Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Learning how to: College, the artsy kind

This is my first week of a legit college experience and let me tell you, it feels great! I'm sure as the semester goes along, my attitude will vary but as of right now I'm riding this high for as long as I can. The weather is so-so, which I believe plays a huge part in how I classify the success of the day. Day one, was bright and sunny and we even had class outside in a park not too far from school. Day 2, was a bit more on the dry and technical side as far as academics goes plus it was dark and raining. But today, again, it's bright and sunny and I get to play in the kitchen all night. So far, so good!

I was a tad bit afraid of how I would come across to my peers because I can be very dark with my humor and some would even say inappropriate. But, I've learned from a dear friend (Cham Cham) that as long as I say it with a smile, I can probably get away with it. Haha! He's got a valid point though and I know this now from personal experience.

You know how in high school you tend to gravitate towards those just like you? You form cliques and little adolescent gangs of carbon copies and think "Hey, I'm rad because everyone I hang out with thinks so too?" Well, in my high school experience, I was definitely not that girl. I applied myself vigorously in high school. I studied hard, always did my homework, showed up on time and I even dressed the part. I'm talking business suits and a damn soft leather briefcase. But the people I hung out with were so not like that.

First off, I was raised by boys. I'm talking the kind of boys who ride dirt bikes, played with guns in the jungle, drank beer and smoked weed. I don't have any biological sisters so I never had a Barbie Doll, played dress up, or had slumber parties with caboodles and pictures of pop stars plastered around my room. To be honest, I didn't even have my own room until I was in high school and my brothers moved away. So, I don't necessarily know how to naturally play well with girls.

This is the foundation of the kind of girl I am. I am comfortable around that kind of masculine environment. It sounds so slutty to say "Oh, I only have male friends." But it's primarily true in my case. As a disclosure, I do have a handful of amazing women in my life. These women are the kind of women who also have a very unique background. But what I think is most common among my very few girlfriends is that they are all intelligent and open minded. Which, I like to be believe rings true for myself.

Anyway, so my first day of college I have a lecture class. Basically, we sit in groups and discuss topics that don't necessarily have a right or wrong answer. I always get nervous in this kind of environment because, assessing the line up of potential team mates I can already spot the clusters that are so stereotypical of a high school clique. Given that I am enrolled in an Art School, I thought that my peers would surprise me and link up with other students unlike themselves. As it turns out, I was wrong. All the girls in Fashion linked up, all the music dudes linked up, all the nerdy (and I say this with admiration) gamer kinds huddled in the corner. And BOOM- there I am, standing alone, off to the side and perfectly content with it.

To my surprise, a flock of varied guys who don't necessarily visually fit in to the other groups start making their way towards me. Aha! I have assembled my sweet gang of misfits, without even trying. I like it already. Now, maybe there is some sort of invisible beacon that sends out a signal to other military related people because the one thing we all have in common is just that- the military. There is NOTHING about myself that screams military anything so I think it's interesting that I find myself surrounded by these types pretty frequently. But, to be honest I don't mind these particular guys. They all have a pretty well rounded idea of life and how to "go with the flow" yet still maintain who they are and what they believe. I like that we had an unbelievably deep conversation and no body got heated to the point where punches were thrown. Again, I like. Strong personalities yet the ability to keep an open mind and accept the idea that we can disagree without being dicks to one another. And I just had an epiphany- I AM in a clique, technically. Damn it! Hahaha, oh well.

Day two. I'm in a class full of culinary students. This is where I feel more at ease. Although, I was under the assumption that once again when we break off into groups the military folks will somehow smell it on me and come my way. But to stop that from happening, I was proactive this time. I sought out someone who I knew without a doubt had no military affiliation and started up a conversation. We don't have much in common which makes for a very interesting partner. I get to learn all kinds of new perspectives from her and I hope I get to teach her a thing or two myself. And yes, I purposely chose a girl. Going against the grain here- it's what I want most out of college, at least socially.

At the end of the night, I was bidding my farewells to a rockstar group. The two military dudes in my class did eventually find me, they're cool though and the others I'm content with. They have great life stories, great life ambitions, pretty similar sense of humor, and they all seem to have a willingness to be open minded.

What I've learned about myself so far is that even though my life has not really been this structured in a long time, I immediately fell right back into the mindset I had in high school. I do not procrastinate (something I prepared to battle with for the first couple semesters), I read with excitement (even though reading 90+ pages on resume building and cover letter etiquette makes me want to kill myself), and I knock out homework on the same day. I was skeptical about how I would readjust to college life but so far, I'm functioning off of muscle memory and if history repeats itself- I will be on that Dean's list in no time!

More to come as the weeks unfold. I hope you stick with me on this journey. Until next time, have an amazing day.

Hugs,
CrisM

Daily Nugget: When you actively pursue your passion, there is a glow that emits from within. You might not think anything of it, but be careful because this glow can be very attractive to people. Don't lose focus of your objectives just because you're getting more attention than you're used to. And also, floss.

Friday, April 4, 2014

March Favorites

March Faves!
My ode to NYX Cosmetics


Face: This is incredible. I have used this product on the daily and it keeps my makeup in place, all day long and looking fresh. I've been rained on, I've had the sun beat down on me, I've been kept captive in a fluorescent room for hours, and nothing melts off my face when I use this little guy.

Eyes: Love in Paris palette in "Pardon my French" I love these colors so much! I went to Phoenix a couple weeks ago and this was the only eyeshadow palette I brought with me. I can achieve really chill, natural looks as well as more bold and dramatic. It's super pigmented (something very consistent with NYX) and although there are more shimmery/glittery shades, I enjoy it because it is spring time and I feel sparkly eyes are ok even for those of us pushing 30. 
Lips: The soft matte lip cream has been my go to this past March. There was something weird about the formula when I tried it a couple years back that I didn't like. Or perhaps it was the color, but I've been reaching for this on the reg. I love love love the color Milan, it's a great cool pink that is like a "my lips but much much better" shade that works well with the golds and browns I've been using for my eyes.

Body: St. Tropez has always been on my radar, thanks to Kandee Johnson. But, I'm naturally pretty tan so I never really went crazy with the self tanners. I mean, I'll use it every now and again during the winter months if I'm going to be rocking a dress or something but lately this bronzing mousse has been in heavy rotation. Unlike other self tanners, this truly does keep me bronzed instead of slightly orange.

As far as hair, nails, and clothing are concerned- I didn't really see a pattern that constitutes a favorite for this month. I haven't really done anything differently with my hair, just wash and let air dry for a shaggy long bob kind of thing. Nails, varied throughout the month- I just did a lot of pastel colors for spring, but no favorite. And clothing, well, I was bouncing back and forth between Seattle and Phoenix weather so again- nothing that qualifies as a favorite for the month of March.

Music: As much as I hate to admit it- I've been listening to a shit ton of reggae dub step this month. I mean, I'm not actively sitting around and b-boppin' to it, I just would throw it on while I'm getting ready or cooking. This is all Hufflepuff's fault.


Food: I think the only food that I've consistently been eating has to be fish. Like sushi Friday's. Because it's lent season and in Catholicism, we don't eat meat on Fridays. So that sort of just became my food for the month. Lots of mahi, tilapia, cod, salmon, tuna. Boosh.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My new (creepy) hobby

Let me set the scene for you lovely readers.

Right now, I'm sitting in a bar and it's the middle of the night on this glorious and cold Saturday. I'm having some grub before heading to a show. 

I inadvertently chose a spot next to a couple.  Tonight is their first date. I know this because for the past half hour they have been talking about the basics. You know, "where you're from", "siblings", "college experiences", "life goals", "most awesome vacation", etc. 

So in between bites of this delicious bbq chicken sandwich, I try to hide my giggles to their conversation by taking 900 sips a second of my San Pelligrino. It's working so far. But I have to wrap this up quickly since I've been nursing this sandwich for almost an hour and it's starting to look weird. 

How completely awkward this whole situation would be for me. I have been listening intently on his responses because he's trying so hard to come off as a cool, hip, badass. And she's trying to project this hard core, high speed, kind of badass chick who can totally hang with the dudes. They are both not badass by any stretch of the imagination. Even for common folk. 

This "fly in the wall" experience has traumatized me. I will never go on a legit date for as long as I live. I would have tapped out on minute 6 of this date if I were her. First off he chose to wear a tomato red polo and khakis. On a first date. At a bar. 

Not saying that I'm so vain where I would immediately dismiss someone based off of what he was wearing. However, within 10 minutes he no shit started talking about wizards and then followed it up with video games and the hard knock life of a fraternity. He's seen his roommate naked. "It gets crazy." Apparently. 

Now the girl, I groove on her. She takes her time in responding and it seems like she is really into him. She's only laughed a handful of times though and he's been prefacing many of his anecdotes with "let me tell you something super funny..." She fake laughed every single time. I, however, real laughed. But since I've been clicking away on this here smartphone it seems as though I'm having a super comical convo with a friend. Which I am not...

Anyway, I'm done eating and now I have to go to the bathroom. 2 liters of acqua frizzante will do that to a girl. But, I've enjoyed myself so much that now this is what I will do to pass the time before I have to go out and do things. And I will write all about it.

Just for your information. He works at a restaurant and she is a bartender. They are both new to the area. She has no siblings and he has a bunch of brothers. I'm guessing he's talking about his fraternity brothers. He talked about those guys a lot. And how he can knock back tequila like it's going out of style... Life goals for the both of them are the same which I think is promising. Get a good job where they can both travel to exotic places like Florida and Alaska. They no shit said exotic and Florida in the same sentence. Haha they crack me up.

God, I miss my friends.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Behind the Blog

Here are the final 8 days of Fat Mum Slim's Photo a day challenge prompts. 


Today, the prompt was "reflection". To be honest I've had one hell of a shit day and I just didn't feel like taking a picture of my reflection. Simply because the image would reflect either a really sad face or this one... my signature 'bitch' face. Sorry friends. I tried to crack a smile but it was so fake that it just upset me even more. BTW- I'm holding Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer and it is amazing. Not only does it smell like chocolate, but it tastes like it too. I discovered this by accident. 

Day 27: My view from the rooftop. Looking over Elliot Bay and into downtown Seattle. 

Day 26: I was supposed to take a picture of "light" and it just so happened that I was sitting in rush hour traffic on the way to the east side to hang with some friends and I look up and see this thing. It illuminates bright orange at night time but such a lucky shot either way. 

Day 25: The prompt was "cut" and I don't have enough hair to get another hair cut. I already had food cooked, so I wasn't going to be cutting veggies or anything. And I sure as shit was not about to get all emo and cut my wrists for the sake of "art" so I did a word play. My caption was "Cut the shit, Clouds." Because the sun finally came out of hiding after 18 straight days of rain but the clouds kept blocking the rays.

Day 24: Half was the prompt. I did a quick sketch and wrote out a little snippet on the other side of her face but decided to just not reveal all that much about my current state of reflection on that day. 

Day 23: This is where I relax. It was a super lazy Sunday. Did absolutely nothing until 6pm. And all I did was put pants on and drive 20 minutes across the bridge to the east side to go grocery shopping for a shit ton of chicken and turkey, and coffee. And beer. 

Day 22: It was weird and discouraging to try to capture an "act of kindness" so I was about to skip that day. But, I was hanging out with a friend and he totally surprised me with this sweet little treat. It was a very delicious chocolate filled and dipped fig from Fran's chocolates. What are the odds???

Day 21: I love to read. But, usually I go for more captivating stories. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Mindy's book. It is funny (prompt for the day) because I can relate to her on several levels. 

Well, that wraps it up for this month's photo challenge. Hope you enjoyed the pics. And if you are not following me on Instagram yet- you totally should! 

Daily Nugget: When you're really pissed off about something, give yourself a little bit of time to process it before making a move. Thinking logically in a state of utter rage is one of the most challenging things I've ever had to do. Do not tarnish your character simply because you think the only way to cope is to do something just as disgusting. You're better than that and today proved that so am I. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Favorites

Feb Faves!

Face: Burt's Bees facial cleansing towelettes. I started going to the gym in the afternoon and these are awesome as an afternoon facial refresher for those days that I have to be somewhere immediately after my workout.

Eyes: This has to be one of my all time favorite trios. I remember using this in high school. I've rediscovered my love for the CG trio in Golden Sunset. Been rocking golden eyes all month.

Lips: I'm a huge fan of Revlon lippies. So, when they came out with their new line of Colorburst lip balms (Matte and Lacquer) I had to get my hands on them. I picked up the shade in Coquette and I love love love it. It's a pretty pink that has fantastic potential to be a super bright pink. I use it sparingly and so one swipe gives me this 'my lips but better' look.

Body: I take baths like nobody's business. It's been really cold here lately, like bitterly so. My nighttime routine this month has been to make a drink and take a bath while listening to Pink Floyd's Wish you were here album. I found this awesome German honey and almond soak at Metropolitan Market and I've used it for every bath so far. The first time I used it, I was so relaxed that I passed out in the bath... I've adjusted the amount that I use now and so fear not- there will be no accidental drownings in this here flat.

Hair: So, my hair is growing out quite quickly and the velcro rollers are great. But, I have to give mad props to my sweet teasing comb this month. The one I picked up is by Cricket and the variations in bristle length do a great job at getting my hair teased with just a couple strokes. Makes the possibility of Peg Bundy helmet hair very attainable.

Nails: China Glaze vs OPI. Listen, I'm a fan of both but when I don't have the patience to sit there for 2 hours while my nails cure, I grab any bottle of China Glaze. I love how the formula sets up quickly and I don't have to worry about it chipping even without a top coat. This month, I've been rocking some wicked goth nails. China Glaze in Liquid Leather. Def Feb Fav.

Clothing: Um, I guess it has to be my Kyoto trench rain jacket from REI. The rain has been relentless this month and the cheery bright lime green keeps me from slitting my wrists. =P

Music: There are 3 songs that have been on constant repeat this month. Tegan and Sara's Not Tonight,  JR Aquino's cover of Drunk in Love by Beyonce, and Daniela Andrade's version of Crave you by Flight Facilities. Like constant replay... all day, everyday.

Food: Zesty pickles. Long story short, I had to wash my sheets at 2am because I was eating a jar of pickles in bed and things got out of control. They are so good.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stability and security are in my future, right?

I'm not really the kind of person who is typically jealous. Of anything really. I always find it motivational when others accomplish things that I strive for. New car, fancy shoes, getting that degree, losing the weight, etc. Those are all things that can bring on a tinge of jealousy sure, but not for me. I would much rather celebrate your success than be jealous of it.

However, what I'm somewhat "jealous" of is the idea of what my life used to be like. (Haha, how much more narcissistic can I possibly be? I'm jealous of... myself.) *Sigh* Anyway, I can't seem to get over it and move the fuck on. I believe it's partially this (previously enchanting but now annoying) Seattle weather and partially the fact that I am STILL in limbo. I have a lot more time on my hands than I know what to do with.

One of my current hurdles is figuring out how to spend my time here wisely. When I'm at home, I clean. Since I have about an eighth of what I used to have, it's not a lot to clean. Clean clothes, clean dishes, clean floors, sheets, refrigerator, car... all of it. CLEAN.

Then I go out and explore. I've been in, out, up, down, left, right, and every other possible direction of this city and those cities nearby. And I've only really been here for a few months. I'm tourist'd out. So I plan trips outside the state. But those usually have to deal with other people and that means coordinating with their work and school schedules, flights, car rental, hotel stays, etc. so those are less of a 'whim' and more of a waiting game. Which brings me back to square one... how to spend my time here wisely.

So, it's been this giant rotating door scenario for weeks on end. And I just want to quit going around in circles and start sprinting forward. I deserve to sprint forward damn it. I've been excited for school to start for a really long time. Even though I only have about 7 weeks left before it starts, I'm "jealous" of those who get to go now. I shouldn't really put that in quotation marks... I am jealous.

Now, having all that out there for you to judge, what is my next step? Shed light on to me. Help me see the bigger picture. I know these posts are coming off with so much whining and complaining and for that I truly apologize. That is never my intent. But friends, I am struggling here. Struggling to find my place, struggling to keep my spirit afloat, fighting tooth and nail to not give up on this spectacular new plan. Send me as many happy thoughts and love vibes as you have in you. And thank you in advance. 

Daily Nugget: I'm going through this major blue phase. I have been gravitating to just the blue clothing in my closet. Just food for thought. And also, it's raining. Big surprise. Bleh. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Behind the Blog


Day 20: Alki Lighthouse. Gorgeous day and I couldn't stand to be inside. So, I grabbed my 12 oz. soy sugar free Mexican Mocha and headed to the beach. I sat there for a little over an hour, just thinking of everything and nothing. It was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon. And to get a little home sick for the island.

Day 19: Spontaneity runs in my blood. A friend and I headed to the movies in the middle of the night. We watched The Monuments Men... in Bellevue.

Day 18: Seriously, I'm a coffee addict. The day's prompt was "magic" and coffee was the first thing to pop into my head.

Day 17: My absolute favorite vegetable.

Day 16: The prompt was "create" and I've been putting off painting this piece for weeks. So, what better time than any when my photo a day basically said "Get off your ass and create something!"

Day 15: My "drink of choice" ranges from a single glass of Gelisi Antonio Moscato, to a couple beers before bed, to Cuba Libres until I can't breathe. Honestly though, most days it is all about my liters of water but tonight- I chose Pom Ruski Soda and it was soooo good.

Day 14: By chance, I met a girl. The prompt shouldn't have been that difficult it was "red heart" and it was in fact V-day. But, me being me- I don't surround myself with that nonsense so when I met Chae and she just so happened to have a red heart tattoo- I couldn't deny that it was fate.

Day 13: This was a toughie. The prompt was "perfect" and although, I would have much rather posted a picture of my best friend given that he is in fact my idea of perfect in every way imaginable, I couldn't bring myself to do it. For one, it would have been an old picture and that sort of defeats the purpose of these challenges. So, after my chaotic day- I hunkered down on the couch with a glass of cab sav and picked up Inferno. And it really was the perfect way to end my day.

Day 12: "Out and about" was the prompt but as confident as I am, I really can't stand taking selflies when I'm actually out doing things. So, I stopped in for lunch in the middle of all my errands and copped out with this shot.

Day 11: MISTAKE. Let me just say. If you've never eaten Half Baked froyo, then I don't know what you're doing with your life. It's so simple, vanilla and chocolate but then it punches you in the face with morsels of cookie dough and brownie bits. The "froyo" of it all makes it seem like it's not too bad, but when you destroy an entire pint in one sitting, well then that's where the mistake lies.

Daily Nugget: Lying by omission is still lying. I don't like it, I don't like doing it, and I definitely don't like it when it happens to me. But, at what point do you have to just say "the past is the past" and let what is- be? A huge part of who I am today is because of my past. But bringing up the past to get to know me ruins the illusion of who I am trying to become. Ask no questions, do not dig deeper, and just take it for what it is. And also, dance.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Moondoggies at Tractor

I was introduced to The Moondoggies almost a year ago.

They have a very countryesque blues sound to their music and I actually groove on it big time. The rhythm is catchy in a non pop way. I can still dance to some of their songs, but mostly I enjoy how easily I can just kick it and chill with a giant cup of coffee.


My affinity for live music is intense. So imagine my utter excitement when I found out that they've scheduled a show right here in town. Granted, it's not really that big of a deal since they are from just up the street in Everette. (Unlike Local Natives showing up in Italy.) But still, I was pumped! Ticket was purchased immediately.

I spent my Valentine's Day surrounded by obnoxious couples in a tiny little tavern in Ballard. It was a weird experience to say the least but I was so preoccupied with the fact that I was standing front and center, a mere 3 feet away from the band. The show was just as expected. Awesome!



Word on the street is that live music is a big deal here in Seattle. Since I'm not really a drinker (read: minor control issues) I don't really have the motivation to seek out bars in the middle of the night to sit there and pound glasses of water for hours on end listening to local bands. At least not solo... So I haven't really had the pleasure of partaking in that kind of leisure. Sad face.

However, over the weekend, I did meet a really cool chic. The whole initial interaction is quite funny and putting the situation down in words doesn't do it justice. I've tried to recap it about a thousand times by this point and it's just getting worse. Alls I'm going to say is that I am a firm believer in the idea that people don't happen upon each other by chance. There is always a reason why paths cross and I'm glad ours did. =)





Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Behind the Blog


Oh look, it's another photo a day challenge!

It's been a few months since I've participated in the Fat Mum Slim photo a day challenge and I actually kind of missed it. At the beginning of February I started posting the pics to my Instagram page, and it's been neat to see everyone else's photos instead of just my own. 

I wanted to take this time to thank you, my lovely readers, for checking out my blog. I know my posts are rather sporadic and have been less uppity these days. I'm working on it, I promise. 

For this challenge I'm doing it a little differently. I've taken a screen shot of the pics and put the day in the corner and below I will give you some insight to the photo, location, and basically just a look behind the scenes and into my life.

Day 10: The prompt for today is: "I am..." I was sitting in the beginning stages of rush hour traffic. The Moondoggies were playing on my car stereo (BTW- I'm going to see them live this coming Friday!) and I was surprised at how patient I was throughout the whole ordeal. I'm usually really impatient just in general. 

Day 9: "Details" I woke up that morning and I was just missing a darling friend so much it physically hurt. Driving around, I finally pulled up to this little bar in Renton and sat there for a while. The weather was so perfect for a movie marathon and snuggling on the couch. But, I had a couple cups of really decent french press coffee instead. It helped. Sort of.

Day 8: "Water" A friend flew in for the weekend and this shot was taken at 11am, at an Irish pub. Clearly, one of us had to properly hydrate in order for the pub crawl binge weekend to be possible. I drink responsibly.

Day 7: "Utensil" Sushi Friday! 

Day 6: The prompt was: "Something that starts with 'c'" I had a really busy schedule and I knew that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to get a cool picture for the rest of the day. So, after the gym I was trying to rationalize the fact that I just wasn't going to have anything to photograph. Then, it hit me- DUH! Creatine starts with a "c"... aye yai yai

Day 5:  "Square" Yea, I know, there is nothing square in the shot- which was really the whole point. I felt very defiant that day and I just didn't feel like following the "rules." So I did my own thing and took a pic of round muffins in a round bowl. Sue me. 

Day 4: "Childhood" I got a surprise package in the mail that was duct taped to shit with the faces of One Direction. I took the picture because as a kid my favorite memory was getting cool things in the mail. I never knew what was going to be in the boxes and that made me happy. 

Day 3: "Orange" This was all sorts of filtered and manipulated to get the photo to come out so damn orange. But, I'm rather proud of it. BTW- that was an Old Fashioned, in case you were wondering. 

Day 2: "Favorite" My friends tell me to keep this to myself, but Steven Hauschka is my FAVORITE player for the Seahawks. I will keep the WHY to myself though. You just won't be able to handle it. 

Day 1: "Me" Almost midnight, brother was in town. We've been sight seeing for days and I totally forgot that I signed up for the photo marathon. So as we were shuffling to the car, I stopped in front of a sculpture in downtown and took this. I chose to filter it through grayscale because as cliche as it may sound, a lot about me tends to lurk in the gray. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Risk vs. Reward. Is it worth it to you?

Slowly dies who becomes a slave of his habits, who repeats every day a journey always equal, who does not change the brand, who dare not wear new colours and not talk to who doesn't know.

Slowly dies who makes his television gurus.

He dies slowly who avoids a passion, who prefers black and white and the points on the "i" in a whirlwind of emotions, redeeming eyes in Ecstasy, smiles between yawns, hearts and feelings of wavering.

Slowly dies who turned the table if unhappy at work, who does not risk the certain for the uncertain to pursue a dream, who does not choose at least once, the escape from sensible advice.

Slowly dies who does not travel, who does not read, listen to music, not who is not funny.

He dies slowly who destroys the pride, who doesn't let help.

Slowly dies who passes the days complaining of bad luck or the incessant rain.

Slowly dies who abandons a project before you begin you, who asks questions on things that ignores or does not respond to things you know.

Avoid death rate, always remembering that to live it takes larger effort to breathe.

A vibrant patience alone does conquer beautiful happiness.


Pablo Neruda

What an incredible thing to read and to believe in. 

I am constantly asked "What do you do (for a living)?" And each time I look at it as encouragement to change, to grow, to experience something new. I love the fact that each time I'm asked this question, I have a different answer. Not because I'm frivolous in my life choices or that I'm unfocused, but because I choose to follow my passions. I choose to have the kind of lifestyle where the day to day is just as exciting as a vacation (meaning unplanned and out of the norm). I don't want to be old and broken and look back and wish I did more. I want to sit there and smile because I did everything I dreamed of doing. 

I believe that NOW is the time to pursue things that make my heart flutter. NOW is the time to go out on a limb and chase those unrealistic dreams. Because, truly- I've learned that it really isn't about the destination, it's the journey. 

My journey so far has been my life's greatest accomplishment. I understand that having a career is important, having a family and a routine is all fine and dandy for most. But for me- I have and will continue to live the kind of lifestyle that makes me hungry for more. There is no turning back for me. And thank God for that. 

I now think in terms of "extended temporariness". My life is broken up into small chunks of time, chapters within chapters. I refuse to shut out opportunities to grow because it doesn't seem sensible. Every new place I go, I learn new things about the kind of woman I want to be. I don't want to be a slave of habits. 

A few days ago I posted a thing on only having so much time left. You can read about it here. And what I'm most proud of is the fact that I've really thrown myself into the wind with it. I've made the choice to soak up as much as I can by DOING as much as I can. This tiny, empty flat is just temporary. The trade school is just temporary. Seattle is just temporary. And that is exciting!

The sun is out- it's time for me to go DO THINGS.

Much love,
CrisM

Daily Nugget: Sneakers O'Toole is coming in tonight. I am really happy that I get to be a part of my friends' journeys. He's heading to Korea on Sunday and I'm excited that I get to show him around my new home town.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Living Vicariously: Fran's Chocolates

Last week a friend told me about a little chocolate shop that I must check out. Now, I know it sounds weird, but I'm not a huge fan of chocolates. I blame it on my love for bready carbs. If you put a piece of  stale, half eaten, Hawaiian bread next to a decadent chocolate truffle, without a doubt, I'd go for the Hawaiian bread every time. I'm a weirdo like that. =)

But, I'm also open minded... and a foodie. So, given that my friends were insistent on the awesomeness of these chocolates and the rather close proximity of the shop, I gave it a go. And I'm really glad I did.

Fran's Chocolates is located in University Village, a place I've come to really enjoy. Primarily because I'm a sucker for sparkling Christmas lights and boutique shops. It was 8pm and I decided, tonight is the night to try some famous chocolates.
Upon walking into the store that is situated in a well placed corner, I immediately was drawn in by the gorgeous displays of truffles laid out all over the shop. It is simple, modern, yet welcoming, and warm. So far, so good. Then, the most cheerful little lady comes out to greet me. Seriously, she made the experience awesome. She had passion, excitement, and was totally attentive. The smell of a chocolate shop that is laced with coffee seriously makes me happy. Apparently.
As we got to chatting, the girl whose name I can't recall (I'm embarrassed because I'm usually really good with names!) was so genuinely eager to convert me into a chocoholic. She almost succeeded, but I'm stubborn. Haha

I was able to sample about half a dozen of their finest chocolates and even those that were featured on the episode of Unique Sweets: Seattle Sweets.

Sure, you can get a chocolate fanatic to taste test these decadent treats and sure, you'll get the obvious "oooss" and "ahhhs" but when you take someone like me, the reviews are definitely going to be legit.

Here are my findings:

I started off with their signature dark chocolate truffle and their chocolate imperiale. I'm into dark chocolate in the very rare event that I get a craving for it. The darker, the better. These little guys blew my mind. (I didn't think there was much difference between the two, besides the imperiale having cocoa nibs on top.) The dark chocolate ganache center was so soft, it was like biting into a molten lava cake. The smoothness of the chocolate had me speechless. Simple. Decadent. Perfection.

I also sampled their single malt whiskey truffle. Now, I've made dark chocolate Jameson truffles before. And maybe because my primary taste tester is sort of a whiskey aficionado, and I'm used to a higher alcohol content (I've actually gotten a buzz from my truffles) I was sort of let down with this one. There just wasn't enough whiskey in it to impress me. If I wasn't told it was a whiskey truffle, I wouldn't have known the difference. That's a shame.

Then, because I'm a coffee addict- I had to give the dark chocolate espresso truffle a go. And holy hell- Fran's got that one down to the "t". I could smell the espresso before I even put the truffle in my mouth. A wonderful infusion of espresso cream, wrapped in dark chocolate. I could have eaten 30 more.

But, I moved on to the gray and smoked salt caramels. This was featured in the show. The girl (who we will now call "Lucy") claims that Fran came up with the idea to sprinkle salt granules on top, instead of how it is traditionally mixed into the caramel. This allows the pallet to experience an exceptional harmony of the beloved sweet and salty combination in a new way. Sort of a two step process to allow the taste buds to truly register the different flavors.

The caramel was insanely buttery and the salt that slowly melts in your mouth was absolutely delicious. Creamy, smooth, smokey, and utterly fantastic. I did prefer the gray salt (covered in dark) over the smoked (milk chocolate).

Then I was coerced into trying their hazelnut crunch. Milk chocolate doesn't make me happy. But the toasted, caramelized pieces of hazelnut- well that makes me very happy. And you know what? I'm glad I tried it. It wasn't the piece of chocolate I would buy for myself but it was a wonderful thing to taste. If you groove on milk chocolate chock full of nutty goodness- this is the treat for you. I did enjoy the crunchiness of the caramelized hazelnuts. I enjoy the variations in both taste and texture.

And finally, onto the Palermo bar. These weren't in the display case, they come pre packaged in fancy little bars. I was sort of sad because they looked interesting and I really wanted to give it a try. We're talking dried fruits like oranges and apricots, mixed in with almonds and hazelnuts, with a little coconut on a bed of dark chocolate. Seriously- I just wanted a taste. So, "Lucy" grabbed a bar off the table and opened it up for me. AMAZING. She was so confident that I would love it and boy was she right! The texture of the dried fruit, the nuttiness of the toasted hazelnuts and that freshness of coconut- all joined together by their delightful dark chocolate. Seriously, my favorite thing in the whole shop!





"Lucy" wrapped up all the wonderful treats I sampled and decked it out in our city's colors. Go Hawks!!! Needless to say, Fran's did a good job of getting a self proclaimed "non chocolate lover" to change her perspective on the matter. So, if you're on the fence about whether or not to give these truffles a go, I say "HECK YES!" Do it! Plus, they make it easy for you. Click here to find out more. 

Tom and Lindsey, thanks for the head's up. Hope you enjoyed the review enough to come visit!



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Seahawks' Super Bowl!

The city was decked out in Blue and Green. The energy, words can't even begin to describe. I was pumped, a nervous wreck, and so ready to experience this game.

Let me just put out a full disclosure. The last time I voluntarily sat down to watch a football game (before this season) was Super Bowl XXXIII Broncos vs Falcons. As it turns out, I had no interest in it. And I've been that way pretty much my whole life.

But, something happened this past fall and I "forced" myself to see what the hype was all about and holy moly- I'm sort of a fanatic now. To the point where I would wake up at 2am (Italy time) just to stream the game. This might not sound like odd behavior for those fans stationed overseas but for me, this was outrageous! 
As the 2013 season developed so did my support for the Seahawks and true interest in the game. It was about 4 or 5 games in that I started to figure it all out. The many rules and point conversion things still confuse me, but surely- I'll get it all down next season.
So here, the morning of the game- I am donning my sweet Miller (#86) jersey and packing up the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes I just made. On my way to a Super Bowl Party. And totally amped about it! "WHO IS THIS GIRL!?!?!" I think to myself as I catch a glimpse of my reflection on the way out the door... *Sigh
Anyway, so I'm not going to be one of those guys who regurgitates a play by play. You watched the game... you saw what I saw. And if you didn't, that's probably because you don't really care. Which is fine too. =)
The main reason why I'm even writing is not only to celebrate the fact that the Hawks dominated one of the greatest football teams ever but to share with you the awesome feeling of "community" I finally feel here in Seattle.
A few weeks back I was complaining about how I just haven't gotten into the groove of things here. Yea, it's taken me a little longer than expected and I was upset about it. I was upset about leaving Italy, I was upset that I wasn't finding my place in Seattle. Bored because school hasn't started, not really looking forward to returning to the work force. Missing my brothers, missing my niece, missing my best friend who is still in Italy, etc.
But all of that has changed this past week. (I still miss my loved ones, obvi,  I'm just not upset anymore.) And it changed because of football? I guess so! For the past six days I wore my Seahawks jerseys and I was utterly shocked at the amount of attention I received. I'm talking like HUNDREDS of high fives throughout the week. It was ridiculous! Everywhere I went, I was getting big smiles, high fives and "Go Hawks!" for DAYS! This was insane to me. And I liked it!

Finally- a sense of community. Something without commitment or pressure yet full on welcoming acceptance if one chooses to participate. Win win. Go Hawks!
And seriously, a big thanks to the sweet ass city of Seattle. Brother was in town for the weekend and all he had to say was how amazing this place is. He really enjoyed the scenery, the pride of keeping the city clean, and mostly the vibe he got. He never once felt uneasy or "threatened" here and he's seriously looking into moving up this way. We've been all over the world and so that is a pretty high compliment if he's willing to pack up his life and move up here just after three days in town. Good job Seattle!