Tag Archives: volunteer

the quinceanera

13 Oct

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This past weekend was my little sister, Briana’s, quinceañera and it was a pretty fun way to spend a Saturday. Not only was it pure joy to see her so damn happy but the experience made me realize what exactly has happened in the eleven months since we first met- she really has become family to me.

For those of you who don’t know what a quinceañera is, I am here to fill you in, considering I am an expert and all now. A quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, (take your pick!) is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.

Briana’s big day has been a topic of conversation between us for months now. I don’t think there was one detail we didn’t cover. We talked about her desired color scheme (gold in case you were wondering), possible song options for her first dance with her father, her grand entrance ideas, the cake, her bouquet (red roses with sparkly studs glued into the center of each one), her gown (think Belle from Beauty And The Beast), her change of outfit ideas (because even Briana knows you can’t dance all night in a big dress and heels), her jewelry inspirations (a crown, naturally). She even had a pinterest page for all her ideas. I quickly learned that planning a quinceañera is a lot like a planning a wedding. Well, minus having to compromise because a quinceañera is a singular vision and let me tell you, my little sister has got a very clear vision of what she wants, which happens to be one of the many traits I love about her.

On the big day Brian and I got dressed up and set out to the church for the ceremony, which would be followed by a party at a hall nearby.

The ceremony lasted an hour or so. Much of that time was filled with various church leaders talking about the importance of this day in her life. My favorite moment of the ceremony was definitely when the doors opened and she walked in with the biggest smile on her face and killing it in her big gold dress. She really did look like Belle from Beauty and The Beast and I couldn’t help but think….NAILED IT!!

The party to follow started off a bit awkwardly for Brian and me. First off, we only knew four out of the three hundred people. Second, the MC (dressed in a truly fabulous bull fighter type ensemble) for the evening only spoke Spanish and I never knew what he was saying. Brian pulled out his high school Spanish and translated a bit for me but mostly I remained in the dark as to what was going on.

But then the sweetest thing happened. Briana brought all her friends over to meet us, proudly introducing me as her big sister each time. My heart pretty much melted all over the floor. She even made a point to sit with Brian and me when dinner was served. But nothing topped the moment she and her family (mother, father, brother and “real” sister) took the stage to thank everyone for coming, as well as each say something special to Briana. After all four of them spoke the crowd cheered. It was then the MC said something (in Spanish of course leaving me to wonder if maybe it was time to get up and dance?) but then I saw that he was making a beeline for me. For those of you who don’t know me well I am not one to speak in front of an audience of three hundred unless I am prepared. So my first thought was…OH F*#k! I glanced over at Brian for backup but he was in the process of scooting his chair far far far away from me…he’s not known to relish speaking in public without being prepared either (Thanks, babe! HA) Luckily it took awhile for the MC to reach me and I was able to have a second thought (that was far less self involved) before he arrived with the microphone…out of all these people her family wants me to speak, how very touching. Pull it together Kate.

I’m still not sure what I said, in my “I hate public speaking haze” but I do know that I finished with “I love you and I’m so grateful you are my little sister” and I meant every single word.

Such an honor to be in her life.

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365 til 33

30 Jul

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If you’ve been following along with my blog since the beginning then you know that I come up with a list of goals to tackle each year. The first year,  365 til 30 my goals included driving across the USA, learning French, learning how to tango, going camping, spending a week at Tassajara, Learning how to cook, volunteering, getting a French bulldog & publishing my writing. I was pretty damn successful that year in accomplishing my goals. To the point of obsession actually. Accomplishing those goals before turning 30 was all I could think about for 365 days. Brian was very happy when that year was over. HA. Over the last few years I have continued to create a list of goals…doing so helps me focus on the things I want from my life…a framework if you will.

365 til…33!

Travel

Every year you can pretty much guarantee that one of my goals will be travel related. I am a travel nut! Seriously, why can’t I just travel the world and get paid for it? (Is anybody listening? I’m totally available if you want to pay me to travel) During 365 til 30 my travel goal was to drive across the country (check!)…during 365 til 31 my travel goal was an overseas trip (Brian and I went to Hong Kong and trekked Nepal!)…365 til 32 my travel goal was again an overseas trip but this time for our honeymoon (we took a month off and went to Vietnam and Bali) This year my travel goal is much simpler, all I want to do is take a road trip with Brian. I love road trippin’ with that man. Actually, it was on our first road trip together that I knew I loved him. We were only a month into dating when I asked him if he wanted to take a road trip to Santa Fe with me to visit my friend Chantal. He must have thought I was crazy. Who would want to sign up for that many hours in a car with a person you’ve only been dating a month? The answer to that question is ME! And him I guess Brian as well because he said yes. Luckily, it was a total success. This year I’m thinking a road trip from LA to Seattle. My ideal stops along the way would be….Big Sur, San Francisco, Ashland, Eugene, Portland, Olympia & Seattle.

Learn

This year I am dying to learn more about photography. For a girl who appreciates a beautiful photograph, it is a crying shame I can’t shoot one as well as I’d like to. Especially when it comes to this blog, I would love to post higher quality photographs. Well, I guess I do sometimes but sadly they are not shot by me and instead by my photographer husband. With that said, I will be signing my ass up for a photography class as well as making Brian teach me all his tricks. He even has an extra Canon Rebel camera waiting for me. Winning!

Writing

You can also pretty much guarantee that one of my goals each year will also have to do with writing. This year it is travel related. I want to publish my various travel (road trip, Hong Kong, Nepal, Vietnam & Bali) essays. Wish me luck!

Health 

I want to go vegetarian for a month. Ever since my gallbladder surgery a few months ago I have had the hardest time with my digestion. It’s been driving me crazy! I’ve decided that meat might be the culprit. This coming from an Irish gal who loves a good steak. Sigh. I thought what better time to test out vegetarianism then now! Oy…I’m scared. Any vegetarians out there want to offer some advice?

Home

Decorating our new home has been on hold for a bit now…between shelling out money for our wedding and honeymoon we have been neglecting our home. The space totally deserves more! I plan on decorating with the help of pinterest and my very talented interior designer mother. So here we go…one room at a time.

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instagram  @kate365 / facebook / twitter

inspiration, gratitude & surprises

24 Jan

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what inspired me this week?

this quote another blogger shared…

Whenever you start guiding yourself by caring about how you feel, you
start guiding yourself back into your Stream of Source Energy, and that’s
where your clarity is; that’s where your joy is; that’s where your flexibility
is; that’s where your balance is; that’s where your good ideas come from.
That’s where all the good stuff is accessed from.
— Abraham-Hicks

29 ways to stay creative

a session with a possible new life coach

putting together a book club with some of my favorite ladies. first up- the goldfinch 

spending time with my new little sister

compiling a list of inspiring ladies to approach to do the project 30 q & a

what am I grateful for this week?

we booked our honeymoon to Vietnam and Bali! April 24th-May 17th!

my momma for being the best grandma a pup could have…she takes frankie on dates when I have to work long days.

I finally finished our wedding thank you cards.

frank…that little guy can brighten the shittiest of days

white roses

candles…seriously, I can’t imagine a world without candles

my girlfriend Jen for always saying the right thing

my little brother returned safely from his three-week adventure in Australia…meaning his overbearing sister can now breathe a little lighter

my husband…always my husband

what surprised me this week?

I’m going to go with when Brian dropped coral paint all over our concrete patio

meeting new neighbors that I like

Find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

first date

22 Jan

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This past Sunday I had my first date with my new little sister. Leading up to the big day, I was agonizing over what activity to do with her. I now totally feel for guys and the pressure they must feel trying to impress on the first date. Being the thoughtful man that Brian is, he reached out to his buddy Jeremy who has been volunteering as a big brother for the last few years for ideas. Jeremy sent me these…

– Hiking
– Fishing
– Bowling
– Movies
– Eating
– Frozen Yogurt
– Museum
– Go to the park
– Miniature golf
– Archery

I immediately knew fishing and archery were out. Granted, I’ve only met Ana once but she didn’t strike me as a girl who would like archery. I did like the idea of miniature golfing though and I am always down for a frozen yogurt date. I wrote Jeremy back thanking him for the ideas…I also asked him if it was normal to be nervous. To which he replied…

“Absolutely.  Definitely normal to be nervous.  It’s like a first date, except harder because they don’t have a good grasp of the art of conversation.  I think in the 3 1/2 years with my little brother the number of questions he’s asked me is still in the single digits.”

HA. Noted. With that said I ended up deciding I would give her three options when I picked her up…The Natural History Museum, miniature golfing & bowling. Giving her options seemed like the safest way to go on a first date.

When I arrived at her house I was warmly greeted by her father. Seriously, he like the sweetest human ever. Ana was dressed and ready to go so we hoped in my car. When I told her my ideas she quickly said, “I like museums!”. So the Natural History Museum is where we went! The afternoon went much smoother than I thought it would. While she didn’t ask me anything about myself (you were right Jeremy!) she’s very talkative and open so it was easy to keep the conversation going. I loved getting to know more about her family and background. For four hours I was totally immersed in her world…from boys and school…to the world of minions (clearly, I need to see the movie Despicable Me).

When I got home from our date I felt lighter and it dawned on me…I didn’t think about myself once during our time together…all my stresses and concerns were a million miles away.

I’m not sure who’s going to benefit more from this friendship.

let’s do this 2014

6 Jan

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My vision board for 2014 is finally done! It took me a bit longer than anticipated. I usually finish it in one day but this year I found myself more contemplative (is this a sign that I’m getting older?) about what I wanted on it. Since 2013 was focused on my home life…I hope 2014 can be a year focused on my career…and maybe 2015 the year of the baby? Brian just read that and probably lost his breath a bit. HA! I have so many career goals and I felt like they took a back seat this last year. I’m not complaining…I feel like some years have themes and everything ebbs and flows. But now I am raring to go. That doesn’t mean I want 2014 to be allllll about my career because that would be just plain boring. Life is so much more than just your career.

My 2014 goals…

TRAVEL / SOUTHEAST ASIA

I can’t imagine a year that I won’t put a travel goal on my list. I live and breathe travel. My life feels the most full when I am traveling. The first year I stared this blog my goal was to travel across the country and I did just that with my lovely girlfriend Rachel. It was a wild adventure…a wild adventure that had us sleeping in tepees…, getting chased by what we thought was a tornado…exploring haunted cemeteries in New Orleans…touring Graceland…and so much more…it was a month of bliss. I still think about that trip, often. Last year my goal was to travel overseas with Brian and we ended up heading to Asia…we explored Hong Kong and trekked the Himalayas in Nepal. That trip changed me. Seriously, it changed me. It opened my eyes and my heart in ways I hadn’t expected. I had never been to Asia prior to that trip and I fell in love…hard. The experience left me wanting more. So this year Brian and I are planning on taking our belated honeymoon through parts of southeast Asia. The four locations we are looking into are Thailand, Bali, Vietnam & Cambodia. Depending on many variables…we could end up going to one location or all four. I’m sure you can imagine I would love to go to all four but we will see!

VOLUNTEER / BIG SISTER

Last year one of my goals was to join the BBBS program and become a big sister. I was niave enough to think this would be a quick and simple process but, it is not. After submitting may application…it took months to hear back…than I had to go through background checks and interviews…once given the OK I had to wait until I was matched with the right child. I will say that I think it’s amazing how thorough they are. They give a lot of thought on which child to pair you with depending on your likes, dislikes & background. When I finally got a call saying they had a child in mind it was a few weeks before our wedding and I knew it would be irresponsible of me to take it on at that moment, considering my head was being pulled in a million directions. So I told them I would call back after the dust settled in December. When I finally did I went through an interview with the family…first the child alone (to see if she liked me)…then her parents (to see if they liked me) and then each of us sat down with a case worker to see if we all liked each other. I’m kinda thinking this is the future of dating, no? Seriously! In the end we ALL liked each other! PHEW. Starting this month Brianna, my new little sister (who happens to be the sweetest, cutest and most creative 13-year-old girl) and I start our bimonthly dates. I’m so excited and slightly nervous I won’t be able to come up with fun activities.

WRITING / MY BOOK

Oh, my book….my book…my book. It’s been on my brain for two years now. I wrote the book proposal many moons ago…then the first chapter…a chapter in which I’m pretty proud of. But the problem with books…they just don’t contain one chapter. Writing a book also take a lot of time and focus…two things which I seemed to have none of this last year. But I’ve finally arrived at a place in which I have both time (well other than my new commitment to watching every “Walking Dead” episode- I’m obsessed) and head-space to create. My goal is to have a finished manuscript by the end of the year that I am ready to submit.

PUBLISH / SIX ESSAYS

I am a huge fan of personal essays.  I love reading them in all the forms they come…short, long, funny, sad, depressing, uplifting- I love the insight they give into different people’s lives. Because of my interest I took a personal essay writing class with the incredibly talented Taffy Brodesser-Akner a few months ago and decided that I not only wanted to read personal essays but I also wanted to write them. So I’ve made it my goal to publish six essays this year. Wish me luck!

HOME / DECORATE

As many of you know we moved into our new home well, shit, almost a year ago and our office still looks like a bomb went off in it, we have no dining table & our walls are white. Try having people over for dinner without a dining table…dare you. I wasn’t aware of how far back we had fallen until our building hosted a loft tour for owners to show-off their units to other owners. You know…a fun way to meet neighbors and compare decorating tips. Clearly, I wasn’t stupid enough to sign our home up on the tour but I also wasn’t expecting to walk into units and feel like I was in the pages of Home Decor. Each unit felt wildly different and they were all beyond gorgeous. After the tour ended…I walked into our loft and I vowed I would change it…SOON. The funny thing is I love decorating- I find it so creatively full-filling. I blame our wedding for the fact that our house looks like we just moved in. I swear weddings…such time suckers! So now that the wedding is off our plates, I want to focus on finishing our home this year.

my motto this year:

“Your life shows up for you, when you show up for your life.” – Marianne Williamson

Find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook