in a constant state of blue balls.

The Spanish House by the Bay is in a state of disarray.

The bay area was hit with, what they describe as, torrential downpour – and what normal states call “rainy season”. Before I moved, I always hear complaints about California drought. Evidently, I brought the rain with me from Dallas because it rained my first winter here. And it poured my second winter. So idk wtf California was talking about.

Anyway, we are not used to rain. No one. If it starts raining the city while you’re in a car, god bless your soul because you will now die in that car as no one can handle water. Our homes also don’t know what the fuck to do with water.

And here we are.

We have some drainage issues in our little plot of land. Because everyone has water mismanagement issues, it has been the season for contractor gouging. If you are willing to pay the inflated fees, you will also have to wait weeks, if not months, to get them to do work. So we waited it out. It’s finally stopped raining – so much so that there’s another round of fires up north.

Project 1: the yard.

This is a well kept agapanthus plant. Ours did not look this way.

This is a well kept agapanthus plant. Ours did not look this way.

We pulled everything out of the front yard. Everything. Even the insects apparently. There were diseased rose bushes, a damn tree stump, extremely invasive dead roots, and an orgy of agapanthus bush/flowers. It was a hot mess. On top of that, we had a crazy gopher that used our yard as his home.

All that is gone now, because the yard is bare naked.

This was done like months ago, but then we had to wait until the dirt dried up in order to add compost and till the soil. Did you guys know about adding compost and tilling soil? SMH, I didn’t.

Our soil is apparently too basic (lmao) for plants, so we had to bring down the pH level a few notches. So we sacked up and bought something like $300 worth of compost and mixed it all up in our current dirt. This was pounds and pounds of compost. I thought our beds would look silly and overflowing, but the dirt ate it all up. If it weren’t for the smell of the compost, I wouldn’t have known we added anything.

Now, we have to wait until the end of the month for it to settle in before we can plant.  

This is fine. We have a clear timeline for this. We reserve our trees next weekend, and come back for them the weekend after.

This project has a clear projected end time.

Project 2: refinancing.

We locked the house at a crazy rate. The market was psychotic here when we bought. You think we’re silly to buy at a seller’s market. You forget to factor our price range and the amount of broke people in the bay looking for homes in the same range. AND add the lack of available land to build new homes. Every day is a seller’s market. Anyway, we didn’t have time to shop rates. We needed a 3 week close or we wouldn’t have been competitive. So we took what we got, and it’s fucking atrocious. Insult to injury when you realize I work for a bank. SMH.

In order to refinance (and hopefully get cash out to fund the kitchen remodel), we have to:

  1. Plant the yard – cannot complete 100% until we paint the house

  2. Fix the drainage issue – cannot be done until we remove the spa and greenhouse from the back

  3. Patch up some stucco areas – cannot be done until the drainage issue is fixed

  4. Paint the house – cannot be done until we patch up the stucco

 Project 2 now has 4 sub-categories that rely on each other to move forward.

Also, if it starts raining again, everything stops.

Excuse me while I cry.

Sincerely, Tania

meet my plant: maranta lemon-lime prayer

If you follow me via Instagram, I am sorry that you have to witness the pathetic-ness that is my life. It is currently consumed with plants.

I’ve never been much into decorating. Growing up, my most hated chore was dusting. I find that terribly stupid since dust will just settle again the minute you finish. We had a mantle where my parents would place trinkets from travels, and it is the bane of my existence having to dust that bitch. From then on, I have silently followed the cult that is minimalism. It’s difficult, in the most first world way, to decorate minimally. Plus, I never had a home that I knew I would be in more than a year to really start decorating.

But THIS home – as previously stated, I plan to die in this home.

I started looking more into decorating. I still like a clean look, and hate having meaningless trinkets/souvenirs around the house.  Enter: plants. I initially fell in love with the snake plant – low maintenance and grows vertically. But somehow I fell harder for the maranta lemon-lime prayer plant.

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Look at it, it’s such a hot mess. Just splayed all over the edges. Like my hair when air dried, unruly and no structure.

I got this on a whim via Etsy last Thanksgiving. I could not get past how beautiful it is. Since I was a beginner and bought many plants in bulk to fill my home, I didn’t have time to fully pay attention to him. To make matters worse, our winter brought the longest stretch of rain the bay has ever seen. So I didn’t have sunshine to help. Poor thing was dying. In a panic, I started trimming dead leaves and repotted the whole thing. I found the warmest room in the house and made sure it didn’t get hit with direct sunlight – as the leaves get burned that way. The past five months was a battle in just keeping it from not dying. I would even try to feed it – which ended up in burned leaves because the ratio was all wrong. Then one day, I decided to spray it with water. The roots started lifting. So I did it again the next day. And the next. And the next.

Now it’s sprouting babies!

When I first saw these tiny nubs, I actually thought they were little caterpillars. I thought I developed a bug problem. But they are leaf babies!

Guys, he’s happy here!

Proud Mama, Tania

my yearly getaway with my mother-in-law.

I didn’t grow up with the traditional, movie-worthy mother-daughter relationship. We are not the least bit close. She grew up in Indonesia. I grew up in Texas. She was raised around her extended family. I was raised alone as the oldest of four kids. Our entire upbringing is different, and we don’t understand each other at all. My husband is blessed with an incredibly strong headed, independent and supportive mother. Not knowing how to connect with someone who is just trying to love me and include me in their lives and being used to butting heads with my own mother, I did not know how to handle this dynamic. Most of the time, I just stayed quiet and observed.

After three years of marriage, I felt comfortable enough to own up with my mother in law. I am not sure if she saw this as a “finally this girl let’s me in” or a “sweet heavens the ice queen melts” but words cannot express how big of a deal this was to me. My time is my most prized possession. Between a full time job, my marriage, my hobbies, my very important alone time, and my friends, sharing my time is the greatest gift I can give anyone.

We did a duo trip to Chicago last year. We were partly worried about this test trip as we are both devout Introverts. The city was cold, wet and miserable - but I was grateful that we were forced to stay inside and talk to each other. It apparently helped since we made immediate plans for the next year before leaving.

This year, we made it out to the Red Mountain Resort in Utah. 

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I have never stayed in a resort. The closest thing I had to a resort was a cruise, which is still my most terrible vacation ever because I was stuck on a boat surrounded by staff trying to sell me things, junk food, loose children, and rowdy people. But I can get used to an assortment of exercise classes, helpful seminars, healthy meals, and spa on site - sitting right next to Snow Canyon.

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Each day was a race to how much zen I can soak up. We arrived Saturday afternoon to a delicious healthy lunch, stretch-out-your-legs trail hike, barre, and mani/pedi. 

The next day started with a short hike through Snow Canyon. After an accidental tan, we did a foam rolling class before a creepy body treatment involving a vischy shower. I’m sorry to say that I am totes newbie when it comes to spa treatments as I am how-you-say totes cheap-o. I haven’t heard of a vischy shower because body treatments are something I can usually do myself. This was a red clay treatment where they wash you, pat organic, fair-trade red clay danced on by the natives with the tears of direwolves on your person, and proceed to cocoon you on a table in a room that resembles Dexter’s fun-time workspace. Then – GUYS then – she puts a warm towel on my face, presumably because most people love to steam their faces. I am not claustrophobic but it’s a different experience when you’re cocooned in plastic with a warm towel firmly placed on your face, intermittently pushed against for good measure. Then, I get rinsed by a shower with 7 heads. 

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In other circumstances, this story would end in a happy ending. However, it ended up an awkward experience where one half of me was warm with the water while the other half was cold waiting its turn.

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Monday was the last full day at the resort. By this time, I was anxious about going back to work and wanted to make sure I got all the quiet time I can get. Funnily enough, this translated into a morning of exercise. I tried pilates – insert groan here. I always thought pilates was mindless yoga. Because you stretch and hold poses without the inner chakra talk to yoga. But, guys, I learned it was originally meant for boxers to control their core! Who knew?! Thanks to this class, I learned how to hold my head up during sit-ups, v-ups, and general life the right way – after 32 years of living.

I also went to a weight loss seminar that was, thankfully, led by a real MD with full credentials that focuses on fat loss vs. regular weight loss. I learned so much! I am trying to apply this to real life – follow ups on this later. Then, obviously, I ended my day with a facial and massage. In the meantime, I found out Mama Hillin uses La Mer and that I needed to step it up. I haven’t been able to part with my moneys for La Mer, but I found my own skincare system that works best for my skin (so far). In between all this, I was able to sneak in quality hammock reading time. I haven’t been too big on hammocks, because I have lived in cities where it’s so humid, I get damp lying there. But, y’all, I am totes getting a hammock for the backyard.

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Next year’s location is TBD. I am taking suggestions!

Sincerely, Tania

the good old days.

There is a Woody Allen movie called Midnight In Paris that I am obsessed with. Owen Wilson is always playing Owen Wilson, I’m sorry to say, but the rest of the cast is so amazing I kind of forget about the main protagonist. It’s about Paris in the 1920s with names like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, etc. Since literature was not my strong suit in grade school, what with the whole English second language thing, I could never keep track of the timeline. This whole time, I thought it was just a wonderful fantasy movie of big names. Because there is no way all these greats could be all from the same time period, right? Then I came across a book in my local bookshop in the Ferry Building called The Paris Wife. I don’t know what made me pull it out and read the back, but it showed the same names. It blew my mind learning that those guys really DID hang out together back in the day!

It made me really think about modern life.

While we’re so incredibly lucky to be so connected with affordable travel options, email, and social media I feel kind of sad that we all have to be connected all the time. Modern life is missing necessary mystery, is it not? The circle I mentioned would go to Pamplona to see the bull fights, frequent cafes to meet each other, and write letters. So much was unknown that it made people a bit more interesting. I don’t want to be those people that poops on technology, because I’m a huge fan, but I kind of hate that we all know so much about each other. Like, I know that a friend of mine had gyro for lunch, and another is shopping for a new plant, and another is sipping margaritas in Mexico. I kind of miss the good old days where you learn everything in person. So you meet up for dinner and share all the things that’s happened between now and the last time you saw each other. Having the quiet time in between helps other edit their stories too so you cut a lot of bullshit filler conversations. Doesn’t that make life more interesting? Now I feel like most people are too busy taking photos to have something to show on social media instead of being in the present. Even worse, everyone is so big on transparency and being real that they don’t learn the line between honesty and airing your dirty laundry.

Secondly, I feel a big gap in books in terms of true literature. It doesn’t take much to get published now, so it’s not the lack of options. Remember in grade school when we would read The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc? I wonder what authors in our time will jump into literature status to be taught in future schools. Because, I have read a lot of trash. I have fun using my imagination when I read it, but it’s still poorly written. Needless to say The Paris Wife ignited my interest in literature.

Sincerely, Tania

so you think you are ready for marriage.

As I get older and move out of my hometown, I meet many new people. When married women find out you are also married, the conversation changes.  They become bold and share complaints about their husband/life, always in jest but you know the ones that are serious.

Funny how I announced to the world that marriage isn’t for me and I end up being the first married out of my friends. In the dirty south timeline, I married OLD. In west coast timeline, I was a child bride. In both timelines, I have learned that age is just a number. No matter how old you get married, a good 80% of the people I’ve spoken to were not ready to make the jump. It became apparent when I would be asked for advice on how to be more chill, or how to bring things up to their husbands, or if their reaction is appropriate, etc.

I am sure I repaired many a marriage troubles. And I’m happy to help - because I am a firm believer of divorce. More on this later, but the gist: life is too short to stick it out with someone you aren’t 100% invested in.

Society likes to romanticize marriage. Even outside of the wedding, it’s this romantic sharing of life. It can be. But it’s mostly not. I was lucky enough to take the heathen route and half lived with my husband prior to taking the plunge, so we worked out the kinks prior to.

You think you’re ready? Read on.

Do you spend money the same way? This was a duh one for me, but I’ve come to realize it is not the case for everyone. Do you both save? Do you put value on the same things so that ‘splurging’ doesn’t cause a rift? Lots of people make fun when couples have to check in with each other before making large purchases. Single, unmarried folks don’t realize that us married ones promised a life together. We have set plans to be together and have goals on where we want to be. Checking in is a sign of respect. It helps greatly when you value the same things.

What is your life like after the wedding? You’re over here daydreaming about the wedding, planning, scheming. If the wedding happened tomorrow, what is your life like the next day? People get caught up in wedding details. Planning takes time. More importantly, planning distracts you from the humdrum of regular life. You wake up, you go to work, you come back home, you eat dinner, you go to bed, and repeat as directed. Remember that in real life, fun distractions are not the norm.

Look at your partner right now, today. Are you happy with what you’re seeing? Ladies, and potentially some gentlemen, fall in love with the potential. They believe the things the other person says they want to better at, and fall for that pretend person without realizing that’s a completely different person. When you marry someone, you validate him or her as they are. They won’t suddenly turn athletic and get all beefcake. They won’t suddenly become secure and self-assured. What you see is what you get.  If they do change for the better, that’s a happy bonus that probably followed a big lifestyle change – which leads me to my next point.

Are you disciplined enough? Obviously, couples influence one another. After spending so much time together, you’re bound to pick up a few habits. I have yet to see someone level up into better habits. If one person is into lifting weights and the other is a couch potato, more than likely the one lifting weights will ease up, as it’s the easier route. Is this okay with you? I ask because I’ve seen it happen and the one that got influenced down blamed the lazy person for gaining weight when it’s all them.

Do you improve them as a person, and do they improve you? There are those couples (and friends) that stew in hate, complain, or generally be miserable together. I guess if that’s what you’re into, you can be miserable together. Typically, the couples that last (happily, not just in total) help each other be better versions of themselves. Does your partner encourage you to go to cooking classes? Do they help you see the bright side of a terrible event? Are they comfortable calling you out when you’re being a touch too bitchy for your own good? Are you comfortable having someone you love call you out?

Do your roles match up? I once knew a couple where the woman liked to mother, and the man liked to be taken care of. Obviously, this is a perfect match. Your roles in life must match. One of you must be able to take care of the things the other cannot, or just not good at. It can be as simple as one person handling all activities that involve phone calls and field complaints, while the other handles increasing everyone’s credit with timely payments and making sure everyone is alive *ahem*mymarriage*ahem* What do you want out of life? Do you want to be traveling gypsy while he wants to settle down and have kids? This has to match.

Did you fix yourself yet? Don’t look at me like you’re confused. I know all of you have issues. Remember how your father was too busy working so hard to put food on the table so he couldn’t give you the right attention? Did you fix your daddy issues yet? What about you, the one that’s been cheated on multiple times over? Did you drop your insecurity baggage at the door? Or hey you that always hates to be alone for fear of anxiety creeping in? You worked on your self-confidence yet? Because it’s not your partner’s job to make you feel secure – that’s ALL on you. Sure, they’ll help you. But it’s up to you to realize your own shortcomings and help yourself.

Are you ready to be on the same team? This is the HARDEST lesson for every single couple I’ve met to learn. You and your spouse are now a team. It is you two vs. the world. It is not you two + your family + his family vs. the world. It is just you two – and whatever children you might have. The simple lesson is easy: when your family attacks your spouse, you defend your spouse. I know blood ties are important, but when you marry someone, you switched teams. Sorry, your parents did it with you and your other parent. If you can’t handle that, you shouldn’t get married. More importantly though, people forget the details. You do not talk trash about your spouse. Yes, you can complain that your husband is forgetful and your wife keeps nagging on you about hanging the towels. But there are things you should never share with others. You do not talk trash about your spouse to anyone, because the marriage is between you and your partner. You’re on the same damn team. You can talk about how to help them improve whatever it is they’re having trouble with, but you don’t get to put them down in the name of Girl Talk. Full stop.

Is that a lot? I hope so. I learned a lot from being married almost five years, and being with Chris for (smh) 8.5 years – and from listening to every woman on the planet that seems to think I have a face meant for secret keeping.

Sincerely, Tania

too good to be true.

The rain is a piece of work, isn’t it? Almost every weekend since the first of the year has been rained out here in the bay. It’s been that way since I moved west. I keep hearing about the drought crisis, and then I move here and BAM I brought the rain with me from Dallas. The rain has been so bad that we’re having drainage issues - which makes sense given that the area is so used to drought, there is no real structure to move water. This is the current life drama.

I think we’re finally getting a new car soon. We’ve been searching for a fuel efficient SUV for like ever. While I do not drive to work, we do long ass day trips almost every weekend. When it requires an overnight, we’ve had to rent an SUV. We had a brief moment when we wanted a Subaru, then an Alfa Romeo LOLs, then a Jeep, then smh I needed a BMW stat, then back to Subaru. We missed our old Mercedes crossover. I sit inside so calm and soothed, high up off the ground, clean drive, roomy, etc. We keep going back and forth between a luxury SUV or a functional one because of this. A few people suggested the Lexus SUVs, which makes sense. Reliable, I think? I don’t know. I have a hard time paying good money for a Toyota, let alone a Toyota “upgrade”. So here I am huffing and puffing because the new Rav4 makes the most sense. Until I saw this.

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Guys, that’s a Transformer. When it’s quiet in the night, you say a secret prayer and it becomes this.

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True story.

In addition to the car, Chris decided we are totes def buying land in Napa to prep for our retirement life. I was totes def rolling my eyes until he found 5 acres for only $140k on Mount Veeder. I totes def shooed us to visit this past weekend. LOLs it was almost vertical, in the trees, between two creeks. SMH goodbye land dreams. Maybe next time.

Of course, as we drove home, Chris decided to stop by another land listing. It’s more expensive and less land, but the listing mentioned that a 4k square foot home was on it. That’s right. Was. Fires. Ignoring all bad juju, we were drove to see it. It had better open space, but still not enough of a view for us to move forward. Plus, I don’t want a haunted land. I don’t know if anyone died in it (don’t think so), but still don’t want any percentage of being haunted in the future.

All this to say, HELLO AGAIN AND APOLOGIES FOR NOT UPDATING.

Sincerely, Tania

first time returning to dallas.

I returned “home” this past weekend. I say that with quotations because it feels uncomfortable calling it home. I look around and see Dallas and feel that familiar tinge that makes me think of “home” but at the same time feel like an outsider. Everything is familiar: the wide skyline with the reunion tower and triangle building, the flat topography that’s both suffocating and comforting, the bridge that tries so hard to make downtown and south Dallas “happening”, the many gentrified neighborhoods that everyone complains about but also love because that means there are more places to hit. While there are minor changes, everything felt so familiar.

It’s jarring. All my old emotions came back. I felt safe because I know these neighborhoods and have a hard time getting lost. I felt happy because two of my best friends live 5-10 minutes away from my old neighborhood. I felt confident because old landmarks that helped me navigate are still there as my beacon. Why did I move again? My life was so comfortable and secure. I had a tinge of sadness loom over before my heart texted my brain in rescue.

“Tania, do you remember how lonely it was to be physically closer to family but mentally separated? To live alone half the time because Chris’s job took him away? To only have 2 hours in the morning for active things before you’re stuck inside from the heat and humidity? To have one way of getting anywhere, driving? To get looks from Asians and white people alike because of your relationship? To work in a non challenging field because good paying jobs were scarce in the city?”

When I’m in the bay, I long for my friends. When I’m in Dallas, I long for home. I wonder how long until one place becomes my everything. Or maybe that never happens.

I moved from Indonesia when I was 8. While I remember my life in Jakarta, I never felt the same level of comfort. I’ve returned and remember little areas as if I dreamt it, but there’s no real pull. I lived in Dallas for 21 years – all over the metroplex. Do people just slowly forget and move on?

Sincerely, Tania

that time Chris won a tiara.

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You know how the hubs likes to sing? His passion for singing is only rivaled by my passion to have him sing for money. Because, if you’re good at something don’t do it for free, right?

We went to a karaoke competition in the Castro. Are you new to SF neighborhoods? If so, that is the gayborhood - aka the best part of town. It is clean. It is safe. It has manicured lawns. It has freshly painted homes. And it has the best local business puns, like a laundromat called Sit and Spin. And a manicure place called Hand Job. 

It’s my fave because it also has a bougie Indonesian restaurant and a tapas place with killer paella. Yeah, we love this neighborhood. The last Wednesday of the month, a karaoke competition happens. The winner gets $100 - not much, but good motivation/excuse to visit our old haunts. 

We walk in to a semi sparse bar where the host is in drag writing current artists on a spinning wheel. Initially, I panicked because I thought the karaoke contest involves Chris spinning the wheel to choose who to mimic. Names on the wheel include Beyoncé, Arianna Grande, and Madonna. We quietly sat in the corner waiting for things to start, nursing a serviceable Old Fashioned.

Then a man walks up and starts talking to Chris. He points to his wedding band and asks, “I see you have a band. Are you married?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Where is your spouse?”

I sat six inches away shocked that that was questioned. Because who else would he be married to than the girl sitting right next to him? Then I’m like, ah, yes, I am in the wrong crowd.

The man was a bit disappointed to hear he’s married to me. Then quickly recovers and told me how hot my husband is. Realizing that Chris might be a piece of meat, I thought it is in my best interest to not touch him the whole night - keep the mystique up and potentially gain votes. So I kept my hands to myself. 

This is my first time in a gay bar, and it is hella weird to realize that Chris is the star between the two. But I sit back and watch this man randomly work up the courage to kiss Chris’s cheek (after I goaded him to LMAO). My very polite southern gentleman later told me he does not enjoy the feel of beard against his cheek. 

If you haven’t heard Chris sing, you shouldn’t start with him singing Michael Buble. Because it is a panty dropper. Not gonna sugarcoat that. Obviously, I played to the crowd and told him to keep Feeling Good. Obvi, it paid off. He gained many fans, and won the $100 bill. Alongside some Crown. And a tiara. Yep, he won a tiara. Such a proud wife, I am.

Sincerely, Tania

on football.

Today’s thoughts are sponsored by football.

America’s sport, I’m coming for you.

This is the worst sport to watch on TV. They play for a solid minute (if you’re lucky) and then replay the same tackle in different angles for the next ten while talking about their feelings on what they saw. Then they cut to the players chewing on their mouth guards or yelling plays at each other or the coach looking pissed off or the confused souls sitting on the bench. THEN – doritos.

After one minute of playing and 10 minutes of bullshit, we see commercials that paint the perfect picture of those that watch the games. Pizza. Chips. Beer. Actual football happens very little in that 3 hour game.

I die.

But this is not why I hate football.

I hate it because the young men (majority of which are black) are cheered on in a circular stadium where they give each other concussions. What does that remind you of? I’m picturing Roman fights at the Colosseum.

It makes me extra queasy because in any other instance, there is discrimination against black people. But on the football field, when they represent ‘your’ team and your city, they are heralded; on the field when they ‘fight’ with each other for your enjoyment. Then, when they are no good to you anymore, they are forgotten again.

I am always extra sensitive when it comes to racism against black people. I don’t watch a lot of tough black movies because I think, “that can totally be happening right now.” Like Get Out? I haven’t seen, but know the premise and ending. I can see that happening in real life. It might sound extreme to you, but I also think it’s extreme that humans were enslaved because of the color of their skin. Maybe if it were misshapen humans, I can see why they would want to control it – like they do with animals. But real, normal human beings. So I get queasy.

And football makes me queasy. Because the colosseum is all I think about.

But, you know, go cowboys?

Sincerely, Tania

on babies.

We have been talking about babies a lot recently. Believe me, neither one of us have baby fever. What we have is a baby spreadsheet. As a woman, I have an expiration date for that portion of my body. It just so happens to be in the next five years. This past year has been a blur. So for the first time ever, I am making a conscious five year plan. Because apparently babies take 9 months to cook through. So I have to subtract 9 months from my 5 year plan to make this work.

I hesitate to tell anyone in my life I’m thinking about babies because it’s always met with the same positive barrage of questions. Are you pregnant? Are you trying? How many do you want? Just once, I’d like for someone to respond “why do you want one?” I feel like the true test of whether someone is ready is confidently answering why they want one.

To fulfill your life? Yikes, you should probably try to find contentment prior to creating a human.

To make your husband stay? No comment.

Because you’re so full of love you don’t know what to do with it? DING DING DING. 

That’s where I’m at right now. 

Of course, we have stressful and sad moments. But in general, my marriage is strong and we are incredibly happy with each other and our lives. Instead of thinking how stressful it is to pack a kid to take with you to travel, we think how fun it would be to see the world through fresh eyes. Instead of already being annoyed at the thought of arguing with a toddler, we see the potential to raise a truly great human being. So maybe we want a kid.

But it doesn’t mean it’s confirmed.

Because you guys. Kids are expensive. And I am a fan of living within my means. If all Hell breaks loose and we both lost our jobs, we sell the house to pay off all debt and start fresh in a cheaper city. Layla can be left alone at home while we both work. But with a kid? Things change. If we’re both jobless, only one parent can work to make ends meet. The other has to stay with the kid or make enough to afford a sitter. Basically, a comfortable life with a child means we have to maintain our level of income. Which isn’t difficult. I know the chances of both of us getting fired is very slim. But this is why my life never reaches shithole level status. I have a contingency plan.

But a child depends on you.

Yikes.

Sincerely, Tania

sustainable efforts /// body butter

A few days ago, I wrote about my first world midlife crisis. It is going strong in my heart - and I am holding on to this motivation for dear life. I love love LOVE caring about this.

Result: I made body butter!

whipping the butter after it’s melted.

whipping the butter after it’s melted.

Part of my issue was continuous purchase of body lotion. I didn’t use much of it back in Dallas, but Bay Area weather is a piece of work. Cold every morning, warms up every afternoon, and cools off again every evening. My skin is a hot mess of ashy spots, so lotion has been my bestie best each night.

I’ve been leaning more towards natural body lotions as I’m eating a more plant based diet. I’m taking care of my body from the inside, how weird would it be if I fuck up the outside? Do you know how much all natural body lotion and body butters cost? Too. Damn. Much. Plus, there is a lot of surface area to cover.

Since there are so many DIY lotion recipes out there, I thought this could be my first attempt at sustainable skincare.

We went to our regular natural grocery store and found everything easily. The toughest part in creating this was choosing the right combination of essential oils. Since I am putting it on my body and going to bed with it, it is very important that I don’t smell like a hippie.

The end result is hippie adjacent - BUT I AM HAPPY WITH IT.

Being able to make this opened my eyes to how simple it is to create skincare. This body butter starts off a bit oily, but sinks in to make my skin dreamy. I hope to keep up with this as this is incredibly affordable. Bonus points that I can stop purchasing single use plastic pump bottles and make new batches (and many different scents) in minutes!

I keep this jar in the bathroom. It is self stable, but who cares because one batch creates a cup of body butter. I foresee using this up in a few weeks.

I keep this jar in the bathroom. It is self stable, but who cares because one batch creates a cup of body butter. I foresee using this up in a few weeks.

Sincerely, Tania

the secret to staying chill as fuck in life.

So you want to calm tf down.

You’ve come to the right place.  

I am a very calm person. When someone told me that at first, I was confused because I was just breathing and living normally. Then I got it again. And again. And again. One time, my coworker asked if I had a punching bag at home because I am so chill in the office. LMAO. I don’t have one, but I am privy to this sacred life secret. Be forewarned that once you know, you will never be able to un-know. So if you’re the type that likes to blame everyone else for your shortcomings or issues, please discontinue reading as this greatness will be wasted on you.

There are three secret sauces to calming the fuck down in life. You may choose the correct sauce to apply to each aspect in life.

Secret Sauce #1

Be Prepared. The best way to avoid emotional overload is to be prepared. You know that meeting you just did a shit job on? Maybe next time, read ahead and prepare what you’re going to say? You know the stress of planning a birthday bash for your significant other who thinks birthdays are a big deal? Set a reminder to plan a month out. Guilt and anxiety are kept at bay if you just prepare yourself.

Secret Sauce #2

Don’t Give a Damn. There are so many emotions that are tied when you care too much. Be picky with what to care about. Your mom does not approve your new man/job/apartment/clothing? Who. Gives. A. Damn. This is your life. Unless you live at home, what she thinks doesn’t make a difference on  your life. Does she call you up to tell you how disappointed she is? Because there is an ‘ignore’ button on your cell phone – did you know that? I’m thinking you didn’t. Are you all jealous and hyped up when someone in your life succeeds and you are at a stalemate? Who. Gives. A. Damn. Stop stalking their page to secretly hate on them and talk shit about them. Stop staging #fablife photos to compete, only to cry yourself to sleep at night. Here’s a freebie life secret: that person is winning at life because they aren’t thinking about you. Full stop. Instead, why don’t you reach out and ask her how she got where she is? How did she lose all that weight? How did she get that job she’s in love with? How did she find peace in life? The best kept open secret in life is that it is free to ask successful people how they got there. 

Secret Sauce #3

Be Honest. This one is a very tough pill to swallow. It requires you to be mean with yourself. Comparing yourself to that one model that’s hot af and makes you sad when you see her? Be honest. Are you really willing to put in the work to look like that? Do you have the long limbs and torso to look that tall? I mean, really. Break yourself down. Because sometimes you have to be reminded how dumb your comparison is before you let it go. You want the Kim Kardashian booty without thick legs? Do you have money for surgery and/or is that where your body keeps your fat? Then you’re shit out of luck, friend. That’s to get past jealousy. What about when you feel the anxiety for when you make up a lie to cancel plans? Avoid the lie and just tell the truth.  Did you have one too many happy hours that week so you just want to chill that night? Say so. You actually don’t like them as a person and only said yes to spare their feelings? SMH – why are you talking to them if you don’t like them? Just stop! If you don’t know how, message me to enroll in my “How To Cut Down Your Friend List To People You Actually Like” course. It’s a highly reviewed course.

There they are. The three secret sauces. Grab what you need and sprinkle it on any situation that you’d like.

Of course, there are times for when shit hits the fan. Like a true fuck up. Then, and only then, you can panic for one full minute. That’s it. Because if it’s that bad, you need to fix it stat. So you get to wallow in fear and self-pity for one minute, and then move on. Because you are an adult. And you need to get your life together.

 End tough love.

 Sincerely, Tania

my first world midlife crisis.

I love this healthy movement the world is in right now. We’re pushing exercise, eating plant based diets, minimalism, and sustainable efforts. Love the shit out of all of that. It’s a fantastic example of using social media for good. We’re now able to see the efforts of others and learn different tips from anywhere in the world! This helps us make better choices and expand our efforts. 

Unfortunately this also shows us how bad things have gotten.

I follow sustainable hashtags and accounts so I am putting myself in front of all of this; it’s giving me a bit of a midlife crisis.

I thought I was doing such a good job. I swapped disposable disinfectant wipes for microfiber cloths. I swapped paper towels for washable rags. I use nothing but reusable bags. My diet is heavy on produce so I reduce packaging - I even dropped produce bags in its entirety. I swapped disposable makeup remover wipes for washable cloths. I started composting.

But there’s so much more I’ve forgotten.

Like that I buy all purpose cleaning product every few months. This alone adds up: toilet bowl cleaner, counter top cleaner, glass cleaner, etc. Then comes body lotion, creams, wash, sunblock, etc. As a lady, I’m also big on skincare. You don’t even want to see my line up for face stuff. And haircare. Lord, all my haircare products.

Being more informed means I can’t unknow the things I’ve learned. I can’t not think about how I’m contributing to it all. I can’t not add up the amount of plastic bottles I toss out when I finish up the contents. The worst of all, some of these contents are green household cleaners. Or organic, natural, locally made lotions. Kind of misses the point, I think.

I am still advocating the swap. I’d rather people go for natural (and effective) products in plastic than chemicals in plastic. But I feel like I can (and should) do more. Maybe this will be my point of focus for 2019.

Sincerely, Tania

day one of 365.

I feel like everyone’s first day of a new year involves groaning on the bed in pain or full-on active mode to get a start on their new healthy habits.

Both sound terrible.

On NYE, I made it until 11pm. WEST COAST, y’all. That means 1am Central. I am proud of myself. However, I did take a nap between 10-1045pm. Suffice it to say, it ruined my plans to hit the beach for a little hike and sun bum time.

Instead, we took our time getting up and did a 4 mile hike nearby. We did a portion of this hike two days prior. Half of the trail are large, loose rocks. I fell going downhill and mashed the knee I gashed open in 2017. Obviously, we had to return so I can show the trail that it did not kill my spirit. I showed THEM alright. I made it up and down on a wobbly knee for Layla to have her little Instagram moment on top of this hill.

So my dog’s fur is thick. It’s winter time so she has her winter coat on. When we got home, a bunch of ticks started coming out of her fur because they gave up on life and cannot find her skin. This poor girl got a tick bath outside when it was like 57 degrees out. She was so mad when we were finished, she kept standing up, twirling, and dropping herself on her bed so it makes a thunk each time.

She spent the rest of the night, snuggled by herself on her bed trying to get her normal smell back.

But that was my first day of 2019. Simple, no pressure, and just bursting with love.

Hopefully, that sets my tone for the other 364.

Sincerely, Tania

because new years.

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Ah, a fresh year is ahead of us.

IT’S RESOLUTIONS TIIIIMMMMEEEEE.

You can roll your eyes. I know a lot of people that hate New Years’ Resolutions because it never works. Well, that sounds like a personal problem.

I wasn’t able to set resolutions for the past three years. In 2016, I was too busy waiting  to move in to my newly built condo and figure out a way to afford life in Dallas proper. In 2017, I was too busy planning my move to North California and figuring out a way to rent the Dallas condo and afford a life in SF proper. In 2018, I was too busy trying to buy this damn home in the bay and sell the new condo I lived in for less than a year – and not drown in a new industry.

Bbbuuuttt it’s 2019! I am never moving again. I am doing well at work. I am going to hit 5 years married this May. This is it. This is the year I get my shit together, get that bubble butt, pay off extraneous debt, do pistol squats on a mountaintop for Instagram, figure out wtf is the difference between a Roth IRA and… other retirement jargon, wear body lotion, bring heels back into my life, and get a perfect score in my yearly physical check-up. I’m doing it. 

Here we go!

Sincerely, Tania