This week on the internet…

Here’s some cool things I found while cruising the web recently.

Three Olives “Cake Flavor” Vodka Recipes
Everything from cakes to cocktails. I have to admit, even though it sounds gross, I’m curious.

I’m so getting the Inflatable Unicorn Horn for Cats for Bella!

Sometimes, I just wonder what people are thinking. Ouch.

Do you know anything about ‘challenge coins’? I didn’t, but found this mental_floss article really interesting.


This is an interesting business model: The Anger Room: A Place Where You Pay to Smash Stuff in a Fit of Rage

This looks delicious and just happens to be vegan – yay! Creamy Avocado Pesto Recipe.

Okay, that’s all for now. Any cool stuff you’ve found lately?

Taking a Look Back – Halloween Costume Retrospective

There’s a lot of social pressure in my friend group to have very cool costumes every year.  It’s always a fun challenge to be different and unique. As I try and figure out what I want to be this year, I thought I’d take a look back at the costumes I’ve collected over the past many years.

1980 – Tweety Bird

Unknown – I wuz a Wuzzle.
I wuz a Wuzzle

Unknown – Witchy
Unknown Date

I wanna say 1989-91 somewhere. Middle-schoolish times – French Maid
another halloween

1994 Maybe – Pirates

College Times – Janet / Rocky Horror Picture Show

2000 or 2001 – Naughty Red Riding Hood

2002 – Naughty Nurse

2003 – Sinderella

2004 – Bettie Page
041031 095

2005 – A Work of Art

2006 – Dust Bunny
0610 183

2007 I was a pink cowgirl for work – but wasn’t really into Halloween and didn’t take any pictures.

2008 – Lady Luck

2009 – Cloudy with a Chance of Rain
Office Halloween 2009

2010 – Queen Bee

2011 – Goddess

2012 – Don’t you wanna know?!


What’s your favorite costume you’ve ever worn? What’s your favorite that you’ve seen?  Do you know what you’re going to be yet this year?

Things I Love About Me: My Hair

Source: via Tori on Pinterest


One day recently I was telling a close girlfriend that I was having a rough morning and I didn’t know if I even could muster the strength it took to brush my hair. She replied “I say DON’T brush your hair as a statement of power and control.” So I didn’t! It’s amazing how empowering hair can be! Another girlfriend recently wrote about how the “crazy hair” she used to have back in the day didn’t measure up with the modern mom image that her hairstylist held of her. Hair drives our identity!


I really love my hair.  It’s easy to deal with and it makes me feel pretty. I don’t spend a lot of time messing with it.  I’m the brush and go girl – and have no problem showing up places with wet hair.

I have almost always had medium-long hair. I can’t ever remember a time when my hair was much shorter than my shoulders. I have also always had a double cowlick and widow’s peak that caused me great suffering at the hands of verbal bullies for most of my adolescence. (Looking back, it’s not like I was some hideous creature, but kids can be mean and will find ANYthing to pick on you for.)


I haven’t dyed my hair in years.  There was a time when I had what I like to call “blonde disease”.  (The unconscious process of getting blonder and blonder with each touch-up.)  I gave it up realizing that there would be a time later in my life when I’d probably want to dye the gray away constantly, and thought I’d give myself a break for a decade or so.  Lately I’ve been noticing the little patch of gray hair I have has been growing.  This morning looking in the rear view mirror as the sun came through the open roof of my car, I noticed that my gray was growing and glistening in the sun.  I’ve been resistant to dye it again.  My awesome hairstylist, who’s been cutting my hair for over a decade,  always comments on my caramel colors.  (Walter at Lavish is actually an infusion of good feelings all around, he’s awesome and totally worth the cost to help me boost my self-image.)

I don’t really get my hair cut more than every 4-12 months, sometimes creating a “cousin it” situation.  For the past year or so, I’ve been letting my hair grow back out more, and only getting a small little trim every now and then with the intention of trying to have enough for donating to Locks of Love.  When I started my LOL project, I never knew how hard growing 8 inches below my shoulders would be!  It’s like two steps forward and one step back every few months with the growing and the cutting! Recently, with all of the challenges in my life, I wanted something I could control and have power over, so I’ve been thinking of just giving up and drastically chopping it.  There’s too much baggage in the timeline of the hair.  I want to let it go.  I’ve picked up the phone to make a hair appointment a couple times in the last few weeks, but not gotten through or gotten distracted, which is a good thing, because I think I’ve changed my mind!

I saw this picture of me from an event I did with my goddess girlfriends last weekend and really loved it. In fact, the whole series from the whole night made me feel really positively about myself. I found myself thinking “dang, I look pretty in these!” I realized that one of my favorite thing about the pictures is my long hair. Maybe it’s not baggage in the growing strands, maybe it’s strength?  I don’t think it matters right now, but I do think I’m going to keep my hair a little bit longer.  I don’t think I’m ready to give up on Locks of Love, or my long wavy hair.  I love my hair.  It helps me love me more.

I survived this week.

This week was challenging. This week did not kill me. As a friend had suggested, I woke up each day, and survived that, and now looking back, all those days add up to a week. I made it! To celebrate, I took myself out tonight and had a surprisingly amazing time. So when I got home, I ordered this as suggested for me by a co-worker. It’s going to go awesome with my pink Wonder Woman shirt. Yay for spontaneous spoiling of myself.

It’s called SELF esteem – the esteem of YOURSELF.

I’ve been struggling with my self-image lately. Sometimes, I love almost everything about myself, but sometimes I don’t like myself very much at all. (“Typical Gemini” is what my friend Art would say, but I think it’s just typical human.) Someone once said to me that I try really hard at life. (I think it was a compliment.) I tend to be a little obsessed with self-improvement and trying to be the most perfect me that I can be, and most of the time think that I’m doing a pretty good job. (Working on being okay with “not perfect” has been part of that self-improvement process.)

Lately some incredibly challenging adult situations have sent me reeling and questioning myself and my decisions. “I must just not be good enough” is the voice in my head. Sometimes followed by “what the hell is wrong with you Tori Nichelle – be different, be better, be right.” (I sort of feel like I’m going a little crazy, but that’s another post all together.) While most of the time I think I’m super-duper awesome, at other times I find myself unsure if I have value to others, and am unsure if I’m deserving of the life I want. Thankfully in a hail storm of anger and disappointment falling on my head the last few months, there have been an incredible amount of cheerleaders trying to be louder than the voice in my head to remind me that I am deserving. It’s had me contemplating a lot about why I can’t own my life, and why I rely on others so heavily to build up my self-esteem. Part of the goal of this space is to give me a place to revel in how much I love myself – to list and brag and be proud. I want to fill these digital pages with reminders that will soon be a tangible collective of “me” things to lean on when I start to doubt myself. I want to find my way back to loving all of myself, and to find constant value in me despite the situation around me.

This morning it has me thinking about this clip. I LOVE Katt Williams special “The Pimp Chronicles Part 1”. It’s less comedy and more motivational speech with a bunch of funny in it. I will stop channel surfing 90% of the time when it’s rerunning on Comedy Central, even though it’s much less funny when it’s bleeped every few seconds. It makes me feel good every time – and is filled with tiny little nuggets like this one. Fun little reminders that situations and other people shouldn’t influence how you view yourself.

Today, I choose to say that I’m awesome. I’m deserving, and I’m in control. I get to make the choices that best suit me. Life is long, but you only get one – so live it full and life it loud. Life is hard, things don’t go my way, things change and challenges come. But none of those challenges change that I’m awesome. I will (try to) no longer let the “trifecta of disaster” rule how much value I see in myself. I’m going forward in honesty, integrity, intention, gratitude, love, internal strength and purpose. I will have what I want and need in this life – because I think I’m pretty amazing – even if not everyone thinks so.

BEST QUOTE EVER: “Not everyone is going to like you Tori – Do you want to be awesome to Mitt Romney?!”

Uhm, no. No I don’t. I just want to be awesome to me. (I’m pretty damn sure that my hippie “feeding and educating a healthy society” liberal ways aren’t exactly what he’s looking for in a best friend, and I really like those ways about me.)

Giving a Place for Gratitude

One of the reasons I started this place is to work on living more in gratitude. I wanted to give me a place to verbalize and acknowledge that state in my life more often, rather than wallowing in the negative. My life seems to be especially challenging at times. This last year or so, I’ve become a little hippie-dippie zen about it all. I’ve come to realize I’m not special or cursed, it’s just how life happens. I’ve learned to roll with it pretty well. It’s become about being grateful for the moments, the every day miracles, and the growth the challenges bring. I have always reveled in the wondrous gifts of sunsets and ocean breezes, long drives and loud music, but the gratitude for every day things has been quietly growing in me. Perhaps because despite all the challenges thrown my way, I seem to be extremely blessed with all this amazingness that fills in the space around them. I want to give more time to acknowledge the people and things that give me so much comfort and joy, and this space seems perfect for doing that. Not only will it be good to recognize those driving forces in my life, but in my weak moments it will give me a place to realize the collective of things that I’ve got in the positive column.

One way I’m going to share my gratitude is going to be every day posts like this one. Just quick notes of thanks and recognition. Another way will be more project based. I’ve started a list of people, places and things that have been a driving force or part of turning points in the path that led me to where I am today. I haven’t decided yet how I’m going to present that – but you can watch for that coming over the next few months. It’s something I’m very excited about. Please feel to participate – I hope we can inspire each other to remember to be in the moment and be thankful for everything on our path.

Until then…here’s a fantastic video by fellow burner John “Halcyon” Styn at TEDxAmericasFinestCity earlier this year called “Crap or Cone – Gratitude, Gifting and Grandpa”. It will make you laugh, and maybe tear up a little – but it’s totally worth your 17 minutes.

Starting a New Fire

So here I am again.  Starting a new blog.  Shocked?  Probably not.  I have a lot of neglected web spaces – but I miss all of them and it seems like so much work to get them all going again.  I have a lot of little niche places where I tried to do different things, but there’s no public place I have that can be all of me at once and I want that.  (Facebook tried to be that, but it’s not the same.)

I miss livejournal.  I miss tracking my life and writing every day.  I miss working on  I miss having a place where I share photos of my adventures.  I miss my “I never” blog.  I miss having a place to revel in trying new things and pushing myself past my comfort zone.  Then there was that big plan to document my gardening that died off quickly and that “live loud challenge” thing I wanted to start – I miss being able to share my experience and intentions for my passions.   (I also have my more professional domain, which is also neglected, but I want to keep my personal life somewhat separate from that.)  I obviously need a new blog to take care of like I need a new hole in my head, but none of these places I own really fits what I’m looking to start here.  I miss doing all of these things, but don’t want to try and go revive a bunch of different places just to express what I’m looking for.  So I’m going to give this a go.  (I forgot I even had this domain, so it’s nice to finally use it for something.)

So here I am.  With intention.  With passion.  I’m at a time in my life when I need a place to remind me of how proud I am of my life, and how much I want to bring to my life in the future.  So this is it.  This will be the place where I will live loud, and share my adventures, thoughts, excitements, goals, achievements, worries, fears, bragging, photos, political opinions, idiocies, complaints, and sometimes funny things I find on the internet.  And maybe some typos and bad grammar, because I’m not perfect.  But you’re welcome to read, lurk, comment and share your own experience as well.  I am grateful for every interaction.