jumbalaya

September is here and Summer is slowly on its way out, unless you live in SoCal where everyone is so sad about swamp ass and melty temperatures. Sorry SoCal! Either way we find ourselves on the cusp of another season and with it comes all the goodness that makes me (and countless others) squee for joy.

I had my first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks this morning. I know everyone is all “damn the man” when it comes to the evil, overpriced Siren. I get it but the PSL is where it is AT.

Here are a couple of the Fall goodies I have seen come to the consumerist surface AKA “things I got suckered into buying”

Washi Tape: Found in the $1 section at Joanne’s (yes, worth a repost cause I am a washi addict)

Pumpkin Greek Yogurt from Trader Joes: I am trying to find a love relationship with this thickness and all it took was the sample station at the store for me to be a convert. This stuff is delicious! Add some nuts and whoa! The best part is this comes with a lid you can re-seal in case you can’t finish the whole thing.

Method Dulce De Leche hand soap: I am a lover of the Method line and their limited edition scents are usually bust. Anyone smell the “tomato vine” scent? SO GROSS. Normally I don’t like fake caramel type scents cause they’re so flipping nauseating but this is actually quite nice. ($2.99 @ Target)

I am sure there will be lots more of this business in the months to come 🙂

What else…

I have been working on a beefy silhouette order for the past few weeks and now that it is wrapped up I have time to dedicate to my thing. For one, I have registered www.ivonnecarley.com and I am going to work on building a portfolio site for my art. For the time being it links to my blog but ultimately I want to have my work online as well as hustle out on finally making things like prints, cards, etc. for purchase. Baby steps but the ball is rolling.

Speaking of cut outs…. I made these the other day on a whim.

This past weekend we ventured out to check out the Farmers Market in Sebastopol, which is about a 10 minute drive from our house. Sebastopol is a cute neighboring town, super hippie whatnot… reminds me of Ocean Beach (san diego) without the beach part. I look forward to exploring it a little more. Anyway, I have never seen so much beautiful food in my life. Nature makes the best colors.

We had thought about going to Bodega Bay but it was too warm and later I come to find out they were having a Hitchcock event celebrating the anniversary of The Birds. Would have been nuts not to mention Reza was in full on motor mouth mode and we were over it.

I finally got around to hanging up a lot of my wall friends. I will be honest, these beige walls are driving me nuts but our lease will not let us paint. FINE. I will put a bunch of holes in the walls instead. I have so much art I love and not enough wall space.

This post isn’t all about stuff and pretty pictures. The truth is I haven’t been feeling well physically. Lots of joint issues, heat, stiffness… scary shit and I am not ignoring it by any means. Fuck this getting old crap. I may get carded, be totally immature at times and told I look young but the truth is I am not a spring chicken. I will be 39 in November and I have never felt “age” as much as I have in the past few months. I am doing my best to put on a happy face, stay positive and all that malarkey. Truth is I am terrified of what is going on and it is really hard not to beat myself up for not being as proactive about being healthier. Take notes youngins’, you won’t be as resilient later on.

Other than things here are well… we have some visitors in the pipe, Reza is loving her new school, Josh got a lap dance from the muse and he is back at the music which makes me really happy to see/hear. Right now I am all about getting back to my art, working on the health thing, trying to reconnect with friends. You know, life.

anticipation

I am usually the first person to talk a gang o’ shit about how retail America is quick to shove a holiday on you far before its time. Usually… well, except for when it comes to Halloween. Halloween is exempt of all and if it was up to me that business would be sold year round. I realize that makes me biased and a hypocrite. I totally admit it and accept it.

Slowly but surely I am seeing Fall colors trickle in everywhere, outside and in stores. Of course I like to hit it as early as possible before it gets really picked over and since I was alone I hit the stores that Josh hates the most and Reza gets all cuckoo in: THE CRAFT STORE.

Maybe it was scarring of relationship’s past but Josh REFUSES to set foot in craft stores. In fact, he hates them so much that one time he dropped me off and parked as far away as possible to park the car just so he wouldn’t be seen near it. He has said he would rather run his testicles on a cheese grater than set foot in Michaels ever again. I get it.

Anyway… Joanne’s and Michaels did not disappoint considering they are 95% stocked of orange, black and purple goodness.

Lots of cool loot except for the fact that the stores are getting that gross cinnamon broom stench in the air. That business makes me gag. I had to exercise some serious restraint and thankfully a lot of the cool stuff was in the $1 bins. But 99 cents for that little blank coffin? DUDE. Needless to say there will be a painting project later next month. The washi tape, coffin shaped note cards… yes.

Between this and the arrival of honey crisp apples, I can already feel the Fall joy creeping in. And yes, I am well aware that Halloween is more than two months away. I. Don’t. Care.

Sleepy Hollow

Josh and I have been here for a while now and honestly we have put off seeing a lot of the places and things cause we got comfy. Not anymore. We have come to the realization that our time on the East Coast is going to eventually expire and if this is the case we are making it a point to really knock all the things we want to do and see.

One of the places I have been badgering him about was seeing Sleepy Hollow in October. We had just got back and we had two weekends left, one of which is Halloween weekend and I know it gets nuts with tourists so we opted to go this past Saturday.

Reza woke up in full blown sassy teenager mode that day which kinda was a little salt on the cupcake. You would have thought she was 13, oy vey. “I don’t want to go…” and an attitude that made Josh and I park her on the iPad the whole way there just so we didn’t have to hear her whining. Ha!

So we packed it up and off we went! It is about a 2.5 hour drive from where we are as long as there is no traffic on the New Jersey turnpike. In the 10 days we were in San Diego, we came home to a veritable explosion of Autumny goodness. Unreal. The color enhancement on these photos is minimal… keep in mind they were shot from the car. It was pretty in Jersey…. (you will not hear me say this often…)

Josh and I enjoy road trips cause we always have a lot to talk about and we certainly got some good laughs from the Pro-Life billboard and the one renouncing evolution. Oh ok. Oh Jesus, why are some of your followers cuckoo? Bless you.

Oh hey! What up NYC!? How’s it going? I love you but there is no way in hell I am driving in you. I will admire you from afar…

Shortly after driving past NYC we hit the state line and the foliage just got more and more ridiculous (read: awesome) the more north we went.

One we got over that valley we drove across a breathtaking view of the Hudson River via the Tappan Zee bridge. I wish I was able to take photos to do this beauty justice but the barricades on the side of the road were too high to capture it appropriately. Picture beautiful homes, sail boats, a glistening river flocked by autumn colors.

We’re here! Now, considering it’s Halloween season there were a ton of tourists in town and traffic was kind of nasty. Our late departure from home got us there around 3 and the cemetery closed at 4:30 so off we went to consort with dead people.

The cemetery is a total stunner this time of year… and honestly these photos do it no justice. Absolutely stunning.



I practically had to force her to take that photo with the leaf. “But it’s UGLY, MOM!”. Just hold up the damn leaf child! 🙂

And of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ho it up on some cemetery signage.

The cemetery had a bridge called The Headless Horseman bridge and from what I gather, it’s a loose replica of the real thing but the real one has since decayed and its original location, was somewhere else in town and looks nothing like this…

How I managed to get it with no people on it was a christmas miracle.

Cemetery gates were coming to a close so we got back in the car and drove a tap till we could find a place to park, walk and get some much needed eats. One of the cool things is the town really embraces the whole “headless horseman” thing and you can find little details of it *everywhere*. The local school was “home of the horsemen”, the cop cars have it on the cars, the parking meters, all the street signs are black and orange… literally, it’s everywhere. SO RAD. And the scarecrow was absolutely to die for.

Since we had a long drive ahead of us we decided to call it a day and head home. I made a quick pit stop for some postcards and a magnet and off we went. I managed to get this shot of the bridge on the way home.

If you are ever nearby I highly recommend checking it out. It’s super quaint and magical this time of year. One more thing off the list has been checked off.

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The rest of the photos can be seen over on flickr and I highly suggest you do cause these mini versions really do them no justice.

jumbalaya

Here we go, another batch of random thoughts, photos and musings that don’t merit a whole post of their own. Ready? Let’s do this.

Reza is being walked to school considering we live about 3 blocks away. I was dropping her off this morning and she is already doing this whole “runs off with the other kids and ignores her mommy” bit. Look, she’s excited and I got to let her do her thing. The bell rang and they were being funneled into the building, Reza calls for me, I gaze over and she blew me a kiss. I know the days of being hugged and kissed in front of the school are well on their way to dwindling and you know what? I will take all that I can get.

Speaking of the nugget, I was watching her interact with the other girls and it hit me. I’ve come to the conclusion that Reza is going to go through that awkward toothless phase and when that time comes she’s going to look just like Peppermint Patty. Right on Chuck.

I am trying to make a more conscientious effort of getting exercise and getting out on the bike. Time proves difficult when you have one car and a kid that goes to school only 2.5 hours a day. This morning I dropped her off and took off for a very relaxing bike ride all over Haddonfield. I am glad I went when I did cause it got hotter by the minute and by the time I arrived home I was a lobster red, drippy mess.

I have such a love/hate affair with this place. On one hand I can’t wait for the day we get out of here, then I have days like today where I know there are things I will miss. The Fall kicking in, the sounds of the cicadas over my headphones, the old world architecture and dude, a riding along dragonflies racing me through a cemetery. There’s something inherently cool about being in a cemetery when it’s just you, the bugs, your headphones and the dead. I serenaded them to Fun.’s “We Are Young” quite loudly. I can imagine they rolled over in their graves and told me not to quit my day job.

If being in New Jersey has afforded me one thing, it has been the ability to really enjoy nature, vegetation, seasons and the critters. Reza and I walk around the neighborhood a lot and between that and my bike rides I have been able to score what I call “back yard treasures”. I am sure people are skeeved out enough over all my bug photos but the cicadas are on their way out for the Summer and I have been lucky enough to roll up on some perfectly intact specimens. My first pinning job came out quite nicely! And yes, that is almost a whole bird wing I found on the sidewalk.

Then of course there is Fall. Yes, it still feels like Summer temperature-wise but the feeling in the air and the trees are telling us otherwise. We are already seeing the leaves change and soon it will be October when lots of yard work comes into play. The stores are already jumping the gun with the Halloween merchandise and while I would usually complain about the retail world forcing a holiday on us before its time, Halloween is the one exception to the rule. Yes we are biased and we are more than ok with this. Again, with the love/hate with this place. Just when we are feeling like we have open wounds in the shape of the state of California, the Autumn comes just in time to put a big band aid over it.

We got to see Dead Can Dance a couple weekends ago. Diana, who I have known online since before Josh and I were married, drove up from the DC area and we got to finally meet in person, partake in some tasty brunch and went to a totally epic show. Scratch that, epic is not even a good enough word… more like FLAWLESS. Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard are complete and total vocal perfection. I guess being here has afforded me the luxury of getting to meet several of my East Coast e-friends of many years and so far all of the ladies I have met have been an utter pleasure. I guess I am lucky in that sense that I end up aligning with a lot of good people and fate have it our paths finally got to cross. So yes, Diana is money as F and I am looking forward to hanging out with her again. She gets me. And yes, that croque madame was fantastic.

And then there are the massive amount of photos I take. Josh was ripping on me the other day cause I had 2000+ photos on my iPhone. Hey! I am a visually driven person, what can I say? Here are some of my recent favs…

I have been very fortunate to get some really cool items in the mail as of late. Dinah & Derek sent me some really cool, blank vinyl figures and I got all into it. Never painted on these kind of guys before but they really were fun to do. I still have a Frankie to do so when he’s done there will be better photos. I am also working on a kidrobot figure, the sketch in the middle is concept art.

So onto the real nitty gritty here. This post makes it look like all is well, perfect and coated in maple syrup. Look, I am not fooling anyone, much less myself by saying all is well. Things always could be better and Josh and I are doing our best to find the purpose and reason for all of this. We try to find the silver lining in everything and staying distracted is key. I am going to be real… our hearts are not here. We hold each others but there are so many factors that contribute to our overall well being and there is nothing in this state that will ever fill what the West Coast has engrained in us. NOTHING. So we power on till another door opens. In the meantime we are lining up our cards, making smart decisions and doing lots of talking to make sure we are ALWAYS on the same page.

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the rest of my recent batch of photos can be viewed on flickr

fall, cannoli and justice

Where do I start? Ok…

Well Fall has certainly kicked into gear around these parts. The back yard needs work every weekend it seems and we caved and bought a leaf blower. Yard work is no joke holmes! I totally burned off the eggs benedict from breakfast earlier this morning. Can you take it? Me, with a leaf blower. What is the world coming to?

As with any Fall yard experience, there comes a right of passage with any child and we had to indulge the lady in her pile jumping.

I know what Josh was thinking…. Watching me leaf blowing, Reza in the leaves… I see the twinkle in his eye. This whole East Coast thing is so much less painful to the both of us cause we love the company we have. Things are on an upswing for sure.

This past week was all about getting out of the house. Lots of trips into Philly, one I did by myself which was nice… you slap on the headphones, walk around to some phat beatz, get some uninterrupted retail therapy on. I love Philly… you know, the nicer parts anyway. I haven’t gone into the scary hoods and I have zero desire to. But that big city feel mixed with the old is completely barking right up my tree. I know the commute is beefy on Josh but living closer to the city was a call well made.

Reza and I went back to the Reading Market, first time I had been there since the whole wallet jacking incident. I just stashed my wallet elsewhere and was more alert. I love that market and the food is tops! So get this shit, speaking of the whole Wallet Heist of 2011, yesterday we all went into Philly and upon our return there was a subpoena in our mail addressed to me from the City Of Philadelphia. The only thing I can think of is they caught the fucker who jacked my wallet (and those of others), they got my info from the incident report and now I have to be a witness in the case. I am scheduled to appear in court in the next couple of weeks… Justice is gonna get served. I don’t expect any restitution but if the dude they nabbed is the same guy, F YOU DUDE you are gonna get some time! Touch me and take my shit in front of my kid? Yeah, I hope he gets his in the form of a big guy named Bubba in the pen showers. \m/

Let’s see, what else…

November is shaping up to be a good month for us cause Tania is coming for a week and shortly after she leaves we get Spencer for the weekend of my birthday. So excited to have a piece of home headed our way and I cannot wait to share the gems we have found thus far with both of them. Of course that puts us in “get the guest room situation handled pronto” mode. We are having the attic painted and slowly but surely my cave/guest room will come together nicely.

One of the requests Tania has is that she wants to visit a real-deal Italian bakery. I have been on the hunt for places for sure. Our landlord tipped us about this cannoli place a couple blocks from our pad and I finally got around to hitting it. It’s this tiny little pink shack on the side of the train tracks, they only open 2 days a week and it is a total mom and pop shop. The couple who works it are awesome, he’s all kitchen, she’s all business….

I walk into pink shack of evil, I get my box of awesome home and this is no effin joke people, this was as real deal as it gets. They either sell you a kit to put them together yourself or they prep them for you as long as you know they have to be consumed within 3 hours if you want that shell to be crispy. So I got 6 mini cannolis at $1 each. Assorted flavors: traditional, chocolate, pumpkin spice and bella vanilla. They make more but it was all they had. Some of the best $6 I have ever spent on dessert in my life.

It might as well be a crack den cause JESUS. H. CHRIST. WOW. Even Josh, who is not a dessert person, raved. So, Cipolli Cannoli is a massive massive hit here and lucky for me they are only open 2 days a week cause having something this good within walking distance is DANGEROUS.