When Life Speeds Up

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There’s something you should know about me…I’m fickle.  I’m not fickle about friends or important issues, but I’m very fickle about my hobbies.  I love starting new things.  Who doesn’t? It’s so fun to learn something new, get a bunch of new gear, and start a project.  But, life sometimes gets in the way of finishing them, and then it’s like, why bother? I can start this other brand new thing over here.  So much more fun! I think that’s what happened with this blog.

I was so excited to start it.  I worked for hours trying to find the perfect images to put in my title banner.  I planned out posts, and took pictures everywhere I went.  Then, my toddler stopped napping for 3 hours every afternoon.  With 1-2 hours to myself during the day, it was clean the bathroom and kitchen, or write a post.  I’m not a fan of living with insects, so the post always got passed up.  Right now, I’m postponing lunch to write this.  Crazy, right?

With an IVF cycle underway, an extremely active toddler, and quilting projects in progress for my soon to be nephews (TWINS!), it seems I never have a moment to just chill.  But, I have not forgotten this blog, it’s just gotten a little dusty with all that’s been going on.  I mean, it’s already summer! I hope with the summer come lots of amazing moments to share with you all, right here.  A once a week post will be my goal.  Promise!

 

Backyard Bowls – LA style

Acai bowls are so LA, am I right?  I see fit people in Lululemons shoveling that stuff into their mouths all day so I figured, must be good for you.  Not only that, but it seems that all the Instagram accounts I follow are putting their acai bowls into coconuts and tossing some flowers on top making it look like acai is some kind of tropical vacation you can go on for breakfast.  Keeping in line with my hate to love and love to hate relationship I have with social media trends, I had to try it!

Minutes after walking into the West Hollywood location I realized I’d had Backyard Bowls years ago, in Santa Barbara.  I remember getting a delicious breakfast bowl, and it kept me satiated for a while.  This time I decided to go for the Island Bowl and it was delicious! Granted, I was hungry 3 hours later, but it WAS delicious.  I also came to the realization that an acai bowl is basically a deconstructed smoothie, so that explains a lot about my immediate hunger.
There were a few differences between the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles location, though.  And they mainly had to do with the ambience and maybe the whole 3 years ago thing.  The SB spot was so laid back and of course beachy and casual.  The LA spot was very streamlined in design with a full on windowed room for the guys making acai.  I’m guessing it echoes the noise of the Vitamix, because the workers had to wear protective headphones.  Looks like DJ Acai is making my bowl from ‘scratch.’  Hardy har har!


I’m not sure I’ll go back for an acai bowl anytime soon, but I’ll probably pick up a breakfast bowl if I’m in the mood for ditching the pancake and egg style weekend brunch.

Backyard Bowls

8303 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

The Smell of Grubby Kids

I’m a grass is always greener kind of gal.  When I was in the classroom, I was SO ready to retire.  The politics, the behavior issues, the feeling that you were never doing enough was sometimes too much.  After 9 years of it, I was ready for a hiatus.  I’ve been out of the classroom for 2.5 years now, and I’ve started to miss it a bit. I miss interacting with a classroom full of inquisitive minds.  I miss teaching reading and writing and doing read alouds that lead to honest and interesting discussions.  I miss planning lessons and making templates on Word while stealing clip art from the web.

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Why the sudden nostalgia?  Today we were walking past our neighborhood school and I heard all the kids playing and yelling and having fun.  But then I caught a whiff.  If you’re a teacher you know what I’m talking about.  It’s a mixture of laundry detergent, boogers, kid sweat, soap, and innocence.  The sense of smell is one of the senses most powerfully connected to memories.  I was taken back to all the classrooms I’d ever taught in, filled with amazing little children, and I forgot about all the school drama and just missed it.

#StartAsking National Infertility Awareness Week

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There was a time when I thought I’d never hold this tiny hand in my own.  I was beaten down by fertility treatments that weren’t working, a body in chronic pain from endometriosis, and a mental state that was fragile from disappointment and hormone therapy.  Even though we are now parents, the scars of infertility still show.  They show when I hear of another pregnancy announcement from fertile couples, or when we feel selfish for wanting a second child (the road to which may be just as rocky as the 3 year journey to our first).

Though it seems I’m throwing myself a pity party here, I’m actually here to tell you we are pretty lucky as infertiles go.  My husband used to work in a hospital and our insurance was amazing.  All of our fertility medications for the first 4 ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) procedures were covered.  That’s thousands of dollars! The procedures themselves only cost around $10,000 and that’s a steal compared to most other clinics.  I realized this when we moved to a different situation and had to pay for everything out of pocket and the cost was closer to $20,000.  Now, in trying to conceive baby 2 we’ve already spent $6,000 and that’s just the first try.  If we didn’t happen to be in a financially stable situation, our dreams of having a family would most certainly be dashed.  I can only imagine how hard it would be to make that decision of having to dip into retirement funds or a mortgage to basically gamble on the chance of having a child.

You may be asking yourself, “Why not just adopt?” Yes, I was there once too.  I had given up all hope of having a baby that shared my genes, and was ready to welcome a baby that needed a home and loving family into my heart.  Then I looked into the logistics.  It was completely overwhelming, not to mention expensive (even more expensive than IVF in some scenarios).  I was paralyzed by all the legal hoops you had to jump through to adopt a baby and gave up.  *Although, if you choose foster a child first, it may be more affordable.  But then you also risk having to say goodbye to the child if s/he is returned to their birth parents.

So, if you know someone going through fertility treatments or adoption, and chances are you do since 1 in 8 of us deals with these issues.  Be kind to them.  The process is overwhelming financially, physically, and emotionally.  Maybe you don’t quite get it, but sometimes all they need is an empathetic ear and a hug.

To learn more about infertility and how to help spread awareness visit Resolve.org. Because really, we need to change how insurance covers infertility.

 

 

 

Letting Go of FOMO

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FO·MO
ˈfōmō/

noun

informal
  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.
    “I realized I was a lifelong sufferer of FOMO”

Even before social media, I’ve had this problem.  Always wondering if my best friends were leaving me out of some fantastic event, if they liked someone else better, or if I was some kind of social pariah.

I’m not sure where this insecurity began, but I’m trying to stop it now as a 30 something year old woman.  You’d think it would be easy, but as the definition states, social media just exacerbates the problem.  Like Mindy Kaling, I’m often wondering “Is everyone hanging out without me?” It started in high school as, “Did I get invited to that party?” It continued in college as, “Who else traveled abroad without me?” Then in my late twenties it was, “Everyone can have a baby except me!?!” And now it’s cycled back to, “Why wasn’t I invited?”

It’s the weirdest phenomenon because I love staying home or exploring the city as a trio.  My best friend is honestly my husband (he knows my crazy like no one else).  But, when I see or hear of friends doing something without me, it sends me into a spiral of overthinking and analyzing every thing that could have gone wrong in our friendship.  (Told you I was crazy)

I’ve noticed that it really does give me anxiety, make me irritable and distracted.  And I’ve decided, it’s just not worth it.  I know which of my friendships are lasting.  I know what I have is more than plenty.  The FOMO is seriously blinding me and keeping me from enjoying the life in front of me.  This realization came after I stumbled across an Instagram account of a mom/designer/blogger who had recently passed away leaving two very young children and a loving husband behind.  It made me think that this picture perfect family (that I’d probably envy if I knew of her account earlier) was so impermanent.  It made me realize that my own life with those dear to me is so precious that I need to be more grateful of it each and every day! So instead of wondering, “What are  they doing now?” I’m going to try and think, “Looks like they’re having fun, so am I!” How Zen.

 

Favorite Things: ColourPop Super Shock Shadow

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I thought I’d start a series of posts about my favorite things.  After all, I’ve been whining about Ro and being a SAHM far too much for the title of this blog — ‘Mary’s Loves’.  What better way to lighten things up than to talk about frivolous material objects that I can’t get enough of? Yay!

May I introduce you to the best cream shadows that don’t require a brush and somehow have an intense long lasting color (probably loads of chemicals)? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ColourPop Super Shock Shadows. I had never heard of the brand until I received a collection of four for my birthday.  I had been looking for a matte eyeshadow forever, and was stoked to find that one of them was a neutral matte.  These shadows are a type of cream that doesn’t require a makeup brush, so I dipped my finger in and pressed some onto my eyelids.  I was in love!

I don’t have a ton of time to do makeup in the morning.  My routine looks a little like this:

  1. swipe some eyeshadow on
  2. apply some liner to my lashline
  3. do a few quick swishes of mascara
  4. take bronzer and basically cover my cheeks with it (this one is the one I usually find I’ve over done once I get into the sunlight)
  5. smear on some lip balm
  6. *if I have time I’ll brush some eyebrow powder in place so that I don’t have invisible brows

Imagine my delight when I find out that I can make step 1 even shorter by not hunting for my eyeshadow brush.  Save 4 seconds? Fantastic!

The best and most addicting part of all is that this line is basically $5 a pop.  I may just have to order a ton of other colors.  From what I can tell, you can only order online since I can’t seem to find a brick and mortar shop.  I can’t vouch for their other products, (though the blush and highlighters look tempting) but trust me when I say these shock shadows are vibrant, easy, and affordable!

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Family Fun: Franklin Canyon

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Looking for a fun place to take a stroll and escape city life for a breather? Want to go on an easy hiking trail (nature walk) or even just a stroll around a lake?  Well, look no further! Franklin Canyon is a perfect spot to do just that.  Not only are there tons of ducks, turtles, and fish, there are also lots of trees to keep your explorations shady and cool in the scorching San Fernando Valley.

I’ve been here a handful of times with Ro, and each time I’m reminded of what a perfect retreat this place is for the both of us.  She’s at that age where she can’t quite manage a hike with me without toppling over the edge of a cliff, but she’s also too big to be carried in the Beco carrier for too long.  The ponds full of ducks and turtles are perfect to walk around and take in a little nature.  Here’s one of the many large turtles you’ll see sunning themselves in the reservoir:

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If you come at the right time of year you’ll see some amazing varieties of ducks in the Heavenly Pond.  We were here in February and were lucky enough to see some Wood ducks, Mallards, a very freaky looking Muscovy duck, and a really pretty tan and white duck.  Who knew there were so many types? It’s almost enough to make me want to get into birding.

The Heavenly Pond is probably my favorite spot at the park.  There are picnic tables, and benches for reflecting, and the kids love walking around it and watching the animals swim around. Added bonus: you can get some pretty heartwarming pictures of baby friends having fun.

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It’s only 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ventura Blvd. which makes it the perfect escape from the noise of the daily grind.  If you don’t have a toddler with you and have a chance, check out one of the many trails at the park.  We’ve done the Discovery trail with  baby in a carrier, and it was a nice little hike that was totally doable.  So, what are you waiting for, pack up your family and get moving!franklincanyon