On Yoga

I went to my first Restorative Yoga class tonight and though I immediately paused at the Tarot-like “words of wisdom” cards that they passed out at the beginning of class. I’m glad I went. My yoga studio cancelled my 6AM Saturday yoga and replaced my Wednesday Pilates Barre class with a sprightly dance/barre class. Pretty much any form of exercise that incorporates dance especially, and I realize how hokey I sound when I say this, “sexy” dance moves, makes me wish I was anywhere else doing basically anything else. Ballet has seemed to be the exception (but, like, totally amateur, just-for-fun ballet).

I’ve been slightly adrift ever since. I hope by going to yoga last Saturday at 8AM and then to tonight’s class, I’ll get back into my groove. I walk to the trax every morning and night, but as my job requires so much sitting, I know I need to do something a bit extra.

The Restorative class has less postures, but you stay in them much longer. The instructor, Alexis had such a calm voice and towards the end of class she moved my head and shoulders (technical term?) and smelled of spearmint. I think I’ll go back.

Family Cross Stitch Project: The Ria’s (My Parents)


I realize this genealogical family cross stitch project is going to become pretty embarrassing, pretty quickly as I can barely get the right names and birth dates for my grandparents (yikes!).

Even so, I thought I would start with my family first. I was born the second child to Winton and Jaime Ria nee Miya in Murray, UT. My older sis was not even two years old when I was born and my parents quite often treated us like we were twins (dressing us in similar clothes and such). The little sis came quite a few years later. My little bro came a few years after that.

I read an article awhile back about this photography project, Before They Pass Away. My dad passed away before I hit junior high, but I’ll never forget how incredibly proud he was to be Maori. He spoke the language and was always trying to teach my older sis and I to know where we came from. If we weren’t going to Saturday morning Maori practice, we were practicing for the Obon Festival or whatever luau or cultural event.

My dad had a huge, crooked nose that apparently broke when he was swimming in the ocean in New Zealand. He had kind eyes, large hands and sausage-like fingers that were constantly fidgeting. He played the guitar and would sing to himself so often it was as if he didn’t realize he was doing it. When you heard him singing even if it was a song you had heard a million times before, it would light you up from the inside.

My mom is 5 foot nothing and getting shorter. My auntie from New Zealand referred to her as an “oriental princess” the first time my mom visited my dad’s family. It could be her amazing Japanese genes or her religious application of Vaseline, but my mom has looked pretty much the same for the past 10+ years.

My older sis and I were obsessed with smelling my mom’s hands and hair when we were little. She always smells so wonderful and she is the most put together, capable person you will ever meet. My mom used to call me “darling” when I was little and sometimes as an adult when she refers to me with that moniker I feel like a beaming 5 year old. Small and special.

I don’t know if these little bits of memories will help with my project, but it’s nice to remember them.


Thoughts on Flowers and Gardening


Bought this from Richard and killed it 2 weeks later (blame this on our dungeon apartment and not the plant)

A couple years ago, a sweet neighbor brought me an arrangement of green kermit mums that magically did not die after two weeks in my home. The husband and I unsuccessfully tried flower arranging for a few weeks after that to no avail. I do enjoy the special occasion bouquet, but I wish I could have more greenery in my home that did not consist of fake plants.

Besides being a wizard piemaker, a natty dresser, an apiarist and overall interior design expert, my friend, Richard is also amazing with plants and landscaping. His instagram and pinterest boards are inspiring.

Print Inspiration


Most of my walls are still pretty bare. The minimalist vibe the husband and I have been going for hasn’t made us rush into anything, but eventually I’d like something on the walls. As I’ve poured over 20×200 prints, Society6 and 1000Museums, we both keep coming back to the MIT Baker House piano drop which print doesn’t appear to be available for commercial sale.

Do What We Can

I’m half way through Goldfinch and feeling a little discouraged and sad about life. The husband calls it the Felicity effect in that when I was marathoning the show all I wanted to do was eat cereal.

The grouchiness made me search out Elder Holland’s recent conference talk called “Are We Not All Beggars?”. May I say that I am the worst at accepting help. Ask me for a ride ever? The answer will almost certainly be no. Help me with my groceries? ‘That’s okay, I got this’. Clean my house for me? Buy me dinner? ‘Um, why is my house dirty in this imaginary scenario’ and ‘that’s so sweet to offer, but no’.

I’d like to blame the majority on this personality trait on my mom who once refused a ride from a stranger after severely twisting her ankle and limping a mile back home. But the pride is all me, man. And in refusing to be the kind of person that needs help, I wonder how often I overlook opportunities to extend help.

This made me think of the absolutely amazing and kind folks in my life. These people have   an ease for kindness. They extend themselves without any kind of trumpet or flair. A couple of years ago, I was in a weird mood and saw my friend in the parking lot. I ranted to her for, like, twenty minutes and felt immediately better. The next day, I looked on my doorstep to see a bag of homemade cookies. I can not express how moved I was by that simple and sweet gesture.

I took a picture of it because I wanted to remember that on that day I was seen, that someone without any provocation whatsoever cared enough about me to tell me that they noticed me, that I wasn’t alone. Can I say if I’ve been that to someone? I hope I have.


Halloween Crafting Under $20

The husband and I have a family tradition of carving pumpkins. Although we are still keeping that tradition alive, I thought I would try to decorate our house a little bit to maybe prepare for trick or treaters (gasp!). I gave myself a $20 budget and took to Pinterest for ideas.

My first project was a snake wreath. I bought a wreath at Walmart for $4.97, black spray paint for $0.97 and toy snakes from The Dollar Tree which came up to $6.00 (5 medium sized snakes and 1 package of mini glow-in-the-dark snakes). Total: $11.94

The 2nd project was a floating ghost. The lil sis bought the stuff for this one so this was a total cheat. She bought two styrofoam heads from Michael’s ($4.99 each), cheesecloth, fishing wire, and dish towels from Walmart that we ended up dying with tea bags. Total: free (for me)

The 3rd project were vampire pumpkins. I bought mini pumpkins at Trader Joes for $2.07 (3 for $0.69). The lil sis bought 3 vampire teeth for a dollar each. Total: $2.07 (for me)

I also bought a couple bags of “spider webs” at a dollar each and skull faces made out of cardboard from Michael’s, 3 for $0.99. I spraypainted these with glow-in-the-dark paint (also bought by the lil sis), but I’m not sure how well this one turned out. Total: $4.97

We’re still putting together all of the projects, but I was happy to have kept pretty close to my budget.

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Family Cross-Stich Project


My crafting experience is only gift knitter, but the Christmas season that begins right after Labor Day for all gift knitters is upon us and I have put it into my head that I’d like to start a cross stitching project that I saw on Martha Stewart.

I can vaguely remember a cross stitching project I did when I was middle school age, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count as I quit half way through the project. I also have it into my head that I’d like to include my genealogy with this project. My mom assures me that our genealogy is “done”, but we are sometimes a family of…what’s the opposite of oversharers? Close-to-the-vesters? Secretive? That’s sounds worse than it is.

My maternal grandma died before I was born. My maternal grandpa lives in California whom we saw once a year from the time I was born until I moved out of my mom’s house. Both paternal grandparents live in New Zealand. The stories of any great-grandparents are so vague as to be barely remembered. I’d like to know those people. Even if it’s just to get an idea of who they were to include in this project. Does that sound silly?

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

I read this article today about “New York essays” which prompted me to read Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That”. My Didion interest is only a couple of years old (I know!). I immediately fell in love with The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights. Last year, Lena Dunham talked with Alec Baldwin about the biggest dream from her “pretentious private school” upbringing would have been to become Joan Didion.

Elementary school was a time of voracious reading for me. Writing, too. I would make up stories with Friend messages and read them to my family for FHE. It was also elementary school when I submitted one of my stories to this school district thing. The stories were compiled into a book of sorts and we got to skip school for a day and attend these workshops with actual published authors (several of which warned that there was no money in children’s literature).

But I think I also chose my career field when I was in elementary school. Although, I secretly hoped I would be Jo March from Little Women, I told my family I wanted to go to Harvard, be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and ship my kids off to boarding school. I had no clue what a CEO of a Fortune 500 company did, but it sounded important and I knew that it would mean I was the boss.

Then in high school, I decided I wanted to be a financial planner. Although the last year of college made it very clear that was not in the cards for me, I finished with a finance degree and became an accountant. Almost ten years later and I’m still a little surprised about how I got here. I wonder what would have happened if I had been a little dreamier, braver. If I had paid more attention to my writing than to spreadsheets and financial ratios.

I’m not sad to see that my life isn’t how I thought it would be. My struggle is the feeling like I’m not so confident about where it’s going. I can’t see a clear path anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up. Maybe the answer will be somewhere in these new habits I’m trying out. Although, if I could start over, I’d shoot for Didion.

Sharon Van Etten “Are We There”


I know it’s been out for a bit, but I’ve been obsessed with Sharon Van Etten’s “Are We There”. Since I’m a stubborn music listener, sometimes I am resistant to new artists based on the effusiveness of the hipster bandwagon or at least the radio (my mainstream loves can not be explained except that I’m a fickle mistress). This is why I have never given a full listen to The Alabama Shakes and Michael Kiwanuka (sorry!). And up until a month ago, Sharon Van Etten.

I have since repented, and been utterly fixated on this album. It’s silly, but it makes me feel porous. Like I’m absorbing all of these wonderful sounds, the ache in her voice, the emotion behind her words. It makes me feel bold and sad and happy. And alive.

Mustache Monday: Grocery Bill Comps on a Diet

Mr. Money Mustache has a lot of opinions about cutting down grocery bills. My own opinion is that if I had the resources, I would hire out my culinary thinking to professionals. While the husband and I have talked about growing a garden in our small outdoor space, the cooling weather has put a temporary kibosh on that idea.

The most recent US average of monthly Food Plans for a family of 2, ages 19-50 ranges from $390 (thrifty) to $774.30 (liberal). A quick Mint check of our grocery bills in 2014 shows our average monthly groceries to be $300.

The husband was concerned that our 3 Day Facelift Diet would show a big jump in grocery expenses so I thought I would do a run down of our expenses for that time.

Breakfasts: Trader Joe’s – steel cut oatmeal $3.29, bananas (7 @ $0.19 = $1.33), organic cage free eggs $3.29, frozen berries $2.99, pineapple $1.79, honey greek yogurt $4.99; Target – grapes $4.53, spinach $2.98; Whole Foods Larabar (4 for $5.00), Smith’s kale $3.99, cheddar cheese $1.79, flax seeds $2.69, heirloom tomatoes $3.49

Total Breakfasts: $42.15

Lunches: Smith’s cucumbers $1.78, Trader Joe’s almonds $5.99, lunch at Nauvoo Cafe $8.62, other ingredients already included in Breakfast breakout

Total Lunches: $16.39

Dinners: Trader Joe’s – quinoa $5.99, balsamic vinegar $3.99; Smith’s – extra virgin olive oil $6.99, frozen veggies $1.19; Costco wild Alaskan sockeye salmon $36.99

Total Dinners: $55.15

Snacks/Treats: Trader Joe’s – pistachios $7.49, pumpkin seeds (for husband) $6.99; other ingredients already mentioned

Total Snacks: $14.48

Grand Total: $128.17

As a caveat, we did not consume all of these groceries in three days. In fact, most of these groceries will last us through the rest of this week especially the snacks. The biggest expense was definitely the salmon. We were able to eat it all in three days. Given the price tag and the quantity, I’d like to be able to find other ways to get our fish consumption. We’d still be under the moderate cost plan according to the USDA weekly totals, but I want to keep our grocery bill to our usual average of $75/week. Must find the balance!