The Super-deluxe, Extended 47th Birthday Weekend

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Phew! What a great extended super-deluxe birthday weekend I just had.

It all started with a park BBQ on the 4th of July which was a Thursday. I always slide Independence Day festivities into my birthday plan because why not, right? Everyone loves a barbeque in the park and fireworks at night. I’m happy to let everyone else celebrate with me. I didn’t make anyone sing happy birthday to me or anything (I got over that on my 40th where I got sung to at every meal for three days straight) but I did let myself have a helping of chips and a brownie, which I usually try not to.

The next day I had to work but I took the afternoon off to show one of Bug’s friends around Balboa Island and Payam and Joon came with! Balboa Island is always a good time. Ice cream, salt water taffy, walking on the sand and ducking under boat docks… it’s all good.  That night we celebrated with Payam’s family at a fancy Persian restaurant with an amazing belly dancer and right in the middle of her dance a 7.1 earthquake happened! It was the biggest, longest earthquake I have ever experienced and the first earthquake the girls had ever experienced. Talk about making a birthday dinner memorable!

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The next day we headed off to San Diego to visit The Cado, a pop-up avocado museum experience. I love using my birthday as an excuse to force my family to go on an adventure of my choosing. The girls always roll their eyes and moan about how boring museums are but between you and me, they like them. As long as there are photo-taking experiences they can pose for. We all like a good photo op.

The Cado itself was a bit of a flop. It’s only two rooms and hardly an experience. I was bummed because it was hyped to be a really cool super-long shipping container museum last year but they ran out of money during construction and had to cut their losses with a three-month lease in an office building. I was part of the crowd-sourcing in the beginning and I had donated money so I was invested in the project but I totally see how cost prohibitive a pop-up museum can be.  It’s so small now.  I was actually able to talk to the two sisters who founded it and it was really sweet to hear their whole story. I hope they do get it off the ground someday. I’m hoping to donate some art to the project. It that happens, you know I’ll keep you posted.

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Bug and I LOVE avocados. Joon not so much but she was a good sport.

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There were really only four or five installations but they were really cool. I loved this ombre foam parking curb wall. So pretty, right? My extra-large arms not so much. Maybe I should cut back on the boxing. :P

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They give you Walkmans in the beginning of the museum and Jason Mraz has a little sing-song bit about where avocados come from. The girls had never seen Walkmans before so it was very humorous when Bug tried to put her tape in the player while it was still inside its plastic case.

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We came, we saw, we gave it a small smile for trying. Poor little Cado, such a good idea that just couldn’t quite get off the ground.

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Since we were down in San Diego I decided to show the girls one of my favorite haunts: Sunny Jim’s Cave! I blogged about it ages ago but can’t find the link for some reason. It must be deep, deep in my archives. Anyway, it’s a little shell shop in La Jolla where you pay $5 at the register and then walk down 145 narrow steps to a sea cave below. It’s super cool, dark and mysterious. Limestone drips down the walls and just when you start to feel claustrophobic and scared that you are never going to see daylight again, it opens up onto this big deck inside a cavern with waves crashing onto it. It’s glorious! I really had a blast keeping the girls in the dark. They were quite freaked out, worrying about what might happen if there was another earthquake. Thankfully, by the time we got to the bottom they agreed it was a pretty cool secret.

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Of course it’s a lot busier than it used to be back in the day when I first discovered it. Now there are lots of people traipsing up and down the stairs and you can hardly get a photo of yourself in the cave’s mouth for all the crowds but it’s still pretty neat.

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What I didn’t expect was how much the girls would enjoy the cliffs around the cave.

super-extended-deluxe-birthday-sunny-la-jolla-5 They loved watching the seals and climbing up and down the rocks. The barking seals reminded us a lot of our dog, Cody. Cody really is just a land seal. He’s loud and noisy and flops himself around the same way. Bark! Bark! Bark!

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Payam, the dare devil that he is, enjoyed freaking us all out by pretending to jump off the steep cliffs. He probably would have too if he was a few years younger. He’s such a thrill-seeker like that.

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Bug and I are much happier safely away from the edge.

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We took more pictures and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The girls would have been content to stay there all day.

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Just when things might have gotten boring, Joon spied these rentable motorized scooters. If there was any chance of moping about and complaining about having to walk so much it quickly evaporated. Joon is just as much of a daredevil as Payam and the thought of riding anything motorized quickens her heart. I fear for the day she gets her driver’s license.

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So Payam and Joon played with the scooter for a while.

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Bug and I were content to use our feet to get around.

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We walked the shops, got some gelato and an iced latte for me and then we went home, satisfied and tired.

The next day we had a Women’s World Cup breakfast planned at our house at 8am so we had to get home and get ready for that. Talk about go, go, go. We grocery shopped and Payam started on a birthday cake for me. But by then we were tired so he saved the frosting part for the next day. But then the next day happened and we had so much hosting to do we never got around to it. It was a great party but I took no pictures except a few on Instagram.

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Finally, on Monday morning, Payam finished up the cake and I had it for breakfast!! It was bomb.

Payam has this really cool tradition where he makes me a cake every year. Usually I ask for something dark chocolate and flourless. This year I’ve been so into fruit (maybe because Summer took forever to get here) that I asked for a peach cake. I picked this recipe . It has a LOT of eggs and not much else in it so we were a bit worried about how it would taste but then after he added the cream-cheese whipped-cream topping, all doubts vanished into thin air. It was DELICIOUS!!! I think all the pleasure centers in my brain went off at once. There is nothing like light fluffy cake, creamy whipped cream and fresh peaches.

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It was a bit messy but we’re calling it “rustic”. I don’t really care because it’s so tasty! I had it for breakfast two days in a row and now I’m thinking I better have some friends over to finish it off before I make this birthday the birthday I gained twenty pounds.

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So that’s that. I think this birthday actually wore me out. It’s good feeling though. I feel like I had so much fun and I really maximized my day (and extended weekend!). I think 47 is starting off with a bang. A good adventurous bang. Much better than 46.

Hey, It’s me!

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Hi! It’s been a minute since I have shown up here. Like fifty zillion minutes ticking away. But I’m back and I want to do better.  I want to be here more. Things have been happening lately. I finally saved up enough for a new camera! Remember how my old one got stolen in Italy? I borrowed my publisher’s camera for a while (so thankful to her) but it just wasn’t as good as my old one and my old one just wasn’t that good either. I’ve had my eye on a Canon Mack 5 forever (that costs an arm and a leg) because that’s what all the pros use but ended up getting a 6D instead upon advice from Toby. What can I say? Ex’s who are still friends do come in handy sometimes!

So guess what? It rocks! It is so so so so so so much better than my old camera. It focuses like lightening. It’s larger format so I can take pictures of a whole room without backing up into a corner. It’s easy to use. There are all kinds of cheater buttons that tell you what setting to use. This is handy for me because numbers (ie: f-stops and apertures always give me spinny ball brain fog). I just love it. Now I just need to book a bunch of photography gigs to make it pay for itself! If you are looking for photography, look me up! I don’t really have a photography website and it’s not like I’m going to be calling myself a full time photographer but you know I love it and I can always use more work.

What else is new? Well, I just got back from Alt Summit in Palm Springs.

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How was it? It was good but it was hard for me.  I forced myself to go by myself and that was terrifying. I really needed a buddy to side-kick me through social situations. I get really nervous walking into a room and striking up conversations with people I don’t know. It’s silly but I always think they won’t want to talk to me and that I’m making a fool out of myself. I can do it and once I get started I’m really good at getting people talking (journalism background pays off) but the walking up to people is the hard part. I felt like I was back in middle school all over again, agonizing that my best friend was sick and I was too shy to make new friends.

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I did see Joanna Gaines speak. That was pretty cool. I love seeing famous people who are just regular people. She was so humble and real. Her baby was in the front row and she talked about him often. It was really cute and fun.

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But yeah, there were 2,000 women there. TWO THOUSAND! So you can see why I had some trouble with social anxiety. The wonderful thing is that everyone seems to also have social anxiety and everyone was struggling. When I did get up the guts to find someone to talk to, they were usually really really nice and wanted to help things be less awkward as soon as possible. I don’t know if that’s because it was mostly women or if creatives are just nice people or if I’m just cooler than I think I am and people really do want to talk to me.

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First day I kinda cried in my room a little. You know how it is. But then the second day, Isabel, (my boss from alpha mom) showed up and she is the best side-kick buddy ever. Things got a lot easier when she was around. Though I didn’t attach myself like a starfish and parasite my way through the rest of the week. I forced myself to do my own things, only checking in with her randomly.

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I think the highlights for me were of course the pretty hotel. It’s a lot prettier outside than inside. I think they recently changed all the lightbulbs to florescent bulbs in the rooms and it was super depressing inside. I walked across the street and bought myself a candle to counteract the depressing-ness of my room. I loved having a hotel room by myself but I also wished it could be a little less like Motel 6 painted bright colors. I also bought myself a plastic bowl, cheerios, bananas and milk. They had a mini-fridge in the room so I saved myself bucket loads of cash by eating breakfast (and sometimes dinner) of cheerios in my room. Sad, I know but I am trying my hardest to be frugal these days. I thought I was pretty clever sitting there watching Netflix on my laptop while I sat in my pajamas on my bed with my candle flickering on the nightstand near by. It was very rotic (romantic without the man).

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Another highlight was seeing Garance Doré. I LOVE her. I have been a fan for ages but seeing her in person and hearing about her struggles with depression sealed my devotion and love for her forever. She really hit on a subject that had been bothering me the whole conference. These days it’s so hard to make it in the popularity numbers game of social media. It’s really hard to be in a room with 2000 women who all have followings of 20K or more. I love being around creative women like me but the competition is overwhelming. It’s crushing at times. I just can’t even try anymore. She talked about how she doesn’t go to fashion week anymore but prefers to go on 20-person retreats and that resonated with me. I can’t do ALT Summit again. I learned a ton and it wasn’t a waste of money at all but it brought up all my old fears and insecurities and I think I am just too old for that sh*t. I just need to make my art and not worry about what anyone else is doing. That’s aways what has been successful for me in the past. Why do I keep forgetting that?

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Then after the summit Isabel and I went on a mad trek to find Desert X. Spoiler: We didn’t find it. I almost got my car stuck in the sand instead and it was quite thrilling to have adrenaline pumping through my veins as I maneuvered my way out of a sand pit. But we did it! We walked for a mile or so and saw nothing. Just an old abandoned washing machine, a disgusting dirty bed with dog poop on it and a homeless camp. We turned around and went back. But not defeated! It was fun! I love spending time with Isabel. And really, spending time with a good friend is better than getting that perfect picture for instagram that everyone else has already taken.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to go back and find Desert X. It seems amazing and I really want to take pictures of it. BUT…

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I feel quite fine settling with this photo as well. I heart my new camera!

 

(Do you guys need links? Desert X.. Alt Summit, Garance Doré…? If so I can go back and put them in. I just liked flying under that radar since I didn’t have all good things to say.) done!