let’s get real

Blogging can be absolutely exhausting. There are times I have to stop and take a breath, come up for air so to speak. You spend so much time documenting that you forget to enjoy the moment cause you are always thinking about content and what would captivate a reader.

As much as it would cool to have an uber successful blog (and ahem, get paid for it), I can’t hide behind the veil. There are a few blogs I read quite avidly and there are times where I find myself getting highly annoyed because everything is just so picturesque and perfect. The staged shots, the outfits, the everything is awesome and cool when you’re part of the team. I understand that for a few people it has become their job, I of all people get that you need to rake in some cheddar. But goddamn bloglandia! After a while that shit is so damn fake.

Don’t you go through some blogs and hope to see a glimmer of realness under the facade? The post where they admit to having a craptacular day, a shimmer of vulnerability. One day I want you to come out and say, “You know what? FUCK THIS, and YOU”. I want you to admit you broke out with zits, you got in a fight with one of your friends over something totally stupid, how your partner broke your heart, how everything isn’t staged, perfect and followed around by a photographer. Exhausting.

One of my favorite food bloggers wrote a rare post about how she basically looked at the photos of an ex on Facebook and how it made her feel. To this day, it is my favorite post… not the food, the perfect donut photos… it was her humanity that struck me the most. And nowadays, it happens less and less.

I guess that is why my posts have become few and far between. Because I want to be real. I want you to see/read this and when you meet me in person and think, “Yeah, she is exactly the same as the blog person”.

In any event, in an effort of realness I am going to admit something: I am all over the place right now. Since getting back from San Diego I was counting down the days to get my shit together. With Reza back in school I was all ready to get back to the routine, the gym, everything. Or so I thought. It’s amazing what 2 weeks out of your routine will do to you and damn if I’m not paying for it. I have some odd abdominal pains going on and the doctor says my gut is seriously out of whack. The paranoid person in me is thinking all kinds of awful shit like tumors, masses and bursting appendixes (appendi? Is there a plural for appendix? heh) and needless to say I am stressed the hell out. Health stuff terrifies me. Pair that with getting weighed after a vacation? Fuck me if I will ever do that again. Depressing and not recommended. When my body isn’t doing what I want it to do, the rest goes out the door. Which brings me to my current state of affairs.

I have a slew of creative ideas in my head right now. So so so many…. So many and the push to execute them is on a delay. I am envious of some artists who seem to have a constant flow where they are churning out stuff like a manufacturing plant. My season is nearing… Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, things I could be making for the shop for xmas purchases. It is knocking like a screen door in a tornado and somehow I am not answering.

They say your surroundings are a reflection of your current state of mind. If this is the case I am a hot mess of things with potential to become something more. AKA My Workspace. So in an effort of reality, I am going to show you what my workspace has been like… not some staged, perfectly stacked Tetris like geometry of things. The messy reality.

My reality is that lack of space has me working next to the litter box. Fancy artist stuff right here people! Glamorous artist life! Nothing like being in the middle of artistic genius (LOL!) and Gomez rolls in and drops the nastiest of deuces.  And the bed? That’s Nena’s former bed which I still can’t bring myself to get rid of. I know this sounds morbid but it gives me a sense of comfort and I like to keep it there in case her little canine specter decides to pay us a visit.

Here’s a small tour of my clutter…

Clockwise sort of: storage box full of crap to go through, sketchbook, pens + brushes, sculpted friends for that shadow box I need to finish, art supply coupons (cause that shit is expensive yo!), an old photo of Josh and I that came in the mail from his Mom, paints, tape, glues, x-acto blades. I have three kinds of adhesives on my desk at the moment. Is that really necessary?

Then there is this. Recently I moved the scanner/printer off my desk for space. It was replaced by a desk hog. I don’t mind, I like having a desk buddy but sometimes it is hard to work with cause she likes to walk across at the most inappropriate of times. The feline eye of Sauron in my face. Here she can be seen guarding my newest acquisitions for my snail mail “problem”. That blank spot of desk there? It actually had the camera I was shooting these with so it was the only thing that got moved.

And then there’s me. I just got up, haven’t brushed my hair that really needs to be washed, omg like #NOMAKEUP, in my PJs and no, I am not wearing a bra. Home is where the bra isn’t after all.

And I won’t even get into the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded. Mountain.

My mind frame is a state of unfinished business. I don’t like it and now that I have documented this state of disarray, I have decided that today I am going to finish something. One thing. Then I am going to make myself a check list of pending shit so I can start knocking it out. I have to start somewhere, right?

3, 2, 1…

the happiest place

Ever since moving to the Bay Area, I have been wanting to make a trip over to The Walt Disney Family Museum. It is on the pricier side to attend but when I saw they had two temporary exhibits worth viewing, I knew I had to go as soon as I got back from San Diego.

Recently I connected with an artist named Caitlin. Her art is rad (go look at it!) and we had been following each other on a couple social media platforms. Turns out she lives a couple towns over. I decided to grow a set and made plans with her cause new, local friends are a plus. Thankfully she was cool with hanging out with a complete stranger and we went to SF for the day to go to the museum.



The Mary Blair portion was AMAZING. It was in a building all its own because there were so many pieces on exhibit. Lots of wonderful, sweet, textural concept art for so many Disney projects. The opaque watercolor and brightness was mesmerizing. It was pretty hard to get good photos since flash was prohibited but here were a few of my favorites that really do the art zero justice.


All of the Peter Pan and Alice In Wonderland pieces were amazing but that Headless Horseman from The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow took the cake for me. I was also very happy to eye a portion of her work space… I have a thing about artist workspaces.


The rest of the museum has tons of memorabilia about Walt, his family, and eventually it gets into all things Disney from the movies, concept art, animation process, etc.

While inside you eventually make your way to the back of the building which they were smart enough to make completely glass cause well, the view is HORRIBLE.


And then there was this replica of the park (vintage), some of which are no longer there (RIP People Mover!) and some parts moved, like the tea cup ride.



There was soooooo much cool shit to look at but for me it was all about the concept art and the park memorabilia. That tiny little piece from Night On Bald Mountain… so much love.

The Marc Davis exhibit was much smaller but there were some pretty amazing Haunted Mansion originals. Sadly photos were prohibited in that section. BOO! But they had 2 of the stretch painting portraits as well as the pirate girl from the Pirates ride. Total fan girl goo moment.

Eventually we got a case of the hungry so we headed out to Japantown for some eats and shopping at Daiso.

It was cool going to see art with someone else who appreciates it and sees things through the same lenses as I do (Thanks Caitlin!). In any event it was a great time and got to see a lot of VERY COOL and inspiring art.

Pro-tip: If you ever plan on going to the museum, don’t go on a weekend and if you do plan on it, GO EARLY. Lots of people and it gets annoying as all get out. Also, it can be on the pricier side so be prepared for the wallet dent. $20 admission + the gift shop + parking + special exhibit… it adds up. Also, I wouldn’t recommend it for small kids, they will get bored hella fast.


Lets kick this pot of stew off with the big one for the week…

Reza started 2nd grade yesterday! Where does the time go, right? Josh and I had a little bit of an anxiety attack when a concerned friend called me, the evening before the first day of school no less, to ask why Reza wasn’t on the lists for 2nd grade. Insert panic, we call the school, “We made a clerical error and enrolled her into another school in the district”. Oh boy. Thankfully it was all straightened out before we got there and she got put in a 2nd/3rd combo class. Not sure how that is going to work out but I was told that her grades reflect that she can handle it.

Her first day was so much easier than last year. Such are the joys of breathing in the air of familiarity. No anxiety, peace out Mom & Dad! She loves school and was so happy to see her friends and happy to be in a class with kids she knows well. She is going to do so well and we couldn’t be more proud to see her take another step in her academic path. Here is her 2nd grade interview which surprisingly didn’t have too many changes from last year. Go forth and conquer my Nugget!

Did you know that you can change Siri on your iPhone to be a guy/lady with a British or Aussie accent? Oh yes you can. Want to know how? Go to Settings > General > Siri >  and then you choose the language and gender.


I changed mine to a British guy and his English is so much nicer to hear. Now, if Apple could get on Siri’s voice being supplied by Tom Hiddleston. Wouldn’t that be magical? Now that I think about it maybe it isn’t a good idea. The other day I thanked Siri for some directions and it actually responded, “I LIVE TO SERVE”. If that sounded like Tom Hiddleston I would never leave the house.

Been venturing into sculpting for a project I am working on. It’s rough sauce but either way it has been fun to try new mediums even if the outcome is mediocre. Whee!
photo 4

It is still kitten season at the shelter and the other day there were 3 black kittens. I can barely handle the cute and lucky for Josh we have a lease agreement that doesn’t allow more than two cause I could easily become crazy cat lady. All the black cats to me. Case in point? This guy…

Since I got back it has been a whole lot of getting things together. Writing an endless list of Thank You cards to all the right people back in SoCal, uniform acquisitions for the child who grew out of EVERYTHING she owned for school, some art stuff that isn’t completed just yet. To say I am all over the place is an understatement. Have some things to wrap up then it’s on to new ideas.

How do you know you live in the Bay Area? Well, other than the tapped out bank account, this is how you know you live in the Bay Area…

But then again there is always this, which I will never tire of looking at or photographing. I need to walk and ride my bike across it soon. Definitely after Summer though, way too many tourists. Before you get all phone police, I was a passenger while taking this. You would be shocked at how many people I have seen trying to selfie and take photos of this bridge while driving across it. It’s hella scary.

photo 2

I recently surprised my friend and CupKozy diva Dinah with a paper cutting of her likeness as a belated birthday present. I was pretty happy with the outcome. It isn’t a continuous piece but I could not omit her perfectly shaped eyebrow. No way.

photo 3
I recently started a Facebook group called The Skeleton Crew (thanks for the name Michelley!) . It was originally intended to be a page just for me and my friends to gossip about all the up and coming Halloween loot/festivities but I kept getting requests to join so I made it public. Yes, I start looking for Halloween goodies in August and it is the only holiday I don’t mind seeing in stores this early on. So happy to see that so many share my Hallow-enthusiasm.

Also, for you caffeine enthusiasts, Josh discovered that the chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde makes THE BEST iced coffee. I gave it a shot today and boy was he right! Woot! We get ours at World Market.

So on to the meat…

Now that Reza is back in school I can get myself on a more consistent routine. Case in point: the gym. Between kid and my myriad of injuries, I kept away for far more than I should have. I went yesterday for the first time in months and the ouch. It’s a good ouch mind you. Either way I hope to make a dent to some of The Summer Fluff paired with getting back on my anti-inflammatory regimen. I need me time, lots of it.

I guess that is where I say I am happy that Reza is back in school. I love her and being around her, but I also know that without zero downtime, I get edgy really damn quick. I know other Moms judge people like me, for celebrating back to school with enthusiasm. Good on them if they want to be that kind of parent. I just know it isn’t for me. I suffocate if I am constantly running with no time to stop and breathe. I like who I am for the most part and feeling like a square of butter on a loaf isn’t part of my m.o. – if anything, it makes me a horrible, stressed person and in turn a bad wife and mother. Those are two paths I have zero desire to go down. So fuck yes to back to school. Amen.

Otherwise, things at Compound Carley are really good. We have lots more outings in the pipe, seeing friends, potential travel plans – like trying to go to Japan in the Summer, lots of balance. People have been asking me how he has been doing, how I am doing and I cannot be more appreciative of those who have. I figured I would put it out there, give you an update of sorts. Josh has been amazing in the past couple of months and really is working on himself. July was a tough month for us and I am sure it still has its challenges for him but he continues on a good path and I am on the sidelines, cheering him on. His having 2 weeks to himself really gave him the time to soul search and I came back to someone newer. I honestly feel relieved because I was so worried for him and us… but he is taking all of this with 95% seriousness and 5% humor, cause lets face it, it wouldn’t be Josh otherwise. I am hopeful and confident that things will continue to get better and that is really the best I can do other than lead by example. I am happy to see him writing in his blog with more frequency, making music, getting out, reading, being Josh again.

So there you have it.


You know how people say “I never win shit”? Well I am one of them. A couple months ago I stumbled across a new blog (to me anyway) that had the type of content that appeals to me: BLEAQ

Recently they had a reader survey and by completing the survey you were entered in a drawing for The Book Of Skulls. I never pass up skull stuff. And wouldn’t you know it, I actually won the thing.

I just got it in the mail and it is fantastic!


The book and the blog are worth checking out for sure! So go!  www.BLEAQ.com


SoCal Summer

I just got back from busy,  sunny hotter than shit, two week trip in SoCal to reunite with the family. Crazy town! Look, get a bunch of Mexicans who haven’t seen each other in a long time, it is going to be chaos and LOUD. Yes people, this is our speaking voice. Loud and louder… unless you are my father who watches his novelas at volumes only dogs can hear.

I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have (as usual) and carting around the DSLR everywhere is a pain in the ass. Of course I regret it later to here is a hodge podge of phone, camera and stolen photos from the family. Pic spam will ensue!

So without further ado, here is most of  what happened, was seen, etc.

My place to stay fell through the day I was leaving. Stressville galore but thankfully we had some friends bail us out and fuck if I don’t owe them my right kidney. You try looking at hotel prices in the middle of Comic Con, it would be more than your kidney.

We arrived at the beginning of Comic Con and were not able to see, do or partake in any of it. I am not bitter. Nope.

Got to meet with my ladies Tania, Michelle (and their respective nuggets) and Paige for quick hellos over grub. Always nice to squeeze up on my ladies.

Goal #1 – get there and give Chewbacca a lopping. My hair was in a sad state of affairs and luckily Jason & Eryc were more than happy to oblige. Off it went… two days later I am back to respectable, purple and edgy conditions. And who can beat Jason giving me a good boob squeeze while whispering in my ear, “I just grabbed your boobs in front of your Daddy”.

A small gathering at the beach and got to see tons of my cousins. This is just a very small fragment of my awesome family… bunch of wonderful, colorful people! It was great catching up with them.

Got some solo, quality time with these awesome people. Damn I miss my sisters already.

Reza and I boned out to Mexico to spend the rest of the trip in Baja with my sister Liz who was awesome enough to put us up. We were later joined by the rest of the Garcia posse. I love Liz, she doesn’t mess around, is an awesome host and cook and always manages to make us feel spoiled and right at home. She lives right on the beach which is a blessing and curse cause she has the influx of out of towners renting condos in her building. One night was a massive clusterfuck in the form of a building jam packed full of people from Mexicali, who seem to think the elevator was a clown car (lol, typical Mexican stereotype). They shoved in it so much that they broke one of the two elevators, the building blew a fuse somewhere and we were without power and water for several hours. Did I mention we were on the 12th floor? JOY. Dinner by grill and candle light it was. Funny enough there were some outlets that worked and yes, we had no power in most of the place but the wifi router still worked. PRIORITIES. Adventure time! Still, the views did not disappoint.

I knew there would be some downtime so I packed up a couple art supplies and still managed to churn out some of my favorite drawings to date.

Bee, Reza and I did a lot of beach time and despite my efforts to stay whiter than white, I failed. Reza came home looking like the damn Coppertone girl.

Trip didn’t come without some downsides in the form of family drama, one of which was butting heads with my Father whose middle name should be “No Es Cierto” (it’s not true). The man loves to argue with us about the validity of things. He asked us questions, we answer and it is quickly followed by “no es cierto”. He loves to contradict us about shit he knows absolutely nothing about and it makes me insane. I just can’t chuck shit up to “that’s just the way they are and you need to let it go” when it comes to anyone. Our relationship has never been the best and as he gets older, he only gets more crotchety and complicated. He is price tag obsessed and living in Mexico for such a long time, he has become completely out of touch with the cost of living in the USA. Everything is “too expensive”, he makes rude comments about people, makes comments about everything we spend on, going anywhere with him was a production about prices and if we took him to eat it had to be cheap or needed “lime and chile on it” as far as he is concerned. I just feel like nothing I do pleases him. Mom has become very vacant in her stare, like the life has gone from her eyes and it was very heartbreaking to see. She has become very forgetful and absent minded which is scary since Grandma had really bad Alzheimers. We have brought it up and denial is very present there. As much as I hate to admit it, they have never been the same since my brother passed away.  It makes me angry because he was never around, never called them, yet here they are, destroyed over his absence. I get the part about parents mourning a child, but they need to move on and enjoy the life they still have. It’s like he took a piece of them with him… motherfucker. All of this paired with my impatience was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and it was probably for the best I cut out earlier despite my wishing to be around so I could spend more time with Bee and Liz.

Lots of FaceTime sessions with my favorite dude. It really sucked traveling without him even more when were in Mexico cause I know he would have loved it so much. Thankfully I had wifi and was able to have lots of conversations with him. The man is my prozac.

Our homie Adrian came down from LA with his buddy Joe and there were some awesome conversations, beach and taco times. I love sharing the insider guide to Mexico with friends cause when we do it, we do it right, dammit. Although, I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t drink anymore. The very few times I drank rewarded me with a full on headache the next day. It’s just not worth it.

Lots of hanging out, walking around looking at curios. I also scored some Dia De Los Muertos souvenirs and was hella inspired for the next round of pieces I want to make one of which is another annual, limited batch of sugar skulls for the shop. Mexico never disappoints.

I came home with a very small amount of things, like Day Of The Dead loot, my lock of hair, a quartz from Liz and this awesome case for my glasses that Bee brought me from Japan. How she knew I needed/wanted a new one? Who knows but it matched my old phone case perfectly.

My  god, the eating…. freshly made churros, gorditas, tacos of all kinds. Pair that with Liz’s amazing cooking? I am going to have to live in the gym and eat plants for the next few months to undo it. It’s not like I get that business on the regular anyway but lets just say I have some work to do. I had to steal that beer and banda on the beach photo from Bee, that is some classic Mexico right there.

Reza got a lot of family and cousin time. It was really nice to expose her to family and all the Spanish. All things considering she did pretty well and everyone ate her up. She did get overwhelmed and bitchy though which was a tap frustrating at times.

On our last night we had dinner at a cliffside joint called Splash that’s between Rosarito and Ensenada. Fish tacos at sunset? Hell yeah. I will never tire of Pacific Ocean sunsets. I still can’t believe I let Reza stand out on that rocky edge by herself. But that shot? So worth the anxiety.

And just like that, the two weeks came to a close. I did my best not to have a full on ugly cry when saying my goodbyes with Bee. It’s always the hardest part when it comes to these things… but we were also so ready to be home with Josh and the cats who cannot be happier to have us home. I slept like the dead last night. Tasty!

I have a lot more photos and a couple videos over on my flickr set  if you are so inclined.