The Emerald Girl

The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Stop calling women crazy

Are women really crazy
This post is inspired by a single comment in this podcast and the most annoying song on the planet.

There's a stereotype, the crazy girlfriend, that crazy girl, etc. It's one of my biggest annoyances. I don't know when this started or why anyone ever thought it was warranted to call someone crazy. The idea is clearly rooted in a lack of empathy or compassion. It is destructive, divisive, demeaning and devaluing. That last, devalue, is a big one. I think calling a woman/wife/girlfriend/friend/co-worker/whatever crazy is meant to devalue that person and therefore negate anything they say or do. Cause if you can say that person is crazy, then nothing that person says will carry much value.

The dictionary defines crazy as mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way. This is an extreme word. A crazy person is that person you see walking down the street yelling profanities while hitting and kicking. A crazy person is not a female (or male but since this is about the stereotype will stick with female) who is expressing a thought, opinion or feeling that another person does not agree with or understand.

Words become thoughts and thoughts become words. They shape the entire essence of who you think someone is. So if you tell your significant other (or whoever) that they are crazy or tell your friends that chick is cuckoo just because you didn't like or understand what they were saying, it discredits them, like a scarlet letter, unfairly. Calling someone crazy is the easy way out. Putting yourself in someone else's shoes, trying to understand what motivates and moves them, that's the hard stuff. It's hard to understand people who think differently than our own mind does. Hopefully the point of relationships isn't to "win" but rather to show love and to better ourselves (PS this usually means doing the thing that's hard).

Monday, March 25, 2019

How I keep my wardrobe fresh

Spring Style
Spring Style
Spring Style
Switch over closet
Switch over closet
A few years ago, I started switching over my closet for clothes that were out of season until the next year. Living in the Pacific Northwest this is mostly not necessary since I can wear pretty much all of my clothes all year long but I would tire of looking at all of the same items every day. This is not a new concept at all

It all started with the end of winter one year. I was so sick and tired of the dark colors and festive patterns that I wanted to give everything away and start afresh. This seemed wasteful so I decided instead to pack them away and I could decide how I felt about them when the cold season returned. I wanted my closet to reflect my mood and my mood is often affected by the changing seasons. That Spring and Summer I so enjoyed the light and airy feeling in my closet! By the time Fall returned, I switched over my closet again and took out the packed away cold weather clothing and was excited to have shades of maroon, long sleeves and clothing I hadn't seen in 6 months - it all felt new again! This pattern has continued every 6 months now for a couple of years and each time I am surprised and delighted by my old favorite clothing items return to my closet. This alone has greatly reduced the amount of time and money I spend buying new clothes each season which has allowed me to purchase a few choice, quality items at higher price points since I am not needing to buy a great quantity.

Here are a few tips for how I decided which items to switch over in my wardrobe for Spring:
1) Check for color (darker colors are not as enticing to wear in the warm, brighter days)
2) Check for pattern (winter plaids don't need to see daylight savings time)
3) Check for weight (this is a no brainer, see ya next year heavy sweaters)

And there you have it! Switch over you closet to keep it feeling fresh and new all year round.

Do you have any tips for keeping your wardrobe fresh?

Shirt: J.Crew (old but I've seen this come back several years in a row so it could return) | Pants: Madewell (tall length) | Sunglasses: Anthropologie (old) | Camera: Instax Mini 9

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

How to really relax in Palm Springs

Being a snowbird in palm springs
If you're like me and you spend far too much time perusing photos on Instagram then you've no doubt seen a slew of trendy photos from Palm Springs. Bold, bright and colorful desert. From the Moorten Botanical Garden to mid-century architecture to uber trendy hotels, you've likely thought that looks like your next vacation destination. I want to tune you in to a little secret: that's just Palm Springs, the real joy of the desert is relaxing country club style under the sun in the shade of a palm tree next to a beautifully landscaped golf course.

The first time I visited Palm Desert it was 1998 and my family visited every year after that. What Florida is to New Englanders, the Southern California desert is to Pacific North Westerners. Sure it's fun to do and see some trendy things in Palm Springs but it's more fun to simply get away from it all. The desert is surrounded by mountains for hiking and exploring - just make sure to bring plenty of water. I remember being totally dehydrated hiking in direct sunlight one year and had to go back early. Of course there's cute shopping and tasty restaurants but, really, what destination doesn't boast that? Between lounging poolside, snapping photos of my favorite scenery and eating at the Tommy Bahama restaurant (#basic), I could easily spend my entire trip daydreaming about never ever leaving.

February's weather has been rather a miss the last couple of years and so it is a fickle friend. The bleak mid-winter is often the best time to leave the PNW but it can be a little disappointing to visit with only 60 degree weather. If you're not tied down to your child's school break schedule, March would be a perfect. Once you get into April, temperatures are easily in the 90-100 range. Personally, I'm good with that but it can be a little overwhelming when you're not used to it.

Below are some pics from my family vacation circa 1999 hiking in Coachella Valley and one of a view from the patio at my parents old home in Palm Desert.
palm desert sunset
Add caption

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How I use OneNote to organize my life

There are many programs out there but I've been using OneNote for the last three years. I used to have a physical notebook with dividers and would put all of the pertinent information in there. In fact, I held onto that method long after most organized people had started using digital tools for this type of stuff. Now that I am using OneNote, I realize this makes way more sense. It's environmentally friendly, available on the go and has virtually endless numbers of pages. I recommend having OneNote on any device that you use regularly.

I have a tab to organize our family. This tab houses our family mission statement, rules, monthly family meeting notes, family traditions, weekly meal plan and monthly budget amongst other things. It's a general overview. One thing I need to add to this tab is emergency information.

Next, there's a tab called "Cookbook". This is a modern day recipe box. It's organized into basic categories such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. I only save recipes for meals that I actually make or that I believe I will actually make. This is not a Pinterest board free for all. Being able to use this list easily for weekly meal planning is essential and I don't want it to be overwhelming or burdensome. Since cooking is not my forte I have to pull out my phone when it's my turn to make a meal. Pro tip: keep auto-lock turned off so that you don't have to constantly log back in when the screen turns off. It is so handy and super easy to train yourself to physically turn the phone off when you're done using it.

Right after that is a tab called "Grocery Shopping List". This is the section that I really want to make work. The idea is that my husband and I can add items to the list together or individually and then whoever goes grocery shopping can pull out their phone to view the list and make shopping that much easier. Admittedly, we don't use this section very much at all. For one, my preferred method of grocery shopping is online and, for two, we just don't tend to be that structured about grocery shopping.

Other sections in my Notebook include: travel (each vacation can have its own tab), the kid's school, a tab for me, a tab for my husband (these are just sections for notes on whatever we want) and a tab for my blog (this is where I first write out a potential post before publishing to the blog).

While it may be tempting to just dump any and all information into your OneNote, DON’T! Too much is a bad thing. Get in the habit of deleting things. OneNote for organizing your life is not meant to literally house your entire life from now until death. Unless you plan on creating a new notebook for each year, this isn't a memory book. This is a tool to make managing your family and home easier and more streamlined. It's also helped me to declutter my inbox. For example, since the travel tab has a section for each vacation, I copy and paste flight, rental and other confirmations here and delete from my inbox. It's unnecessary to have this information in two places and it's much easier to have it all together in one location (OneNote) especially if you're married since you can both access it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear about other home/life organization tips people are using.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Why I'm not Sharing my Kids on Social Media

It's happened on more than one occasion. I'm out and about when I see a child that I recognize instantly and feel like I know even though I have never met them in real life. It's funny to me; seeing social media running around in the flesh. However, it also troubles me. The idea that someone who I don't really know could possibly feel like they know my kids because they've seen my kids over and over and over again on some social media platform concerns me for their safety. Not only that but the kids don't understand the internet or social media and it feels like an invasion of their privacy. Almost like a version of The Truman Show. People they don't know knowing them. As a parent it is my duty to keep my kids safe and part of how I practice that is being the mediator between them and the world of people.

Typically, I'm not one to judge. It's the parents decision on whether or not they share their kids lives to the public but there is definitely a level of awareness that should be practiced. If one has thousands of followers on Instagram, one should not be posting private details about where their child goes to school, what sports teams their kids play on, etc. It is naïve to think that no one with ill intentions is following. It shows a lack of good judgement

This does not apply to people who limit their followers to only those they really know and have private accounts. Perhaps, obvious.

That is it. Short, sweet and straight to the point.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Weekend Adventure to the Mountains

Snowy Gold Creek Pond Snoqualmie Pass Cascade Mountains
Snowy Gold Creek Pond Snoqualmie Pass Cascade Mountains
Snowy Gold Creek Pond Snoqualmie Pass Cascade Mountains
Snowy Gold Creek Pond Snoqualmie Pass Cascade Mountains
It's important to find something that excites you and do it. At least sometimes or every once in while. My adrenaline was pumping as we drove up to Snoqualmie Pass this last weekend to fly the drone over the snow covered trees. Maybe this wouldn't be exciting for you. That's OK. It reminded me of what I consider the most exciting experience of my life. I know I've shared this before but it was the time Matt & I randomly decided to drive down to San Francisco spur of the moment for a long weekend. I just like that. I like going places and I like spur of the moment decisions to do something different and unexpected.

The aerial pictures above are obviously shot with the drone and the others are with my iPhone. I'm extremely drawn to the first shot. All those people in groups with their brightly colored coats is pleasing to the eye and the imagination. This is a huge statement but it just might be one of my most favorite photos I've ever taken which is funny because at first glance I passed over it. "There's people in that shot making it messy", I thought.

One final note, I've been experimenting using this new photo editing app, Filmborn. All of the above photos were editing with a preset from the Filmborn app. There's something so beautiful and ethereal almost about film but I really am more drawn to sharp, clear, bright, loud colors in my editing which feels like a complete contrast to the soft film like appearance. Half of me is beautiful and half of me is just left of that. 😂

Sunday, January 13, 2019

On Lowering my Sugar Consumption

It is so trendy to talk about eating less sugar which is so annoying but also, it shouldn't be annoying at all. I should love when good things are trending but this is just so cliché and there's nothing I can do about that except share my own experience.

The story is actually much bigger and longer but for purposes of this blog post, I will condense and be as direct as I can possibly be. I have a major sweet tooth. Those that know me, know that I do enjoy something sweet approximately once per hour. To cut the long story short, I believe that the high sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of my poor health. After kind of lowering my gluten and dairy intake, that helped me to cut the crap during the day. By crap, I mean cookies, candies, brownies, cakes, etc. Now, I'm only eating something sweet at night and other than my current addiction to the Lemon Perfection frozen custard by Snoqualmie Ice Cream, it's usually just an Outshine Fruit Popsicle. This, I think, has greatly resolved the inflammation in my body. Either that or I'm just on my longest streak of not being sick in the last 3 months. See, I have been sick more days than not since Fall started and now, at the time of this writing, I have not been sick for around 12 days. It's actually a miracle, so thank you to those have been praying for me!

Who knows - it may have nothing to do with my sugar intake at all but it's definitely not hurting me to not eat so much sugar and, ultimately, I know it's better for my body. I actually feel like I don't want to eat much sugar during the day because I'm so paranoid of getting sick again. The cravings are still there but I fight them off by eating Fritos, RX Bars or apples with almond butter.

This year I am focusing on feeling better through more movement and less sugar consumption because if things continue on the same trajectory, then I seriously don't want to continue on. And I want to continue on, so things are changing. I want to have the energy to care for my family, to care for my job and to care for my dreams.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

On Becoming a Mom

This week one of my oldest friends had a baby. Old as in I’ve known her the longest. Not old as in age. It’s got me thinking a lot about the time when I had a baby. And what a horrible experience having my first baby was. Because I’ve never written about it, I’m gonna give it a go and tell you three tips I would tell my myself when I was becoming a mom.

I’m not talking about labor and delivery. That is no fun no matter how you dice it or slice it. I am talking about the days, weeks and months postpartum. Whenever I describe to people how I felt after I had my first baby, I say it is like when you’re watching a movie and a bomb goes off and suddenly all you hear is this ringing noise and everything is sort of slowmo and you look around and everyone else is moving but you’re just sitting there with your ears ringing, feeling confused, frightened and bewildered. Along with that delightful bag of goodies your body is doing things that you had no idea it was going to do (because you refused to read or look at any materials regarding what was going to happen to you). If you’re already a mom or perhaps in the medical field then you know what I’m talking about.

Along with the aforementioned goodie bag of feelings, I had really extreme mama bear anxiety or baby blues. Whatever those hormones are that attack you after you give birth, I felt very protective over Jack and did not want most people near him. The list of people who I felt safe and comfortable with was limited to three. Anyone not on that list who held him sent me into such a panic I would just cry uncontrollably (alone in my room hiding); even the thought of people holding my baby who weren’t on the list would send me into tears for hours and hours and hours. I didn't want people coming over but they just kept coming and no one, **cough, cough, my husband**, would say no to people. PS Matt, I really do love you.

This leads me to…
Tip # 1: Honor your feelings throughout your pregnancy but especially during postpartum. Trust that they will subside in the right timing. Do not put someone else’s feelings and desires above yours and get your spouse on board with this.

Something that makes me laugh now is the fact that I refused to buy a baby carrier car seat because I wasn’t going to be some “mom”. Talk about denial. The first time Matt and I took the baby out of the house to a favorite coffee shop and we had to carry this tiny two week old baby around is when I realized why people get baby carriers. You need to be able to use your hands. Along with this real life comedy, I was super embarrassed to push a stroller! Literally, rolling on the floor laughing now. I also used to tell people that I was going to have the baby call me "Jen" because, again, with the mom thing. (Yes, this was a planned pregnancy, in case you're wondering). All of this points to the fact that becoming a mom is totally transformative and truly changes your identity from the very core.


Tip #2: You need a baby carrier and it's totally normal for a mom to be pushing a stroller. Literally no one is looking at you thinking anything at all.

The experience with my second baby was something quite different. And thank God for that! I was already a mom so there were no feelings of insecurity about who I was haunting my every move. (Well, actually, I'm still painfully insecure but in terms of being a mom, baby #2 wasn't told to call me "Jen"). The first three months with Morgan were tremendously more enjoyable. Again, with the whacky postpartum hormones, I missed her so much when she slept, I actually felt happy when she woke me up in the middle of the night. I feel I must stress that this only lasted the first 3 months not for her entire babyhood. I relaxed on the super strict schedule we had kept with baby #1. We would actually hold her to sleep and let her sleep on us while watching TV in the evening (just during the first three months or as my sister calls it, the 4th trimester, mind you).


Tip #3: If you find a baby sleep site or book and feel that is imperative you follow the schedule to a T or else the whole world might fall apart -- it's not true. It is such a sweet experience to hold a sleeping baby and something I wish I had experienced with my first. Strict adherence to the rules is not the only method to yield positive results.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My Experience at Jury Duty

***This post does not include names or other details about any person involved and only about my experience witnessing the judicial process and jury selection.***

I've been summoned before, only this time I actually got called into a courtroom as a potential juror for a trial. Admittedly, I was curious and excited at the chance to see more of what goes on in a courtroom. There were 20 of us; each with a number used for identification. My number was 12. The number only has to do with the order in which you sit in the room and has no impact on whether or not you will be selected as a juror.

In the courtroom there was a judge, a defendant, prosecutors and defense lawyers. Roles I had only ever seen on TV and in the movies but now was seeing with my own two eyes. The courtroom was small. Way smaller then probably any courtroom you have ever seen on TV. The jury box had room for six plus an alternate. Fun fact: some trials only have six jurors.

First, the judge asks many questions ranging from do you know the defendant to have you any experience with the alleged crime to whether or not you'd be biased. Meanwhile, the prosecutors and the defense lawyers are all taking notes. Second, the prosecution has ten minutes to question everyone followed by the defense. In summary, every question is geared to figure out if you would be unbiased and impartial, fully able to adhere to the law. This seems simple and you're probably thinking that you would of course be unbiased and able to leave your personal emotions and thoughts out of the case and judge the case solely on the evidence and the law. However, listening to people answer the questions made me realize how much we as a people have so many different experiences, ideas and thoughts on life. I'm left wondering though, if everyone stated they felt that they could probably be unbiased despite personal thoughts, what exactly is the ideal answer? Or the ideal juror? Surely, everyone carries around their personal beliefs and surely most individuals can factually compare evidence to the given definition of a crime impartially. There are so many hypothetical questions asked during the juror questioning session that it was obvious many of us in the room found it hard to give a definitive answer. The lawyers cannot talk about the details of the alleged crime during this session so it's all a little gray.

I could feel my heart thumping out of my chest during most of this process. To be fair, I had a lot on my plate personally and I wasn't in the best mental place. When the defense called my number, 12, I panicked. I literally have no idea what he said. I squeaked out an answer only to have the other defense lawyer ask me to speak up. "I'm sorry, I'm nervous", I quickly blurted out. My voice was shaky. He drilled for more details. I could feel my eyes start to water up as they darted across the room looking for a way out. What in the heck is wrong with me, I thought!

Literally, I was the only one questioned who could barely speak. It is comical to think back on. Apparently, without even really knowing it, I have a fear of public speaking. Especially in front of a room full of strangers and especially regarding a criminal case in an official courtroom. Ah, woe is me. Sometimes I really hate myself.

After the questioning, all of the jurors, except the one person who was excused due to the fact that she already knew the defendant, were taken to the Jury Room. There was barely room for us all as we sat around the table. The feeling was much more relaxed. Maybe 10 minutes had passed, if even. The bailiff returned to escort us back to the courtroom. In a school yard pick starting with the prosecutors, juror members were picked out of the jury box one by one. Each one that was picked out, left the room immediately and was replaced by another. Soon my number had to move into the box but just as quickly as I sat down I was asked to leave.

I'll never know which of my fellow juror members were officially on the jury that day but I did see number 16 walking on the sidewalk outside so I know the lawyers were making their way through the options. There were 20 total.

It was a pleasure acting out my civic duty to our country in service to the judicial system. It is our right in the 6th amendment to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. Remember everyone is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

On the Importance of Changing Up Routines

By happy accident or unlucky mishap the kids and I left the house at 6:32pm. A time when on any other evening, the house would be chaotic with the bewitching energy of any house with small kids just before bedtime. A time that is usually my least favorite part of the day. And why is it so? Because it is the last thing I have to get through before I can have my time; my uninterrupted time without children.

We raced out the door headed downtown to get to the tech repair before closing. We made it. Phase 2, get to the electronics store 13 miles away in hopes of finding the right part. Found it. Phase 3, get the kids dinner. Done. It's now 8:30. It's now 1 hour after the normal bedtime. And what are we doing? We're laughing in the car. We're watching a gang of motorcyclists speed down the roadway, four of which were popping wheelies. The glow of the setting sun warms our faces as we head North towards home.

At the end of it all I feel more refreshed than I have all week at least.