Wednesday, July 27, 2011

perpetual picnics, endless wines + bottomless bellinis.

 LA super comes to life in the summer. The sun is perpetually shining. The wine is continually pouring. & the music! The live music permeates the air surrounding every street corner, outdoor venue and restaurant patio in the major metropolitan area. In between going for our habitual {delicious} sushi night where we consume the perfect mix of raw fish + fruit (like salmon + strawberries, avocado + tempura shrimp!) and wash it down with a Kirin light... followed by the second night ritual of gourmet Mexican where we venture in to a different area of LA (this time, we tried Spanish Kitchen in Carly's new West Hollywood neighborhood) and always order the fresh guacamole + usually split some sort of tortilla/rice/bean combination while sippin' on my summer addiction {Micheladas!!} with Sydney...
 Carly + I spent this past weekend doing some major day drinking summering. Saturday we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway with a carload of friends to join the various birthday fetes that were happening at a little gem by the name of Malibu Wines. Picnic packed with the infamous Bay Cities subs, we found the perfect patch of grass to lay out our blankets, take in the Latin guitar-playing duo and order wine by the bottle from this awesome airstream!     

Wine flights?! But, of course!  

Sunday we took advantage of Carly's last weekend in Santa Monica + biked to the Third Street Promenade where we spent four fabulous hours drinking bottomless bellinis over lunch on a rooftop patio with the first friend I made in LA + co-founder of the late S.P.I. club, Lindsay!, who I am so sad I did not get a picture with but I will definitely remember to when she comes to visit her hometown just outside of Seattle in a couple of weeks!  

 The rest of Sunday was spent out on the promenade watching street performers, seeing Friends with Benefits {in which I just might be  Mila's character + just might be seriously considering becoming a F.W.B.} + eating American burgers + cheesy tots at umami in true SanMon-resident fashion! =) 

But come Monday... oh! Monday was the highlight of my weekend escape to LA when the perpetual picnic continued at the Hollywood Bowl to see the ever-sexy Pat Monahan + Adam Levine! 
Loving these quintessential summer nights!! Happy Summering, y'all!! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

stickin' to my hood.

Unfamiliar with the Seattle area, I have quite enjoyed getting lost as a unique way of discovering new little areas full of coffee shops/yoga studios/boutiques/cupcakeries/parks. Every time I walk to the Pike/Pine area I always try to take a different route to see what little shops of awesomeness I pass along the way. In Seattle, there is a plethora of organic food markets {vegan french toast flavoured donut, anyone?}, vintage clothing shops and awesome home decor stores {to name a few favourites} ... but last week I veered off my usual path and ended up at a Trader Joes on the North side of town. As I proudly stepped out of my car admiring my superb parallel parking job, I saw an elderly man face plant out of the corner of my eye and I immediately sprinted over to him where I quickly realized he was profusely bleeding... out of his eyes, nose and a huge gash on his cheek bone. I couldn't tell if he was conscious and whether he had fallen due to a heart attack or because he had tripped on the uneven pavement. Another bystander had watched the entire thing happen as well and helped me roll him over. The old man was stunned but thankfully, still breathing and his heart was {thankfully} still beating. He was lying there with his hearing aid smashed on the ground and kept saying, "my wife, my wife". His wife was nowhere in sight and I immediately thought she had passed away several years ago and he was delusional and remembering her in this time of a near-death incident. You are not going to meet her in Heaven today, sir. Not on my sparkley blue watch. {Turns out she was waiting in the car for him and we were able to locate her but for those .76 seconds, it added to my heartache tenfold}. He had a handkerchief in his pocket and after my assessment (lesson #1 in nursing school), I immediately used it to apply pressure (lesson #2)... because to be completely honest, they are the only two things I remember from nursing school where I learned about how to adequately care for adults for a cajillion hours a week for four years... and the proceeded to never use any of it in a real setting and consequently, have forgotten EVERYTHING I once knew. 
I waited until the fire department arrived before I started to cry attempted to grab a few things in TJs before heading into work... I obviously was too freaked out to concentrate on buying groceries because I returned home with a bag full mango: dried mango, frozen mango cubes, 2 real mangoes, mango green tea, mango gelato and mango granola cereal {nothing really of sustenance!}... As I wandered around the store aimlessly trying to calm my nerves and refrain from downing a bottle of 2-buck Chuck right there in the frozen food aisle, people kept putting their hand on my shoulder telling me how well I handled this minor medical emergency... Just about the time I would compose myself, I'd turn down the next aisle and some other citizen was standing there to thank me... It was awful... having to be a nurse... Out of the controlled, sterile bubble that is usually reserved for me to save lives in. I was so thankful to return to my intensive care unit later that night with my monitors and crash carts and medical team at my disposal... My little babies might be much more critical but at least their blood comes in small doses and I know if their heart is beating at all times. I think I'll be sticking around my 'hood. 

I was reminded of this story when there was an unlocate-able fire in my unit last night. They must have called Code Red a million times over the loud speaker while the alarms went off and we tried to locate the aprons we were supposed to stuff all the babies in to and triage which ones would stay and go (survival of the fittest, my friend)... then the fire fighters showed up in full garb and were also unsuccessful in locating the fire... I guess it was a false alarm but it definitely made the night go by quick! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

she swOOns Sundays by the seawall.

and writes about her swOOns Tuesday afternoons...

I had a fabulous weekend in Vancouver reflecting swOOning by the seawall over all the little things that make my life swirly-swOOn-spectacular! 
First and foremost: how swOOntacular is it that I live a short, scenic {missed!!} train ride away from my Auntie?!! Saturday night we had a little date night on Granville Island seeing an adorable play entitled Birth Control Mom's the Word: Remixed which was an awesome little production, one I envision Carly to star in when she grows up ... err... settles down... moves out of LA and joins her local playhouse to escape the complacency of adulthood that neither one of us are ready to succumb to ... I cannot wait to capitalize on our avoidance of growing up... setting down... this weekend with a trip to LA LA Land to see Car... where we will be spending our weekend on a perpetual picnic! swOOOOOOn. 

Sunday Auntie P. and I played an incessant amount of crib + yahtzee and saw Bridesmaids before I had a sleepover with a complete stranger... which turned out to be a fabulous date with my new bestie (I hope its okay that I publicly define our relationship!) where we closed down a sushi restaurant and spent all day Monday shopping on Robson and donning {accidentally matching} frilly, polka dotted bathing suits to catch some rays & discuss when we were going to get to do this again!? The weekend after next at Shuswap lake? SwOOOOOn.   
Reality hit hard this morning when I returned to Seattle and my engine threatened to fall out of my car. I probably should be more concerned with the severity of a "broken engine" but instead I find myself swOOOning over my superb adult decision of an extended warranty twenty months ago, the new-car smell of the rental they gave me that came off the truck yesterday and the yellow nail polish I had pedicured on my toes while I waited next door at Star Nails for the dealership to tell me what the rattling under my car was... swOOOON. 

This video? swOOOON.
I swOOn over the brilliant combination of many things... like La Croix's sparkling + coconut water, kickboxing + Pilates, traveling + nursing... but paddleboarding and yoga might just be my new favourite combination of fabulous things!! I have signed up to take a couple of lessons on a SUP before combining it with yoga in the middle of the lake to minimize as much contact with lake water as possible... thank you, Living Social for your awesome deals! swOOOOn.

SwOOnworthy author to note: Jonathan Tropper. I randomly happened upon one of his books in the airport last week and I became instantly completely obsessed with his writing. I usually spend my summers reading chicklit but his hilarious, man humour is a nice, needed change from the usual summer love story! swOOOn.
The arrival of Piper Hadley on July 7th! She is perfect and healthy. Welcome to the World, baby girl!! Congratulations Katie, Dustin and big sister Kylie!!! Can we talk about the adorableness of that baby and that bow that I'm now trying to get my NICU to order? swOOOOn.
I saw this bike in a Club Monaco of all places this past weekend and I am bound and determined to make it mine one day... in real life... not just in my dreams... Go on, you can swOOOn too. 
One last thing, I made the decision to not have cable this summer before I moved to Seattle {and realized I lived above a Starbucks and would not need internet connected!} to have no distractions from watching lectures and no reason to stay inside when I could be out on a patio or hiking or exploring my new neighbourhood... I downloaded a CNN app that sends me updates to stay current on the World's affairs but I also signed up for a free trial of Netflix and thanks to my Auntie's recommendation... am totally in love with the British sitcom The IT Crowd! It is the perfect nonsense to fall asleep to. swOOOn. 

And I swOOOn every time a new follower shares their bloglovin!! Thank you for your sweet words!! What are y'all swOOning over this summer??

Friday, July 15, 2011

ride the wind.

When my blood runs warm with the warm red wine, I miss the life that I left behind. 

But when I hear the sound of the black birds cry, I know I left in the nick of time.

Well this road I'm ons gonna turn to sand and leave me lost in a far off land.

 So let me ride the wind 'til I don't look back, 
forget the life that I almost had. 

Location: The Pacific Ocean, Arenas Del Mar, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a big day at fenway.

Last Thursday, my little brother was invited to sing The National Anthem at a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park! It was incredible getting to share this very special experience with him... just as he has shared in mine + my sister's momentous occassions(graduation after graduation after graduation)... It was a perfect summer night for celebrating his gift, the voice of an angel... and feeling its effects through the energy on the field as he moved every person in that stadium... Photobucket
It was one of those moments in life that you will never forget... the day of the week {It was a Thursday night in July}, what you were wearing {Kara and I had tried on every red shirt with a pair of socks embellishment in the souvenir shop}, the people surrounding you {the whole family got to be there and they arrived in a limo}... this will be one of those stories you tell over and over again recalling every last detail!

As we walked out on to the field, I tried to take it all in... the men painting the lines freshly around the diamonds, the smell of fresh cut grass intermixed with wafts of hotdogs and cracker jacks, the way it felt when the dirt crumbled between my toes, the vibrations of the fans stomping on the metal stadium as every seat was filled... every game has been sold out since 2003, you know?
If you are wondering where Christopher gets his {angel} wings, you're looking at the two most amazing parents responsible for who he has grown to be... not to mention, his two brothers and two sisters that love and support him and have helped shape him in to the loving, gentle ten-year-old boy he is with the utmost hilarious sense of humor and an intelligence that's almost too impressive to believe!
He had a huge fan base there to support him, too... nearly fifty people including his school principal and special education teacher were in attendance! It was very apparent how much he has touched the lives of the people in his hometown sitting in a section with rows and rows filled with people there just to see him sing. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world!" Photobucket
It was disability awareness night. Legally blind and autistic, Christopher is doing his part, one octave at a time, to not just raise awareness but raise an incredible amount of hope for people living {and superceding every obstable you face} with a disability.Photobucket
The boy who sang before he could talk received a standing ovation the entire way off the field... and under the stadium... and up through our section... and in to our seats! It was such an incredible night with the entire Duffley family and all their friends rejoicing with the tens of thousands of people who instantly became fans of Christopher!

Christopher Sings National Anthem from Jocelyn Kirk on Vimeo.

My Dear Christopher,
I'm not sure if there will ever come a day that I don't cry when I hear your voice. Singing Open the Eyes of My Heart, reciting The Polar Bear Express from memory, naming all the fifty states... Although we live miles a part, I carry you with me always.
You are constantly, unknowingly encouraging me to strive forward. I hear your voice in moments of weakness. I hear your voice every day at my job, reminding me to have patience with the extra-fussy babies and be calm in the emergent situations. You were here once too, remember? 
You have taught me a lot in the decade that you have been a part of my life. You have taught me about perserverance. You have shown me the power of prayer. You have inspired me to never give up. You are a reminder that everything happens for a reason, even the unfairest of outcomes. They, too have a purpose... whether to teach us a lesson, make us stronger, inspire those around us...
You are loved beyond measure.
... although that measurement was almost tangible last Thursday when nearly 40,000 people cheered for you and clapped for you and cried for you and loved you!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

sneak peek via instagram.

Kara and I flew in to Boston from our respective corners of the world at the same time Thursday morning. We cabbed it to the hotel, set down our luggage and immediately booked it to Fenway Park to attend Christopher's 12:30 sound check. 
 It was incredible hearing him sing in front of a sold out crowd of 37,400 later that night but standing there on the field just the four of us hearing the sound of his sweet voice reverberate through the empty stadium was absolutely amazing, one of those surreal instants in life where you can literally feel the Earth's spin slowing down on its axis to allow you to enjoy this fleeting moment a little bit longer.

Off to enjoy my last morning with Christopher + Kara before flying back to Seattle this afternoon where I will post more pix + a video! =)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

m + d

My roommates {the two incredible people that I just spent the last three months living with in Tampa} are engaged!! My heart is bursting with happiness for the two of them!! Megan is seriously one of my favourite people in the entire world and I could not be happier for her and her beau, David!!

Megan and I have known each other since high school and have shared every memory and milestone ever made in the last six years when us four girls were roommates in college + became the best of friends, the kind of friends you read about in Judy Blume books.

Senior year of college, Megan and Carly were going home for New Years and Megan kept telling us that she knew who her NYE kiss was going to be... I'm talking weeks in advance... a friend of a friend; someone she had never even really met. I thought she was crazy but the girl knew that there was something completely incredible about an {almost} total stranger and my goodness, she was right! The mystery man was David. They instantly hit it off, she got her New Years kiss and they have been inseparable ever since! Soul mates? But, of course.
David came up to visit while we still lived together our last semester at UF and this is when I began {unknowingly} saying, "I just love David!" any time his name was brought up in conversation... because he is seriously that awesome of a guy... and when coupled with Megan, they are pretty friggin' perfect. My favourite Meg + Dav story is their first "I Love You!" when Megan moved to San Fran for a couple of months for an event planning internship. David had helped her move in on a leg of a bachelor party/road trip before carrying on to Sin City with the boys. Next thing I know, David had left Vegas {in the middle of his brother's last hoorah as a single man!} + was headed back to San Fran because he had something to tell her... 
HE LOVED HER!! + she loved him, too! {Do you have goosebumps yet?}
Three and a half years later, their relationship has grown into something beautiful! They compliment each other so well. They are the best of friends. She's his biggest cheerleader. He inspires her to come out of her shell. They have big dreams for their future. They make each other so happy; they make perfect sense. 

I enjoyed every minute of quality time spent with the two of them as sister-wives earlier this year, David a real natural Kody {I kid, I kid.}! ... but right before I left Tampa, David came skipping in to my room, diamonds in hand, floating on clouds to tell me that this summer he was going to ask Megan to marry him! My eyes welled with tears as he described in great detail the perfect proposal he had been busy planning while back home in Kentucky earlier that week...

Sunday night, David popped the question! Megan Duby, will you marry me?? Set in an old barn, you can just feel the romance; how happy and in love they are is almost palpable in these photographs!! Congratulations to the future Mr. & Mrs. Zawko! I could not ask for a more perfect match for my bestie and I cannot wait for the festivities to begin!! =)
They could not remember a time before now that forever didn't seem long enough.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

most days; some days.

Most days are nothing short of amazing. Each morning the sun beams through my window and floods my room with endless possibility. Every day my eagerness to learn manifests through pushing myself outside my comfort zone, exploring the unknown + seizing new opportunity. An incredible amount of growth is occurring and I am loving every moment of it. I am confidently pursuing my lofty dreams and as each one becomes a reality, it is the ultimate affirmation that I am exactly where I need to be.   
Most nights I fall asleep in complete peace with a fully renewed sense of self. I feel 100% back to my old self... giddy and full of giggles... All the while, I am learning to embrace the new part of myself that has grown up a little, remaining aware of my own needs + setting cautionary boundaries making certain I don't give too much. I have an abundance of great friends that are like family + a family full of people I consider close friends. I have a contagious energy + a to-do list full of fanciful tasks. I have a restored optimistic outlook + a perma-smile to prove it. I have a wild imagination + a growing bucket list. I have genuine happiness + it is fabulous. 
But some days, some days are hard. The days where every teardrop feels like a waterfall + I fear I may drown in my own tears. The days when I feel weighed down by the burden of unanswered questions + begin to question everything. My confidence in certainty waivers in how deeply my heart is hurting; a heart that has forgiven enough to be continually inundated with the happiest memories... but hasn't forgotten enough to move on... 
On these kind of days, I pay extra close attention to my own needs. I put both feet on solid ground. I take an extra long bath. I bend a little deeper. I run a little longer. I cry a little harder. I remind myself to breathe. I don't beat myself up for the amount of time that has passed and how much little progress in this single area has been made. Time can stand still once in awhile; its part of my healing process.  
 It is these days that I am thankful for the beauty of tomorrow, a fresh start to grad ahold of the reigns of life and begin again. One day it will make perfect sense and letting go will be as easy madly loving once was but until that day comes, I will cling tight to the promise of a new day that affords me the opportunity to saddle up and try again... and lucky-as-a-horseshoe for me, tomorrow is Monday and there is some celebrating to be done! =) 
Location: Tocori Falls, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

autism speaks.

It's time to listen.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

oh my {happy} july!!

I can hardly believe today is the second day of the second half of the year. It feels like just yesterday that I was ringing in the new year trying to figure out what this fresh start would have in store for me, having not a clue where I was headed and not a root planted anywhere! I had an inkling that it would be an awesome ride... but THIS incredible was beyond my wildest imagination! =)
Kicking off July right this weekend, I'm thoroughly enjoying my freedoms and exploring Seattle to its maximum: studying in coffee shops, perusing farmer markets and soaking up the sunshine from my rooftop as Mount Rainier stands tall in the distance! 
I'm surprising myself by how much I'm embracing this whole independence thing that coexists with the likes of adulthood and I'm tickled sparkle that this weekend is dedicated to celebrating the beauty of it! How lucky we are to live in a world where no dream is too big; no hope is too high. Its a pretty awesome reality I'm living in... 

Set flame to a firework, dare to dream {bigger} + have a happy, happy July!  {It's going to be a hot one.}