Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music is Love

Last May, as part of my Happiness Project, my goal was to plan to go to a concert. A few months later Steve's buddy from SB called and invited us to see Wilco in Avila Beach. The sunshine, ice cold beer, ocean view venue, good friends, and amazing music reinvigorated my love for live shows. I often search for acts as far as LA, San Francisco and everywhere in between to check off the shows that are on my "must see before I die" list. Some of my fondest life memories involve live music. 

Like when my fellow Muir Hall girls and I acted like teenagers in San Jose at the N'SYNC show.

Or when RachO and I made matching t-shirts to witness the glory that is Coldplay.

Or how about the power of John Mayer, bringing my mom and I together two summers in a row. 

I remember belting out "just a day, just an ordinary day" alongside my new friend Helya during the  Vanessa Carlton show at Cal Poly...and that time we saw Jason Mraz before he was anyone.

Like our first date to see Mountain Goats at the Steynberg Gallery, sitting cross-legged on the floor with Steve's arms wrapped around me and being completely shocked that this cool guy wanted to show me affection in public! 

And when Death Cab's energy filled our souls and Steve finally understood my obsession.

Or that time Steve and I got "tore" in San Francisco at the wacky of Montreal show.

Or that time Steve and I ate the worst pizza in the world before a Blonde Redhead show in Anaheim.

And drinking in the sweet sound of Nickel Creek as it mirrored my feelings of young love. 

Like when we fell in love in Chicago while bouncing from Yo La Tengo to Snow Patrol to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and My Morning Jacket. Not knowing at the time that the sounds, beats, words, and rhythms would make a permanent impression in our minds and our hearts. 

There are more, but all of that is to say that in this life, I want to do the things that truly make me happy and going to see shows is one of those things! 

So, it started with my friend Kara (who has exquisite musical taste) when she was visiting last year and asked, "if you could see any artist live, who would it be?" My first reaction was Sufjan Stevens of course. Second came Mumford and Sons who I think would be SO MUCH FUN to see live. Like really, really fun! I want to dance to that banjo! Well fast forward 6 months and I get an email from Kara linking me to Bonnaroo. If you haven't already looked, Bonnaroos's line up is insanely good this year and guess who it includes? MUMFORD! Among so many other amazing artists - Passion Pit, The Lumineers, Beach House, Glen Hansard, I can go on and on and on and on and on. AND ON! I was this close <> to buying plane tickets to Tennessee. But, after much deliberation, Steve and I felt like we should stick to our already planned vacation plans and save the money and vacation days for Alaska. So that night, as I sat around like a lump, super sad about not going on this adventure with Music-Master Kara, no Mumford, and no dancing to that banjo, we found out that Sufjan Stevens was playing in LA! Not his regular stuff, but still Sufjan Stevens LIVE, only a few hours away. So we got tickets immediately and my heart felt a little better. And then learned that Kara works near the venue, so DRINKS with KARA before SUFJAN! My Heart!

And then, the other day I was browsing around on Instagram and came across a picture of a ticket stub to The Postal Service at Madonna Inn in SLO. WHAT THE HECK! How did I not know about this?! (For those of you who don't know, Ben Gibbard is the brains and voice behind Death Cab For Cutie AND The Postal Service, so this is SERIOUS). I immediately went online to find tickets, and they were SOLD OUT. My heart burst. So I googled some more and found some on Stub Hub. Completely over-priced, but hey, we don't even have to leave town or take time off work, so I had no choice...and lookie!

And guess what else? John Mayer is going to be at the Mid State Fair in July so you know where my mom and I and two very giant margaritas will be!! 

I have to say that Kara's question and email really sparked something in me to get back in touch with this wonderful, wonderful art form. And my cute mom is constantly looking at shows, so keep it up, Mom, because you are really good at planning things like "John Mayer Week" :) 

Live music is like medicine. Have you ever not smiled while watching live music? And remember, with music comes dancing, and you can't be mad when you are dancing!!! Thank you, Kara, and I promise one day we will see a show together! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just Because

My sweet husband surprised me with flowers today when I got home from work. This is the first time Steve has bought me flowers, and I am not saying that so that you feel sorry for me, or think badly of him. I am posting about it so that I never ever forget how it felt when I saw this miracle on the kitchen counter. Today is a special day! No reason. No "holiday". Flowers just because he loves me. Today we are really celebrating love. And I love that!

I think the best part about getting these flowers is imagining the process. Bashful, sweet Steve wandering around the flower section, choosing a flower, then a color, paying for them,  searching for a vase, trimming the stems, arranging them, and putting them on display. All for me. Crazy. It is such a small, wonderful thing, but so huge at the same time.

And as I smelled every single rose my eyes welled up and my cheeks hurt from smiling so big and I couldn't explain in words how happy such a simple gesture made me. Thank you, my LOVE!!!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shiny and New

The bathroom floor is in! The tiles are 12' by 24' gray porcelain. It turned out so lovely thanks to Steve's hard work and attention to detail.

We picked out a vanity style, wood, and stain at a local cabinet and design store, so if all goes as planned, we'll order it next week and it will arrive in about 3-4 weeks.

And we've finally settled on using concrete for the vanity top with a rectangular under-mount porcelain sink. We visited the concrete shop today in Oceano and the shop owner gave us a tour of the process, which is simply amazing. There are so many different things you can do with concrete including adding little bits of phosphorescent rock for a glow-in-the-dark effect! The rocks are mixed in with the concrete and the finished product looks similar to pieces of recycled glass that you see in counter tops these days. Then, just like solar, you charge up the stone with light, and then it glows in the dark! We tried out a few samples of blue, green, and teal glow colors. Awesome! The shop owner said he put some of the pieces in his kids bathroom countertop. What a great idea for kids! I don't think we'll go the glow-in-the-dark route for our bathroom, but we are thinking about getting a leaf stencil in the concrete. Stay tuned!

We still have to tile the face of the tub as you can see in the photo above, but that's it for the tiling. Steve will install a fan and vent, new lighting, and new fixtures, then we're good to go! I am hoping for a grand re-opening of Dwight Hotel sometime late April.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Happy Ending

What was supposed to be a girls spa weekend turned into something entirely different.  My friend Joanna suggested we try a Korean spa treatment at one of the local spots in LA. Not knowing anything about Korean spas, I gladly accepted her invitation and looked forward to a nice, relaxing weekend away with my best girls. Let's just say that Korea and I don't see eye to eye on relaxing spa weekends.

Helya: Read the Yelp reviews on Wilshire. Apparently no clothes are allowed. Should be interesting!

Joanna: They have robes I think but yea it'll be an experience. It is like an old fashioned Korean spa.

Jaime: Nakey!!!?

Helya: Yea, I am getting anxiety!

Jaime: Haha me too!

Joanna: They give you robes!

Helya: And all your treatments are done in front of people with you being butt naked! But if you guys are down, I'll be fine. :)

Shannon: Reviews said someone was told they had to be naked or leave....and they left..haha!

Joanna: It was just an idea...

Jaime: It could be an adventure!

Tylia: I am a little shy about getting nake too! Is this the start of nudist getaway weekends?? 

Helya: We can just get drunk before we go. 

Joanna: How about champagne brunch first?

Helya: Oh boy, giving me champagne would definitely do it.

Joanna: I don't think any of us are used to hanging out naked.

Helya: Let the champagne flow and the clothes fall off! That should do the trick!

Tylia: I might need a few glasses.

Jaime: I need a whole bottle.

Helya: Ditto.

Shannon: I need shots!!

And a week later after I still hadn't gotten around to reading the reviews. This really boosted my confidence:

Tylia: Yelp reviews of Wilshire scared me due to lack of cleanliness. Olympic reviews made it seem clean(er) than Wilshire.

So I read the reviews.

Jaime: Anxiety attack! They want to scrub my lady parts??? Alcohol is a definite must before the spa, but I will also need an ice cold bev afterwards to help me get over the shock of it all.

Joanna: I think it is better to go out afterwards. Usually alcohol and hot tubs aren't recommended together.

Jaime: I know for certain I cannot go to that spa without alcohol beforehand!

Helya: I'm gonna have to bail. Sorry ladies!

Everyone else: ME TOO! Phew!

So needless to say, we didn't go to the Korean Spa, but we did go to an asian massage place where they give you a full body massage for $25 (fully clothed!!!) It was an awesome way to end a 4? mile hike to the Hollywood sign! (We only got lost once!) So worth it!

And we finally all got our ice cold bevs at the Penthouse, a fancy hotel top bar in Santa Monica where we met some interesting characters, sipped on expensive Mules, and chit-chatted just like old times.

The weekend was a blast and many, many thanks to Joanna and Shane for hosting. And a special shout out to Shane for being our DD and the greatest puppy daddy! (And for telling me about Property Brothers - I am hooked!)

Anyway, after being around these lovely women who I call my best friends, I started thinking about who we are and what we like and how we are so different. And how that is exactly what makes us friends. Some of us like dogs while others are missing that gene. Some of us grew up enjoying and watching sports, and others just enjoy making fun of sports. ;) Some can hike to the Hollywood sign without losing a drop of sweat while others can barely get up the hill without cussing. Some of us don't eat dairy and others don't eat beef. Some of us are tall and some of us are short. Most of us like country music, while others prefer just to live in the country. We have our own shape, style, shoe preference, hair color, bad habits, fears, joys, and goals in life.  We can all choose what we do, but we can't choose what we like to do, and that's the beauty of it - we are all different. If we were all the same, what would we talk about? 

On the flip side, there are definitely things that have threaded us together over time. Certain things that led us to this place we call friendship. We all went to Cal Poly and studied science. We are all smart, hard-working, healthy, loving, beautiful, giving, silly, and nurturing women. And we all want the best for each other. I am so glad that Joanna finally got the puppy of her dreams. I can see the joy little Kona brings to her life. I am thankful that Shannon found such a good man to marry and I feel lucky to share in their wedding day this year. I am so proud of Tylia for finishing her Masters and constantly setting new and impressive goals for her career. I feel comfort in the fact that Helya has a husband who takes such good care of her and fills her heart with love every day. 

At the end of a Skype date with my best Italian friend, Franci, last weekend, she asked me, "Jaime, are you happy?" And I said "Yes, I am very happy." And she said, "Are you fine?" and I said "I am absolutely fine." And she said, "Ok. Good. I just want to make sure." That question really hit me and my friend taught me something right then...the questions "are you happy" and "are you fine" are such sincere, loving questions. So much more meaningful, more emotional than "how are you". Don't you agree? When is the last time someone asked you, "are you happy?"?

I am so happy. So happy that I didn't have to get nakey at a Korean spa in Los Angeles with four of my best girls. ;)

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