The Emerald Girl

The Emerald Girl

life in seattle

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Donuts on Saturday

The pink frosting melted in my mouth and the sprinkles added the perfect crunch to the fluffy Krispy Kreme donut. Sometimes Saturday calls for a little breakfast treat. Who am I kidding? Saturday always calls for breakfast treats. The sweet strawberry smell evident the moment you come within range just begs to be eaten. Slowly my props disappear from six to five, then five to four and so on until only one remains and the only thing left is sprinkles on the pavement. Can't say that's anything to complain about.

All images shot with my iPhone 6.

What's your favorite Saturday breakfast treat?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Pitfalls of Being a Yes-Man

Saying no is one of the hardest things for me to do. Admittedly, I am getting better but nonetheless I am still facing the consequences of saying yes to too many things. This past month alone, I've had four different opportunities that have reinforced in my mind that I need to get better at saying no.

It is hard for me to say no because I hate to look like a failure or let someone down or look like a bitch. I'm the type of person that will do anything to try to make it all work out and the truth of the matter is that I can't do everything. Saying yes to one thing inevitably means that another thing is going to be pushed to the side.

As people get older, time shrivels up. Between being married, having kids, working and other responsibilities, there are only so many other things I can practically say yes to. My choices need to be intentional and meaningful if I want to achieve the goals that I have set. I hate that it's like that, I hate that I can't say yes to every exciting opportunity that comes across my desk.

Just this morning I had to turn down a really great opportunity because it didn't fit in with my overall goals in life right now. I hit send on the email that declined the offer. I felt deflated. Like a loser. My real issue here is that I need to work on feeling secure in my decisions but still. I hate the idea that someone might think I don't want to put in the hard work. The truth of the matter is that my life with an *almost* 5 year old and a 1.5 year old is the hardest work and right now I don't want a lot of other stress or responsibility in my life. I'm striving for balance in health, family and work.

Here's to hoping that this decade of my life can be defined by me finding my voice and strength in who I am and what I want.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The #1 Rule of Texting

There are so many different ways a person can communicate these days, I often find myself in the middle of multiple conversations each using a different form of technology. Speaker phone with my mom, texting with my sister, emailing with a friend, oh, and then that random IG DM convo. Each form of communication carries with it some unwritten rules of etiquette, including the timeliness of a response. Texting is the easiest and fastest way to convey information but it seems that receiving a texted response back is like trying to ask a Real Housewife for an apology - it ain't ever going to happen!
Texting etiquette 101:
When you receive a text, it is polite to respond even with a small acknowledgement within 24 hours. After the initial response it is not necessarily required to engage in a back and forth conversation; that depends on what is said.

No one should expect an immediate response back because you never know what the receiver is doing. They could be driving, sleeping, running after children, making out with their boyfriend, at a movie, zoned out, accidentally left the volume off or a number of other things.

What I can't get over and what has become such a pet-peeve of mine is people who never respond. I'm not texting people just to see how fast I can type. I'm conveying information that I thought was important enough to send someone. When people don't respond to my text messages, I'm left wondering if they even got the text message? Or I'm left with the sinking realization that I'm not important enough to the receiver to respond. Or I simply think of that person as rude. Sure, I have times when I receive a text while I'm in the middle of doing something and then I forget to respond until way later but that's why it's acceptable to respond within 24 hours. That happens to all of us.

Remember: a quick response is better than no response.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Making Christmas Cookies

Every year my Mom likes to host all of her grandkids for a Christmas cookie baking get together. It's fun, it's a mess and it's something I'm glad my mom hosts because I don't have much patience for baking or for making the ginormous mess that is required for 6 kids to make a bunch of cookies. I'd be done at about the length of time it takes to make the dough and put it in the fridge. I'd probably never get around to actually making the cookies. I guess I wasn't blessed with any kind of kitchen genes. I am, however, quite blessed with the ability to eat cookies and spoonfuls of frosting. 😜

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Christmas Tradtions

Christmas is a favorite time of the year. As cliché as that may be, I still love it. I wanted to compile a list of all of the holiday traditions Matt and I have started since being married and having kids.
1) Decorate the house. This may seem obvious but it's such a fun part of the season it can't be left off the list. From twinkling lights on the tree, to embroidered stockings to our growing collection of nutcrackers. Which brings me to...
2) The Nutcracker collection. We started this last year. Nutcrackers remind of the good ol' days in Christmas history. They're kind of quirky and carry a sense of European flair. So in thirty years we'll be those weirdos with 30 nutcrackers and it will be hysterical and I will love it. 
3) Santa pictures. My Grandma had a framed board that held the santa pictures of my dad and his siblings through the years so it's always seemed like something families do. Even though we didn't do Santa pictures growing up, I love having my kids visit him and seeing the pictures as they grow. 

4) Cutting down the Christmas tree. I wrote about this last week, so I won't go in to detail but it's just another fun activity for making merry bright. 
5) Cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve morning. I started this last year because I really wanted an excuse to eat cinnamon rolls and I'm committed to making this happen once a year!
6) Opening a present on Christmas Eve. OK this is not a real tradition that we decided on. I just love getting presents and can never contain my excitement to give as well so we always end up doing this. I think I'd rather wait for all of them on Christmas morning but it's always just too much. ;)
7) Christmas breakfast: Eggs Benedict . Matt carried this tradition from his childhood into ours and I can't complain. We all sit around the table drinking orange juice. It's kind of picture perfect and so delicious!
8) Annual Hot Chocolate party. This is also something we started last year but we plan on continuing it forever. It's a friends only invite due to the fact that we live in a small place and we see our families on the 24th and 25th. The event is meant to be a sort of come and go thing, where people can come by for some hot cocoa before heading out to the city for other plans like seeing The Nutcracker or going to some other party. Since our kids are so young this works well as it ends before bedtime. 
9) Watch Christmas movies. My all time favorite is The Family Man. Matt really likes Love Actually. There's The Family Stone, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street. We also watched The Night Before. What are some other good ones?
10) Family. We both grew up celebrating with our extended families and it's something we both still love to do and want our kids to grow up experiencing. Luckily, Matt's family gets together on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas Day so we don't have to split the time and we get to see everyone. 
That's it.
For now. 
Anyone else have fun traditions they like to do?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cutting down the Christmas tree

Traditions and family seem to travel well hand in hand. Traditions root us. They make us feel like we're apart of something. They bond us together with those who share them with us. Traditions bottle up the past so you can easily take it with you through the future. We are a country with so many celebrated traditions yet so few. Perhaps because so many of us come from "broken" families, traditions are broken too. As much as I may push away from commitments, my heart longs for grounded traditions.
This past weekend we started a new tradition. We cut down our own tree. It sounds cheesy but it was a fun afternoon adventure in which we drove towards the mountains, drank eggnog lattes, went to a crowded tree farm, scouted for the tree, cut the tree together and then went home to decorate. It will be a tradition we look forward to. I can imagine when my kids are older, excitedly asking when we're going to cut our tree. I can imagine them taking their significant other and then their kids. That's the joy of traditions. To be deeply rooted. 

I think I'm going to share more Christmas traditions in an upcoming post. Does anyone else cut down their tree?
PS I made a vlog of our adventure and trimming the tree once we got it home. If you haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel, go now!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Making plans to travel

Last night we booked our annual trip to the desert. Palm Desert that is. As the total dinged just under $600, I was joyful and sorrowful that this would be the last plane ride we only have to pay for 3 out of 4 of us. This time next year and Morgan will have to pay for her seat.
February is the perfect time of the year to travel somewhere warm for those of us living in the Northern part of the United States. It's not called mid-winter break for nothing. January is often the longest month on the planet so having something to look forward to will make the days go by quickly and it's the perfect time for a vitamin D pick-me-up.

Booking this trip has me excited for Matt and I's future travel plans. For as long as I can remember, I have fantasized about living in other cities. Never permanently, just temporarily. My brilliant idea is this: every summer, go somewhere new, for 6(ish) weeks. Six weeks is the perfect length of time to really immerse yourself in another city and experience life.

First on our travel list is either NYC or Ireland. I'm really leaning most towards NYC. The city of all cities. The city I've dreamed of for so long but never visited for fear of never truly being satisfied anywhere else.

What are your travel suggestions for places that would be amazing to live?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The blog

One of the best reasons to buy a Mac is because it has free video editing software on it, iMovie. I finally had a chance to learn how to use the app over the weekend and am now having so much fun making short videos. I spent some time listening to free music on YouTube but really need to spend a lot more time looking for the right sound. Right now I'm just using my iPhone to film which seems to be working just fine in terms of quality and a great place to start. If for some unknown reason, I end up with an ungodly amount of free time (between juggling 2 kids and work) then maybe I'll upgrade to a camera made for filming.

Since we're moving today, I made this little walking tour of the only thing that I will miss about where we live. We're a block away from Kerry Park, one of Seattle's most iconic parks and a major tourist destination. The park that never sleeps. Only the locals know that if you keep walking down the street you come to another breathtaking viewpoint of the sound and across the street is a secret garden park that we used as our own personal backyard over the summer.

Goodbye, Kerry Park, I'll miss you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Growing out of comfort zones

"Great things never come from comfort zones". I don't know who said this but it's true. Throughout life, people's comfort zones evolve. That's called growth.

Sometimes we're forced into situations and sometimes we have to push ourselves. For me, the last 18 months have been a bit of both but mostly it's been a lot of me being forced into situations that are not my comfort zone. New living situation (that's about to change again, thank God!), new job, new kid, new friends.

Here's a specific, not super personal, example. My Instagram growth has been purely based off of stepping out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert, and shy, and way too introspective for my own good. So putting myself out there on IG felt so incrediably unnatural and very uncomfortable. Liking other people's pictures, commenting on strangers feeds, using trending hashtags. (Of course, that's exactly what "social" media was made for but ya know). Once I really got into it, the walls of my comfort zone expanded pretty quickly. I'm at a different level than I was a year and a half ago. Although, I don't have a clear end goal in mind, I can see that because I broke through my own personal barrier I'll be able to reach for whatever the next level is when it arises.

When the uncomfortable becomes comfortable that's when you know growth has occurred. (This is not the only type of growth to occur but concerning the quote). When you have a new uncomfortable.  Is this the path to greatness? I don't know. But I do know self-improvement is an essential part of life and relationships. Tip: don't compare yourself to others. In the balloon analogy, you'll either blow up too much or deflate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dahlias from the farmers market

The season for fresh, live flowers at the Farmers Markets is coming to an end. Such a sad time of the year when farmers markets begin selling those dried flower bunches that are completely unappealing to me with their drab, dead, lifeless colors. I'm hoping to snag just a few more before they're completely gone but for now I'm happy to have a chance to imitate the beautiful floral photos that dance through my Instagram feed. Pro tip: don't buy the pre-made bouquets. Lovely as they may be, I find that a vase full of the same kind has a much more beautiful effect.