our first cali christmas.

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We visited my in laws in Ohio last year. I was in my ski jacket, hoodies, boots, etc. We got the fire going. It was snowing outside. All in all, very holiday appropriate. This year, we chose to stay in the bay. Now that we’ve found our forever home in our forever city, I wanted to stay. Plus, flying out for the holidays is expensive AF and y’all I just got this damn house.

I have been trying to start a new tradition since we got this house. We’re not religious at all, so we don’t do the whole church in the morning thing. We’re also not big on forced gift giving during the holidays, so we generally don’t have anything to open the morning of unless friends and families send us things. Since I don’t have any ties to Christmas, I didn’t want to do a yearly tree and follow trends for the sake of it. I can’t handle the idea of storing a fake tree for 11 months of the year, only to take it out and have it shed plastic pieces everywhere as I unpack and repack. I’ve been wanting to get random loose branches from the ground during hikes to make a very sustainable Scandinavian tree, but it’s either been smokey or raining here in the bay – so hikes are out of the question.

 Obviously, I wasn’t about to buy branches to have something to hang, so we didn’t do any decorating this year.

The weekend before, we had a quick road trip to Paso Robles. We’ve been there 3-4 times before, but it was extra magical this time around. I always feel vacations are more magical when places are deserted. We were able to walk in to many places and didn’t have to fight through crowds. It felt almost like a honeymoon.

Day One

Buellton + Emu Egg

We got to Buellton (tiny town an hour and a half past Paso Robles) around 11am. Obviously, we went right into wine tasting immediately - because #lushlife. We took things pretty slow. The town was sleepy so we acted accordingly. Casual tasting here and there, then a casual lunch that turned into leftover dinner because there was too much food involved.

Right before we checked in to the hotel, we drove by a tiny farm off the highway with a “Emu Eggs for Sale”. Obvi, we had to turn around and see what this is all about. Fair enough, it was a farm wonderland! I saw fat Turkeys (aka the survivors) fenced in with the hens. I saw wild turkeys roaming around the property following me from one corner to another making sure I stay in line. I saw an emu – who I thought was a him and intermittently forgot we were there to get an egg. I saw two fat ass pigs. Somehow I went through a solid 20 years in Texas without seeing a pig close up.

We drove by the pen, and this very bold pig walked right up to the edge to get a good look of Layla and the car. It was an intense 2 minutes. Layla, being the hot shot of her life, is not used to anyone or thing walking up to her in such a bold manner. I took 12 photos of the pig before I realized my pup was shaking in fear.

We ended the day with a final tasting at a boutique winery in Los Olivos – Blair Fox. Just overall, a magical day.

Day Two

Wine Tasting x 4 = No More Moneys

The title of the day speaks for itself, I think. Paso Robles has all the good boutique wines that are difficult to find in stores. That coupled with industry discounts mean we buy bottles at almost every stop.

Linne Calodo. I want to apologize for showing puppy butthole, but this is my view the majority of our travels as Chris handles her the best. Occasionally, my pup would turn around to make sure I am following the pack. Of course, she doesn’t do this when I want a photo. Beautiful wines and tasting room!

Thacher. This is a very cute winery and area. The wines weren’t my style, but it’s worth the stop. They had a very zen property with goats involved, along with a wooden Christmas tree.

Hilliard Bruce. Winery owned by fellow Texans, albeit Houstonians. Quiet, holiday tastings meant we got to sit in the owner’s living room to taste. Bonus points that they had 3 horses on site. The first one of the far left stable is very curious to see Layla. Layla, being a jealous bitch, had to stay back and fume by herself as she watches me pet them. The white and brown one liked me. The far right horse gave me the butt the first half of our visit, and moved his face away when I touched his cheek so F U TOO HORSE.

Daou. Hold on to your panties, boys and girls. This one is a keeper. Hands down, the most beautiful property in Paso Robles. Plus, they sold food pairings! + more puppy butthole.

We worked out Christmas Eve and drove back. Nothing particularly special except that I loved being with unplugged Chris <3

Christmas Day

We got to take things slow and took our time getting out of bed. No greeting other family members. No running over to a pile of gifts. We started with our usual morning espresso and eased into the day. We opened gifts from friends and family – I HAD A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

That new tradition I wanted, I am thinking it might be “weird” foods. Or anything new. This year, THAT EMU EGG. Look how majestic and beautiful. I wanted to save the shell but Chris reminded me that this is just an egg, so I felt fully stupid and nixed that idea. This was our first emu egg. I must admit, I had mild anxiety when it was finally ready to be eaten. During the whole drive, I kept joking about it being a dinosaur egg so I had the idea that it will taste like a reptile. But it did not. It tasted like a mild cheese. Like I had a spoonful of cheese with every bite. It was SO filling, that I did not even feel hunger until 5pm. Just pure fat and protein. As you can see, it took up the whole dinner plate. So yes, Layla also enjoyed her share of the emu egg.

You thought the day ended there. I did too. Lo and behold, after a month of rain, the bay gave us SUNSHINE. On Christmas Day. Road Trip 2.0 commenced! We went to Stinson Beach to enjoy a long family walk before dinner.

The highlight of this was that I met and petted and ruffled and scruffled a male purebred akita! He was brown with a black face and legs. Four years old with the face of a bear. I know and live with the breed, but he was so large I was almost afraid to touch him. I think he was a solid 115 pounds. Homeboy made Layla look like a rodent. Guys, I need a male akita stat.

And that was my Christmas.

Sincerely, Tania

what's in a name.

For the first part, we’re talking about last names.

With the feminist movement and questioning gender normative standards, I always seem to find myself arguing this topic with someone. When I say argue, I mean calmly explain my opposing opinion while others get in their feelings.

I’ve learned that a lot of women think changing their last name after marriage is “losing their identity”. That’s kind of weird that they think their identity is tied to their last name – something passed down by their father. The name given to you, the name you formed your identity around, is your first (and middle) name.

Furthermore, marrying means you are forming a new family. You and your husband (or whoever you are marrying) are now your own unit. Wouldn’t it make sense to share a name that reflects it? This is not to say you should take the man’s name, but more question why it’s such a big deal for many women. You can also make up your own last name.

I always get the argument that many women want to stay in their surname family unit. To which I ask why you’re getting married if you don’t want to be in the same ‘pod’ as your husband.

Next, first names.

I have been talking this out for a while now because I have a pregnant friend. Of course, I’ve already trolled her on her chosen name – but it makes me realize how big of a deal it is. Growing up with an ethnic name, I am extra sensitive to people’s reactions to it. I don’t mind the mispronunciation. However, I do mind that I wasn’t getting callbacks for my job applications growing up because they assume I have an accent, or unclear diction. I performed my own wizardry by cutting it down to Tania and get thrown job offers weekly on LinkedIn.

Safe to say, naming someone is a big deal. I prefer classic names that reflect a grown up. My friend prefers names that bartenders would have. LMAO, I joke, because she loves her chosen name.

But how big of a deal is this?? You are basically planning your kid’s future! Do you know bankers named Apple? Or a doctor named Indigo? Or an engineer named Quest? Shit, I don’t even know any Executive Assistants named Harmony. It’s like you are handing your kid their personality by what you write on the birth certificate.

Does that give you pending moms anxiety? It gives me anxiety for you.

Sincerely, Tania

the wardrobe project.

So I wanted to return to the blog with something meaty and substantial. But I’m just going to write what’s at the forefront of my mind – my wardrobe. I know it’s vapid and feeble – but I have been thinking about it so much lately I need to get it out. This is going to be one rambling, stream of consciousness kind of post.

I used to be big on the minimal movement. I mean, I still am – but I take the lessons from it instead of following made up “rules”. Anyway, I did the whole capsule wardrobe thing for a solid 2 years. And it worked well! I don’t like thinking about clothes, or what to wear, or how to style, or to dry clean, or to try things on, or to shop in general. I hate all of it. My goal in life was to be able to grab a top and bottom in the dark and still come out presentable.

It was a fantastic experiment – with one caveat. The more I wear my clothes, the faster it gets worn out. Things aren’t made the way they used to be. Fabric pills much faster. Colors fade. Whites get dingy. Everything shrinks. Plus, I will never be one of those people that stop everything and frantically work a stain out of their shirt. So one morning, I did a run through of everything I need to replace – and it’s like all of my work shirts. To top it off, my beloved Sam Edelman timeless Chelsea booties are worn down to the ground.

I am so lost.

I spent the past 4 years of my life trying to be as casual as possible. Now that I work at a bank, I have to look like a grown up. Sigh. To top it off, I have the most fabulous boss ever that uses the world as her runway. If you follow my Pinterest, kindly remove yourself as I don’t need you seeing all the random work outfits I’m pinning for ideas – and then fail to translate in real life.

I bought 5 pairs of heeled boots. I always buy a handful of shoes – because my feet are picky and I anticipate returning half, if not all. I liked them all. So, I kept them all. SO THAT PART IS DONE.

Next – bottoms. I have lots of slacks. Lots of skirts. So, I just got jeans. As someone with an incredible lack of torso, it is wicked hard to get pants that fit right. I am always in search of the lowest of the low cut jeans. I found some low rise jeans – and they reach my belly button. LMAO. Idk where high waist would even go. THAT PART IS DONE.

Next – tops. Because I don’t think people from my work read my blog and since I DGAF, let me share my complaint about work shirts. Button ups SUCK for those with boobs. Terribly. I can either get it too big and tailored in. Or, get the stretchy kind and still wear a tank underneath. Because there is always a gap. So I’m avoiding all of this by wear tees to work. I’m thinking I can distract from my casual top if I pair it with a smart pant/skirt, heels, and a blazer. Right? IDK. I’m doing it anyway. THAT PART IS DONE.

Next – I just have to wear them. The hardest part of it all since I have fully embraced the Bay Area life outfit of leggings, sweater, and Toms. I’m still working on this one.

To be continued.

Sincerely, Tania

the most serious halloween event.

I mentioned that Halloween took up my life in October?

Look at the photos below and find out why.

The Royal Wedding.

The Royal Wedding.

We had to decorate our side of the office, the front lobby, and pass out random decorations to the office. And, of course, get our costumes on point. Down to the WEDDING RINGS, y’all. #officegoals

This is my first year participating in the company’s Halloween parade. Every time I order something, I get a bit worried I’m taking it too far and wasting money…

BUT - check out the other contestants.

There were plenty more contestants I didn’t get good photos of. And office decorations. One floor did Santa’s workshop. One floor did We <3 the 90s. One floor did Stranger Things!

Yep, that’s my office.

Sincerely, Tania

things to do. and done.

October (and half of November already) flew by.

It has been a mad dash to finish projects and buy extra items we needed to prepare for Thanksgiving.

Quick Recap:

October

  • Executed Halloween in the office. Huge. Ass. Deal. Literally the reason why October ran away from me. (more on this later)

  • Long weekend in New York. You guys, I don’t hate it! (more on this later)

  • Removed all wallpaper from the hallway.

  • Mud the hallway as it was just plain drywall behind the wallpaper.

  • Primed and painted the damn hallway.

November

  • Long weekend in Big Sur. (more on this later)

  • Re-plumbed the kitchen sink.

  • Installed water line to the fridge – thereby opening up a great amount of fridge space taken up by a water filter.

  • Installed BRAND NEW WINDOWS in the living room + one of the two in the bedroom. This was a 7 month battle.

  • Ordered and arranged the new bed frame for the guest room.

  • Peeled the wallpaper of the guest room.

  • Removed the built in desk of the guest room.

  • Swapped the old AF ceiling fan of the guest room.

  • Bought ALL Christmas gifts (yep, all) for our adopted families and toys for tots.

  • Bought supplies to wrap them. Individually.

  • Bought new grown up bedding for the guest room. The old one was bought on the cheap for a home staging for when we rented out our Dallas house. Scratchy AF.

  • Contacted Restoration Hardware to resend our master bed replacement part. They sent it to a very old address.

  • Bought a new rug for the master bed and rug pad.

  • Bought a new rug for the guest room.

  • Ordered new dishwasher.

Double-pane, tinted picture window up front - FINALLY.

Double-pane, tinted picture window up front - FINALLY.

Weekend Before Thanksgiving

  • Paint the master bedroom

  • Swap the ceiling fan so there is an overhead light.

  • Dismantle and rebuild the bed with the replacement part.

  • Lay out the new rug pad and rug.

  • Lay out the new rug for the guest room.

  • Install the curtain rods for both master and guest.

  • Get the damn curtains for the master bed.

  • Install the new dishwasher.

  • Put on a glass opaque thing so people can’t look in from the weird back room.

  • Reorganize the back room for consignment as there are TWO couches in there for sale.

  • Organize the study as it’s a hot mess.

  • Hang up 8 frames.

  • Mat the leftover 2 frames and hang.

  • Put things on Craigslist to unclutter.

  • Paint the doors and rehang.

  • Oh, also polish the door hardware are they are originals and we want to keep them.

FYI for the friends I’ve ignored on social media, text, and real life. Maybe, just maybe, I will have more of a life in December.

Sincerely, Tania

penises, ferraris, and blue angels - oh my.

So last week, I was a bit bummed because I was reminded of the life and people we left back in Dallas. It’s a weird feeling to leave the nest, so to speak.

I had alone time this past Saturday, which was pretty fantastic. I got to do all the chores, meal prepped, and cleaned up after myself. It was probably the first Sunday where I felt calm and collected because everything was completed. It was also one of the first Sundays where the entire bay was clear.

Because Karl respects Blue Angels weekend.

Blue Angels.jpg

The whole week before, the Blue Angels would practice over the city – which I am terribly in love with. I would randomly speak to someone and be rudely interrupted by jets. Or, walk to a nearby shop and stop dead in my tracks when they decide to surprise everyone. It’s rather soothing. It keeps me grounded and reminds me what city I am in – that is, Heaven, USA.

So Sunday morning, we woke up at 9am and ate waffles – because #SundayFunday. At 11am, we were like, “Hmm, I wonder what’s happening in SF today.” It turns out, everything. Everything happened that day.

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We started the day at the Castro Street Fair. Random vendors, organizations, and penises were out. Yep, you read that correctly. It was Layla’s day, really. She got allll the pets from almost everyone that walked by and a homemade all natural bag of treats. After this little jaunt, we wanted to find food (and a drink) before we posted up for the Blue Angels – and decided on North Beach.

North Beach is Little Italy. Little did we know, the 150th Annual Italian Heritage Parade was happening. Clusterfuck is an understatement to describe the traffic. We had to park at nearby Chinatown and walk up using allll the stairs. I started to complain and thought, “You know what? I asked for this.” I wanted this move so I had to shut tf up. At the top, we were greeted by this view.

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So we walked to a random taco shop because it was so packed, we literally just looked for any place with a seat. In the meantime, people are passing out shots of Fernet Branca to the parade attendants. This was a THING.

Three tacos, a salad, and two sangrias later – the Blue Angels started. We couldn’t get out to a clearing fast enough and walked to a nearby square to see more of the sky. There was a Ferrari showing on the square. And Alfa Romeos, something Chris is convinced we need. So we watched the Blue Angels fly around the city above a group of Ferraris.

Yeah, we’re here to stay.

Sincerely, Tania

goodbye, dallas.

We sold our Dallas dream home. Like, yesterday.

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I actually loved that home. It was the peak of my Dallas life. 3-minute drive to the most coveted street of nice restaurants. 8-minute walk to the second most coveted street of nice restaurants. 9-minute drive to my office downtown. 3-minute drive to Whole Foods. 8-minute drive to the best grocery store of 18 different types of apples, all the organic veggies you can imagine, and random seasoning/sauces/spices that I cook with.

My life in Dallas was actually amazing. We found our absolute dream home with an unobstructed view of Downtown Dallas from the rooftop patio. I drove an adorable Mercedes that had the same energy as a yoga studio. I had an incredible group of strong women in my circle.

Then, we were given the opportunity to move to San Francisco - for a second time. During the first opportunity, Chris’s company had an opening to transfer. We visited. We pretended to be residents. We looked at multiple apartments and homes in and out of the city. During our weekend of research, I remember coming out of Starbucks only to have a pigeon fall and split open literally one foot away from my face.

I could not deny that kind of an omen.

At the time, we just bought this condo – living inside it for all of 2 weeks. Our savings were depleted. Our debt was high – furniture, extra fees, adjusted living costs, etc. The decision felt rushed. I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we mulled it over for a couple of days before deciding.

Then, we said goodbye to San Francisco.

I shed real tears and closed that potential chapter of my life.

Almost two years ago, my company had a transfer opening. I thought to myself, “Okay, we tried this before. Let it go. Your Dallas life is wonderful.” Our life in Dallas IS wonderful. It’s safe. It’s calm. It’s comfortable. Most of the time, I wake up so happy that I have to exercise to get all the energy out. It would be crazy to leave for a city where 70% of the residents are struggling to make ends meet.

But I couldn’t shake it off.

I talked to Chris and applied. One full month goes by with no response. During this waiting game, we had no reason to be down in the dumps because our consolation prize is that we get to stay in our cushion life. In the meantime, Chris and I started a pros and cons list. There were so many more pros to stay in Dallas, but if there is one thing I love about our partnership, it’s that we have the same mindset, goal, and expectation out of life.

We didn’t want our life set in stone at the age of 30.

We peaked in Dallas. All our goals were realized. Now, we are to sit here and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Except, that’s not our personalities at all. We always have a goal in the back of our minds. We always have things we want to accomplish, experiences we want to gain, and objectives we want to meet. We are not the type to settle down, raise kids, and continue the normal cycle of life.

So we made the jump. We played it ‘safe’ and told each other that we will return in 2-3 years and continue our happy life. But we didn’t expect the level of happiness that the Bay Area gave us. Now I know that I felt contentment in Dallas, but I feel true joy in San Francisco.

When we bought our current home, we knew we wouldn’t return to Dallas. It didn’t feel real until yesterday - until we sold the last legal tie to Texas. Now it’s legitimate. And it’s kind of sad. But also freeing. But also so, so sad.

This chapter is fully closed.

Sincerely, Tania

on trying to be a bit more sustainable.

Here’s another buzzword for you.

Sustainable.

I bet THAT word makes you roll your eyes. It’s okay. I had the same reaction. San Francisco is all about sustainability. Every restaurant comes with three different bins: compost, recycle, and garbage. When I first came across these filtering bins, I was stressed as shit. I felt like I was being tested in public – and I felt extra stupid reading packages to see if something is compostable (which is not the same as biodegradable) or just recyclable.

Fast forward a year – and I’m a champ now.

A little bit ago I mentioned going green for the sake of the bay. Well, I decided to take it further – for the bay and for my wallet. We pay for the amount of trash the city collects every week. The medium bin we use now is $11.60 a month more than the smallest bin. It is actually not much – but then I realize I am throwing away money to throw away trash.

What. In. The. Actual. Fuck. Tania.

So I started figuring out ways I can cut my trash in half. I started composting, in addition to the recycling I already do. I started looking at my trash to see the bulk of the issue. The main culprit – outside of food waste – is my love of single use wipes/towels. It’s what I use to clean up anything and everything. In an attempt to cut down on that, I bought food spill rags to replace most of the paper towel use, and cleaning rags to replace the Lysol wipe love affair. So far, so good! I use a color coding system so we don’t accidentally use the rags used for cleaning toilets as cleaning up spills. Because no.

I think the biggest difference in changing is composting. If you are new to composting, all you need is a bin with holes in it for air circulation and direct sunshine for the majority of the day. That’s it. If you do it right, there should not be any smells. I don’t get direct sunshine for long due to Karl, so I fully utilize the weekly pickup service the city offers. What’s worked for me is getting a cute small compost bin to immediately put food scraps in – and moving it outside when it’s full. I’ve tried this for two weeks now and it’s been wonderful! My bin sits on the counter in the accent color of my choosing – copper *insert heart eyes* – so it is very hard to miss. We also put it right next to our wood cutting board for ease. Trying to set everyone up for success here!

Next thing to eliminate is Ziploc bags. I use reusable glass and plastic containers often, but there are times where you just need Ziploc bags. When I sit and think about it, I don’t have a real reason to use it outside of marinating meat. Everything else is better placed in plastic Tupperware. So I searched and found reusable water and air tight silicone versions on amazon that is sitting firmly in my cart.

Another sad thing I hate admitting is I use disposable makeup remover wipes. Did it kill your soul to read that as much as it is for me to admit? Like, how wasteful can I be? On top of it, it is $7 for a 30 day supply. Even worse – I don’t wear anything waterproof so I don’t need to use special wipes. Ugh. Tania, why you so dumb?? Of course, I got myself washable makeup removing cloths the same night I figured out how stupid I am.

It’s actually really hard to see money go out for these things – but I firmly believe it benefits me in the long run. $20 for a pack of 3 large reusable silicone bags vs disposable cheapies that I buy every month. It’s painful at first… but you see it in the long run. That’s been my main reason. More reusable items means my average grocery bill goes down and my monthly trash bill goes down.

I am not going after the zero waste lifestyle. I never want anything in my life to be so extreme that it’s something that I have to work around – hence why I left the paleo diet and took the lessons learned – but no harm in keeping a mug in the office for coffee, using rags for spills, keeping reusable grocery and produce bags, and minimizing food waste.

Sincerely, Tania

it's coming from inside the walls.

We took a wonderfully long break from doing any home repairs the past couple of months.

What started as a race to finish our forever home, turned into a slow and steady pace to the end.

You know when you get a new toy and you get obsessed with it? Maybe not. But I do. I get a new book and I’ll baby it to make sure the corners stay straight. I get a new bag and I’ll condition the leather and make sure it is kept out of harm’s way. Fast forward 3 months – I shove the pristine book into the new bag that I smack pedestrians with as I walk out of the train station.

The house is like this – except I still take great care of it. I realized that if we didn’t have this house, we would be living in our 650 square feet, second floor apartment with old carpets and a kitchen the size of our current bathroom. Being in my current home is a gift in itself, no rush to perfect it. We have a long time before we can pay off the mortgage anyway.

The next project is removing the wonderfully horrendous wallpaper in our hallway and second bedroom.

the beautiful hallway wallpaper.

the beautiful hallway wallpaper.

When we moved in, we were greeted by a musty smell from random parts of the home – makes sense since the house is 90+ years old. What we didn’t realize was that the wallpaper is the culprit! As we peeled off layers of wallpaper, fresh whiffs of the smell came back. Delicious, right? I’m just glad we’re physically removing the source of the smell now.

We took half a day to start part one. We would’ve done more except we found some water damage under the second bedroom’s window so we had to pause and get someone out for that repair. Next weekend, we’ll put some joint compound over the now-naked drywall. The weekend after, we’ll prime. The weekend after, we’ll paint.

AND – we cleared off the front yard! We had this dense clump of juniper bush that spiders love to start families in. We also had this psychotic wrangle of vines that broke our shovel. And these beautifully dead rose plants under the window. Well, everyone’s been evicted. The front yard is butt naked. We’re going to treat the dirt to prepare for planting later in the fall.

Slow and steady.

Sincerely, Tania

labor day weekend.

I finally did something local this past weekend!

You have to hold your horses though, because it’s not particularly exciting.

Saturday was our get-shit-done day. We woke up at 730am to make an 815am Barry’s Bootcamp in the city. Then did grocery shopping for the week. Then Chris worked on the wallpaper removal while I cleaned the kitchen. Then the dining room rug arrived – YAY. It was perfect so we immediately adjusted the dining room. Then we swept and vacuumed. Then laundry. Then I don’t know what happened. Before we knew it, it was 4pm and we ran out of steam.

So Sunday, we protested and embraced an anti-productive day. On a whim, we ran off to Sonoma. I have lots of Napa stories, but never any Sonoma. There’s this adorable little square surrounded by wineries. Just old buildings, horses, and old farm-equipment trucks – just a whole different vibe than Napa.

I must’ve enjoyed because I accidentally got plastered.

I still don’t know WTF happened. Because I woke up at midnight on my bed – chipper as hell – telling a sleepy Chris that I found crunchy French bread in the oven. So I sat in bed eating steak tartare at midnight. The next morning, I was back to normal – no hangover.

Yep, metabolizing wine is my superpower.

So that was my weekend.

All this to say that I’m almost done with my dining room!

Sincerely, Tania

Karaoke World Championships

One night, Chris was in Las Vegas for work. He finished early and didn’t have any clients to entertain so he googled events happening that night. It just so happens that a local bar had a karaoke competition. With singing being his first love, he drove up and decided to enjoy the evening.

He made it into the state championships.

Since he won me over in high school with his voice, I tagged along for that long weekend. His first song was Matchbox Twenty's "Bright Lights" - the same band that he would sing in high school to trick me into dating him.

He won first in Nevada and got into nationals.

Of course, I then had to return and support him!

He didn’t make it into the semi-finals. We had a feeling after day two. While there was a LOT of talent involved, we started seeing a trend. The ones that made it to the semis were ballad and Broadway focused, whereas Chris sang a rock song – and had another rock prepared. The only non-rock he chose was Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”.

As you can see, he is not shy.

It is worth noting that he flew back on Southwest – and his checked luggage was stolen. RIP this beautiful, navy Ermenegildo Zegna suit.

Sincerely, Tania

on comparing ourselves.

When I was in college, I wanted to be a physician. I thought that I would be married by 22, so that my husband can take care of the household finances while I make $0 completing medical school and residency. I thought I would have a kid soon after medical school when life is less stressful. I even bought a new car in college and financed it so that it is paid off by the time I was married so as not to burden my future husband. This is what I honestly thought.

Never mind that I knew deep down I did not want kids – and only planned it because it’s been what’s expected of me growing up female. Never mind that I did not believe in marriage as I grew up very familiar with divorce – and rapidly shedding all religious ties. Never mind that I did not want to give up my entire 20s to work in a field where I quickly lost passion – due to the “kill the symptom, not the source” of healthcare.

I planned my life as such because it was what society, family, and school said was the right way to live my life.

I was 24 credits short of graduating when I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore. Of course, at that time, my major was set in stone – and I didn’t have the luxury to swap. So I graduated and dabbled in healthcare, accounting, insurance, and education to figure out what I want to be “when I grow up”. In this sense, I am still very much in the beginning stages of my career.

At 24, I had the wherewithal to realize that maybe I should figure out what the hell I want out of life and work towards it. But – people don’t mature at the same level. What I learned at 24 might not have hit someone else until mid-30s. Or 40s. Or 19.

How many people out there still feel worthless because they haven’t hit the arbitrary goals created in their teens? How many have conceded by marrying someone they feel deep down is not the one because they just want to be married already – so they can show others and themselves of their “achievement”? How many have stayed in a job they are not fully invested in because they think they are past the age to start in a new industry or go to school? How many had kids before they found themselves and/or figure out why they want to have kids? Even worse, how many have set their lives in stone because they made a decision they were not ready to make to begin with? I know of countless people that can no longer afford school to change industries, can no longer follow their dreams because of a child, and/or feel stuck in an empty marriage due to uninformed decisions?

We compare ourselves to the version of life that society said we should have at (insert age here). It takes a deliberate act to stop listening to society’s expectations.

Does anyone really sit and think why we follow these expectations?

  • Having kids early is because the average life expectancy back then was much, much lower. 
  • Buying a house early is because you had the aforementioned kids early - and no one really moved around back then.
  • Having a career path set in stone is because the dream is to find a cushion job to stay until retirement - since you didn’t move and had a family to feed. 
  • Getting married young was a thing because you had to find a partner to take care of your kid in the home you never leave while maintaining the same job until you die.

This is what our life goals are based on? A backwards life where women couldn’t earn enough to take care of themselves + the reason to have a job is survival, not fulfillment.

Is this real life?

Sincerely, Tania

bathroom /// version 2.0

Whoa, this is a reveal that took way longer than necessary, no?

Remember when I posted about our very exciting bathroom demo and then never followed up?

I got sidetracked trying to tackle the living and dining room walls – and searching for the perfect shower curtain (the struggle is real). Then got sidetracked looking for a new laundry basket. Then got sidetracked looking for the right art to hang. Then got sidetracked looking for a towel bar and hand towel ring. Then I never found the right towel bar and ring, so I just gave up entirely for a solid three months.

Here it is – FINALLY.

This my most beautiful vanity. We found it at the Restoration Hardware outlet with matching sinks – but without the granite or hardware. After 9 months with a beautiful Carrera marble countertop, we decided we cannot own anything more high maintenance than my hair on a humid day. If you have not tried the beauty that is Carrera, you need to learn that it takes on EVERYTHING you leave on it. If you put on makeup around it and drop a few speckles of powder or liquid, it will stay there FOR LIFE. To that, I say GTFO Carrera.

I got the mirrors at Wayfair. It was important to me – in the most first world problem ever – that I have two separate mirrors with rounded edges. Then of course, my industrial aesthetic love affair continues with the overhead lights.

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You didn’t think I would post a photo of my toilet, did you? But I did. Because it is new and beautiful. This is my most prized possession because the old one was from like 1900s with a wood seat and you can never get clean. I would rather pee outside than on that. 

Look at the art though! I wanted something neutral that is mostly warm gray to tie in our cool gray floors and warm greige vanity – yeah, I have great taste – and found this random piece while shopping for planters. I do want to talk about the elephant in the room – that is, I didn’t mean to make a statement placing Dallas above the literal shitter. I wanted to have a Dallas tribute somewhere in the house. It just so happens this matched the bathroom.

We originally had a very cramped elderly friendly shower tub thing. We started the demo with full plans to keep a shower, but my fantastic MIL said that if we were ever to have kids – don’t even ask me as I have the magical IUD powers for the foreseeable future – they will need a tub. We were going to do a tub and shower in our future master bath, but she reminded me that I would definitely not want my sticky screeching kid using my beautiful freestanding bathtub. She was right.

So we moved the wall to make room for the only tub that will fit in this space. We are extremely happy about this. I didn’t want a soap dish hanging out, so we had this nook put in that fits everything perfectly. We also brought up the shower head to 7 feet because of my amazon husband. My shower curtain has a removable inner liner that I can wash – which was EXTREMELY important to me. It also has a sheer portion on top so you can see through it, but since I had to get an extra tall version, I can’t reach it anyway. So it serves for someone to see in – lmao.

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The original towel bar was behind the door – which always makes me think of apartments – so I got a new one to fill in this open space above my hamper and scale.

I know what you’re thinking. Are there two doors to the bathroom? Yes, there are. The previous owners extended the house in the back and found this to be the only solution to gain access. We are eventually closing out the sliding door in the back next to the toilet since that will be our master suite.

Next update will be of the living and dining room – fingers crossed in the next month!

Sincerely, Tania

on mental illness.

I have a friend going through a rather difficult time right now.

There is a very real chance her boyfriend is developing a mental disorder.

After a few weeks where she was deemed the bad guy by her boyfriend, my friend feels guilty for wanting to bail on the nine year relationship - and wondering if she is in the wrong. And I don't know what to say. In this instance, the man is becoming sick. It's not right to leave based on a sickness. On the other hand, if she stays and takes this emotional beating, then she is enabling him. If she leaves in his time of need, then she is in the wrong. So what do you do when you know someone is developing mental illness but does not want to get help? He has a girlfriend and best friend willing to take him - and probably front money - to get treatment. He doesn't take the offer out of pride

How are you supposed to handle this? Mental illness is a real issue. If left unchecked mental illness can lead to homelessness or violence. After a violent act, everyone preaches "you should check in on your friend if you think they are having problems" or "you should get help for those you love". What do you do when the friend lucidly describes the episodes they are having and doesn't think they have a problem? Where are the memes and perfectly designed IG quotes for these situations? Because the fact of the matter is you can't make them go to the doctor. You cannot call up their doctor to verify they actually made an appointment. You cannot call a clinic to make sure someone visited. You cannot visit and ask for results. Unless the friend committed an act that hurt others, you cannot grab and physically force them to check in anywhere.

You can't do anything. You talk on the phone until you're blue in the face - or until they shut their phone off. Then what? Is it on you if you did everything you are legally allowed to do but they still shit on your offer to help? Is it on you if they end up hurting others while your hands are tied?

Where is the line where you're allowed to go back to your own life?

The truths are: the victim has to want your help and the victim has to be strong enough to accept help.

There are so many tips of living your best life. 

You want to eat that ice cream? "Treat yo'self, boo!"

You are too tired to work out? "Be confident in the skin you're in, babe!"

You want to spend your last $5 on Starbucks instead of gas to go to school? "YOLO!"

We're so focused on "living in the present" but forget the past. There are steps prior to developing mental illness. I don't know his past trauma, but I do know that everyone has - at least - one. I have one. You have one. Your best friend has one. Your boss has one. Your boss's boss has one. We all have at least one. The difference is that some of us want to get past it - instead of hiding it behind perfectly staged Instagram photos, well phrased Facebook statuses, and carefully chosen spoken words.

The problem with mental disorder is the stigma. This guy is afraid of the label 'disorder' because it signals weakness. We need more emphasis on the normalcy of being affected by childhood trauma. Moms are fighting each other on raising children the best way, presumably because they were raised the 'wrong' way and gave them enough of a complex to find the 'right' way. How about we sit and look at what went wrong. What prompted the thought that there is a wrong and right?

And, how about we all seek help? I don't want to know your problems, just like I don't want to share my problems. But we owe it to the world - since our actions affect others - to seek help. As grown adults, it's time. 

Sincerely, Tania

 

 

 

trying to be a bit more green.

Every time I read about people going green, half of me rolls my eyes while the other half aches to hug them. Do you know this feeling? It’s like “stop using buzz words to fit into a special niche” but at the same time “thank you for your efforts”. 

When I first moved, there were spiders throughout the-entire-home. It was terrifying. I can squish spiders just fine – but how do you squish the ones on the ceiling without risk of it falling on you? Potential solutions: get a tall husband, get a long handheld vacuum, or work on perfect aim. I got two out of three, so I am doing my part.

I posted a message on NextDoor to see if anyone had any pest control recommendations. I was met with my own neighbors telling me to trap the spiders and release outside, spray rosemary oil around the house as it is a spider deterrent, and/or leave them alone.

HOLY BLUE STATE.

Tania 2.0 decided not to respond for a bit – let the words sink in for 24 hours as to limit gratuitous rage while trying to make nice with new neighbors. The next day, a delicate butterfly of a neighbor kindly told me that everything we do in our area gets fed to the bay. The bay. MY bay.

So here I am, trying to go green.

I bought all these houseplants – and I am obsessed with all of them. As someone who hates trinkets for the sake of ‘décor’ without real meaning, my style has always been bare. Large furniture + the three trinkets I find as I travel whose value is strictly tied to memories. It turns out, plants can double as décor – so I bought them all.

The last one is my prized possession - the fiddle leaf fig tree - and I have been crazy-plant-lady indecisive in finding its forever pot. I was worried it was slowly dying but found out, not one hour ago, that it's actually thriving. Look at that little leaf coming out on top of the bud! 

It is a difficult thing to balance my love of functional decor + zero clutter. As I am typing this, I am tracking a small planter's arrival for the flower shaped snake plant I'm getting for the bedroom. All the while trying to figure out where to place the four pots of herbs I'm growing in the kitchen.

I read somewhere that NASA recommends an air purifying plant in at least 6” pot for every 100 square feet. Not sure how effective it is, or if it really matters since the bay has little to no pollution and I open my windows every afternoon – but I’m almost to hitting that goal.

I am trying to take it a step further by looking into more natural cleaning products. I have seen the full spectrum between “chemical free, environmental friendly” cleaners to using vinegar and water. I did a bit of research and learned that vinegar water needs to soak the item for a solid 15-30 minutes to only be 80% effective. I am sad to say that I will not be joining the vinegar water party as I am in a deep love affair with bleach.

I'll keep you updated on my enthralling domesticated life.

Sincerely, Tania