California Zen: Life in the Pink House

When I think about the past four-and-half months, my head spins! Since late May, I lived in a Magician’s Mansion (with a 120-lb tortoise named Henry), bounced East to DC to visit friends and family, moved into La Casa Rosada (the Pink House), and hosted an ongoing carousel of visitors. Throw in a side trip to Santa Monica, a highly anticipated Himalayan salt lamp, goat yoga, and a refrigerator full of kombucha, and you have yourselves a fully christened California Girl 🙂

Each of those random things hosts a story all its own, but I have been negligent in tending to my little online garden. Mostly, this means that my life has been busy and full. And it’s true! I adore my little Pink House. In fact, I probably love it a little bit too much. We did not buy it  (we are simply renting) but it’s the first house that Chuck and I found and chose together, and the first time in quite a while that we haven’t been forced to live in something we didn’t want. After 3 years of involuntary, military base housing, I was ready to regain some control and make ourselves a little home.

IMG_0976_20170710213812 Continue reading

Gypsy Kitty: My New Look

IMG_0194

Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Every time I move, or experience a transition, I tend to rebrand myself and my little corner of the internet. When I got married and moved to North Carolina, I went from DC party girl “Bad Kitty” to “Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake,” documenting my attempts at domesticity and “blooming where I’m planted” as a new military spouse.

When I moved from Georgia (yet another “keep calm” sort of location) to Okinawa, Japan, I still felt the need to keep calm and bloom, but decided to revamp my blog to suit the Asian adventure upon which I was about to embark: lotus flowers, better photography, menu items, a new template. Mostly, Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake became a travelogue.

Now, I am living in Southern California, and it is time for a change!

IMG_0621

Taipei, Taiwan

My experience in Asia taught me to explore anything and everything. I had taken DC for granted in my youth, mostly staying within my comfort zone and only occasionally venturing beyond what I knew. Of course, much of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a lot of disposable income with which to have such adventures. Still, there was plenty in my own backyard that I failed to become acquainted with, because I was too busy with work, family obligations… and being a Bad Kitty.

With Asia – and with growth – came a greater understanding and appreciation for the nooks and crannies all around. Sometimes that was an exciting new country, and other times, it was a particular corner of a particular street in the village outside my gate. With all of my transience, I’ve learned to make the time to explore the world around me, whether it’s a foreign country, a different state, a new city, or even my own backyard. (Not to mention my own state of mind!)

At the same time, I continued to explore the nooks and crannies of my own life  – learning from others, as well as myself. Now that I am starting over yet again, I’m ready to blend that curiosity and wanderlust with the fun girl that loves to dance, sparkle, and drink wine with her cats. A Gyspy Kitty, if you will! Purrfect. For now 🙂

As always, this blog keeps me connected, introspective, and contemplative as my definitions of home and self continue to evolve. I’m surely enjoying the ride!

IMG_0217

La Jolla, California

My Favorite Little Corner of the World

Goodbyes are never easy. It’s an old cliché, but we all know it’s true. My Okinawa goodbyes were not particularly graceful or memorable. They were actually rather abrupt, but in some ways, I like that better. As my friend Sally said, it’s like ripping off a BandAid. Or diving head first into cold water. You’ve just gotta do it. And in the end, most of my goodbyes were not that serious, because I know I will see many of these people again. But there was one goodbye that was harder for me. Because I know I will never see my Uken family again.

IMG_0099_20160207124157It’s hard to explain what Uken Beach means to me. On the surface, it may seem obvious: I like cats. Cats are my spirit animal. And believe it or not, I haven’t always been as obsessed as I am today. Sure, I’ve always loved them, but it wasn’t until my mother got rid of my cat while I was in college (without my knowledge) that I truly realized their significance in my life. As my mom struggled with mental illness and my home life disintegrated, Sammy was my consistent source of comfort. When I didn’t have her anymore, I felt her absence on a very deep level, and from then on would obsess over when I could finally get another feline companion of my own. Continue reading

De-Clutter & Cleanse

IMG_3252With Chuck away and a break from grad school coinciding, I have a unique opportunity to step away from the frenzy that has been Life lately by refocusing and realigning my routine, goals, activities, and self just in general. I have felt rather overwhelmed and distracted lately, which makes me tired and irritable. I don’t want to become so stretched thin that I miss the value of the experiences I’m blessed to have these days. So, I’m trying to make the most of my 3 weeks off from school and my 10 days of solitude, with Chuck off doing his thing. Continue reading

Slow down… and Smile!

I wanted to share this post from one of my Facebook friends this morning. It’s a beautiful reminder of how we should be living lives, every day.

* * *

“As I hurried past a homeless man this morning, he started saying what we have all heard before, “excuse me, can I get a…”

Before he finished, I said “Sorry, I’m late,” and kept walking without a turn in his direction, only to hear him say behind me “… little smile.”

As I finished my walk to work feeling very small, I realized I could only apply this moving forward: Slow down, people may not be asking for quite as much of you as you assume.”