Thursday, April 17, 2014

five years ago -- march #fmsphotoaday

this year is a year of reflection for me. i'm trying to be much more aware of myself than i have in the past, my thoughts, my wants, my accomplishments. so i was very excited to see that one of this month's prompts was "five years ago". it meant i had to sit down and think about where i was five years ago. what was i doing? what did my life look like? was i happy? was i doing something that fulfilled or excited me? the short answer: my life in the spring of 2009 was as different as could be from my life now. in 2009 i lived and worked in brooklyn and i was finishing up my first year of teaching high school world history. i was still pretty new to the city and definitely new to teaching, so generally all i did was work, trying desperately to stay afloat. i didn't have many friends in the city, and the ones i did have lived in manhattan or queens and we didn't see each other often. so i'm not sure if i was living a necessarily exciting life, but i was making it work. i was surviving. then, in march 2009, one of my students asked if i wanted a kitten. obviously my answer was yes, because that same month i brought home a tiny white and black fur ball whom we named mildred.

it's no surprise then that when i went to look back at my pictures from five years ago, that's what i found: pictures of mildred. lots of them. and that was it. she was the highlight of my life in march 2009. maybe that's sad, and maybe you'll call me a crazy cat lady (it wouldn't be the first time), but i don't see it that way. i see her entrance to my life as a blessing. (and those that know me know that's not a word i throw very often.) that little fur princess was, and still is, the light of my life. she came to me when i needed a friend and some entertainment. she was this spunky little kitten with a belly that wouldn't quit who wanted to hang out with me and depended on me. and at that point in my life, that's something i really needed. i needed to succeed at something without having to work too hard for it, i needed someone to need me, and i needed someone to love and trust and count on. i know all of this sounds silly to non-pet owners, but it's true; mildred rocked my world in the best possible way. and despite her status as a full blown diva queen, she, along with her brother, continues to be one of the best things in my life. 

ps. i'm super excited to announce that i was chosen for the fab four by fatmumslim on march 21st. this is the second time i've been chosen (you can hear about the first time here), but it's no less of an honor. thanks!


yellow: it's spring in the desert! // something borrowed: $$ // my name is... victoria // on my mind: it's tax season!


something beginning with i... instamax minis! // chair // fly // nobody puts my baby... in the corner


10am // far away // something good... my little muscles can finally do pull ups! // partial... view of a cow!


fresh... air on the mississippi // care: this is all i cared about this weekend: crawfish! // evening // beautifully ordinary 


today's weather: cold with blue skies // 5 years ago... mildred came home to live with me // cropped: a sneak peek of #bodanzalezboda ceremony location // letter: thanks!


full... of fun, rides, & fried foods! // morning // i love this... bacon flight. // one of a kind


soft... landing with teamwork // i am here... early! // something i made! // nostalgia... to an amazing night in oaxaca.


sticky... situation. sorry UA! // fast // faux... plant

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 -- week 12 of #projectlife -- the power of positive thinking.

when rcg lost his job in february, we were shocked and surprised, but we weren't totally unprepared for it. we'd already been talking about moving on from tucson, despite our continued fondness for the old pueblo, finding a new place to call home and new jobs to suit our needs and wants. throughout the next month and a half we kept an open mind: rcg applied to jobs all over and we were wiling to make some big changes. but luckily, after a long wait and more than a couple of freak outs, we found out some good news: we're here to stay, tucson! (at least for one more year.)

during his time at his previous job, rcg did quite a bit of soul searching, with the end result being the realization that although he didn't want to return to academia, he did really enjoy teaching. so he decided to forge a new path and become a high school teacher! the crazy part is he'd so committed to this idea that he'd already submitted an application for the teach arizona program at the university of arizona a week prior to being laid off. but you know how college admissions is -- you do all of this work on the application and then you sit and wait, and wait, and wait to hear back. in meantime, he worked on a million other applications and had a ton of contingency plans, but in the end it was all for naught; he was got in! even better news: his contingency plans paid off as well! while he awaits the start of his program in may, he can be found driving around tucson for both uber and lyft!

this is all to say, the power of positive thinking is an amazing thing. having continued confidence in yourself when the chips are stacked against you, is a difficult thing. but if you remain positive, even if things don't turn out quite the way you want, you'll be much more able to handle the things that come your way. i'm so proud of rcg for staying positive, for believing in himself, and working so hard for what he wants. other things i'm excited for: hearing his stories about teaching, being able to help him brainstorm lesson plans, and (eventually) summers off again!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 -- week 11 of #projectlife -- bachelorette weekend!

a couple of months ago, my girlfriends started to ask me where i wanted to celebrate my upcoming nuptials, just us girls. at this point in our lives, however, we live all over the country, so it didn't make sense to have it on one coast or the other, instead we decided to meet in the middle, in new orleans. and what a good choice that turned out to be! we spent the weekend eating, drinking, and celebrating. there was crawfish, beignets, and a penis candy necklace, a tutu & new red shoes, more than a couple of hurricanes, beads, flowers, and a parade, a ride on the ferry and the streetcar, old houses, good food, a lesson in eye makeup application, and amazing company. i'm so grateful for the wonderful ladies who were able to join me; i had a blast.

that being said, the thing that stood out the most about this trip, for me anyways, was the food (and the wonderful people i was able to share it with). from the moment we woke up in the morning to moment we went to sleep, we ate, and ate, and ate. we were actually at a loss for what to do in between feedings, that's how much this trip centered around food. everything we had was better than i could have hoped for. below you'll find a fatty's guide to new orleans, places to eat, drink, and be merry. if you have other recommendations i'd love to hear them, because this trip was not my last.

laissez les bons temps rouler!

a quick guide to new orleans -- 

- for a fancier place, try bayona. the food is delightful and delicious.
cafe amelie is all kinds of cute, with an outdoor courtyard and fun food.
cochon is outside of the french quarter, but it's worth the hike. try the oyster & bacon sandwich .
- if you're looking for a good crawfish boil, try mrb in the french quarter. it's where the locals go.
arnauds has a prix fixe jazz brunch on sundays that is not to be missed.
- the green goddess is out of the way in an alley, but the vegetarian food is killer.
- and of course, cafe du monde, known for their beignets, is a must! (we learned an awesome trick with the beignets -- close up the top of the bag and shake, it allows the powdered sugar to really coat the beignets and make them extra delicious.)

pat o'briens is home to the original hurricane.
lafittes blacksmith shop bar is (supposedly) the oldest bar in the united states.
- like arnauds itself, the french 75 bar at arnauds is all class.

algiers point, one of the oldest neighborhoods in nola, has gorgeous houses and is a quick ferry ride away from the french quarter. 
the garden district is filled with beautiful houses owned by famous people and easily reached via the streetcar. 
lafayette cemetery no. 1, part of any good garden district tour, lafayette cemetery is peaceful and beautiful. 

do: listen to music on frenchman street and enjoy the street parades!

Friday, April 4, 2014

lafayette cemetery no.1, new orleans

part of any good walking tour of the garden district is lafayette cemetery no. 1, located across the street from the commander's palace, supposedly one of the best steakhouses in new orleans. it's not normally open on sundays, but i was lucky and the gates were open, so i took the opportunity to check it out. it seemed only appropriate that it started to rain as i did so.

lafayette cemetery no. 1, designated as a city burial site in 1833, is one of new orleans' oldest cemeteries. in the typical new orleans fashion, the graves are above ground and often communal. there are wall vaults that line the outside of the cemetery, as well as family tombs and society tombs for  volunteer fireman organizations, orphan homes, and religious and ethnic groups. unfortunately a lot of the cemetery is in disrepair, but a local organization, save our cemeteries, is working to preserve this cemetery as well as the 30 others like it throughout new orleans.

i'm a could spend days walking around cemeteries like lafayette cemetery no. 1. it's such an incredibly beautiful and thoughtful place. one where you can wonder about the lives and deaths of the people who are buried there. as you walk around, looking at the headstones and the grave markers, it's possible to learn a little bit about the people buried there, but there is still a lot of mystery there too. plus, with the rain falling down, and the cemetery all but deserted, it's so peaceful it allows one to be more reflective about their own life.





if the lafayette cemetery no. 1 is a bit too far out of the way of your french quarter vacation, i've heard st. louis cemetery no. 1 is supposed to be amazing as well. we tried to go there three times over the course of the weekend, always missing it by an hour or so, but it's just a short walk from the hubbub of bourbon street and highly recommended by most guide books of new orleans.

lafayette cemetery no. 1:
1400 washington avenue
open monday-friday 8am-230pm
saturday 8am-12pm
all proceeds go towards cemetery restoration