Samson, the Daily Puppy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Sunday, May 22nd, Samson was crowned The Daily Puppy. What's that, you ask? Well, The Daily Puppy is a website devoted to the art and love of nothing but puppies. In fact, with just one trip to their site, you'll have fulfilled your entire "recommended daily allowance of puppies." It's true. I have known of the Daily Puppy for years, but have been an avid devotee, if you will, since I added their free app to my iPhone and have clicked it every day since to see the puppy of the day. When I worked as a nanny for a two and four year old a few months back, we would check out the star puppy of the day every time I was there just to ooh and ahh. I knew that when I someday got my own puppy, I would submit he or she to The Daily Puppy.

Then along came Samson. On the night of Friday the 20th, a month and a half after Samson came into our home, I submitted him. (It took me as long as it did because it took a while to acquire enough photos that met The Daily Puppy's strict guidelines.) By Sunday, our little boy was the puppy of the day and I couldn't have been any more proud.

Please check him out here. You can read his bio and see that he inherited his love of writing from his mother and his great hair from his dad. You can even give him your vote by clicking on up to eleven biscuits to give him. As a favor to me, will you please go and do that now? I'll wait.

In honor of my little guy's big achievement, I want to take a moment to share my love for him in the way I like to share my love most, in words.

Dear Samson,

From the moment I saw you and your furry brothers, I fell in love. Honestly, I had never seen anything cuter. When your dad chose you and they put you in my arms, I kept saying over and over again, "I just couldn't be any happier right now." That first night, although I had big plans of you sleeping in a crate next to our bed, I pulled you next to me to cuddle. I sensed that you needed me just as much as I had been needing you. From that night to this, that's where I have always wanted you - right next to me. You came into my life at a time when things had been very sad and, in an instant, you brightened every corner. You've given me a reason to jump out of bed each morning with a smile on my face and race through the front door every night after work. You have brought your dad and I even closer and turned us into the weirdest couple in the world who love nothing more than lounging in bed rubbing your tummy. Thank you for becoming the best little companion I could ever have hoped for, thank you for having the cutest dang face I've ever seen and thank you for still not knowing you can bark at four months old. As you know, I love you.

Xoxo - Your mama

This is Us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sometimes, it's the little moments you want captured. The small gestures. The quiet spaces of time. Messy hair on a windy day. A handsome puppy. A comfortable couple. A talented photographer. Sitting on my favorite blanket in the park with my two favorite boys. This, right here, is us. Our little family.

Thank you, Kim, for truly capturing us. (Happy birthday, sweet lady! We love you.)

The End of an (Oprah) Era.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today is the day I have been dreading for a year now, the last day the Oprah Winfrey show will air. Two days ago, while at physical therapy, a group of us were glued to the screen with tears rolling down our faces as we shared our feelings about saying goodbye to the woman who has become all of our best friend, our sister, our aunt and the person we have all aspired to be.

It hit me that afternoon that, like so many of us, this show has been a staple throughout my entire life. When the woman next to me asked how long I had been watching, I answered, "Since I was eight." At my reply, the kind woman's face lit up as she exclaimed, "You've been watching the show since it first started! Your entire life!" It hadn't hit me until that moment, but it's true. I have been watching Oprah all of my life, or at least for as long as I can remember. Now I will readily admit here that I may not have been your average little girl. When other kids got off the bus and jumped on their bikes to ride to the park, I raced home by 4:00 every afternoon to hear what used to be the intro to Oprah, "Boop boop boo boo boop boop." (Just thinking about that tune brings tears to my eyes.)

In a small town that had next to no exposure to what was beyond our little county lines, Oprah showed me the world. Exposing me to issues of diversity, prejudice and awareness, Oprah inspired me to stand up for the things I believed in. As cheesy as it may sound, and I fully recognize that it indeed does, Oprah and her show are part of why I am the person I am today and I know I'm not alone in feeling this same way. Since I moved to Vegas, I haven't been as avid a viewer as I used to be (I'm sorry, but 2:00 is just too early for Oprah), but as I told my sister the other day, "I just like knowing she's on even if I can't watch her."

I have the very strong suspicion that I will soon be the owner of many an Oprah boxed DVD set, but - for me - Ms. Winfrey will always be playing in my heart come four o'clock. To Oprah herself, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Without you, none of us would know how to distinguish the "ugly cry" or realize that Tom Cruise truly is a crazy couch jumper. Thank you, not only for 25 years of entertainment, but for igniting the desire in all of us to be better, to be kinder, to listen harder, to give more and to dream bigger. There will never be another like you.

For the Love of Hair.
{You Want This Flat Iron. Trust Me}

Monday, May 23, 2011

Let me say first that this post is long overdue and I whole-heartedly apologize to the LOVELY folks at Misikko for graciously sending me the amazing HANA Professional Flat Iron pictured below. A few months ago, I received an email from the owner of Misikko offering to send me a flat iron to try out. The deal was that if I liked my new hair tool, I would spread the word. So, here I am, months later, spreading the word. (Recovering from ankle surgery made me a little late in posting this review, but please know that my tardiness should not take away from how much I love my new flat iron.)

I want to first say that I adore blogging and do it solely for my love of writing. The fact that I have made some amazing friendships through keeping a blog and reading others is just the icing on top. When I first got the email from Misikko, I was delighted, but - honestly - I was unsure. The last thing I would ever want to do is accept something in exchange for a review and then feel obligated to say something that didn't represent my true feelings.

Luckily for me, my worries were for nothing because as soon as I whipped my new toy out of the box (which was loaded with flowers, goodies and beauty samples), I knew I was in love. It is, by far, the best flat iron I've ever tried. And, let me tell you, it is not easy for a flat iron to win me over because I identify with having wavy and sometimes even curly hair. (I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that my mom permed my hair twice a year EVERY year from the time I was five until I could tell her where to shove those spiral rods... Love you, Mama.) Even when I get my hair done at the salon (you know Globe is the only place I take these tresses), I ask them not to use the flat iron because I want to leave recognizing myself. This iron, however, changed everything. For one of the first times ever, I looked in the mirror and loved seeing myself with straight hair. It was fantastic. I wasn't the only one who loved my new tool, however. You see, the weekend I first tried out my HANA iron, my sister and best friend were in town and wanted in on the (hair) action. Let me tell you, they absolutely LOVED it. In fact, they have been bugging me ever since to give my present to them. Um, I'm sorry, but no.

(Look how happy!)

The next time you're on the lookout for a new styling tool for your hair, I urge you to check out Misikko. They are a family run business (I love supporting that) and are truly just the nicest people. Nice people who sell great products. To the people at Misikko, thank you, thank you! To you, happy hair!

A Star is Born.

Friday, May 20, 2011

On Tuesday, our good friends Kim and Andre joined us in Vegas (via Hollywood) for an evening of photos and fun. Jenner and I met this darling couple last year when, on our first date, we went to the Phoenix concert. We knew immediately that we really liked them and, ever since, it's been a love affair. On this trip, we were lucky enough to take part in a fun photo shoot with the very talented Kim and her partner (in crime), Andre. Although it was crazy windy that day and I was limping pretty hard, the giggles didn't stop all night. One thing that made this trip especially fun is that Jenner and I got to introduce our little boy, Samson, and he even got to partake in the modeling. I think it's pretty clear that he's a natural. I'm hoping that after his first successful shoot, his new found fame doesn't go to his head. I'm also hoping it doesn't go to mine. Let's be honest, I think there might be a stage mom inside my just dying to get out.

A BIG thanks to Kim and Andre, not only for the photos, but for the friendship and the fun. I can't wait to see the photos of Jenner and I together and will be sure to share some here down the road. To see the rest of Samson's photos, as well as Kim's amazing work, click here. We love you guys.

Saying Goodbye to the Soaps.
{The Post My Mother Shouldn't See.}

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last month, when it was announced that both All My Children and One Life to Live were being canceled, I felt like I had just received news that an old friend was in the hospital. Sure, I haven't watched either one of those programs in a good 15 years, but I have had a long (and very secret... until now) love affair with soap operas. And, like so many things, I blame this on my mother. (Just kidding, Mama. I only blame you for this one and the fact that I can never have short hair again thanks to that hideous 'do you had me sport for the first six years of my - seemingly gender confused - childhood.) Even my best friend, who hasn't seen a soap since our daily Days of our Lives habit back in college, said to me, "Is this for real? Are we being punk'd?!" I told her I honestly wasn't sure. Soap operas have been a television institution since long before we were born. So, let's start this story there, at the beginning. At my beginning.

Although my grandmother was a loyal fan of The Young and the Restless (a show that has very recently made a brief return to my life thanks to my newest girlfriend, Lindsey), my mom didn't allow me to watch soaps, end of story. This was non-negotiable and, let me tell you, when my mother means something, she damn well means it. In her eyes, these shows were "trashy" and she didn't want her daughters being negatively influenced by them. Let me interject here that my mother is an AMAZING mom and we are usually on the same page for most issues. However, my mom didn't understand then what seems pretty darn obvious now (sorry, Ma). If you tell your kids they can't do something, they are going to find a way to at least check out said taboo something. She told me the same thing about tabloids and I've been hooked since I was in junior high. So, I'm basically going to tell my future eighteen year old daughter to run off to Paris with a handsome man twice her age because, as far as I can tell, that's the only way to get your kids not to do something.

Back to soaps... Even as a little girl, I knew how to break the rules. Sure, I wasn't supposed to watch these shows at home, but my mother never said specifically that I couldn't watch them in other houses. Cue my far more sophisticated cousins. Thanks to them, Days of our Lives was introduced to my second grade self and my first crush, Bo Brady, was born and everything changed.

However, with the exception of trips to see my cousins, I had to remain sullenly soap free at home. That is until I got sick for one glorious week in the sixth grade and was left in the care of my hearing challenged grandfather who was busy watching Judge Wapner in the next room. That was the wonderful week I fell in love with All My Children and Tad and Dixie, unbeknownst to my mother. Later in the year, I even managed to convince my mother to record Tad and Dixie's wedding under the guise that it was for a friend. I still don't know how I pulled that one off, but if you know my mother then you know that, although she tried, she failed at working the VCR for just one of hundreds of times to come. (Again, I love you, Mom.)

Not long after, I found One Life to Live and fell madly in love with Joe Lando and his mullet. I could probably still cry thinking about him (as Jake) holding Megan as she died in the hospital.

A few years later, I sauntered over to Port Charles while discovering General Hospital and the straight up hottie that was Antonio Sabato Jr. as Jagger Cates. Swoon.

My love for him was only replaced by my love of one of his loves, Brenda Barrett. Ooh, and Brenda and Sonny. And Brenda and Jax. Oh, and then there was that one time with Brenda and Jason. And then Brenda and Sonny again. To this day, when Vanessa Marcil returns to GH as Brenda, I'll start watching ABC at 2:00 again even if only for a few months.

Before I graduated high school, I gave up sneaking ABC soaps and made a triumphant return to NBC for Days of our Lives just in time to see Marlena possessed by the devil in what has to be the best (and most ridiculous) storyline in the history of daytime television. I got all my friends hooked on this one and we all rushed back from class in college to see what kind of trouble Sami was causing in Salem. I still catch DOOL from time to time and I'm pretty sure the only thing that takes longer than sands through the hourglass is that show wrapping up a storyline. Moving on... A few years later, I (and I admit this with a certain amount of shame) even took up the very guilty pleasure, Passions. I like to blame this on my nanny years because, c'mon, a girl has to have something to do when the babies are napping, right? This soap took hilarity to a whole new level. Remember Timmy the doll who came to life and drank martinis he called marTimmys? You don't? Well, you missed out, friends. You. Missed. Out.

And there you have it, my history with soaps. I'm sad to see this television tradition slowly become extinct. For so many people - watching these shows five days a week, sometimes for 30+ years - these characters became like family. Heck, I usually share Thanksgiving dinner with the Hortons over in Salem before I have my own with my family. So, to All My Children and One Life to Live, you will be missed. Oh, and Erica Kane, you'll never be forgotten.

{PS - Contrary to my mother's concerns, watching daytime television never made me want to fake my own pregnancy, steal my sister's husband or come back from the grave with a mysterious case of amnesia.}

On the Upswing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Going into 2011, I remember thinking that I had made it through the hard part. Wow, that was really naive, huh? The first few months of this year were not only harder than all of 2010 (which was, bottom line, a really rough year), but were made of some of the hardest moments of my life. There were so many times I thought to myself, "It's just one thing after another." Luckily, my wise mother's words would then pop into my head, "Honey, that's what life is. One thing after another." My deepest hope is that, armed with my mom's wisdom, I survived those dark times with some small fraction of strength, resilience, grace and humor.

And I am here to tell you that things are looking up. (Better late than never, right?) Below are just a few of the things putting a very big smile on my face these days.

- Starting my new career. After all the hoop jumping of the last two years, I am now what Nevada considers a licensed clinical professional counseling intern (I hate that term because most people don't associate an intern with a person who has their MA degree, but whatever, Nevada. Whatever.). I finally have the job I've always wanted at a great company working with children. Finally, I can write down that I am a children's therapist, officially. Not only will I be doing individual therapy with kids, I will also be running three therapy groups for little ones ages 3-5. How cool is that? My education, combined with my years and years as a nanny, makes this a really natural next step. Icing on the cake? The pay is great. Not everyone can say that who works in mental health and I feel very blessed and excited to start digging myself out of my pile of medical bills and student loans. More than that, however, I am so passionate about what I will be doing. Waking up these days, I'm so inspired and just bursting with excitement.

- I don't know if I've mentioned this on the blog, but in January, I started a very part-time nanny gig helping out a mama with then eight month old twin girls. Fast forward a few months and that mama has become my closest friend in Vegas and her daughters have become my surrogate nieces. I am so incredibly grateful that this family came into my life when they did. They have filled a void in my heart that has been empty and gathering cobwebs since I left my family to move here.

- While this isn't for sure, there is talk about fixing up our little condo and, wait for it..., replacing the green shag carpet. Um, do I even need to say how excited I am about this?? I didn't think so. There is almost nothing I love more than decorating and I haven't been able to indulge that side of myself since I left Seattle.

- Bloggers in Sin City is coming up. This lovely girl is coming to visit and fun photo shoots are planned for what should be a fantastic few days. One of my closest friends, Kristin Funk, is planning a June Vegas visit and I can't even tell you how freaking excited I am. There is even a trip to Hawaii being discussed for the boy and me this summer. Throw in a much needed drive to the beach and a trip home to snuggle some little boys and I am one happy gal. Still working on those last two, but I'm confident they will happen in the very near future.

- Last, but not least, my puppy has discovered the love of the Starbucks puppachino (which is really just a fancy, cute word for whipped cream in a cup). When we introduced his new addiction to him this weekend, it was, hands down, the best few minutes of his life so far. Just watching him dive face first into whipped cream made me deliriously giddy which, honestly, is how my puppy almost always makes me feel. Bringing this furry little boy home was one of the best decisions I've ever made. He has improved the quality of my life in indescribable ways.

Here's hoping that things are looking up in your world, too!

First Family Photo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

There is just no way to properly describe how happy this furry little boy makes my boyfriend, Jenner, and me. We often turn to each other and wonder whatever we did before Samson. He has turned our little condo - chalk full of potty pads, teething toys, two crates, stuffed animals, random pieces of dog food and balls - into a home.