Chihuly Garden and Glass with my coworker Sarah

3. I gave up meat and alcohol for Lent, which began yesterday. I don't practice a religion that traditionally observes it, but I like a good challenge. A couple years ago I gave up meat for Greek Orthodox Lent in solidarity with a friend and I didn't miss it; I think giving up alcohol will definitely be harder. Lent lasts for forty days, ending on Easter Sunday. I wanted a glass of wine just typing that.

4. I'm headed down to Cannon Beach, OR with a friend this weekend to see the Pacific Ocean; that was actually the stated reason for going.  Just to see it. I mean, look at it.

 5. I have a Valentine and I am happy about it. A hint about what we're doing tonight: