The Emerald Girl

The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

7 Year Wedding Anniversary

Seven years ago this Saturday, Matt and I were married in a court house in Seattle. Five months later, we had our wedding ceremony and reception downtown Seattle. SEVEN YEARS AGO! It's crazy how dates can mark the time.

I hate to sound like a downer while talking about a day filled with love and excitement but marriage is not easy. The good part is that we still have fun together so that makes the harder times stick-out-able. Marriage is in the business of refining souls and reminding you that the world in fact does not revolve around you. If I say, Hey God, make me into the person you want me to be, then His answer is like, here's a husband and two kids, now get to work! Ha!

A long time ago, I read a little excerpt in a magazine that said to practice showing love by listening when you didn't want to. It's something I've had to put into practice in more than one relationship in my life and it certainly applies in marriage as well. Listen. Not like your every day listening but the kind of listening when you really could not care less listening. Let your spouse complain and be on his side. Put yourself in his shoes, emotionally agree with him and let that be it. Matt does not need to know my opinion on how he could have changed the outcome. He's a smart guy and he deserves the respect of me understanding that he already knows if/what/how he could have done something differently. Think about how you feel when you are really frustrated about something and instead of hearing a supportive word you hear "well, blah blah blah". Venting is not the same as asking for advice.

I have a feeling the next seven years are going to be a lot easier. With both of the kids now almost in what my sister calls the "Golden Years", tensions will be lowered and sleep will be high. I'm not gonna lie, it sure will be nice when both kids can wake up and just go watch cartoons without needing to see mom or pop. Of course then I'll miss the days they were little so there you have it. Take each season in life for what it's worth knowing things won't always stay the same for better or worse.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Peony Tulips Brighten The Day

If you live in Seattle, then you know we've had a late spring which means peonies are not in abundance. Last year, I learned of these "peony" tulips, aka double late tulips because they bloom fully twice. They don't appear to grow as large as a peony but they are huge and full of lush petals. I love how soft and pillow-like they are. These bright pops of color are the only thing that has gotten me through this pathetic spring. Winter was cold and dark and seemingly never ending so it does much to boost my mood when I see happy flowers inside my home.

Flower buying tip: make a statement with a bundle of the same variety and color family rather than buying a pre-made bouquet when shopping at the market.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Last of the Cherry Blossoms

Rompers have quickly become my warm weather go-to. When getting dressed in the morning, my aim is for simplicity while not sacrificing looking put-together and having the ability to keep up with two kids easily. I hope to add a few more rompers to my closet this year. I love the embroidered detail on this Gap romper from last year. It's the little details like that which seem to take a piece of clothing from drab to fab.

I'll be missing these gorgeous cherry blossom trees until next year. Three days after these pictures were taken all the pink was on the ground.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Finding Direction (or not) in Life

Brace yourself, this is a long post about my experience.

I did not take the typical route from high school through college. To start, I did not finish high school on time because I was too concerned with partying. That being said, when I decided to finish a year later, I pursued the high school program offered at a local technical college where I could take college courses and get credit for both. I chose accounting. I liked money and I enjoyed math and finance. When I received my two year degree in accounting, I was 20 and certainly didn't feel like going out and getting a "real" job being an accountant. I was not concerned about the "rest of my life" in the slightest. I enjoyed every bit of my life and my friends and in general I was quite happy.

Two and a half years later, I decided to go complete a bachelors degree in business from the University of Washington. It seemed like the next thing to do and I'm glad I did. I chose to study business because I have loved business and marketing from the time I was a young child. To this day I fill my bookshelves with marketing and motivation books that I read for fun. I recommend a business degree because it is so versatile and to that end, I recommend any versatile education unless you specifically have a deep interest in something else, like becoming a Dr. or something very defined like that. I have found that sometimes a degree is just a formality and getting a job or promotion comes down to soft skills and who you know. All of that to say, if you have a job but you want to change your trajectory, don't feel locked in to your industry, just start looking around and putting yourself out there.

Looking back, if I could change one thing, it would be that I wish I would have developed my other interests at an age when I had more time (ie: before kids). Photography has been a strong interest of mine since grade school but I never sought to develop the interest until after college, when I was 25. Even now, I am just beginning to dive into a bunch of other interests and hobbies. I wish I would have disciplined myself back then to get better at something other than hanging out with friends.

Follow your interests - let them guide you through life. Don't let yourself be boxed in by what you think you have to do or force yourself to meet other people's expectations.  We're lucky enough to live in a world where we have the freedom to make SO MANY choices and I think it best to take advantage of that. Live a different life than people did 50 years ago. Anything is possible and I believe anyone is able to achieve any dream they have if they work hard for it.

Developing your interests leads to finding more interests. For example, it was through photographing weddings that I discovered my love for all things floral. And now, in my thirties, I am just starting to further that interest. I'm obsessed with flowers and photographing their pretty petals. I never would have found this level of fulfillment from a "hobby" if I hadn't pursued that small interest. (I'll write a separate post on my journey as a photographer).

Don't fall into the Passion Pit, as I call it. By definition, Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion. Passion is the "it-word" of the moment and it can lead you to a pit of despair. Searching for divine direction that will give you a strong and barely controllable emotion is like jumping out of hot air balloon and expecting a giant bird to appear and whisk you off to where you are supposed to be. It is NOT going to happen - you are just going down. I say this from experience. I desperately wanted to find my passion in hopes that I would find my life's purpose. But I've come to realize...

 the best direction is simple: be kind, work hard where you're at, make room for hobbies, keep learning, be interested, stay hopeful. Life will open and close doors unexpectedly.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Being Productive When You're Not Sure What to Do

If you're like me, then sometimes, you get this anxious energy to do something but you're not exactly sure what you should be doing or maybe you don't have the full amount of time or head-space to take on anything. Having young kids definitely means that I don't have a lot of time where I can devote 100% of my brain to one specific activity long enough to dive deep.

Around the home, I can channel that energy into staying on top of household chores. Doing the laundry from start to finish. Wash, dry, fold, put away. Running the dishwasher and putting clean dishes away. Picking up random items from around the house. Our hands were made to do be active and I think that's why so many people enjoy working with their hands. Chores are a great way to direct active energy.

The reason I specify staying on top of household chores instead of getting caught up is because if you're "getting caught up" it implies that you had let it pile up. The feeling of getting caught up is quite different than the feeling that comes from staying on top of tasks. Staying on top of household tasks means that the household is in working order, tasks move along smoothly allowing the people dwelling in the home to have more time to enjoy the finer things in life. Whatever that might be. I love the feeling of being efficient. It is deeply, intrinsically satisfying.

Being efficient sets me up for success. Essentially, I have a clean slate to start from each day. A house with no outstanding tasks gives me the head-space to relax and be more creative. If being efficient makes you feel good, then be efficient to be more creative. I have found that doing relaxing tasks (relaxing as in, I don't have to put much thought behind doing the laundry, etc, so my brain is technically relaxed) allows my brain to free float and leads to more creativity. Hanging clothes may utilize my hands but my mind is left to be curious, be insightful and full of wonder. So not only am I feeling productive but I'm also setting myself up for creative thought which makes me doubly productive.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Birds of a Feather

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11

Bird prints have caught my attention this year. They always seem to signify that spring is here and summer is near. Always a fan of color and cute prints, I've rounded up some of my favorite things. The cheerful shades of pink, orange and teal lighten the mood and make me want to celebrate the day. In a way, birds are kind of like flowers in that they are so many different varieties, so many colors and their beauty seems to expand when they open their wings (or petals, if you're a flower). I am loving those Charlotte Olympia flamingo slippers and that vintage parrot pillow.

I wore these flamingo espadrilles last summer and Soludos has them again this year in the chambray color.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Where To Buy Flowers in Seattle

Not all market flowers are created equal. I'm not a flower expert in the slightest. I hardly know anything in fact. The extent of my love affair lies within their color and form and because of this I've bought a lot of flowers from local markets over the years and know where to go when I want flowers to style and photograph or just a quick pick-me up for the windowsill at home.

Pike Place Market: Buckets and buckets and bouquet after bouquet. I love all the flowers at Pike Place. The flowers seem fresh and I've never had a problem with them dying early. Matt and I bought our wedding flowers in bulk from the market and were highly satisfied with the quality. Pricing is really affordable and it's easy to buy bulk or just the pre-made bouquets. From what I've heard from other people on Instagram is that the pricing here is super affordable compared to other places around the globe. The weekend before Valentine's Day, not only was the market full of spring tulips but even the brick road in front was lined with tulip booths which was great light for taking pictures of the abundance.

Farmers Markets: In Seattle, these can be hit and miss. The larger, year round markets tend to have many flower vendors with good quality blooms but some of the smaller markets I've been to are really lacking in the floral department. The Queen Anne neighborhood in particular left me constantly disappointed with the quality and supply. Pricing at markets is usually really affordable and in-line with what you would pay at Pike Place Market.

Trader Joe's: Flowers from here are not the highest quality but they are really cheap for flowers you probably won't find at farmers markets or Pike Place Market. The ranunculus I bought a few weeks ago were from Trader Joes and I was quite thrilled with the purchase. Of course, you can't buy in bulk, but $10 for two small bunches seemed like a steal as far as grocery store flowers go.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: I visited a few weeks ago and was disappointed. Envisioning pictures of the San Francisco and LA flowers markets, I thought I'd be walking into a giant warehouse with row after row of flowers. The space is small and in the markets defense perhaps it will be more full as we move into summer. My other theory is that the wholesale buyers buy up almost everything before it opens to the public and then there's not much left. I didn't buy anything and there was no prices so I don't know how the prices compare to the local markets. The sign said public pricing is double the wholesale price but again, I don't know what that was.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How I Got A Black Eye While On Vacation

I know this post is long overdue and I was going to write about it earlier but never got around to it but people are still asking about it so I figured I might as well post now. If you follow my Instagram Stories, then you probably know that I got a black eye while in Palm Springs earlier this year. It's still so comical for me to even think about. Every time I looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe there was this giant black/purple bruise surrounding my entire left eye. Luckily, it was sunny almost the entire time I was in Palm Springs so I wore my sunglasses everywhere I could.

Not to throw my kid under the bus but here goes: Jack(5) punched me in eye after I threatened a consequence if he didn't listen to me while I was finishing my work for the day. I was sitting on the ground which is how he was able to reach in the first place. Motherhood lesson learned. The kid feels terrible and felt terrible every single day for 3 weeks which is about how long the eye took to heal mostly.
The morning after being punched in the eye. My eye was still too swollen to open all the way.

Matt left our vacation early due to a family emergency so there I was alone in Palm Springs with two kids. There was nothing I could do but laugh about the situation. I didn't think people would think I was a battered wife. Being in Palm Springs, I honestly thought it was more likely I had a tennis accident. Like, look at all these people walking about with black eyes, they got hit in the face with a tennis ball or a golf ball. For some reason, it was just easier to be on vacation with a black eye. Once I got back home to Seattle, it began to feel more and more awkward. I didn't want to go in public at all. I wore sunglasses in the dark, grey, rainy days dropping my kid off and picking him up from school.
Five days after being punched in the eye.
Funny story: During a grocery store outing with my two kids, Jack told me that if anyone asked about my eye to tell them I didn't want to talk about it. Poor kid. He didn't understand why that would only make the situation look worse. Luckily for him, no one ever asked. I felt the pain of 1000 eyes staring at me in wonder but no one ever said a thing. Except, about a month later when all that remained was a few reddish marks, a car wash attendant asked if was OK. Trying to play it off cool, I acted like I wasn't sure what he was talking about at first before blaming the kid. I'm sure this only made me look more suspicious. I thought about that guy for a long time. Wondered what his story was that he said he would regret not asking me if he didn't. I hope he believed me for his own sake.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pretty Blooms to Brighten Your Day

When looking for an easy and affordable way to bring life and beauty into your house, flowers are a great choice. After seeing ranunculus' popping up on Instagram, I jumped at the first chance to visit Trader Joe's and score some for myself. While the selection was pretty picked over, I snagged one pink bunch and one orange bunch but was pleasantly surprised when a yellow one bloomed creating the perfect trifecta. The warm hues create an eye catching centerpiece on the windowsill in our kitchen.

Photographers tip: If you don't have great light inside, bring objects outside for full light. I shot these on a typical overcast Seattle day so the flowers would be illuminated on all sides. Using a higher aperture, I created a soft grey background out of the cemented back patio.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Anthropologie Spring Fashion Show

The late afternoon sun glowed through the city streets as my sister and I headed to our first Spring fashion show at Anthropologie. Sirens sounded, cars honked, windows glistened up into the sky and the sound of excited chatter filled our senses while we waited in anticipation for the store to open its doors. Inspiration runs high on any given visit to an Anthro location, so I was tickled pink to see what would be in store for this particular visit.

It felt like a secret club. Only the select few who happened to be informed of the evening's festivities would be allowed to enter. Upon check-in, we quickly went upstairs to secure seats before making our way to the cupcake table. That's right, I said cupcake table! To my surprise and delight the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes glimmered with luster powdered frosting.

Anthro reigns with unexpected colors and patterns. The show, short but sweet, highlighted many of the seasons new bomber jackets which are perfect for the Spring weather when still need a little extra layering. Dresses walking down the row that make me wonder why I've never been a dress person and if maybe it's time to start. Perhaps one of my favorite accessories found, pink sunglasses. Anthro always has cute glasses at affordable prices and as a mom of two little kids, I like that I don't stand to lose much other than a fancy pair of sunglasses if one of my kids breaks them.

I was especially inspired by the paper flowers that entranced the store window displays and all the pink art inside. In my recent quest to get out of the house and do more things, I love finding unexpected activities (especially one's that are free). Local stores often host events and many have them posted somewhere online or you could ask a store employee. At Anthro you can subscribe to updates specifically about local store events so I know I won't miss out the next time something comes around.