Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Preview

The last couple of mornings have been delightfully chilly. When I wake up to walk Brutus I'm greeted by a crazy bite to the air that is completely unexpected, yet I'm enamored with it. I want to make my kale stew, sip on hot apple cider and carve pumpkins! That is until about 11, when I'm reminded that I live in Texas and it's hot (by noon we're back in the 90s).

Still, I have been able to indulge in a pumpkin spiced latte here and there, YAY! And I'm also able to sport some of my favorite fall wear (fortunately, or rather, UNFORTUNATELY, it's winter all day, everyday at the office).

Yesterday I got to wear my new leopard wedges from Forever 21. If I'd only had these in high school... they would have completed so many of my looks. I know they would have looked damn good with my black tights, cutoff shorts and fuzzy grandma cardigans. Sigh. Would it be lame to relive that look just once? Instead, they complemented my skinny jeans and oversized star sweater. Oh, how I love mixing prints... These shoes are the latest of items to rock my world and were just under $30!

Happy fall! I hope you're enjoying the weather no matter where you are. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

I want. I want.

I'm thankful I have a great friend who also happens to be my stylist.

I know he was looking out for me on Saturday night when I told him I needed to have pale pink hair. Just the underneath parts so it would pop out of my naturally dark, dark brown hair. And when I put it up, the beautiful color would be revealed for all to see. His "this will absolutely kill your hair," killed me. "If you are okay with a pixie cut afterwards, I can do it?!" he teased. I'm so not okay with a pixie cut. My face simply wasn't built for it.

I know I'll appreciate his advice eventually, but for now, I sulk. My hairspiration is shown here (via Pinterest). And upon further inspection, I realize, it's a WIG!

But don't you worry. Soon enough, my dear, sweet Blaine will be putting in either a turquoise shade or a fuchsia as my new 'do. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

photo via
I remember it like it was yesterday, I walked out of my apartment to greet the 7 train, as I did every morning since I'd moved there. The air was crisp. The sky, a perfect blue.

As I made my way up to the platform, I decided I needed to walk toward the back, where I could soak in some more of that beautiful day. It was one of those mornings you think to yourself, "I'm so lucky to live here!" And I was.

I got to work at the Grace building, just across from Bryant Park. I began my morning routine and then I got a call from an outside line, "Hello? This is Krista?"

"Dude, are you okay?" my brother inquired. "A plane just hit the World Trade Center. What's the weather like there?" he asked. At the time, he lived and worked in D.C. He worked for a think tank that had the TVs on cable news stations all day, everyday. So, strangely, he'd actually heard about it before I had.

I was baffled. It was a beautiful day, I told him. In my mind, I figured it was a little two-seater plane that couldn't cause much damage. It was unfathomable to me what actually occurred. I told him I was fine and we left it at that. I decided to turn on my little radio alarm clock that sat at my desk. It was Howard Stern and he was describing the terror and then, BOOM. The second plane hit. I couldn't believe it. Who could do such a thing?

Word started to get around the office and before I knew it, we were trying to get reception on the TVs in the conference rooms. One of the security guards came over to my area — I just happened to sit near the CEOs office and next to her assistant. He said, "I think Osama bin Laden did this." It was the first time I'd ever heard his name.

Then the Pentagon was hit. I started to fear for the safety of my family, all of whom lived in that area at the time. I tried calling everyone. Busy. I don't remember panicking, after all, nothing like that had happened before. But I know I was frightened. And then, our worst fears realized — the Towers collapsed. I couldn't believe it. Honestly couldn't believe it.

Our security team started to make plans for what we should do. They asked we all stay in the building but at that point, all I wanted to do was go home. I knew I could walk it. Though I lived in Queens, my place was just on the other side of the East River. A little bit of a trek, but it wouldn't have been a terrible walk.

I told our VP of Merchandising my plan and I'll never forget what she said, "Are you crazy? The last time something happened at the World Trade Center, there was all kinds of looting! No one was safe!" She convinced me to go back to a local hotel room where some of our planners were staying. What I wouldn't realize until later was that something had changed in NY. In time, I would see that the City had become just a tiny bit more fragile, we would become kinder to one another. We would know that we were in this together.

I walked with four other girls to that hotel. I don't even remember which hotel or even what part of town it was in. But I remember looking up during that walk as four army helicopters flew overhead and I thought to myself, as naive as this may sound, 'the world will never be the same.'

It's funny what you remember on a day like that. I remember sitting in a dark hotel room, glued to the TV, shedding tears over the devastation, over what someone could do to Our City. I remember exactly what I was wearing too... A sleeveless, lavender chunky-knit sweater with black pants and black wedges. I specifically remember the shoes.

My nerves were making my feet sweat so much, I slid in and out of those damn shoes. The sweater, a sale item from the Gap, was one I didn't love, but the weather demanded it that day and I begrudgingly put it on for lack of something better to wear. When we got to the hotel room, I realized it had been inside out all day, that chunky knit made the inside and outside look virtually the same. I went to the bathroom and fixed it. Strange how these details are so vivid, yet some escape me?

We watched CNN, in complete awe, determined that once the subways were up and running again, we would each go home. We formed groups based on where we lived and were ready. We were starving and decided to try and find a local restaurant. It must have been 2 or 3 in the afternoon by then. Everything was different. On the street, people politely smiled at one another, kind of a nod that said, 'we'll get through this.'

We finally got word that the 7 train was running again and two of us jumped at the chance to go home. She and I hugged and parted ways at Queensborough Plaza, just three stops away from mine. I'll never forget the rest of that silent ride home.

I'd lived in New York for a year by then. Whenever a visitor would come, I took great pride in showing them the scenery from my train — I was lucky enough to have most of my ride outdoors instead of underground. On one side, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, on the other, the Twin Towers.

photo via
To this day, I still feel guilt about my "7-train tours" prior to 9/11. I would always boast that the much better view was the north view, the one of the Chrysler building (my favorite landmark building in New York) and that the other side was simply kind of boring. I'm going to be frank with you, before that day, I never thought the Towers were special... but riding home, looking south out the window of the train, I watched as smoke simmered from the very spot those building once stood and I felt tremendous sadness and incredible shame for ever having had those thoughts at all. I wished to God I could put them right back where they belonged. I would appreciate them so much if we could just put them back.

September 12th I woke up and figured I better report to work. My company didn't shut down for ANYTHING. So I once again walked over to the 7 and realized... it was a ghost town. My beautifully vibrant City was speechless. It was eerie. Like aliens had landed.

I got to work, also empty. One of the security guards phoned my desk, "Krista, what are you doing here?!" He proceeded to tell me that we had a hotline and that none of us were to report in that day. We'd never had an emergency of any kind before. How was I supposed to know? I turned around, got back on the subway and sobbed. No one was there to see it... so I let it all out. I sobbed the entire way home and even more once at home.

Days later you could smell the tragedy. I'll never forget thinking to myself, 'I now know what death smells like.' It was devastating. It was unbelievable. It was all too real.

I recently found a postcard of the World Trade Center in an old book I have. How strange that it's 10 years later. Sometimes it seems like it went by way too quickly and sometimes I think about just how much has changed. And though I was lucky in that no one I am close to was harmed by either of the attacks in NY or DC, I felt it all the same. We all did. Whether in NY or San Francisco, the tremendous loss was felt that day by every single American and we will never forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

She's Crafty

Cannot even begin to describe how busy I've been the last couple of weeks. In addition to my full time gig, I've taken on some freelance work that's really gotten my creative juices flowing. Despite how challenging the extra work can be, I'm really thankful for it.

And as busy as I've been, I'm not nearly as busy as my new Mommy friends. Babies, babies, babies! I'm surrounded by them. It's so weird, I thought for sure I'd be part of the Mommy club by now. Some days I'm sad I'm not, some days I'm happy I'm not and some days I fear that biology determines whether or not. Regardless, I'm THRILLED for my Mommy friends. Three newborns have entered this world within a month span of one another and I couldn't be happier.

I got to meet sweet baby Scout, just last night. She's six weeks old and perfect. Big round cheeks and crazy chill. In exactly one month I get to meet baby Liam, the son of my dear friend, Sarah. I'm so stoked to see both of them. Truly, I'm counting down the days.

One of my very best friends just had her second son, baby B on Tuesday. G has been a dear friend since college. I'll have to share our story for another time, it's a REALLY good one. We have this crazy 'When Harry Met Sally' kind of story, minus the falling in love part, obviously. Although, wouldn't that be a plot twist?

It's crazy how we were MEANT to be friends, when I finally get around to telling you about it, you'll totally get what I mean. Since moving back to Texas, I've been able to see G several times (never as much as I'd like, though), unfortunately, G now lives in Houston.

Anywho, just a few weeks ago, she emails me and says she's finally decided on a theme for the babies room. Theme?! I LOVE themes! Once I get a theme in my head, I start to create, envision, I get down right crafty. And she had the best baby room idea ever: retro owls and birds. Hello?! Did you say birds? Why, I'd LOVE to Put a Bird On It!

Baby rooms are my specialty. I love to paint for them. Since she had a complicated pregnancy and was just about to burst, I talked it over with T and decided I'd come down for the weekend and help them get the room together. Upon arrival, I convinced her to go with "salute" blue instead of the brown she had originally envisioned.

It perfectly matched the polka dot blankets, bumper, etc. I mean, exactly matched it. She bought a really fun bird decal for the wall and voila! It came out looking so good, THANK GOD! She basically said blue was the last color she wanted for the room, but it looks amazing and we loved the idea of orange and lime as accent colors. Really any accent color works with that perfect blue.

I got home and went to town. I've been dabbling in painting for a couple of years now. I'm pretty amateur, so babies rooms are totally my speed. The wee ones don't judge, so it takes the pressure off. I'm not exactly finished with the owl — I took apart the belly and am painting it over again, but I thought I'd show you my progress anyway...

retro bird for baby B
retro owl in progress. I'm particularly fond of his duck feet.
So, dear friends, if you plan on having a baby any time soon and have a theme picked out, I'm all ears. And paintbrushes.

Happy Thursday,  another week, almost down!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stars and Stripes Forever

Hooray for fall fashion! My magazines, aka September issues, have been trickling in and I'm devouring them every spare moment I have. Despite the 100+ temperatures here, I'm so ready to get my fall on. Plaids, jackets and boots, oh my!

I couldn't help but notice and be super excited by Dolce & Gabbana's fall 2011 RTW collection. I'm a sucker for stars and this collection is a celestial wonderland. Do you agree?

I could wear this now — to the pool. ;)
Hot damn, I want it all. The looks are so accessible, don't you think? Just wish they came at Forever 21 prices.
For the office?
Yes, please!
And yesterday, I was reading Marie Claire, I'm in love with the "Anglo Files" spread. Cool plaids, daring houndstooth(s), luxe leather, military accoutrements, bold stripes and creepers — yes, creepers! — decorate every page. It must be love, I'm smitten.

these shots were taken with my phone via Marie Claire, Sept issue.
Oh, the shoes! Reminds me of high school, in the best way.

Love the mixed prints, every detail.
I MUST have these bold stripes. Photo doesn't capture the brilliance.
Rag & Bone, you rule.
This jacket is the shizz. I'd wear this
outfit tomorrow — even if it was 106°out.
Cooler temperatures & hot fall fashion? Consider me ready.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Saw this quote today on Fitting, no?

Well, it didn't take long for Old Navy to remove their "Let's Talk About Jeans" ad from their YouTube channel and now it's nowhere to be found. I only had the pleasure of it being functional on my blog for 24 hours. I have a feeling the Puritans raised a fuss. Sucky. Lame. No fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let's Talk About Jeans, Baby

Creepy as hell.
Old Navy, I hate you, but then you repurpose a song, and I kind of love you.

Your ads have been disturbing me since you decided to launch those God-awful "modelquins" (see right). I loathe them even more than the terrifying Duracell battery rubber people. They're almost as bad as the human-like Coca-Cola polar bears. Those freaks strike fear in me every single December. But I digress.

Jingles. I love them. And oddly enough, they've been on my mind today. I posted a link to an old self defense commercial to Facebook this morning. That song was a total part of my childhood and one I still find myself singing years and years later.

Old Navy used to have fun jingles too! Am I the only one who remembers them? "Old Navy, Old Navy, Old Navy performance fleece!" It was divine — and with an all-star cast, no less!

And though I rarely buy their products (same with Gap, their sister brand) because nothing ever fits — I'm always in between two sizes, UGH — I know lots of people who LOVE Old Navy and with the latest round of commercials, I might actually have reason to set foot in there again.

JINGLES! "Let's talk about jeans, baby" and "Only in my jeans." Oh, what joy. Cheesy goodness! I crave thee. Judge me. I'm ready for it.
T noticed these particular ads brought a spring to my step. So tonight, while making dinner, he asks, "how much do you think Madonna got paid for 'Only in My Jeans'?" WHA?!?!?! Um, HELLO! It's Ms. Debbie *Deborah* Gibson!

Again, I'm ready for judgement day. Ah, electric youth. Back then, I loved her. Fun fact: Once a security guard at an amusement park let me into her concert. Though it was her last song, the sheer fact that he let me in and I got to see her, made me totally, wait for it, wait for it, CRY. Nerd alert! Hit me with your best shot. For the record, the first concert I actually paid money to go to was R.E.M. Does that redeem me in any way???

Well, regardless, the Debster makes for one great Old Navy commercial. And what about Salt-N-Pepa's reworked "Let's Talk About Jeans." Kinda disturbing that the original is "Let's Talk About Sex" but is it bad that it's also why I love this new version? I mean, the whole family is involved! Even Gram and Pappy. Awkward, yet delicious.

So thanks, Old Navy. We just might meet again soon... as long as you promise to keep the hits coming.


P.S. How much money do you think Debbie Gibson and Salt-N-Pepa actually did make for those songs? Now I truly am curious.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ya heard

Don't you love the little things? They make my day. Truly.

I've been told I'm easily excitable; I take it as a compliment. Life is too short. So I've decided to start writing about the things that me smile. I will do this as often as possible.

Here are today's:
Last night it rained for the first time in what seemed like forever. It wasn't just a little rain, it was a crazy, LOUD thunderstorm rain. So loud, that Brutus woke me with fearful kisses and then begged to be let under the covers. It was too cute for words, I adore our pooch.

Finally got the satellite radio installed in my new car (along with a fresh tint). Good stuff. Programmed some channels including T's "Backspin"... And heard the song I can never get out of my head, in a good way: It's Like That - Run DMC.
FUN FACT: Last year, I met Darryl from Run DMC on my way home from a buying trip.
It just happened to be T's birthday, who also happens to be a huge fan.
He was so cool, signed a birthday card for T and I didn't even ask for it!
It's Like That - Run DMC, LIVE

"Because it's like that, and that's the way it is." 
Tonight I watched The Voice. Everyone keeps talking about it on Twitter, so I had to see what it was all about. Well the contestants performed a George Michael mashup: Freedom/Faith. Ah, Freedom.

I don't care what you say, for me, Freedom has always been a "cheer myself up" kind of song... and do you remember the video? Star studded with the super models who ruled that decade.

"All we have to do now, is take these lies and make them true somehow. All we have to see, is that I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me..."

Tonight I made dinner, this is the fourth night in a row. I feel better about myself and our food when I know I am cooking it. Tonight I made ratatouille. T didn't seem to love it, but did say it "was healthy," which is probably why he didn't love it. Oh well, good thing that's what I was shooting for...


And lastly, tomorrow is Thursday! My favorite day of the week. I've always believed it's the day that comes with so much promise (what will the weekend hold?) and it's a signal that the week is almost OVER. And this week? I really can't wait for that.
Here's to the promise of what's to come. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Friday, I'm in LOVE

My Valentine's Day card from Sarah,
seems fitting for today's post.
It’s been too long! Will I be excused if I tell you I was in a car accident last month (and was in the midst of helping plan my parents' surprise 40th wedding anniversary)?

The car accident sucked, but the planning and the event were incredible! I truly feel blessed to be a part of my family. We have an amazing bond and I’m very thankful for it.

Laughter and love… it ruled the day and it rules my parents’ relationship. Their love is overwhelming and they thankfully passed that onto us. 

Perhaps that’s why I get so excited about the little things… and perhaps why “LOVE” is a pretty common word for me: “Love that!” or some other form of that phrase, can be heard at least once a day, whether someone’s telling me a story or I’m coveting a new candleholder.

So, today I thought I’d post a few things that are making me smile and utter the most-used word in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Frontman to Foodie
James Murphy, formerly of LCD soundsystem fame as aforementioned here, will be cooking at the roving French Food festival, Le Fooding, which also celebrates music! My kind of festival… This makes me LOVE him even more. It also happens to be in NYC this year, so it's somewhat more accessible to us. Some more details HERE

Peaked my Pinterest
I seem to have a new obsession every couple of years, Pinterest is my new favorite. I LOVE it for several reasons, the simplicity, the organization and most importantly, I get the feeling that I’m shopping without spending a dime. 

I’ve come up with fantastic DIY ideas and I’m finally starting to hone in on what I might want for our wedding, just about four years shy of our engagement (better late than never!). Are you on Pinterest too? Do you want to be? Share. I’m fascinated by what you find.

Food Trailer Fun      
Thanks to Scoutmob (there’s an app for that!) we got a whopping 50% off at Mighty Cone making it well worth the trek from work to South Austin. Scoutmob might just become this month's obsession. I believe it's better than the other coupon sites because you don't have to pre-buy it! Anyway, Food Trailer Friday commenced and it was brilliant, despite the 100+ temperature. I only wish I’d gotten today’s blackberry shake special. I can taste it now…

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Someone left their March issue of Allure magazine in the break room at work. The cover asks, “What Does Your Hair Say About You?” I immediately started to question just what my hair was trying to say… and proceeded to the article.

Turns out the cover was misleading, it was actually a really beautiful Hitchcockian spread that showcased different coiffures inspired by his films.

But I’m left to wonder. I mean, it's amazing what a change to the tresses can do:

Emma Stone is on my radar! Do you remember how gorgeous she
looked at the Golden Globes? I love her as a blonde (supposedly it's her natural hair color).
What woman isn't girl crushing on Gwyneth? Sleek or beachy, her hair is always fab.
Would love to be able to rock a braid like Sienna.
Still, she's so sultry with her hair down.
My #1 girl crush, Zooey Deschanel. OK, she basically looks the same in both photos,
but I'd kill to have her luscious locks. It's perfectly thick, something I totally lack.
Katie Holmes is a chameleon, with each new cut, she seems like a new person.
Is it me or does she even look different with side swept bangs vs. a middle part?
I actually found an online quiz that supposedly tells you what your hair says about you. It's totally for fun, surely not that accurate... but I took it just to see what happened. Apparently, I'm young and fresh (I'll take it and wish it to God it was the truth): check it.

Do you think your hair says something about you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

xoxo these nails

Looks like I'm not the only one indulging in colorful expression. The recently launched "xojanedotcom" has been consuming a fair amount of my time. And then I stumbled upon this (click on the link for a DIY tip)...
photo via
Heavens to Betsy, I'm in love.

Let it be known that Jane Pratt was my idol in the day. Sassy magazine spoke to me in a way that's virtually impossible to explain. It spoke to me in a way that no other magazine did at that time. More importantly, it spoke TO me, not at me. The writers seemed to understand what it felt like to be young, different, opinionated, confident, lost... and they likely did.

Jane was just 24 years old when she started Sassy. Can you imagine? I've heard all kinds of stories about how crazy she is in real life. I'm not sure it matters to me. Hell, I can be crazy too at times. I'm just going to stick to being thankful that she still tries to speak to my generation. No matter how old we get.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Color Me Happy

Lately, few things have been as therapeutic as the painting I've been doing.

Though I did manage to get one canvas under my belt this year (for baby L!), what I'm actually finding super soothing is changing the tips of my fingers... over and over and over again. As things heat up outside, it seems the brighter the better. I'm enamored with blues, corals and my favorite recent score, Minted, Revlon's gorgeous sea foam green. Subconsciously, I've been building outfits around them too. It took a while for me to recognize what was happening... But, hey, ain't no shame in my game.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear, Pacific Blue

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, Racey Rouge

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear, Blue Me Away!

Revlon Top Speed, Violet

Sally Hansen Salon Effects, Collide-O-Scope

Revlon, Minted
Doubled up: Wet 'n Wild Wild Shine, Rain Check + Sparked

Side note: I would love to be the Grand Poobah of nail polish naming. It's my dream job. Wouldn't it be AMAZING?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New 'do, New Duds

my sweet Blaineford
So I got my hair did. Styled by my dear friend, Blaine, at Jose Luis Salon here in Austin. Though he's been doing my hair for more than five years, we've been friends for something like 15. I love him dearly, he's an angel, you would love him too. He's a good listener, he's funny (and always laughs at my jokes, BONUS!), super fun to be around, has great taste in fashion, art and music and absolutely loves what he does. Plus, he's really good at it! He's always on the cutting edge of his craft. He told me to go for ombré before it became all the rage. He knows his stuff... Naturally, his clients adore him too.

This time around, we decided to go for something edgy. I had been hesitant since I have been freelancing, but we all need a good change from time to time. It's kind of like Krista meets Joan Jett, which later I'll have to talk about as well. I'm a big proponent of "WWJJD?" (what would joan jett do?). She's guided me through some major, err rather, minor decisions. Thanks, Joan!

My new herrrrrr. At the salon. Necklace and dress: Forever 21.
I have to say, I'm digging this look. I'm still trying to learn which way I want to do it (there are boundless options and that's the most fun). And I was pleasantly shocked on Sunday when I did absolutely nothing and it styled itself, cha-ching!

Of course, now I'm left with that feeling... I tend to get it anytime I get a haircut. I want to completely revamp EVERYTHING, I need to hit the gym. Buy some new makeup. GET A NEW WARDROBE. How does this happen in an INSTANT? Out with the old, in with the new! Do you get that way too?

Air dries like a dream. Dress: Walgreens!

Tank: Ultra Music Festival
After a LONG day at work.
Necklace: Henri Bendel.
Shirt: Forever 21.
If you're in the market for something fresh and live here, please go see Blaine — tell him I sent ya!

P.S. did you watch Glee tonight? They covered Black Kids, I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You. CRAZY. Fun!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I miss you already

One week ago today, we lost our beloved grandfather. Though he's left us in presence, he will ALWAYS be with us in spirit. He would have been happy to know that it wasn't blisteringly hot the day he was buried, in fact it was quite cool and we think he may have had something to do with that. We celebrated his life and what a wonderful man he was. We laughed, we cried, we shared stories and we went to Chinese buffet.

Robert Eng

Robert Len Him Eng, born in Suey Kong Village, China on August 28, 1923 entered into rest at the age of 87 on April 26, 2011. He is survived by his loving daughters, Mayline, Elizabeth, Judy and Pricilla, sons Albert Eng and Kenneth Eng, and sons-in-law William and Raul. He is the grandfather of 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Other survivors include sister, Jin Lui of San Francisco, California, sisters-in-law Angie Louis and Clara Garcia Fuentes, and nephews G.C. (Jay) Ng and numerous nieces and nephews in San Antonio and San Francisco. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Hortencia Garcia Eng, his parents, 4 siblings and son-in-law, Al Hogan. At the age of 14, after traveling alone 19 days, on a ship from China to California, he arrived in San Antonio in 1938. He attended an American school and also attended the Chinese school while working alongside his father and brothers at Sunny Side Grocery Store. It was there that he learned his great work ethic. He eventually moved to Laredo, Texas where he managed the Shanghai Café and that was where he met his future wife. They lived in Laredo until 1965, when they moved to San Antonio, where he worked at family-owned Tai Shan Restaurant. Eventually, he retired in 1995 from HEB Grocery. In his retirement he enjoyed traveling to China, San Francisco, Mexico City, and taking cruises with family and friends, Lon and Diana Potter. He enjoyed cooking for his family, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The family extends its appreciation to the medical staff at CTRC, especially his chemotherapy nurse, Terry. Also thanks to the staff at 2d Baptist Medical Center, especially nurses Matt and Sandy. Extra special thanks to Maria Elena Gonzalez for her love and care for the past five years. Visitation will begin at the Alamo Funeral Home on Sunday, May 1, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, May 2, 2011, at Alamo Funeral Home and interment will follow at Mission Burial Park South on S.E. Military Drive.

We miss you so much already. Thank you for so many wonderful memories. I'm so proud I got to know you from the eyes of a child and from the eyes of an adult. I loved riding roller coasters with you as much as hearing you discuss politics. I'll miss knowing how much the cost of a hot dog and a baseball ticket were in the '40s. I'll miss your boisterous laugh, your sharp wit and knowing how proud you were of us. I'm so thankful to have had such an amazing grandfather. I'll still come visit you and you will always live on in the stories we will tell about you. I love you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Heavy Heart

Proud Pop, 2001. Notice the UT t-shirt, my alma mater. 
I know it appears I've abandoned this before it's even started, but I guess as is usually the case with me, I have impeccable timing. I started this thing just as the health of my dear grandfather, aka Pop, is deteriorating. He's battling cancer — one more time.

It's been really hard the last couple of months. But he's strong, a fighter. Always has been and I hope will 'til the very end. As hard as it is to write that.

I can't even describe how much I love Pop. I mean, honestly can't describe it, I'm struggling to find the words to explain it to you right now.

He was born in China and moved to Texas at a very young age. He met my Nana, who is Mexican, in Laredo when they were both very young. They married and started a family and settled in San Antonio. He speaks Chinese, English and Spanish. Though he still has a Chinese accent, it's amazing to watch him speak Spanish, particularly since I never learned! I know, it's really lame, but I attempted it in high school and college. I understand un poquito.

When I was little, my favorite book was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. I don't even remember what it's about, but I do remember being so proud that I had a Pop. And I'm still proud and I'm frightened and sad about the day when I don't have one anymore. I'm thankful that I've had him for so long. I'm really not prepared for this. I assume you never really are.

He was born in 1923. He loves to talk and can tell you how much milk or gas or bananas cost in, say, 1942. And he'll tell you every single time he sees you. I love it when he starts his tirades about politics or how he'll start certain sentences with, "It's like the people always say..." or when he says stuff like, "I dunno?!" or "What the hay?" all with a thick Chinese accent. It's adorable.

December 2008
He never learned to drive, but he and my Nana's favorite ride at the amusement park was that drive-the-car ride. You know, the one that allows you to "drive" along a track, waving at those standing by. He loved to drive her around. I always loved that about them. I can picture it now.

We lost my Nana almost 20 years ago, very suddenly. She was 64. We weren't sure he'd live much longer without his beloved, he told us he was ready to go too and I was so worried, but he's still here! TWENTY years later.

He battled colon cancer not too long after Nana passed. Years after fighting that, he got cancer again, in his arm. They removed pretty much the entire muscle, but he fought that too. A couple of years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It's been hard. Much harder to fight. And I hate it.

He has always been super independent and self-sufficient. My grandfather lived alone after Nana passed and despite not ever driving, he totally got around, riding the bus and walking everywhere! These days, he lives with my Aunt (thank God for her!) and uses a walker around her house, a wheelchair when we go out and is on oxygen 24 hours a day. He's not able to get up on his own, so my Aunt or one of my Uncles or his care provider must help him.

It would be a lot better if he weren't in so much pain. Though he'd NEVER tell me so, I know he is. When I call, he tells me he's good and always wants to know how T and I are doing. He's a trooper. Makes me wish there was something I could do to take it all away from him. He's got a lot of life left in him, I know it.

With everything happening so fast, my family all came over from the East Coast to check in on him, try to lift his spirits. Possibly say goodbye. It broke my heart to think that this might be the last time they see him. But it worked. His spirits were lifted and for the last three weeks, mine were too.

You should have seen how happy he was to see everyone. My sister and her family came first with her husband and two baby girls. He got to meet my youngest niece for the first time and she absolutely adored him (as is usually the case), she's only 6 months old! He ate it up, it was so awesome to watch. He also got to video chat with my brother's wife and children and he was over the moon.
March 2011 with my angel of an Aunt.
Seeing everyone literally put a spring back in his step. When it was time to go to lunch the other day, he practically ran back to his room to get his hat. My Aunt spotted him, but still, we couldn't believe how fast he was moving.

When we got to the Chinese buffet, one of his favorites, he had plate after plate of shrimp. He used to always tell me to never eat the fillers like egg rolls or rice, to load up on the seafood. "You need to get your money's worth!" How fantastic that hasn't changed. While we were there, it was also so cool to watch my baby brother taking such good care of him. He wheeled my Pop around helping him choose what he wanted, cracking the crab legs open for him, making sure he was okay and really not eating much to put Pop first. In the sadness of it all, it was a proud moment.

My point is, it's just been a hard time. And worse, they just ran some tests and found some more spots on his brain and in his shoulder. He's started radiation already. My Aunt tells me that it's supposed to alleviate some of his pain by the fifth treatment. He's already had three and she said she can tell he's doing much better.

Bless her for taking such good care of him. She told my Mom that as long as she's living, Pop will never live in a home.I'm so thankful and I love her to pieces. I'm ashamed that I probably don't articulate how appreciative I am of her.

So this is why I've been MIA. I'm thinking about him a lot.Have spent a lot of time with family lately. My mind is elsewhere.

He was there for my high school graduation, he was there when I graduated from UT and he wants to be there for my wedding. Quite frankly, I want him to be there too. He's always been our proud grandfather. I hope he knows how very much he's loved and that we're really proud of him too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mock My Mockingbird

Have you seen Portlandia? Love it. I find myself putting it on a Hulu loop (frequently at work). The cool thing is most of my co-workers walk by exclaiming, "Portlandia!" Guess the feeling is mutual. We all dig it. The humor that totally makes fun of things that are all too familiar, particularly for my generation... and well, living in Austin.

A few weeks ago, I finally came across one that totally makes fun of ME. It's me to a T, even the end, when they're totally freaked out by the real birds. I mean, birds are dirty aren't they? I jest, -kind of-.

I'm not sure when it all started. Maybe because I've always wanted a sparrow tattoo. When I created my twitter account, I craved anonymity and found this cool little photo online that I felt epitomized me or at least what I wanted to put on my body.

Ever since then, I seem to be a bit of a collector. Exhibit A:

I could wear a different bird necklace to work for two entire weeks and never wear the same one. And I'm certain the collection will only grow.

I have rings, earrings, I painted a giant canvas that hangs above our bed and I also own some tees, but was too embarrassed to show off everything.

I will, however, show you one of my all time FAVORITE pieces, a big splurge and treat to myself, my Marc by Marc Jacobs hobo bag. I LOVE everything about it. The bohemian style, the floral ditsy print lining, the luxurious feel of the supple leather and, of course, the BIRD on it...

So I guess I'm a cliche, but I can't stop. And frankly, I don't want to. Please tell me there are other girls out there who are just as fanatical?