Friday, January 27, 2012

the beginning of an eclectic collection

There are all kinds of styles for decorating: modern, shabby chic, vintage, americana, country farmhouse, ultra elegant, victorian, western, eco-friendly, minimalist, 
retro, Chinese feng shui, Japanese zen, 
Martha Stewart (who gets her own category of style), to name a few.   
My style has evolved over the years, but one thing has remained steadfast: 
I am eclectic.   
I love color, vibrant and cheery, which explains in part why it's been so easy for me to
 fall in love with Mexican things - cosas Mexicanas.   
I love animals, old things, chili peppers, and the colors red, yellow, green and purple.  
Thankfully, so does Ricardo - or at least, he loves me.

My birthday present: a large popcorn (or snack) bowl,
handpainted by Ricardo and I
The cabra 
Treasured finds at Goodwill: guacamole and salsa bowls
A little bit of eclectic: thanks to Ricardo for letting me
indulge in these ceramic crab plates,
the essential vegetarian serveware.
Our Mexican kitchen collection grows
The beautiful bag my cousin Erica, who lives in Mexico,
made for me: a birthday gift from Mom.
*Check Erica out on Etsy:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Livin' la vida loco

I feel apologies are in order to you, my readers.  There we were, finally getting into a groove together, and I went M.I.A. on you.  I plummeted from writing five days a week to once every week or two.  Jeepers, I'm really sorry.

I do, however, have a fantastic excuse for this abandonment, if you can forgive me.  I'm getting married.  I think I made that clear, indirectly, in my last two posts, but in case you didn't read those, well, there it is.  Ricardo proposed to me on New Year's Eve and made me one very happy girl, and now we're crazily planning a wedding in less than four months.  It's been two weeks of engagement now, and we've hunkered down together to check quite a few biggies off our list:

Date (check)
Place (check)
Budget planning (check)
Bridesmaids (check)
Bridesmaids dresses (check)
Live band (check)
DJ (check)
Caterer (check)
Bridal gown (check)
Veil (check)
Mother of the Bride dress (check)
Dessert caterer (check)
Gathering addresses (check)
Start of invitations (check)
Honeymoon flight tickets (check)

Yeah, I couldn't fathom doing this on my own.  I'm incredibly thankful that Ricardo is every bit as crazy as I, and that he's not one to check himself out of the planning process.  He's in with me, shoulder to shoulder, and for that I thank God every day.  It's already been an amazing experience to share with each other.  

All that to say, I've been just a tad bit busy.  I will be scaling back, evidently, to between two and four posts a month for this season.  But I'll be back, when life settles, refreshed and ready to share my beautiful rubbish with you all. 

I may not be writing as much, but let me tell you, it's going to be a season of learning to put into practice full throttle what I've been writing and learning for over a year.  Slowing down...and look for the beautiful in each day, so it's not passing me by in a blur.  

I wish you the best in your own journey of beautiful rubbish.  Keep checking in - I'll still be here.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Feliz cumpleaños, mi Ricardito

One of the best gifts I’ve received was born five years before I ever existed.  Born in Mexico City, charcoal eyes and curly black hair, my fiancé, Ricardo, grew up sandwiched between two sisters with the same set of mesmerizing eyes, with two hardworking laywers for parents.  At the age of five, the family moved five hours north to  Aguascalientes, a tamer city than the mecca of Mexico’s capital, but he still grew up tough and street saavy.  As a child, he attended private Catholic schools, growing up with the same group of kids, excelling in soccer, going on to study computer engineering at the university.  By the age of twenty-one, he was moving up in a world-renowned organization, based in his town, but left it all behind to start his own company before even graduating college.  I didn’t learn this until recently, but he disliked the company’s ethics, the pressure to compromise, the environment of people trying to buy his loyalty.  So he politely dismissed himself and pioneered a competing company.
Seven years ago, he made a daring move to Seattle, traveling by train from San Diego with fifty dollars and no English to start a new life from scratch.  Now he owns his own graphic design company.
And then, there’s me.  I grew up as the youngest child of two girls, a pastor’s daughter, with a mom who stayed home most of our growing up years.  We moved around every three or four years - Phoenix, Portland, Richland, St. Helens, and back to Portland - but always lived in safe neighborhoods.  I attended public school, played sports and went on to study psychology in college and grad school.  I’ve never lived outside the country and I studied Spanish for just two years in high school.  Before meeting Ricardo, I’d attended Catholic mass one time and was generally ignorant of the Catholic way of worship.  But I’d branched out enough to dip my toes in the waters of latin dance and fell in love, just before meeting him.   
Everyone walks a different journey, lives out a different timeline of life events.  If you’d asked me at twenty-one when I thought I’d be married and to what kind of guy I thought that’d be, I would have said no later than twenty-five and to some white guy who grew up a lot like me.  Maybe that’s one advantage of marrying later.  I’ve had my entire twenties, a winding road of exploration and discovery, to see who the real me is.  And how different, in many ways, that person is from who I thought ten years ago.  My world, over the last decade, has stretched with each passing year, and with it, my view of life and people and God.   
I never imagined the man I’d marry would have grown up in a Catholic family in Mexico.  I wouldn’t have been ready for him at twenty-one, or twenty-five, or twenty-eight.  But I am now.  My heart is open and ready to receive the beautiful differences of this incredible man, and in the process, to discover all the things we share beneath our different skins and backgrounds.    
It’s his birthday today, but I’m the one to open the gift.  Thank you, God. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Today's beauties

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I know, believe me, I know.  I groan at cliches just as much as the next person.  Cliches are just another nail in the coffin of good writing, beating a dead horse, as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.  By the same token, however, sometimes, they're useful for getting the ball rolling. [Insert fake laughter... moving right along].  

Sometimes, in the rare sometimes, I can see beyond the gussied up, overdone exterior to the nugget of truth in a cliche, tucked away without flash or glitter.  Starting this year off with the "daring proposal" of finding one beautiful thing in each day begs the question, "What is beauty?"  And I have to agree, to a measured extent, that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.  There are the unmistakably beautiful things in life, and then, there are a myriad of things that could be beautiful if we deem them so. 

So here we go.  Day one of the beauty dare, and I dare to be an overachiever today.   

Beauty is...

The ring, slipping lop-sided on my finger, sparkling crystal green and delicate.  Too big for my finger and not my "official" engagement ring, this one is beautiful in its symbol of eagerness.  Ricardo couldn't wait any longer for the ring he picked out to arrive, so he went out and bought this one - a placeholder - to slip on my finger the night he proposed.  It doesn't draw attention to itself, but to me, it speaks volumes of beauty.  

Beauty is...

My brother in law - alive! - after a frightening night of pneumonia that nearly incapacitated his lungs. I heard the fear in my sister's voice last night when she called, waking me from a deep sleep, while she waited for the ambulance to arrive, to help him breath again.  I felt the hand of fear seize my stomach and twist, hard, the hot tears falling, the memories hounding of that phone call, oh, that awful phone call three years ago, and Papa, gone.  I doubled over, praying, knowing, that God holds us near, but life and death are still mysteries that slip through our grasp and break our hearts.  And we never know, how long we have each other to love and enjoy.  But my brother in law has breath in his lungs and will come home today and be with his wife and his two children, and I praise God for this beauty.  

A ring - promises of a life together, of love united.  And a life - remaining with the ones who love him. Nothing more beautiful than these comes to mind today.