31 May 2013

What my Mama Taught Me

1. If anyone is coming over, clean the house. Actually, have the house clean at all times, because people will always come over when you least expect them.

2. Hairspray gets ink stains out of clothing. Hot water sets a stain, always rinse in cold. Dark clothes and light clothes must always be washed separately.
Angel has yet to understand why separating the laundry is important, and that's why all the white tank tops I wear to school are bluish gray.

3. Recipes are unnecessary.
I think I saw my Mom cook from a recipe once, maybe twice in my childhood. A general approximation of what kind of ingredients go well together is really all you need. Angel and I pretty much eat something a little different every day. Of course, if I really liked something, it usually can't be replicated exactly....

4. When having company, don't "charge admission" by asking them to bring something.
Potlucks are a commonly accepted form of family get-together, and that seems somewhat reasonable when the amount of people getting together for a holiday is astronomically large. But I don't host family get-togethers or traditional holiday dinners, I host parties. My favorite type being birthday parties, New Year's Eve parties, and summer parties. It's because of Mom that I'm convinced that having a potluck is a rather 'cheap' way to host a party. I won't stop people from bringing food along to a party, because hey, the more food, the merrier, but I won't ever invite someone, and along with the invitation, tell them their assigned dish. No entrance fee for my parties!

5. People are eternal, everything else isn't.
My Mom was excellent at teaching her children that stuff is far, far away from being the most important thing in life. We learned this from her own actions, when she happily left everything she owned when our family moved, and when she never got angry about a careless child breaking something in the house (my family is on our 4th complete set of dishes in the 22 years that my parents have been parents). People on the other hand--flawed as they are, and often as they disappoint you, are worth loving passionately.

5. The truth you learn from the Bible, the knowledge of your faith, is the most important thing you'll learn all day.
My Mom is a Bible teacher. To us kids with math homework and history textbooks looming over us, it sometimes seemed like Bible class took an excessively long time every morning. We would start getting fussy and impatient--and Mom would stop and say, "The rest of your schoolwork can wait. Nothing else you're going to learn today is going to be as important as what you're learning right now."

6. So, someone else thinks you're weird/ugly/stupid/unfashionable/odd/boring/annoying? There is no reason for you to care.
Mom taught us well that the opinions of others on our own person and of our behavior do not matter. The only time we need listen to others' complaints is when the matter is a moral one. If someone points out that you are being disobedient, unkind, lazy, or otherwise unrighteous--then you should take that opportunity to listen, examine yourself and notice what you have been doing wrong in the way you live. If their comment is that you wear weird clothes or that you don't have the latest and greatest in cell phone technology (non-moral issues)--who cares? This concept has strongly influenced my attitude toward life.

7. Few men are brave enough to fall in love without any encouragement.
I think my mom actually learned this from the movie Pride and Prejudice, but she's taken it to heart as relationship advice, and reminded me of it when I was old enough that boys weren't a far-off future concept but rather a Mexican nurse knocking on my grandparents' door. We're all for being ladylike and letting the men do the pursuing, but it's got to be disheartening to have every door slammed in your face if you're the poor guy. There's no 'playing hard to get' in our concept of relationships. If a guy is acting interested in you, and he's a nice enough guy that you don't want to discourage him, just be nice to him. Bake him some cookies. Don't tell him, "I don't have time to talk," and hang up when he calls you (yep, that's me). Reply to his emails, that kind of thing.

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30 May 2013

Disappointment of the Greatest Order

It feels like the ultimate betrayal.

You were the one slaving over the hot stove last night. You were the one who dished out plates of just enough but not too much. You were the one spooning leftovers into Rubbermaid containers and putting them in the fridge. Maybe, just maybe, you were also the one who had to do the late-night dishes.

So why is it that this morning, freshly showered and well-rested from a long night of sleep, you're the one standing with the refrigerator door open, gazing eagerly into the vast white interior, only to find that the Rubbermaid container you're searching for is not to be found? Well, it's not to be found inside the refrigerator. A further search of the kitchen reveals the very same Rubbermaid container, now devoid of its contents of leftover fried rice, reposing calmly in the sink.

Someone had been awake in the night. Someone had been hungry. Someone had eaten the savory breakfast that you'd counted on. And that someone wasn't you.

Right now you are faced with a moment of decision. You love leftover fried rice....but you also love the Someone. This doesn't have to be a bad day, just because you didn't get the breakfast you wanted. Tears won't get your fried rice back. To be fair, you didn't actually tell him that you had mentally reserved the leftovers for breakfast. Don't be bitter about such a small sacrifice. Bite your tongue, and consider it a lesson in maturity: you don't live on your own anymore, you can't argue that all food in the house belongs to you and not him.  Besides--you're pretty sure Someone didn't have enough time to eat all the leftover chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store bakery, too. One or two of those will be enough to make up for the loss of a little fried rice, won't they?
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29 May 2013

WBBE: How to Have Fun in a Salon

If you ever find yourself waiting for an excessively long time at a hair salon, this is what you should do to entertain yourself:

1. Pick up one of the books of haircuts they have available. The older, and more outdated, the better. But first--make sure that this is a book composed primarily of hairstyles for men.

2. Laugh. Depending on how busy the waiting room is, you might want to laugh silently.

It's simply my opinion that men were not made to model haircuts. I like inventing back stories for the pictures that I see. I'm sure all of these guys are very nice men, who had a mother, sister, girlfriend, or wife who harangued them  into getting their hair cut and styled so that the stylist could receive the honor of getting their name into a book of haircuts. After spending a dreary hour in the salon and getting photographed, I'm sure they were happy to go back home and enjoy a more pleasant activity for their day off of work, like driving a tractor or watching the news.
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28 May 2013

Bear on a Bridge

When we were both in college, or even after Angel graduated, and I was the only one in college, we often ended up with time to kill wandering around the campus (I've never done homework when Angel's been around to play with).

I was in love with this bridge, I always wanted to walk over to this part of the campus and walk over the bridges together. I thought it was the most romantic and beautiful place in the whole world. 

I'm not even generally a romantic person, but I sure love bridges, and this one in particular.

It was fun to go back for a visit. And I was really, really hoping that someone around campus would  spy Angel in his costume and that he'd end up on our college's "Overseen" Facebook page. But no such luck. I guess everyone was too busy taking final exams. So glad I don't have to do that anymore.

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27 May 2013

The Outfit I Don't Like

If Angel had his way, this is how the both of us would dress all summer long, or, rather, all year long, if the weather permitted. His ideal uniform has always been a t-shirt and shorts, and he likes to see me wearing the girl version of the same thing.

As you perhaps can tell based on all the other outfits I've ever posted, this is not my ideal outfit. At all. I'd happily wear all manner and color and pattern of jeans and capris and dresses all year round, and never give a thought to: "Man, I really want to wear some shorts right now."

I never wore shorts until after I got married, and to this day, I will wear them occasionally, but only because Angel bought them for me and he likes me to wear them.

I can tell just from looking at these pictures how uncomfortable I felt wearing them, but, hey, we were on a date to play mini-golf at an abandoned golf course in the middle of a school day and it was pushing 90 degrees outside. That was also the same day that we discovered that the air conditioner in my car does not currently work. If there were ever a day to wear shorts, it was that day.

Now I'll spend the rest of the summer wearing dresses and I'll also see if I can get Angel to wear my favorite outfit for him one of these days. (it involves jeans and a button-up shirt--it will be a chilly, rainy summer day before the boy who wear shorts outdoors in winter can be convinced to dress like that).

P.S. It might already be obvious, based on my skin color, but I refuse to tan. I've never been to a tanning bed in my life. I've occasionally sunned myself by a pool, but mostly because the warm sun and a good book seemed altogether more attractive than cold water and being splashed by younger siblings. Just letting you know, I will continue to be pale all summer long, and I will make no apologies. Skin cancer doesn't sound fun to me. And besides, I think Angel's tan enough for the both of us.

P.P.S There's still plenty of time to enter my giveaway! Win deodorant, and Target money. Classic combination, I'd say.
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24 May 2013

1 Year of Blogging Giveaway

Man, my beloved husband has been having all of his crazy antics recorded for posterity for an entire year.

There is no specific blogging anniversary for me. If you look at my archive, it's clear that I technically began this blog well over a year ago, but while I was still in college, I was a little too busy writing papers on, say, the history of great soccer rivalries to spend much time writing the kind of short snippets of writing best suited to a blog.

I began blogging much more regularly in late May last year, right after I graduated from college, and I haven't looked back since. I love blogging, with no reservations. Since I've started blogging, and begun learning all the different opportunities that are available online for writers, I feel like I'm really accomplishing my dream career. I've always, always dreamed of being a writer, though I never seem to find one specific direction to go in. I love the idea of writing picture books for children, and I haven't given up that hope, but I also have a strong passion for writing about real life. I find real life immensely fascinating, hilarious, and bizarre. The people you meet, the conversations you overhear, and the homemade signs that you find taped to a tree when you go for a walk downtown.
So, so random.
I love blogging the same way I loved my public speaking class in college. In public speaking class, I could give speeches on whatever I wanted, and I had a captive audience composed of my classmates who were forced to listed to all of my speeches because attendance was part of the grade. The readers of this blog aren't forced to read it (well, Angel might experience a little coercion once in a while)...but you guys still do read it, and you keep coming back, and that makes me so happy.

And so, we shall celebrate with a giveaway. I thought of something along the lines of a "My Favorite Things" giveaway...but then I remembered that my favorite things are not usually the same as other people's favorite things, and it might be a little selfish to only give stuff I would like. So, instead, I'm giving away a conglomeration of things. Something to remind you of the blog, something to remind you of me, something to remind you of Angel, and something that  the more normal people out there might appreciate.

In honor of the blog: 1 month's 200x300 ad space (obviously not pictured) and a copy of The Random Writings, the book that started this whole thing.

To remind you of me: A flower and two headbands, my secret to having cute hair without having to do anything to your hair. Just stick a flower in it.

To remind you of Angel: I'm sorry guys, but this is what he chose to represent him. Tom's Unscented Deodorant.  I start giggling every time I think of it, but to you long-time readers, it probably won't seem weird at all. And it actually is a good brand of deodorant for those who are interested in more naturally sourced healthcare products. Practical, see?

For you: $25 gift card to Target--the store that seemingly everyone but me appreciates.

Thanks for reading!! The Rafflecopter mentions that one entry option is for you to read and comment on a post from last May or June; those are the links to those months in the archives.

Please read the terms and conditions, the giveaway will end next Thursday, the 30th, at midnight. The winner will be contacted, and if they do not respond within 48 hours with their address, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway limited to residents of the U.S.A. For any other conditions, as I mentioned, read the terms and conditions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
23 May 2013

What Could You Wear it with?

Long revered as a question to determine whether a certain piece of apparel is worth purchasing or not, I'm here to show you today that "What could you wear it with?" is perhaps not the best possible question to ask when deciding whether or not to enlarge your wardrobe.

Instead of "What would you wear it with?" I prefer to interject, "Will you regret it for the rest of your life if you do not buy this item?" as a far superior budget saving question.

As proof, let me tell you the story of the shoes I've recently fallen in love with.
Maybe not specifically those. Maybe these:

In  general, Doc Martens. The first time I showed them to Angel at the store, he asked the ill-fated question. "Umm, what would you wear them with?"

"Everything!" I responded.

Obviously. Dresses, jeans, skirts--I can think of 101 outfits to wear Doc Martens with. The problem is not a lack of opportunity to wear them, the problem is rather the price of the shoes. For now, I do not own any, nor do I have any specific plans to buy a pair. No, instead I just enter a shoe store, walk straight to the Doc Marten section and start fondly caressing them until the sales guy asks, "Are you shopping for some Docs today?"

"No," I respond, "I'm just attracted to them."

I know I'm not the only one who admires them from afar. What's your favorite style of shoe?

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22 May 2013

I Really, Really Love Swing Dancing

So funny story. About me being possibly not the best wife there ever was.
I've mentioned before that Angel and I go swing dancing semi-regularly. Often with my sister or with my cousins. Angel's not quite as fond of dancing as I am, so he dances with me, Lizzy, or my cousins...and on rare occasions with strangers, but usually, if he's not dancing with one of us, he's not dancing. I, on the other hand, love swing dancing, so if Angel wants a break, or if he's dancing with Lizzy or my cousins, I have no qualms about dancing with whatever guy happens to walk past and ask me to dance.
So, now that it's clear that both Angel and I are quite comfortable with dancing with people we're not married to, I must tell you about the time I took my love for swing dancing to a whole new level.
One evening, they had a ladies' choice song, so they split up all the girls and guys  and made us stand on opposite sides of the dance floor. Then, they said "Go!" and us girls are supposed to run and pick a guy to dance with. I ran straight to Angel, as is my habit, but then, as I reached him and grabbed his hand, I noticed about ten feet down the row of guys was standing a guy that Lizzy had danced with earlier. She had told me that he was an excellent dancer, and I noticed that nobody had claimed him for a dance yet, so, without a moment's hesitation or a word of explanation to Angel, I dropped my husband's hand, went straight to the other guy and said, "My sister told me that you're a great dancer" and spent a very enjoyable four minutes after that getting spun every which way, dipped, and even lifted into the air.
Afterwards, I felt slightly remorseful for my cold-hearted abandonment of my husband. 
Oh well.
I won't even mention the other ladies' choice dance when I spotted a guy who had taught ballroom dance lessons at my college, and I ran and positioned myself directly across the room from where he was standing--when they yelled "Go!" I unabashedly pushed my way in between the slower girls in front of me and made a beeline to him in order to ask him to dance before any other girl got there first. I would try to claim that was when I was young and susceptible to handsome men who are excellent dancers....but that was just a few months ago.
Okay, neither of these incidents are terribly ladylike nor are they housewifely. But they give me opportunity to laugh at myself and at my occasionally inappropriate desire for a really good swing dance. And honestly, I think Angel appreciates it when another guy lets him rest his weary feet.
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21 May 2013

Brother Bear

How can you tell that Angel and Nestor are related?

Half Bear, Half Human Brothers. Previously thought to be a medical impossibility!
And, if you needed any further proof of a blood relationship:

Brittany, Lizzy, and I spent most of our time together wondering over the uncanny similarities between these two trouble-makers.
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20 May 2013

When to Wear Leggings?

When you find the most beautiful dress at Kohl's that is on clearance for $5 and it has a sequined collar and two different colors of plaid fabric. But it's a smaller size than you would expect to take, and you're pretty sure that there's no chance it'll ever fit you. However, the top fits perfectly. The bottom half of the dress is too tight to fit over your jeans. However, since it's only $5, you buy the dress, and at home you find out, that, in fact, you can get the dress over your hips if you're wearing leggings and not jeans underneath.
This is a shorter dress than I would typically prefer to wear with leggings. But the sequins, the plaid, and a the $5 price tag were irresistible. I'm considering chopping off the skirt part and hemming it, making it into a really cool top and effectively eliminating all problems with fit. But Angel really likes this minidress. As expected.
Sorry about the "looking at my feet" photo. Lizzy forced me to do it. She said I had to pose like a fashion blogger. It hurt a little bit.
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17 May 2013

No Makeup. Whatsoever

Okay, by now most of you know of my involvement in QUITE magazine, so there should be no big surprise when I tell you how excited I am about the summer issue that we're currently putting together. (If you missed our introductory Spring Issue, you can still order it here).

For the Summer Issue, we're working on a slightly different project, headed up by Jessica, our fashion editor. The #QUITEbeautiful project is about encouraging women that they don't have to hide behind makeup or airbrushing. QUITE Magazine wants use photographs of women who aren't plastered with makeup and who aren't edited till they are nearly unrecognizable in real life. Because what matters infinitely more is that you live the way God created you to live--not that your skin isn't marred by a single freckle or acne scar.

Since I started attending beauty school, I've become much more aware of how women can be so attached to their makeup...or their hair extensions...or their acrylic nails...that they are afraid to let anyone see them without all of their additions. And I think that's a little sad. Make up can be fun, for sure. I'm the first person to swipe on some fuchsia lipstick because, guess what, I love fuchsia!

But makeup shouldn't be a form of slavery. Since starting beauty school, I've intentionally won less makeup than I have in years, because I want to be the one person who shows by their actions that, in spite of all the peer pressure otherwise, it's perfectly fine to not 'put your face on' everyday. There's nothing shameful in going out with a naked face. (Naked body...that's another story.)

Last week, Lizzy took my pictures for participating in the #QUITEbeautiful campaign. And honestly, it was a little scary. I don't wear makeup on a daily basis, but I'm typically more likely to wear it when I know I'm going to get my pictures taken. Wearing eyeliner to help my eyes not disappear in photographs is an old trick I learned from high school theater club. And a little powder to keep the camera flash from reflecting off my forehead often seems appropriate.

But this time there was no eyeliner, no powder. No convenient filter added by Picasa to make the colors a little prettier.
 Just me.

Of course, there was some editing involved when it came to choosing a photo where I was actually looking at the camera and the wind wasn't blowing my hair in my face. And then there was this photo, which records my response to Lizzy's direction, "Smile more naturally."

 Angel and I share the characteristic of having large mouths.
So, here's where you come in. If you're not too terrified by the idea of makeup-less pictures, you can join in the #QUITEbeautiful project. Share your makeup-less and filter-free photo on Instagram with the #QUITEbeautiful hashtag, or email your photo to, and your picture could appear in our Summer issue!
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16 May 2013

You'll Sleep When You're Dead

For the last two weeks I've been something of a distracted blogger, and for a very good reason. Usually, our home is pretty quiet, with only Angel and I around to fill it up, but until yesterday, we had three special houseguests. My sister Lizzy, Angel's brother Nestor, and Nestor's wife Brittany all decided to come for a visit at the same time, and Angel and I decided to show them how vacations are done. Hint: There is no sleeping, resting, or other forms of relaxation allowed on vacation.

Our plans were somewhat hindered by the fact that both Angel and I were working our normal schedules the whole time, but outside of work and school hours, we found plenty of opportunities to keep our guests busy.  During their stay, this is what we managed to accomplish:

We went to the beach.

On Cinco de Mayo, we took them to a Tulip Festival celebrating Dutch culture. I found the irony of this to be hilarious.

We attended a minor league baseball game. Our team lost, but I ate Dippin' Dots, so I was happy.

On Gerald R. Ford's birthday, we visited his museum for free. Highly educational. Did you know that Betty Ford worked as a department store model before her marriage to Ford?

We explored downtown.

We successfully executed a surprise birthday cake for Nestor's 23rd birthday.

We hung out at World Market and fell in love with some of the furniture.

Introduced Brittany and Nestor to the miracle of hobo pies.

Explored the woods.

 We went to another museum to see the Titanic exhibit (no pictures allowed) and we rode the carousel while we were there.

Other activities that were accomplished but unphotographed:
Watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, plus The Hobbit.
Went swing dancing. Twice.
Watched the second-to-the-last-ever episode of The Office. No one quite understood how emotional I was about it. 
Watched Iron Man 3 at the movie theater
Played Bop-it Extreme. No one can beat Angel's high score of 100.
Colored Brittany's hair brown and teal.
Destroyed a pinata.
Flew a kite.
Ate a great deal of latkes, gorditas, tandoori chicken, conchas, tortas, butter chicken masala, carne asada....and a few hamburgers, too.

Now everybody's gone, and we can all get some sleep.
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14 May 2013

Beware a Bear with a Weapon

American Gothic Parody
Bear Gothic

This has got to be one of the most parodied paintings in history. I figured we had to add a teddy bear version to the mix. 
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13 May 2013

Why is Spring Cleaning Important?

You know the great thing about spring cleaning?
It's finding stuff that you forgot you had. Like my suspenders. Aren't they awesome?
Once upon a time, for my dad's 40th birthday, we decided that because he was old, he needed to have suspenders. He was not very amused. Sometime later, when it became apparent that Dad was never going to wear his very nice suspenders, I asked if I could have them. Since that time, I've worn them on numerous occasions when I felt suspenders were called for.
Except, I haven't worn them in probably a year, because I didn't know where they were. Now I do. I also found all of my multicolored strings of beads that I used to wear all the time, and I wore them as a necklace.
So, that's why spring cleaning is important. Finding fashion accessories you forgot you had.
The fact that your windows will look so much cleaner after you're done is just an added benefit.

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10 May 2013

Living in an Old House

...and why it's not as cool as you think it is.
 When people find out that my home is a farmhouse that was built around the year 1900, they say something about how awesome that must be. While I am very grateful for my home, I do not think that people who live in newer homes quite know what living in a century-old home might be like. So I'm here to tell you the truth. In reality, living in an old home, you might find that all of a sudden, your plaster walls start falling into pieces. (That poster has hung on that wall since my childhood, but I'm afraid to take it off, for fear of worsening the hole).
 Also, don't be alarmed by the knick-knacks on this furnace. Because the furnace doesn't work. Years ago, this is how the upstairs of our house was heated, then we took the pipe that fueled it off the house when we were putting vinyl siding on the, the upstairs has no source of heat at all. For that reason, we seal the top floor off and don't use it from November-May every year, because it's too cold!

This is our upstairs bathroom--yep, that's how small it is. Don't worry, that door isn't even a normal sized's like half of a normal sized door. My hips barely fit through it.

And our basement resembles a dungeon. This is as far as I dare go before turning back and returning to the world of daylight and joy. I'm not fond of dungeons.

 So, that's what living in an old house might look like. To be fair, the state of our house is infinitely better than when my family first moved in when I was a baby. I remember neon blue and puke green carpeting and tons of linoleum. Now, thanks to the investment of my parents, we have wood floors and normal carpeting....and plumbing and electricity that actually works. Stuff like that isn't to be taken for granted in an old house! The main floor of our house is really quite livable, and that's where we stay most of the time, so that works well for us!

I didn't mention all of the outbuildings that are in the process of falling down...but that's to be expected. Just don't enter said buildings if you care at all for your life, health, and bones. They really are quite picturesqe.
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