Friday Five: Songs Getting Me Through the Day…

Oh Friday. You should be more Friday like. Today has been a mess for me. But music is helping. Cranking the radio to an 11 and dancing in my chair helps shake off the ick.

Here’s 5 songs moving my world today:

1. Eric Hutchinson – Rock & Roll

2. Matt Nathanson – Faster

3. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time

4. Neon Trees- Everybody Talks

5. Blue October – Into the Ocean

What are some songs you’re really digging these days?

This Week on the Internet…

I missed posting last week, so here’s a digest of some rad things I’ve found over the last couple of weeks.

via Neatorama

This Killer Whale Submarine is AWESOME! Okey Dokey.

I like the concept of this Storylane site, but when they started spamming me daily trying to get me to login to their site and tell my stories, I got annoyed and unsubscribed. It made me wonder how many web accounts I have out there for services I never really got into.

The Big Picture from never disappoints with their photo journals. Check out these 65 amazing pictures of Autumn.

This is a really cool marketing campaign: Coca-Cola Vending Machine Dispenses Free Coke for Dance Moves

You gotta be careful what you’re doing to get your boost: Monster Energy Drinks Might Kill You

This was an absolute fave of the week: Photographers with their famous photos.

The Cardinals lost last night, and the best fans in baseball are pissed. These tweets are violent – wow!! Let’s keep it classy guys.

Something funny and creepy about this.

Grrrr. Photo of Woman in Underwear is an Open Invitation for the Entire Internet to Judge

These are rad. Sitcom Apartments Floor Plans. (Originally found here, and then clicked 5 times to get the real source of the imagery. Damn, reblogging is a the new content firehose.)

If you’re too busy to meditate or calm down, read this and then use this.

Did you know why we vote on Tuesdays? Me neither.

I wanna make this for my Christmas tree this year and decorate it all collage style and pin stuff on it, etc. I’m so inspired. (Thanks Laurel!):

Okay, that’s it for now. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen on the internet lately?

Things I Love: Dining Solo in Santa Cruz

Changed perspective... Happy hour?  Beer and a book...

I love dining out by myself. Sometimes it’s just too much work to cook for one, it’s nice being out around people and it’s a short time away from the computer where I give myself permission to enjoy myself. Thankfully, Santa Cruz provides multiple options where I can be comfortable hanging out alone and reading or people watching while enjoying good food and not doing dishes after.

I don’t always dine out, I frequently just get food to-go, but a lot of those places aren’t environments suitable to taking in the view or hanging out in the crowd. There are also lots of places I like to go with friends, but those aren’t where I feel okay being alone. I do have limits when it comes to what type of restaurant I’m comfortable enough to bust out my novel and kick back for a while. I’ve traveled alone some, and don’t mind splurging on a nice foodie type meal for myself at a fancy restaurant in New York City or Paris, but that’s not a regular type place I’m going to unwind after a bad day of work a couple times a month.

I get a lot of stress relief from dining out. It’s one of my most favorite things to reward myself with. It’s just always been a gift I’ve given myself. I love the experience of reading menus, even if I’m not too adventurous with my food most of the time. In fact, after 16 years in living in this town, I’m not very adventurous at all – I’ve come to develop my habits. I pretty much just frequent the same places because they’ve been so good to me and the experience can’t be beat. I am grateful for these places in my life. I think they help keep me sane.

Here are my top five favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz that are perfect for solo dining.

These places have never given me bad service as a solo diner, provide excellent people watching and entertaining environments, and yummy food and beverages.

The Crepe Place

Almost like a house concert. Matt the Electrician @ The Crepe Place
I love The Crepe Place. Set in a gorgeous building, decorated in fun old posters with a wonderfully landscaped back patio, it’s perfect for leisurely hanging out and enjoying yourself. They have the yummiest comfort food for a cold evening, and serve breakfast on the weekends. On Saturday you can catch the rotating showcase of Belly Dancers after enjoying brunch in the fresh air. They are also one of the raddest music venues in town, and host to some of my favorite singer-songwriters when they come through town. The people that work there are awesome and I have always had a fantastic experience.


Chocolate, Santa Cruz Yummy!
Chocolate is amazing. This tiny little place set in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz is perfect for cozying up with hot chocolate or a glass of wine. Their outdoor patio feels like you are worlds away from the hustle of Pacific Avenue. The high bushes mask the foot traffic while the fountain drowns out most of the sound. (Though sometimes there is a beautiful violin player that stands at the entrance to the shop and you get a show for free.) Whether you want dinner or just dessert, you can sit under their outdoor heat lamps and take in the seasons – rain or sunshine. If you want protect yourself from the elements and choose to sit inside at their pretty wooden tables, they never make you feel bad about sitting by yourself at one of their few spots. Plus – best hot chocolate ever.

Crow’s Nest

Sunset from Crow's Nest 2-5-2012 Football...with a view.
I love The Crow’s Nest. It may be easy to gleam from the above that I like dining outside. I also love the ocean, and I love the sunset. Give me a place where I can experience all three and I’m in heaven. Despite being a beach town, Santa Cruz has a less than acceptable amount of places where that experience is possible. This makes me even more grateful for scenic dining experience I’m able to take in at The Crow’s Nest. During the summer I find myself riding my bike down to the harbor to hang out on their balcony before I head down to put my feet in the sand for a few. When I’m too lazy to pedal, it’s a quick car ride that comes with pretty cheap paid parking in order to accommodate the tourist beach goers influx. They have homemade potato chips, a decent salad bar and Great White Wheat from Lost Coast Brewery, one of my faves. They also have a nightly happy hour with half price appetizers and cheap beer! You can even catch the game while you watch the ocean – it can’t be beat!


Moo Card at Saturn Diner 52 Weeks: Week 48: Eyes Bigger than Tummy at Saturn
Oh Saturn, I heart you so big. Dining here is just fun. Awesome fun. The ever changing decor and shadow table contents are only part of the amusement. While the people watching here is first rate, this place defines comfort for me. They may not serve meat, but they still make my carnivore belly super happy. They do a pretty damn good grilled cheese. Does there need to be more? Nachos are a food group for me, and they do them perfectly. They make some of the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. The fries come in thin or thick and are delicious either way. The staff will never, ever, rush you to give up your space and are all around just kind quirky weird rad. Due to it’s large wrap around windows, it’s a perfect place to read and drink tea on a cold rainy day in the winter. The reasons why I love this place could go on and on. Saturn always makes things better.

The Red Restaurant & Lounge

I love this place in the daylight... By the fire...
Looking up at happy hour... Worn down.
I love the Red Restaurant and Lounge. It has a special place in my heart for numerous memories with my friends over the years. It’s played host to birthdays, Halloweens and other holidays, business meetings, goddess nights and dates. But it’s also been the perfect host to me dates and solo post-work unwinding too. I love cuddling up on one of their couches or sliding up to the bar and enjoying a delicious amber. They make a decadent Panzanella salad and their Maker’s Mark Pulled Pork Sliders are one of my favorites. They also make a yummy Kraken and Coke. From 4-7pm every day, including weekends, they have my favorite happy hour ever and I usually take advantage of the great Green Lakes amber they have from Deschutes Brewery. It gets crowded there pretty fast and dark in there quickly, and I was teased one by one of the bar patrons before for reading during happy hour, so I am mostly comfortable going early if I’m planning on reading and relaxing. I think there staff is fantastic and are always so good to me as table for one.

An attempt at perspective... Decompressing...

I’m so grateful to have these places in my life. I’m so grateful to be able to work to reward myself with these places and these experiences to fill my heart and soul. I love that these places contribute to how much I love Santa Cruz, and give me a way to experience it. Thank you to all of these businesses!

This Week on the Internet…

I sort of disapprove of the spelling, but this still made me giggle:

My friend @mediaphyter posted this on Twitter last week – I like:
“I realise there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go”Jeffrey McDaniel

Oh, how I love the Simon’s Cat videos. Here’s a new one: Simon’s Cat in Springtime.

Did you know that you can donate money directly to Sesame Street? They turn 40 this year, and are actually a non-profit organization. Let’s keep them helping kids count and wondering if furry creatures actually live in metal trashcans!

These crazy things are the weirdest thing I’ve seen this week: Scary Beautiful, Super-Tall Shoes Where the High Heel is in Front

Here’s another awesome quote I found this week:
“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or, “I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore …” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury

This article kinda rocked my world a little. WHA?! A MAN wrote some of The Babysitter’s Club?!

Horseless Horse Jumping. Yup, that’s a thing.

I Insist on Miracles…

52 Weeks: Week 28: My Biggest Joy - Singing in the Car

When I’m having a rough time, I turn very quickly to music. Sometimes the radio is speaking to me, making me feel less alone. Sometimes the anthems on my playlist just seem to inspire me out of my dark place. Today is one of those days – and it’s totally a ‘Broadway Bound’ day.

Here is a list of some of my favorite show tune songs to belt the icky out:
Defying Gravity – “Wicked”
Popular – “Wicked”
Everything’s Coming Up Roses – “Gypsy”
Rose’s Turn – “Gypsy”
The Bitch of Living – “Spring Awakening”
Dance: Ten; Looks: Three – “A Chorus Line”
Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love – “A Chorus Line”
Cabaret – “Cabaret”

And of course…there’s Barbra…

This week on the internet…

I love the above image.  A friend gave me a box of matches from Curly Girl Design this week, and I remembered how much I love their art, so went out and bought 4 more cards for my inspiration board at home.  I want to wallpaper my office with their cards.

I pinned quite a few household helpers to my “Good Ideas” board on pinterest this week, if you’re looking for some brilliant suggestions for making your life easier, you should check it out.

For those hippie chicks out there who like these kinds of things…here’s some Pirate Hunk Menstrual Pads.

I’m a fan of the Master Gardeners project, and used to love a PDF they had on our local Monterey Bay chapter site.  Unfortunately, that’s gone, but I found this similar chart for a neighboring county that helps figure out what to plant when.

Dude, E.T. Turns Thirty.

How do you feel about replacing your home keys with your iPhone?

Speaking of iPhones, this was clearly the most disturbing news I heard this week.  Shame on you Apple!

This was a competitor for disturbing: Japanese Officials Reveal Execution Chambers


Things I Love: Bella Gorgeous

Oy – last night, I thought I lost my poor little indoor kitty…and I was freaking the hell out. She got out, and didn’t come home until 4am – and I was a nutcase. I’m not sure what in the hell I’d do without her. So it seems like a good time to reflect on all the gratitude I have for this furry munchkin that I call “Bella Gorgeous.” (I also call her my ‘monchichi’ or ‘sleepy head fred’ depending on how I’m feeling at the moment.)

I may or may not have an unhealthy relationship with my cat – but damn, do I really love her. She’s my best buddy, and we’re very attached. We’ve been together for 7 years, and she’s not exactly friendly with anyone else. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for more than 3 and a half years, and you can count their interactions on your fingers. All of my cat sitters only know I have a cat because the food disappears and the box gets full…but otherwise she just kicks it under the bed when anyone else is around. I don’t mind, because it’s not like she hides from me…unless I’m being loud and clapping for sports. She’s always been sensitive to loud sounds.

We have some serious routines and traditions. She likes treats as soon as the alarm goes off. She’s not so much for the snooze button. Sometimes if I’m trying to sleep late on the weekend, she’ll get right in my face and start purring loudly with her cold wet nose on mine. She hangs out when I’m in the shower and likes to sit on the toilet when I get ready in the morning, or she lays under the heat lamps I have and gets her “sun”. (A friend of mine said it’s kinda creepy that she follows me everywhere, like she’s guarding me.)

She defines lap kitty – and really doesn’t care if you want her there or not. I call her the persistent, insistent cuddler. Sometimes she’s like a ninja. She’ll be head-butting my arm, trying to get me to put the laptop on the table so she can occupy the space, and I’ll resist and resist and then suddenly look down and realize she’s on my lap and have absolutely no idea how she got there. NINJA! She’s a great cuddler though, and I love when she plays “big baby” and just lays cradled in my arms like an infant, or lays along my side balancing on my hip. Normally when I go to stand up, she’ll just jump off my lap…but sometimes she does what I call “prisoner protest” and no matter how much my lap starts to slip away, she tries to reassert herself on my lap and get me to stay put.

She also likes treats as soon as I get home – and on days I come home early and give them to her, she also thinks that she gets them again between 5-7pm and will just sit at my feet and stare at me like I’m an idiot. She’s a total scrounger – and eating in my living room proves to be a challenge. I’ve set up all sorts of tricks and blocks to keep her away from my plates, sometimes resorting to just eating my turkey sandwich at the kitchen counter so I don’t have to do battle. No matter what I’m eating, she thinks she wants it. There’s been a few times when I’ve forgotten 1/2 a sandwich in my computer bag, only to find it in the morning spread across the living room. I figure at that point, she must have had a fun time and it’s my own fault for leaving things out. She may be quick on the draw, but at least she’s (mostly) good about staying off the counter and kitchen table, which is something. It seems like she’s always under my feet and when I travel, I sometimes forget that she’s not around and I find myself still extra cautious about where I put the water glass, or find myself looking for her when I go to get in the shower.

She’s never been a small cat, but when I adopted her, she wasn’t much smaller. Sometimes when she lays on my lap, my legs fall asleep fast. I’ve got her to recognize a few words over the years, and we’re currently working on “next to mama – NEXT TO.” I try and do this thing where I get her to lay next to me and cuddle to one side of me, so that way I can either move my legs, or work from home if I need to.

I recently started feeding some blue jays on my balcony, to her great amusement. Even when I’m out of peanuts, if the birds appear and I yell out “BIRDIES!” she’ll come running from where ever in the house to check them out. Unfortunately, my whole “birds are friends, not food” message hasn’t been fully realized by my little killer. I used to let her out on the balcony by herself during the day when I was home, but that’s twice resulted in causalities to the local bird population, so we don’t do that so much anymore. (Once I’m certain she plucked that thing straight of the air with a single claw…)

She’s a pretty good sport in general, but she is not amused when I try and amuse myself at her expense. She’s definitely not a fan of the belly love, and will not let me touch her paws, much less trim them – so we go through a lot of cardboard scratchers in my house. She’s also a big fan of her ‘salad’ and I try and always have cat grass on hand. (When you own a long haired black cat, you just get used to the hairballs, but it is good to try and deter them the best you can.)

I don’t know what else to say about this cat – except it’s been a pretty stressful week for both of us, and I’m really glad she decided to reappear last night. I would be truly lost without her.

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.