30 for 30: a collaboration

I’m excited to (finally) share my first report on my 30 for 30 goals. If you head over to my wedding photography blog, The Goodness, you can read a little about the event I just participated in, FRESHbash. I was so excited to be a part of it because, a) it sounded really rad, and b) one of my goals this year was to do a collaboration. Normally, I very much keep to myself when I work on anything creative. I have this weird thing about letting people see my work before I want them too. I feel like if someone sees my work in an unfinished (imperfect, inferior) state, they will think I am no good. So I put my head down and only surface when I have a perfect (to me), finished piece. Only then will I share. I am also very introverted and find it hard to connect with other people, especially on creative projects. Of course I also know that collaboration is absolutely crucial to innovation and creativity. So many creative things (music, art, technology, etc) come out of densely populated cities because of the close proximity of individuals of diverse backgrounds. So I knew doing a collaboration this year would be very important for me to push myself out of my comfort zone.

My team consisted of an event designer (Roots Reclaimed), a florist (Seascape Flowers), a baker (Enchanté Macarons Français), and a stationer — me (The Goodness). We had a color scheme and a list of current wedding trends to work with when designing our booth, which could be a wedding tablescape, lounge area, or ceremony setup, etc. The group communication began through email, then a secret Pinterest board where we could all post inspiration and ideas. We met in person just once during the time leading up to the event. This meeting was at the studio of our event designer, Roots Reclaimed. We all got to meet, we talk about our ideas, and we lay out some furniture to get an idea of the space we were working with. 

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I was nervous to go to this meeting, as I always am afraid to speak up in conversations, or share ideas for fear of looking dumb. But I think I did pretty good at the meeting. I was vocal about my ideas and I felt like I contributed.

At the meeting we created a Facebook group where we could communicate about progress and ideas. I used this to share my work in progress and design ideas (aka face my fear). For the work I contributed,  was really pushing myself to try techniques I have never used before. The invitation set I designed involved all of the following: a scanner, a laser cutter, and a laminator. I used materials I’ve never used in invitations: fake flowers, gold foil, wood, glitter paper, and glitter spray paint. Here is my initial sketch of the laser cut wood part of the invitation.

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This is an early draft of the invitation. It was my first time trying the gold foil technique I was in love.

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Hand lettering for the invitation.

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The first mockup of my design that I showed to the group.

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Pre-stained laser-cut wood.

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And the final suite. More pictures of the suite can be seen here.

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The escort cards and dessert signs I made from acrylic sign holders from Staples and spray paint.

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I cut, built, glued, stained, and painted a business card holding-sign from scratch.

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In the weeks leading up to the event I know we were all working super hard to get things ready. We ALL experienced some sort of “catastrophe”. Did you know that if you don’t get enough sleep for over a week and push yourself to the point of exhaustion you can vomit on your bathroom floor in the middle of the night? Yeeeeeaaaah. Note to self: sleep is important. Setup the day of the event, had it’s own misadventures, and I know we all had our doubts about how or even IF it would all come together. For example, the amazing geometric backdrop Roots Reclaimed built would not fit throughout the door and we had to cut it in HALF!

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In the end we chose to look at the bright side: at least it is super portable now!Fresh Bash Setup 012

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But as our 3:00 pm setup deadline approached things were really coming together. Our setup was looking damn good. When it was all done and everything was in place it seriously looked amazing! Our team really pulled it off. We all felt super proud.

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Again, you should definitely check out my post on The Goodness Blog. There are a ton more photos of our booth and the event. It was really fun and rejuvenating to work on a collaboration and I hope there are more of them in my future. The next step would be to be more active with it and be the one organizing the group. Although, when I am planning things I sometimes tend to take on too much myself and not delegate, so NOT being the leader for this collaboration felt really good too. Go Team Collective!

A little shopping

A little shopping

1. wooden llamma | 2. yellow puffy vest | 3. camera sweater | 4. magnetic rocket puzzle | 5. red striped tee | 6. blue striped sweater | 7. yellow slicker | 8. toms shoes | 9. jeans | 10. drum | 11. good as gold sweater

So today was the day that I realized that I can shop in the toddler’s section for my baby boy. While I am sad that my little baby is growing up ::sniff::, I am very excited about all the new clothing options that are available to me now. My favorite places to shop for baby/kids clothes are Gap (great quality, cute styles, we buy Bear pants from the girls section at Gap because they fit soooo much better and come in all the fun colors), Zara (a European company that sells really cute and trendy clothes that are reasonably prices and shipping is super cheap and fast), Old Navy (colorful and cheap!), and H&M (although I am finding less and less stuff that I like). Shopping online for kids clothes is the bees knees. I rarely buy clothes for myself online (too many variables), but with kids you don’t really have to worry about that stuff. And it is so easy to kill way too much time looking at adorable bebe clothes. Today I found a bunch of stuff that I want to get and while I can’t buy them all, I can share them with you! :) I also threw in a few toys I am coveting from my Amazon wish list for good measure. That yellow raincoat is a lot like my favorite blue raincoat that Bear wears now. I love it SO much and I get slightly depressed thinking about the reality that one day Bear will no longer fit into it. If this one goes on sale, I will definitely snag it for next winter. I also love the “good as gold” sweater because that is always how Bear’s grandma Mary describes him after a day of baby sitting. All right…enough shopping…back to work…

So what is Lisa up to right now?

So what is Lisa up to right now?

I know a lot of people think that wedding vendors have an “off season”. Total myth. It is true we shoot less weddings this time of year, but we are entrepreneurs and business owners. The work never stops. Every October or so I start to get wistful about all the (mostly personal) things I’m going to accomplish during the winter “when I have the time”. And now, here we are, almost at the end of February and certainly do not “have the time”. I never do. Right now, things are insane. I really am excited about everything I have going on right now, but to say that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed would be an understatement. The photo (above) I created for a trip I have coming up (mentioned below) and I thought it was very fitting of this post. Let me give you a little peek into what I am working on right now.

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We are in the middle of a re-brand for The Goodness. We launched our new website about a month or so ago and with that comes new business cards, pricing guides, marketing materials, contracts, thank you cards, rubber stamps for shipping, signs, etc. etc. etc…. The pricing guide is a big one for me right now. I am taking new product photos, writing new copy and basically designing an entire new guide from the ground up x2 because I am designing them optimized both for print and digital.

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I am collaborating with my team for FRESHbash. FRESHbash is a wedding showcase-type event and party where I am working with three other wedding vendors to put together a super-creative, very original wedding display. I am contributing stationery. This has been great, not just because it is one of my 30 for 30 goals (yay!) but it is pushing me creatively and I have been having a ton of fun with it. I am creating some really unique stuff that I am super proud of and cannot wait to share in a future post. Right now it is top secret, but you should definitely come to the event and check it out. I also designed a set of 5 art prints for the swag bags — that’s one of them above!

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In about two weeks, Geoff and I will be attending Photo Field Trip, a four-day long artist’s camping retreat in El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara. There will be tons of classes and speakers, meeting tons of awesome like-minded people, campfires, llamma petting, crafts, a dance party and more. Geoff went last year and I am stoked to be going this year. As a fun little side project, I am organizing a ukulele campfire singalong and I have been practicing like crazy to get ready for it. I practice while Bear plays, I practice in the car on long drives, I practice when I can no longer stand to look at a computer screen. I am also putting together and printing songbooks for everyone else which is a big undertaking in of itself.

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I have been back to work on “The Books”. My main hurdle right now is designing the covers and it has been HARD. This is one of my first projects that is not just me, or a couple of other people (i.e..clients), but a much, much broader audience and I want it to be juuuuuust right. I also need to design a few more inner pages, a map and an explanation page for each book. I am on a deadline of only a few more days, because I want to get a couple first copies printed to take with with us to Photo Field Trip. We would love to get some feedback from other artists.

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I have been working really hard on a day-of stationery suite for a client getting married in Palm Springs in a couple weeks. This month I designed table numbers, escort cards, about 10 different signs, thank you cards, and two different welcome bag inserts. I am also designing save the date concepts for two different clients.

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Little Goodness is my newborn photography business that has been gestating (pun intended) for a couple of years now. I am sooooo close to launching. I am in the “creating the website” phase and my developer has sent me the current site version and I have just not had the time to sit down and write out revision notes. I just photographed a baby about a week ago and I need to finish processing the photos.

Then there is general “work”, keeping up on client emails, doing consultations, sending out contracts and receipts, random mini-design jobs, ordering needed supplies, etc.

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And squeezed in there I am trying to be a good mama.

Oh yeah, and this blog….

Things I am not working on right now

Keeping my house from looking like a disaster
Anything personal-craft related
Hanging up all those framed art prints I have in a giant box
Any house projects, really
Keeping active (although Geoff and I did decide we would do yoga before every engagement session)
About a million other things…wish me luck…

Dreams of an Aloe Garden

Last week we had the rare opportunity to spend a leisurely day in San Francisco with my sister’s family. Geoff had an engagement session to shoot there that day, so we invited them along. We actually didn’t do too much at all, which was perfect.

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We lounged around in Golden Gate Park and while the kids ran around in the grass. It was the first time Bear had actually been able to run free in the great outdoors. He had a blast with his cousins. We ate delicious shawarma on a picnic blanket and I learned a new song on my ukulele.

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While Geoff was on his shoot, the rest of of toured around the botanical gardens. My sister suggested it would be great to check out the plants because I was on the market for some new greenery for my front yard. I love the colors in the fountain there.

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I could not get enough of the Aloe plants! I think I want to pant an aloe garden. What do you think, could allow be the new hot succulent? :P

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I wouldn’t mind some cactus either.

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For dinner, we all went to zee German restaurant, Suppenküche.

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I can’t get over how good these pretzels with bavarian cheese were.

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And because it was literally a block away and super yummy, we went to Smitten for dessert, one of our favorite spots for amazing liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream.

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Yard Sale Recap

With my little blogging break, I never got the chance to follow up on how our yard sale went. In short: AMAZING. The amount of people that came was insane. Between the hours of 8 and 9 am alone, our street (which has tons of parking around our house) was packed. People were double parked. We were so busy! We made a sum of money that definitely made it worth our time, and we got rid of a TON of stuff. I think there a few factors that contributed to our success, and I’m happy to share them here.

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Getting prepared

First of all, prep for the sale was pretty minimal, but necessary. I had exactly one week from when we’d decided to actually do a yard sale until the big day. This week comprised of cleaning out the garage, kitchen, bathroom, closets, and dressers, taking photos, posting online, and making and hanging up signs.

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I photographed some of my favorite/the best items from the yard sale. This was partly so I could always remember them, but mostly to showcase the goods we had. I used these in all my online postings and got many pre-sale inquiries about the items in the photos.

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Social Media

I reposted my ad text and photos to Facebook and this drove several friends, both old, new, and current, to the sale. It was so cool to see old friends from high school and I even got to meet some online friends in real life. Super cool bonus.

Cool stuff (and lots of it)

It really helps when you actually have good stuff to sell at your yard sale, go figure huh? I highlights these items in the photos I posted online. Tons of cute clothes for men, women, and baby, jewelry, baby gear, vintage items, furniture, electronics, etc. We also upped the quantity of sellables by inviting my sister (who had SO. MUCH. BABY. STUFF.) my mother-in-law, and one of our friends to also bring stuff.

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I had a ton of fun writing my ad and I actually got a few comments from people about it. I think when you can make people like YOU, it makes them think they might like owning your stuff too. Haha. Plus a funny ad will stand out amongst the sparsely written ads that are abound on craigslist.

“Branding”

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Of COURSE I branded our yardsale. I just can’t help myself. “OMG YARD SALE” was the name of our game. Again, with the humor. It was on every sign, and in every online ad and post. All of our signs were the same day-glo yellow with bold black text.

Incentives

We devised a scheme to provide a free donut to anyone that made a $5 purchase. It actually worked. There were several people whole were at a $3 or $4 total and deliberately bought more stuff to get the donut. There were actually a TON of people that asked how much it was to buy just a donut. I told them $1, haha, those donuts are for paying customers!!

No price tags

I bought packs of price tag stickers to use at the yard sale, but it got so crazy that morning that I just did not have the time. I think this actually was a great benefit. People had to come up and ask us what the prices were and we could cheerfully yell out “one dollar!!” “ummm…two dollars!!” “a quarter!” It was exciting. It was fun. Whenever a little kid came up asking about a small toy or something, I’d give it to them for super cheap. It helps to be cute, people. Most things sold for one or two dollars. Shirts were mostly $1, pants were $2-3, dresses were around $3, baby clothes were 50 cents, but the sheer quantity of them made the day very lucrative. There were also few “big ticket” items like our Rock Band set $45, monitor $40, small furniture $15-20, vintage scale $15, kitchen appliances $10 or so.

If I had to do it all again, there is one thing I might do differently.

Get up way earlier

I woke up just after 6 am and starting really setting up at 7 with the intention of “opening” at 8. People started showing up at 7:15. I was completely alone too, yikes. Geoff was out getting the donuts, hanging signs, and getting cash to make change with. My sister who was coming to help out hand’t yet arrived either. People were asking how much stuff cost and I was not even close to set up. By 8:00 there were at over a dozen people riffling though boxes of clothes that weren’t even hung up or set out. I hand’t even gotten the chance to think about how much to charge for my stuff. I was forced to think on my toes and start giving prices. I was actually pretty nervous about that part, but once I started I was ok.

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One last little cool bonus story from the day. There was this guy who bought our record player and the king figurine pictured below. He was so excited about the king because he has the matching queen. No joke! I gave him my card and told him he had to email me me a photo when he has the set together. So random and cool.

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The cutest yard sale worker ever. Check this kid out, he’s already reppin’ his parents out and handing out business cards. 

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We ended things at 2:00 pm when most of the stuff was gone and people were no longer showing up. Everything (well, almost everything) we didn’t sell, got loaded (crammed) into our car and taken to Goodwill. Goodbye stuff! 

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Playing in the Rain

This weekend our area saw a ton of rain. I think it was the first time it has rained THAT hard since Bear was born. So in celebration I took him out to really experience rain for the first time. I haven’t purposefully stood out in the rain in…I don’t even know how long. I remember that I used to love it though. I loved playing soccer in the resin as a kid, and slipping and falling down and getting all muddy. I loved standing out in the rain during those very special moments when the sun is setting and the light peeks out from under the clouds and turns all the water dropping from the sky golden yellow. I remember standing on a corner in my neighborhood for almost a half hours, just soaking it in, literally and figuratively. As I walked out in the the back yard with Bear in my arms, and the rain started to hit my head, I remember feeling actually surprised that I was getting wet, and a jerk reaction to get underneath something quick. Then I thought to myself, ummm…isn’t it kind of the whole point to get wet? Funny how we forget these things as we grow up. So I kicked off my shoes and took off Bear socks and let him just run around for some barefoot fun. Our hair and clothes got soaked. We splashed in the little puddles. Bear was really confused looking at first but then he loved it. This kid sure does love being outside and the rain made it just that much more fun.

Afterwards I changed Bear into his snuggliest pajamas. I don’t know what is better, playing in the rain, or getting all warmed up after being wet. It’s a close call. 

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Back on the horse

It is SO easy to not follow through on things. Especially when the only person holding you accountable is yourself. I haven’t blogged in over a week. Truthfully, after Little Dog died, I wanted to turn inward for a little while, so I let myself take a break. But I think the hardest part about starting a new habit is letting one day slip by, and that one day turns into two, and into three, and the new days pile on effortlessly. But blogging is definitely something I do not want to give up so easily. I have loved blogging this past month. Getting my thoughts out of my head and onto something “permanent” and public has made them feel so much more…solid. Sharing has made me feel more connected to others. I feel myself becoming more confident. I am really proud of myself for keeping up with it as much as I have so far. In 2015 I have written 29 posts. In 2014 I wrote 26 posts the entire year.

Speaking of goals and following through, I set a ton of goals for myself this year. A TON. This is good and bad, but mostly good, I think. I set the bar high for myself, but at least I have direction. The thing is, I am constantly setting new goals for myself in my head. What I really need is focus. Focus is one thing I am really bad at. I have my wedding business, The Goodness, my newborn photography business Little Goodness (coming soon, but actively taking up my time) “the books”, my Etsy shop You and Me Club, being a mama, writing this blog, illustration, instagram, keeping house, trying to spend time with friends and family, random projects, and all my 30 for 30 goals and resolutions, just to name a few. Then I think about all the things I want to do on top of that and my mind goes a little crazy sometimes. But I can’t help it. I love coming up with new ideas. Yeeeeahhh, so if anyone has some tips on how to stay focused, I’d love to hear them!

Well, you can expect to hear more from me from now on (at least I will try). I don’t really know how many people actually are out there reading, but thanks to those of you who are. I really appreciate your support!

Goodbye, Little Dog

Goodbye, Little Dog

On Friday afternoon, January 30th, our Little Dog passed away. The following words and pictures are my way of remembering and saying goodbye.

We always say that we found Charlie and Little Dog found us. He came into our lives one evening 5 years ago as I was walking Charlie, who we’d adopted from the shelter about a month prior. We walked up to our house and I noticed a little brown dog across the street and no one around. Even though Charlie was barking like crazy, the little dog walked over to me. He had no tags. If you know me, I am always willing to help a lost dog.

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I put Charlie away and walked the little dog around the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and asking if anyone recognized him. We posted signs everywhere, Craigslist, Petfinder, and took him in to check for a microchip — there was none. One of our friends who lives nearby said they thought they recognized him and that the owners might have moved away and left him. I still don’t understand how people can do that. We started looking for a home for him as we were (or so we thought) a single dog family and we were trying to keep our home shedding-dog free. But he was pretty sweet so we did not mind holding on to him while we found him a good family. We called him “the little dog” as we did not want to give him a name because we all know how attached you get once you name them. He was so sweet, he LOVED to cuddle, and he really seemed to calm Charlie down, who was suffering from separation anxiety whenever we left the house.

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He cried when we tried to crate him overnight, so it wasn’t long before he was sleeping in our bed too. He was with us for a few weeks when we found three different people that wanted to adopt him. BUT by that time, we’d fallen in love. We decided to keep him in our family and the name “Little Dog” stuck. I bought him his collar, got him vaccinated and microchipped, and it was official. Little Dog was ours.

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Not more than a few days after we decided to keep him, he suffered a terrible seizure. It happened at night right before bed and I was terrified. We took him to the emergency vet, and they were able to calm him down and explained that this epilepsy would simply be a chronic condition. It happens in small dogs sometimes, they told us. Every time I think about that, I wonder if his previous owners had left him because of it. The seizures still happened every now and again, but whenever they did, we held him close, spoke calmly, and gave him lots of love until it passed. I believe that was why he found us. He just needed some love in his life.

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We always joked that Little Dog was our grumpy old man. We joked that his “time on the streets” made him a little rough around the edges. We didn’t really know exactly how old he was, but he did lose a few teeth and his fur was going gray. His grumpiness was certainly a characteristic of his. He’d bark and/or growl at you when you came in the door, but then a few minutes later he’d be curled up in your lap. We thought he must have been exposed to violence in his past, perhaps specifically by children. He hated to see anyone hitting anyone else. He was really afraid of young kids. What is interesting is how is relationship with Bear had developed in the short 13.5 months they shared together. When Bear was a little baby, Little Dog would sometimes come cuddle up next to him. Where Charlie didn’t really want anything to do with Bear, Little Dog didn’t mind him too much. As he grew, Bear was really good with Little Dog. He’d pat him on the back and I was just teaching how to “pet” by stroking Little Dog down his fur. Little Dog would grumble, but was tolerant. I know if Little Dog had a few more years with us, they’d be best buds.

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Charlie and Little Dog were best buddies. They didn’t quite get along at first, but they grew to love each other. Charlie is an escape artist and Little Dog was his shepherd. Or maybe you could just say they were partners in crime. Whenever Charlie managed to find his was through a hole in the fence, Little Dog would follow him, as if to make sure he didn’t get into too much trouble. Sometimes when Charlie got out, Little Dog would come up to us and pace and whine, letting us know something was wrong.

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He never learned many tricks but he could sit and “dance”. He never took off when he was off leash, he’d always stay nearby. More than anything Little Dog was a sweetie and a cuddle bug. If there was a lap available, he was always in it. He was always the one to love a warm body to cuddle up next to. He was notorious for sleeping right in the small of our backs or nuzzled in between our legs at night. Together we got to go hiking and camping and had plenty of fun park and walking adventures.

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He’d been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure a few months ago and we’d been trying to counteract the symptoms with medication, but his little cough had persisted and become worse over time. On Friday morning, I noticed the cough was getting really bad. I gave him his pills and got ready for the day. Geoff had left really early, before dawn, to go hiking with a friend. As I got ready to take a shower, both Charlie and Little Dog were sitting on our bed, and I gave Little Dog a worried sigh as I pet him gently. I knew in my heart we might be getting close to the end. I took a few photos of Little Dog on my phone. That very first photo above is the last photo I ever took of him. I ran errands with Bear and came home to make some yard sale signs. Little dog was moving around, but to random spots where he would just stand and wheeze. I tried to make him a comfy spot on the couch but he just wanted to follow me back into the other room. He stood in his favorite sunny spot in the dining room while I made yard sale signs. Bear woke up from his nap and I made us some lunch. As I was eating, Little Dog walked over to me and noticed pinkish fluid dripping from his mouth. I immediately scooped him up, carried him over to the couch, and sat down with him on my lap. Once I sat, he took only two or three more labored breaths before letting out a long final breath. I felt the weight of his head on my arm and knew he was gone. I’d been preparing myself mentally for his death for some time now. I knew he would not be with us for more than maybe another year. But the reality of what just happened, literally in my arms, hit me like a ton of bricks. The emotion that escaped me in that moment was the most real thing I’ve felt since Bear was born. I cried out in agony, screaming, and sobbing. He was really gone. Once second here, the next gone forever. Geoff was not home, but he was on his way. I called him and told him what happened. Saying those words to him was so hard. Geoff was being so strong and supportive to me on the phone. I know how hard that must have been. When he finally got home, we hugged for a long time, and cried together. We decided to have him cremated, but before Geoff took him to the vet, we make a plaster impression of his little paw print. It is in the shape of a circle and his collar fits around it perfectly. We are so glad to have that little memento of him to keep with us.

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I already miss him so much. Since he died, things had been SO busy, until last night, when it could all really sink in. Wrapped in Geoff’s arms, I cried myself to sleep. Goodbye, Little Dog. You were our “little buddy” and we’ll never forget you. I’m sure doggy heaven is filled with lots of warm laps.

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It’s a yard sale!

Today I posted about our yard sale on craigslist and I was weirdly proud of my post so I wanted to put it here for safekeeping. I took photos of our stuff partly for the sale, but mostly so that I could keep a record of the things I am letting go. Going through my jewelry was probably the hardest. Nothing is expensive, and much of it is still pretty fashionable — I just don’t really wear them anymore. But I kept thinking, “if I have a daughter she would have so much fun playing with all of this. Or maybe she would actually wear some of this stuff” I loved going through my mom’s jewelry and would feel really special wearing her old pieces. I’m still half tempted to take it all back out of the “sell” pile. 

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We are purging like crazy in our household and letting go of a ton of stuff. You know, the stuff you are holding onto because you love it but maybe it doesn’t fit anymore, or you really have no use or space for it? That stuff. Come help us say goodbye to our belongings by giving them a good new home. This is our first yard sale (in probably ever) so there is loads of stuff.

WE PURGED THE CLOSETS: Tons, and I mean TONS, of men’s and women’s clothes, shoes jewelry, accessories (and we have pretty good style, so don’t miss out). Men’s dress shirts, cool casual clothes, lots of cute dresses, tops, jackets, winter coats, hats, etc.

WE PURGED THE KITCHEN: Dishes, cups, bakeware, trays, slushie machine, etc.

We have a baby so WE PURGED THE NURSERY: loads of baby clothes, toys, gear, etc.

OMG WE PURGED THE GARAGE (applause, applause): cute modern and vintage decor, lamps, blankets, a clock, sports stuff, Rock Band for PS3, vintage meat grinder, curtains, freestanding mirror, furniture, this really cool midcentury modern side table that I bought with the intention of refinishing but never got the time, etc.

Did I forget to mention the VINTAGE 1963 VESPA? Oh yeah, it’s for sale too.

FREE DONUT with $10 purchase (while supplies last!!)

Look at the photos, but know that there is WAAAAAAY more stuff than I could sanely take photos of.

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Dresses

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Yard Sale 034

Yard Sale 027

Yard Sale 029

Yard Sale 030

Yard Sale 031

Yard Sale 028

Mens

Yard Sale 012

Yard Sale 015

Yard Sale 017

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