The West Coast is the Best Coast

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As I sleepily write this post, in a perfect holiday-induced brain haze, I am reflecting on 2015.  A year that has been filled with several trips to the West Coast for both business and pleasure.  And not that I didn’t know this before, but with each trip, the West Coast – from Los Angeles to Seattle – proved itself, hands down, to be the best coast in the continental U.S.  It is my jam and I can’t wait to fill my 2016 with extended vacations to this earthquake-prone paradise.

First it was Los Angeles in May for a meet-up and unexpected cry session with my functional MD, who is AWESOME.  Then it was Pacific Grove, and more specifically Asilomar Conference Grounds, where I consistently thought I was in an Inception-esque dream because of the amazing fog-cloaked landscape (and the surreal feminism that was all around me, which we’ll get into later).  After California, it was road trip time to the PNW to meet up with family for the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, WA.  And just when we thought we had seen our fair share of Amazon-bred suits and accompanying neck beards, we headed back to Seattle two weeks later for an impromptu, but completely welcomed, working trip for the musician beau.

With all of that sand between my toes, twinkling golden light, and FernGully foliage influencing my decisions, I remembered that sharing is caring and thought I should put together some type of list to chronicle my West Coast adventures and mark the end of 2015.


Los Angeles

  1. El Matador State Beach.  A rogue rock did indeed hit me on the back of the head while sitting on the beach, but the beach was so spectacular that no shits were given.
  2. The Getty Villa.  How is it possible that this place is free?!  If I lived in LA, I would bribe security guards with Ho Hos and baby sloths to let me stay after hours Every. Single. Day.  A first-century Roman country house meticulously recreated in Malibu?  YES.  I’ve read you were a total miser, J. Paul Getty, but you were spot on with this one.
  3. Erewhon Natural Foods.  People say that I shop like a European, going to the market everyday to get meal ingredients.  This grocery store is tailor-made for yours truly.  It is to paleo feasters what Pamela Anderson is to vegans.  F%$@ing ideal.  Again, an Every. Single. Day. kind of place.
  4. NCIS: Los Angeles was filming at our hotel during our stay.  Hotel staff went out of their way to make sure we didn’t see L.L. Cool J but the spa water in the lobby was perfection.  Mama Said Knock You Out…
  5. The Weather.  We left frigid spring temps in Denver to find perfect temps in LA.  We were reminded of perfect said temps, when we returned to this disaster:
It was bleak, people, very bleak.

Adult tantrums were thrown.

Pacific Grove

  1. Bird’s Eye View. Flying over the Rocky Mountains is arguably the most unbelievably beautiful aerial views one can have while being hurled across state lines in a metal tube 35,000 feet above the ground.  Not only that, you get uncomfortably close to said Rockies and it’s bumpy as hell.


    Are we supposed to be this close?!

  2. Sister Time.  This trip was initially for business but after I convinced my sister to attend, it was also for pleasure.  A women’s leadership conference at a secluded beach retreat was sure to encourage some deep reflection time as well as the suppression of inappropriate sister giggling during sessions.  Both of which happened and both of which were much needed.  Jen, your snorting is missed.
  3. New Friend.  My sister, being the leader that she is, brought along a coworker to the conference to soak in some of the fem-empowerment vibes.  And just like my sister, she was amazing and just what I needed.  Anne is a storyteller and has quite the addictive personality.  From using “real” as a perfect superlative to creating a space of her own in the milieu of an academic women’s conference, she felt like family by the end of our short time together.
  4. Asilomar Conference Grounds.  Real.  Rustic. And completely retro.  In all honesty, I am a total hotel snob.  I judge where I lay my head and where I bathe and in the words of my new friend Anne, my standards are REAL high.  The accommodations at Asilomar were straight out of the 1960s but it didn’t even matter.  The view right outside of our door was so overwhelming that it erased the brick-like pillows and yellow sparkle laminate bathroom counter.  The grounds and accompanying beach, which was just steps away, truly took my breath away.


PNW Road Trip

  1. Eyes on the Road. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT rinse you contact lenses with the hydrogen peroxide solution on the morning of a big road trip.  It truly makes you believe that ripping out your eyeballs is the only way to mitigate the shocking pain after the self-inflicted acid bath. Visions of the demise of Batman villains were racing through my head.  The label on the bottle shouldn’t be red, it should be covered with used needles in the hopes of making you think twice.  Bausch + Lomb, are you listening?
  2. Hipsters. I was totes prepared for the #authentic, magical world of #SocalityBarbie.  Alas, I forgot to pack the latest #Kinfolk.  The trip was almost ruined, but then I remembered: #blessed #slowlife #liveauthentic #livefolk #kinfolk #visualcoop #finditliveit #getoutside #letsgosomewhere #neverstopexploring #socality #explore #adventure #lifeofadventure #pnw #pacificnorthwest #thatpnwlife #northwestisbest #thegreatpnw #greatnorthcollective #pdx #communityfirst #oregon #upperleftusa #peoplescreatives #wildernessculture.
  3. Cannon Beach.  We went into this trip with little planned except for reaching Seattle on a certain date, everything else was left to the strength of our cell phone signals.  While hunting for a place to stay on the Oregon coast, Cannon Beach sparked a childhood memory for me and we decided to give it a go for the night.  We ended up staying three days.  Wild bunnies make up the majority of the population in this perfect seaside town and that was just fine with us.  Snowbirds?  No, we will be Cannon Beach bunnies in our golden years.  (No, we cannot take credit for this gem of a video nor the song selection.  Also, not quite sure what the motivation was here.)
  4. Forget the Last Entry.  We want it all to ourselves and we will fight to the death to make sure that happens.
  5. Whidbey Island.  The point of this entire trip was to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday a year late by joining him at the Wooden Boat Festival.  Happy 2nd 70th birthday, Dad!!!  (Open-heart surgeries screw up plans, you know.)  To mark the occasion of multiple family members being in the same geographic location, my Dad set us all up at the Fort Casey Inn on Whidbey Island.  Stunningly beautiful.  Eerily quiet.  Most definitely haunted.  Prayed myself to sleep every night because I am pretty sure the eyes moved in the painting in our bedroom.



  1. The Weather Again.  Seattle is oh-so-glorious when the sun is shining.  Mind blowing, in fact.  But when Seattleites need to feed the rain gods with all of their copious amounts of recycling and compost, which is most of the time, you remember why Washington’s Department of Transportation took to building no-suicide guards on Seattle bridges.
  2. New Food.  Sitka & Spruce is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle and a must when visiting.  This time, feeling a bit adventurous and embracing the fishy Seattle air, we decided to try something new: oysters.  I know.  Not adventurous for most, but for us, it was.  Coming from very land-locked Colorado, fresh oysters are rare and when they are on a menu, I am skeptical about their origins.  After the shigoku oysters at Sitka & Spruce, we are complete converts despite their vajayjay likeness.
  3. New Friends.  Let’s be real, making friends as an adult seems to be exceedingly difficult at times.  This was not our experience on this trip.  It was easy, fun, and quite addictive to be around passionate and downright hilarious people.  And Cards Against Humanity was involved.  Need I say more?  The best combo definitely involved “a micropig wearing a tiny raincoat and booties” and “losing one’s virginity.”
  4. Bainbridge Island.  We decided to take the 30 minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island on a whim.  While walking to the ferry terminal, we literally stumbled upon $120 just lying on the sidewalk.  Being A+ citizens, we looked all around for the owner of said cash.  I promise, there was NOBODY around for blocks.  We dubbed it the “group wad” and used it to fund our trip to Bainbridge.  Ferry tickets, amazing cider at Ale House on Winslow, and almost peeing ourselves after an epic round of Cards Against Humanity was all covered by the group wad.  What wasn’t covered was Mt. Rainier  peaking through the fog on the ferry ride back to Seattle.  Amazing.

Well folks, I hope this list makes you think twice about your love of the Jersey Shore and named hurricanes.  And here’s to the end of 2015!  Happy New Year and I hope to see you on my next flight to the West Coast.



I Will Never Be A Junkie

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Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a beautiful (pretty on good days depending on the state of her hair) maiden sat in her commode agonizing about what awaited her.

Glaring back at her in cold sharpness was her future.  She knew what had to be done and it would require great courage, speed, and precision.  She was ready; the moment had come.

The sword came to her skin and her eyes narrowed.  Be brave, she silently mouthed to herself, it will all be over soon.

Everything went black.


Well, that’s basically how it all went down.

During a trip to LA earlier this summer (stay tuned for my upcoming CA post) my functional MD recommended weekly B12 injections for a variety of reasons.  At the same time, she asked me if I would have a problem giving myself the injections.  “Of course not, no big deal,” I quickly told her, as I have never had an issue with needles or getting shots.

As they require refrigeration, the pre-filled syringes were neatly wrapped in a bubble wrap package, which I promptly put on the top shelf next to some standard food items.  Butter.  Sparkling water.  Syringes.  My icebox was suddenly legit with gritty coolness.

I decided I was going to do the injections on Sunday, just in case I had any adverse reactions.  In the days leading up to my first injection, I did my due diligence and watched multiple YouTube videos demonstrating how to properly inject yourself.  Again, I thought to myself, no big deal, what’s all the fuss about?

D-day arrived in a flash and I was pumped with anticipation and the knowledge that I would soon be in the cool kids club of self-injection power.  After this, who knows what I could accomplish?!  I would be limitless à la Bradley Cooper.

Dutifully following my handy-dandy YouTube tutorials, I confidentially went into the bathroom and prepped the area (my thigh) by thoroughly cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and pinpointing my target area.  Done.

The syringe, which I had removed from the fridge about twenty minutes prior in order for it to come to room temperature, was sitting on the counter with the safety cap still on.

I was ready.

I slowly removed the friendly looking translucent blue safety cap covering the needle.  I wish I had a photo of my face at this moment.

There was nothing friendly looking about this one-inch sword of pain.  Holy shit, this whole needle has to go into my leg?  Do I even have an inch of muscle for it to sink into?

I took a deep breath and put the safety cap back on.  At this point I figured that I probably needed to clean the area again.  I was avoiding the matter at hand.  Maybe if I cleaned my thigh several more times the needle would not look as frightening.  After the fifth cleaning and a serious case of the woozies – from the copious amounts of rubbing alcohol – I was ready…again.

Dammit, the needle somehow looked even longer and more forbidding.  Another deep breath.  With the cap off, I carefully put the needle up to my squeaky clean thigh.  Whoa, this thing is sharp (duh).

Deep breath.  Pause.

Then, the tears came.

“This cannot be happening,” I weepily told myself, “I have never been afraid of needles.”  I caved.

I tiptoed out of the bathroom in my robe and admitted defeat to my significant other, James, who was sitting on the couch.

“I need you to give me the shot in my arm.”

We then went through the process again.  The cleaning, the torture, more tears were shed on my part.  WTF.

After me pulling away multiple times just mere seconds before he plunged the needle into my arm, it happened.  Virtually painless, just like all the other shots I have received and blood I have given.

We did it.  He did it.  He is my Prince Charming of this sadistic fairytale.

So, thank you, James, for helping me to realize that I will never, ever be a junkie.



Signs of Life

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It has been one heck of a year. I know, usually folks say that at the end of the year, but the first few months of my 2015 haven’t gone quite as smoothly as I would have liked, which you may have guessed if you read my last post. Never before has the transitioning season echoed my life as much as the spring has this year. Yes, I am going to that cliché place, but it’s completely warranted, I promise. Also, feel free to throw on some Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds and shed a tear, or one hundred, as you reflect upon your own life. No judgement here.

First, let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way; the winter fucking sucks and this year was no exception.  You didn’t think I was going there did you?  Many apologies for the foul language, but the cold, dreary days do NOT bring out the best in me. And when you are embarking on a lifelong healing journey, winters are like the snakebite in the Oregon Trail video game. Damn, the journey is hard enough without snakes and winters, don’t you agree?!  This being said, I was ecstatic when I started seeing signs of life spring up around the neighborhood and during a quick trip to our nation’s capital.

Much like the crocus (see photo above) who bravely signals to its fellow spring perennials that it’s relatively safe to rise to the surface, I, too, have been nudged by the forces of nature to come out of hibernation and nail my colors to the mast.

Inspired by my significant other, James; my family; dear friends; old colleagues; and, of course, the brilliant glowing star, whose slow death gives me life, I have decided to start this year anew.  It’s not January you say?   The hell with New Year’s being in the muckiest of muck, muck winter – I am calling this time of year the *new* year. Because that’s what it is: New.

I am not implying that hard times can only be had when it’s cold – I am not completely ridiculous.  But I ask you a simple question – isn’t it harder to be down when the sun is shining?  The answer is a resounding YES.

I leave you with two thoughts to consider as you enjoy the new year:

1.  “We’re all allowed to feel shitty about things in our lives that are shitty.” (Polly, Orange is the New Black)

2.  I am not the only one who feels like this.  Here comes the sun….



And the Razzie goes to…

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Do you ever feel that you’re watching your life happen from a distance just far enough away that you can’t quite hear your own murmurings of advice?  Or perhaps the well-intentioned being that supposedly sits on your shoulder, swaying you between good and evil, is a lowtalker?

Either way, I need these forces to speak the hell up ASAP.  Screaming.  Megaphones.  Leaning in. Emails and/or texts in all caps.  Please, I beg you to find anyway possible to get through my thick skull with the nugget of wisdom that I know has my name written all over it.

If I could pop into the present scene of my life, I would.  I would basically jump out of my director’s chair, break the clapperboard in half, and yell “CUT!” at everyone in the near vicinity.  The dearly departed Roger Ebert would give the current state of my biopic a double thumbs down.  No Oscars for this chick.  I would sweep the Razzies and even deflect a few of the wayward glances being thrown at Ms. Clooney’s white opera gloves.

Or maybe I’m about to run smack dab into the edge of my own B-movie set, Truman Show-style, and walk back into real life.

All I know is that I’m already fresh out of flailing tickets for the year and however I’m going to do it, I need to pull my shit together, be mindful, and stop being a voyeur of my own life.  And to those of you who made New Year’s resolutions, may the force(s) be with you.


This is ART

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I work for a women’s leadership organization, which is headquartered in a women’s college, so just imagine the whirlwind of female opinions swirling in the office after seeing the latest contribution to the Kardashian derrière album by Paper Magazine.  Let’s just say a lot of eyebrows were raised over the unbelievable greasiness.

I will fully admit that when I first saw the cover image, Break the Internet Kim Kardashian, I fell into a circle of feminist-fueled irrational judgment.  But more so, I was confused.  Something wasn’t right and it wasn’t the image – it was me.  WTF was I thinking?

I was a damn art history major in undergrad.  Hell, I managed an art gallery for most of my 20s.  This is ART.  Period.  Regardless of what you think about Kimye, the Kardashian family, or their place in pop culture.  Say it with me, A-R-T.

Whether you like it, or not, simply doesn’t matter.

Some of the criticism that was lauded against the covershot, and its subject, was unfounded and simply ridiculous.  My absolute favorite bit of criticism surrounded the fact that she is a mother and shouldn’t be on display as a sexual being.

Are you kidding me?  I am fairly certain that baby North West was made the old-fashioned way. Mothers and motherhood, have been represented in various mediums since us humanoids realized that cave walls needed artwork and objects could be carved.  Take a look at this tiny gem of pure female from a mere 40,000 years ago.  And in a few years when Miss North enters tweenhood, she may be embarrassed by the nude photos of her mother.  Who hasn’t been embarrassed by their parents at some point in their life?  Hello, mom jeans are eternal, folks.  I would hope North’s embarrassment quickly turns into respect for her mother’s embrace of  voluptuousness in a time of stickbugs.

This brings up another point of criticism, however, and one that’s above my blog pay grade.  Race and the mockery thereof.  And more specifically the depiction and treatment of Saartjie Baartman in the 19th century.  Bustle covers the topic well.  Also, according to a survey conducted by TheGrio, 42.2% of those polled agreed that Paper Magazine’s images of Kim Kardashian have racial undertones.  I agree with these criticisms, but check out this champagne advertisement from the 1920s by Leonetto Cappiello:

Champagne De Rochegre by Leonetto Cappiello, circa 1920

Champagne De Rochegre by Leonetto Cappiello, circa 1920

Look at the hair piece and the gloves!  Strip off the frumpy getup and you have some Kimye.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Butt the most important question remains, what kind of oil was used to obtain that level of glisten???


Southern Hospitality

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Skulls!  I have always loved skulls, human and animal alike.  They are the art of life in its most true form – what could be more beautiful?  Since my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, skulls have taken on a whole new meaning and I often find myself wondering what exactly is happening to my precious skull meat that lies just beyond my cranium bones.  Considering this obsession of mine, imagine my elation when I recently traveled to Nashville and my host’s roost was filled with skulls!  Music City, I like you already!

A working trip for my musician beau, I was invited to tag along to take in the sights and, more importantly, the sounds of the iconic Nashvegas (the name preferred by my dear friend, Evan, who visited the town often when she was younger).  And Nashvegas didn’t disappoint.  With its small-town-meets-big-town charm, plenty of handlebar mustaches to go around, and new friends that graciously opened up their home to us – Nashville proved that southern hospitality still exists.  But I already knew that.

imageIt’s the real deal, folks – especially for those of you who have lived west of the Mississippi for most of your lives.  No, not everyone is a jaded asshole.  I know, shocking.

I experienced southern hospitality not long after I met Evan while we both were going through the drudgery of grad school.  An instant friend, we lovingly threw stink eyes at professors, complained about the ridiculousness of assigned readings,  and chitchatted for HOURS about things I can’t recall.  The first year, to celebrate one of our birthdays, we planned a girlie sleepover, à la Sixteen Candles, at Evan’s apartment.

After we polished off the last bottle of wine and decided to call it a night, my faith in humanity was ever so slightly restored.  Set up in Evan’s linen closet was a shelf prepared just for me.  Seriously.  Travel-size bottles of toiletries, fresh towels (of every size!), a glass for water…everything I needed to feel absolutely at home and comfortable.  I think I even took a photo to remind myself later that it actually happened  (yes, that’s how cynical I am).

Nashville felt a little bit like this.  It was welcoming.  Its residents were nice.  Genuinely nice.  Folks were talkative and authentic.  And even though it appears that a new generation of hipsters are moving in at alarming rates, it also appears that the city has enough southern hospitality to welcome all of the mustaches with open arms.  Let’s just hope they have enough mustache wax to fill everyone’s personal linen closet shelf.

Thanks for the warm reception, Nashvegas, until next time!

And, Evan, your shelf is waiting for you in Denver.