• Life Lessons,  party party,  Shop Talk,  spilling my guts,  The Desert,  working woman

    Winter Forever

    still-winter

    I know everyone is feeling it. The lack of sunshine directly contributes to the lack of serotonin in my brain and so many of my fellow warriors in the trenches of mental illness. We are fighting a monotonous, endless war against depression and the human condition. Every day is a battle to see the bright side. But there are bright sides! They still exist! I’m spinning as fast as possible to turn every negative thought into a positive one. Let’s keep up the good fight! Let’s find the sunshiney glimmers between the dark, dreary winter storms!

    bug-bday-part1

    I’m lucky enough to have a big birthday to celebrate after Christmas and New Year’s. It was good planning to have a kid in January to give myself something to look forward to in the dark days of winter.

    Bug, however, does NOT like having a winter birthday. All she wants is a pool party with sunshine and friends splashing around in bikinis.  And every year, we have to fret about whether or not her party will get rained out. I mean, yes, we are lucky that these are the problems we have to worry about when other kids are just fortunate enough to wake up alive and not to the sounds of bombs going off. But you know what I mean. Real-life problems in my small world are weather and paying rent.

    This was probably the first year in her eighteen years that it rained, and we had to consider a plan B: cramming all twenty of her high school buddies into our tiny apartment. We opened the weather app daily and discussed the predicted rain percentages.  On Monday, there was a 40% chance; on Tuesday, there was a 60% chance; by Friday, there was an 80% chance. It was not looking good, but the plan must go on!

    Because the plan was a good one! This year, Bug planned her birthday party from the invitation to the location of our local park to the bounce house and the piñatas. It was painful to step aside and let her make all the party-planning decisions, but I had to do it.  I had plenty of opinions, but just like I’ve had to step aside and let her do her school art projects, I’ve learned that there is a time for the teacher to be the student, and now is that time.

    bug-bday-part2

    Her theme was impeccable—”Party like when you were little.”  It was such a good idea!  Her friends dressed how they dressed when they were little. She made cupcakes and took them to school (the day before, which was a great way to hype the whole event). She had two Minecraft piñatas filled with all their old favorite candies and party-city-craptastic toys. Cheese pizza, a pink castle bounce house, bouncy balls giant and small… sticky hands, sparkly crowns and glow bracelets. It was brilliant!

    bug-bday-part3

    It was an absolute hit.  Bug had hyped it up so much at school the day before, and because teenagers will congregate anywhere under any circumstances, EVERYONE SHOWED UP! And THEN! At the last minute right before her party, the rain stopped for the exact hours of her birthday party!!!!! Everything was sludgy, muddy, and cold, but the rain stopped! Can you believe it?

    The bounce house was so fun. The kids didn’t really bounce in it much until the rental company showed up and told them it was time to deflate it. Then they all crammed in, and it deflated on them because bounce houses are not made to hold twenty full-grown bodies. It was hilarious. All the weight shifted to one side, and no one could hoist themselves up and out of the descending castle. Photos were taken, and everyone bonded in a huge laughing heap. It was amazing. We all relived our little kid dreams, and this mama was happy.

    nb-winter-sunset

    Let’s talk about another glimmer during winter: Winter light! Winter light is the best on the coast because the usual foggy, humid marine layer goes out to sea somewhere, and the skies are clearer and brighter than ever. Sunsets are beautiful with colors you never see any other time of the year. Golds and scarlets, pinks and purples. It is a beautiful thing to be by the sea during winter. Cold as heck but beautiful. I mean, comparatively speaking. We don’t know about snow or freezing temperatures, but our blood is thin, so we shiver when it’s 60 degrees and below.

    nb-winter-sunset-with-DJ

    Shiver, shiver, shiver. But look! So pretty!

    winter-at-the-cantina-1

    I also traveled to the desert to check on the Rasta Rita Cantina. Since my little flower business has a few weddings coming up in April, I thought I should get reacquainted with the venue.

    winter-at-the-cantina-2

    The wall is slightly faded but not bad, considering it’s been through a severe summer (118F) and winter (30F). I might have to do a few touch-ups.

    the-U2-RastaRitaCantina-sign

    Mario and I also visited the billboard we worked on. I was so NOT a part of this creatively (Mario and his buddy art-directed it; I was just the hands working the software), but it is my first billboard, so I’m slightly proud. I thought we’d get sued by U2 for blatantly ripping off their album cover, but since I didn’t have the correct photo or the right font, it wasn’t close enough to flatter myself. So hey! Billboard! Woot. It’s too bad I’m not proud enough to put it in my portfolio.

    A few of you have commented on my winding ways lately. Yes, I’m throwing everything at the wall, hoping it will stick. Flower business, behavioral therapy for autistic children, job hunting and travel… I suppose it’s not often a mommy blogger continues to tell tales and document her humdrum life after her children are grown. But the thing is, this never was a mommy blog. I just happened to be a mom for a big chunk of it. Mommy blogging made me famous briefly, but I’ve been journaling, sharing, and creating my, for lack of a better word, *digital magazine* of my “little life” since I was ten. Except when I was ten, my dad and I were in our converted back patio office punching out columns of copy on his Texas Instrument computer and pasting them into a newspaper format that we copied on the Xerox copier and I then handed out at Thanksgiving. Crazy. I guess I’ve always wanted to be a journalist writing “puff pieces” about my own life.

    I say all that to tell you about my latest whim. I’m trying out something new. Something new to throw at that wall, let’s say. I call it my 100-day project. I will spend 100 days putting all my energy into my own business. This might sound strange since I’ve been working for myself for the last twenty years, but I’ve spent a lot of time and energy making other people wealthy while living paycheck to paycheck myself, and lately, those paychecks have NOT been enough. I’ve created so many campaigns, logos, and business plans for others, scrubbed toilets, fetched dry cleaning, organized closets, and bought coffees… I’ve decided for the next 100 days, I will put as much energy as I’ve put into others into my own business instead. I’m not paying myself, but I’m paying it forward.  I will clock in at 9 am and work straight until 2 pm on my books, my art, and whatever crawls into my idea-popping head. If I can make other people successful, why can’t I make myself successful?

    I realize I’m all talk, but it’s only 100 days. Today is day four. Let’s see how it goes. It’s got to be better than everything I’ve been doing that has been failing so miserably, right?

     

    xo

  • Newsbreaking Hair News,  rando bits,  Shop Talk,  the dogs,  working woman

    A Birthday, A Brixie, A Chicken Bus and DIY Dog Bath

    4th-of-july

    Here we are in the middle of July. It’s always a big month for me with my birthday and Fourth of July celebrations. I decided to skip the party this year in favor of getting spoiled by Matt. Long-distance relationships definitely have their perks. Those perks for me are dinners out and fun-filled quality weekends.

    birthday-dinner-at-nobu-nb

    I am spoiled rotten. Matt took me to Nobu in Newport Beach, and I have to say it might be my favorite restaurant of all time, next to the Blue Agave that used to exist way back in the day in Santa Barbara. Nobu is NOT cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for. It’s not like I can go to Nobu any old time I feel like, so this was a real treat. I love the Japanese design of the restaurant, the curving staircase with the hanging lamps, the view, and of course, the melt-in-your-mouth popcorn-flavored beef and crazy yummy drinks and desert.

    birthday-week

    When Matt is in town, we go out. Sometimes Bug and her boyfriend come too. I love it. It was fun to dress up with my crazy bombshell acid-blonde hair and pretend I’m a kept woman. The rest of the month I’m a stressed-out, single mom boss bitch who works all the time.

    the-Brixie

    The blonde bombshell look is fun, but I’m excited about cutting off this feathery mess. I might just stay short forever. I recently found a new hairstylist in San Clemente near where I work for Rasta Taco, and I LOVE HER!!! I love my old stylist too, but this new girl knows how to cut hair in the Jayne Edo style that I’ve been following on Instagram for about a year now, and it was so great to meet a kindred spirit. Short, short, and shorter! I love the way the back doesn’t touch my neck. This cut is called a Bixie (Brixie for me) but I think I’m going full pixie next time. Be gone Blonde feathery mess! Then we can talk about Wolfies and Mullets…

    the-chicken-bus

    And Speaking of San Clemente, I have to show you the latest truck wrap I designed. We call it the Chicken Bus because it was inspired by the Chicken Buses of Guatemala. This one was a hard one. I had to work with another creative director to get my boss’s full vision but now that it’s done, I love it so much! It looks so rad showing up to parties. If anyone needs a truck wrap, hit me up. I’m looking to diversify!

    cody-gets-a-bath

    In other news, Cody got a DIY bath! I found the cutest little do-it-yourself dog-washing shop in Costa Mesa. (I wanted to tie in my hair and how owners and dogs look alike, but we’re moving on from hair news.) Cody has been a stinky dog for quite a while now. I’ve been trying to save money, and since he weighs 107 pounds, grooming him can be quite expensive. I don’t have a yard or a garden hose, so bathing him outside is out, and my bathroom and shower are not really conducive to large dog grooming. So he stunk. Then I found this place, and it only cost us $23 to wash and dry. What a deal!! It was hard to get all his fur completely dry, and he left a bit damp, but he’s sooooo much cleaner. No more gross greasy, smelly dog. I love him.

    That’s all the news for now!  Happy July!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay