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Elena’s Birth Story

EBirth50Each pounding wave crashes hard and is felt deep through my core. At first, the waves seep into my pelvis, then creep into each thigh. Breathe in and howl out again and again. Next, relax, let go, and sink into the pain. Each contraction was like a wave starting low, building strength, then peaking. I was determined to conquer the waves ahead.

Before I began to surf through 14 hours of natural labor, I felt like my little one was never going to arrive. Everyday I would go on long walks with my husband, friends, and mom. I tried everything I could to get labor started, the birth ball, raspberry tea, and spicy food!

Everything was unplanned and unknown. Even the due date was uncertain. The Doctors office had recorded November 30th but when I called to verify, a nurse said based on both ultrasounds the due date was November 17th. The reality was that my future, and my baby’s future, were in God’s hands.

Brightness flooded the morning as we waited for Elena, much like any other day. My mom and I walked our normal two-mile route. Nic had just finished an important part of his training but still had work to do so my mom stepped in to keep me from dwelling on worries. I was determined to walk as far as possible most days. She did the perfect job distracting me so I wouldn’t pee my pants by talking up a storm. Towards the end of the walk, I remember intensely craving spicy wings and wanting to forget my vegetarian lifestyle. As the day progressed, I slowly lost my mucus plug.

It was the perfect night for Elena to start her journey into the world! Excitement brewed in my heart and I jumped around with hope that more action would begin very soon. Around 5:30 pm I started to feel more consistent Braxton Hicks. They felt different with more aching pressure in my lower back. Because Braxton Hicks contractions had been constant the last few weeks, I contemplated whether these were the real deal.

As the night progressed, the contractions became more regular and I had to use a heating pad for the discomfort. We decided to watch “Storks” because even at 24 years old animated films make us laugh and it kept the mood light. Until finally, Nic and I decided to finish packing our hospital bags “just in case”. Then I called my doula and we both tried to sleep knowing it may be a long night.

I woke up to a contraction at 12:30 am. I had to go to the restroom. I remember sitting on the toilet with intense pain thinking “OH MY GOSH this is just the beginning”. Nic was still asleep so I let him continue to rest and texted my mom something along the lines “I just had a really painful one *insert wide-eyed emoji*”. I was in the middle of making toast when I had another contraction. The pain was distracting. I took a bite of my toast – a giant puddle of honey on a slice of bread. I was delusional without much sleep and I just laughed and laughed. My mom came out shortly and witnessed my craziness as I discovered just how much laughing hurts during a contraction. We sat together as I finished my honey soaked toast.

Nic eventually woke and seemed confused for a little bit and in shock. We were both surprised this was actually going to happen; we were going to have a baby and become parents in a matter of hours. With each contraction, he learned how to help me cope. In need of some girl power motivation and not yet ready to go to the hospital, we started watching “Mulan”!

As we watched, my contractions progressed to five to seven minutes apart and when I would walk around they got even closer. Eventually both Nic and my mom were concerned about the 50-minute drive to the hospital on a foggy night so we decided to head out. I was scared for the car ride as I recalled it was something women dread in other birth stories but in my experience, it went so fast. My body and mind began to cope with the pain by loosing track of time.

Friends have asked me what the contractions felt like. At the start of labor the contractions felt like someone had their large strong hands gripping my entire pelvic region and they were squeezing as hard as they could till they had to let go. After this point, I do not have words to describe the pain other than, it HURT. Labor felt like the complete opposite of movies; no one freaked out rushing me to the hospital; no one immediately put me into a wheel chair when we arrived; my water did not break; I did not scream uncontrollably; and, I definitely did not have a baby within an hour or two.

When we arrived, I had to sign so many papers and the lady at the front desk was extremely disconcerting. Once I got into an examination room to be checked, they admitted me at 4 cm. Then we waited for almost two hours to get into an actual delivery room. To everyone else it must have been a LONG day but, in my mind, everything felt like it was moving at warp speed.

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My doula, Sadie, ended up having a delivery she was already at an hour away. Strangely this did not faze me at all. She sent another doula, Hannah, to help till she could arrive. Leading up to labor I was worried about being exposed in front of everyone, naked and bare. That is the last thing I was worried about in delivery. A trance had taken over my mind. Most of the time my eyes were closed, concentrating on riding the waves of each contraction, one by one hoping not to wipe-out. I could not crash. I could not loose my sanity. I had to be out of my body, almost not even present.

In the labor room, endless support and encouragement was constant and I am forever grateful. It did not matter that I had never met Hannah till that moment. I did not mind a doula in training, Dianna, had come to help and observe. Leading up to this day friends had said, if it was them they wouldn’t want their mom in the delivery room, but I could not imagine laboring without her, and my husband was a champion at every moment by my side the whole time.

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The birth ball and heating pad helped me cope for a while. I would sit with my hands open. When a contraction would hit, someone would grab each hand, my doula would tell me to relax certain parts of my body, and another person would hold the heating pad on my back. At one point Nic had ate some Cheese Its. After, he grabbed my hands and got right next to me saying something sweet probably like “you can do this”. Instead of it being a nice intimate moment, all I said was “get your Cheese It breath away from me”. I will never live this down because it apparently gave everyone a good laugh.

Despite his Cheese It breath, Nic was really sweet. He combed my hair, got me water constantly, and of course stood right there as I puked multiple times through transition. He even sat next to me outside the bathtub while spraying my back using the showerhead. The hot water and the pressure on my back was exactly what I needed. I remember him asking me if I wanted to get out soon. I replied, “Hasn’t it only been 20 minutes?” Apparently, it had been almost an hour and a half. I was checked shortly after and had progressed to seven to eight cm. That news was music to my ears.

My water still had not broken so my doula suggested I sit on the toilet for a while to see if the position would help. Nothing happened and that is the last time I remember being somewhat present. From that point forward, everything was a complete out of body experience. They say labor becomes animalistic and I completely agree. When riding each contraction out, I moved when I needed to move, made whatever noises necessary, and even fell asleep for brief moments in between.

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We all thought it was getting close to baby time so Dr. Phillips came in to check me. That was not a fun experience. Contractions were practically on top of each other so having someone stick their hand up into my cervix, while I was having a contraction, was honestly one of the worst memories. She told me I was at eight to nine cm and that she could break my water to make labor progress faster but that would make contractions more painful. My mind could not comprehend more pain. I was scared and said no, definitely not.

I toughed it out for an hour or two more, only with pure will. Sitting on the edge of the bed I breathed in, howled out, did my best to relax my body, and sink into the pain. My doula would let me know when I was getting towards the climax of a contraction by encouraging me “only a few more breaths”. Everyone would effleurage my arms and legs, which helped a lot, but at a certain point I could not do it anymore. I wanted my little one out as soon as possible. Dr. Phillips came back in and broke my water. Soon after, labor progressed. The energy in the room changed and I knew our girl was going to come.

Looking up I could not see straight. My eyes were spinning around the room as nurses quickly walked around preparing for a new life. When a contraction started the wave would take over and as it would break onto shore an enormous amount of pressure would press downwards. Dr. Phillips made me flip onto my right lying down for 5 minutes, due to my cervix being dilated unevenly, and then onto my left. Closing my eyes, I concentrated on breathing, knowing labor was almost over.

Tears started streaming as I cried uncontrollably. Most thought I was crying because of the pain but I said loudly “I’m not crying because it hurts, I’m crying because I’m having a baby”. Laughter filled the room and then I began to focus only on the present moment. Before I realized it, I was pushing.

While squeezing my eyes shut, with each contraction I pushed. I pushed harder than I ever thought possible. This moment I saw with blurred eyes looking in, like I was watching myself on a 1930s TV. Everything was hazy and everyone seemed to move in scattered surges of motion. Sweat dripped down my whole body.

When I first really pushed with all my might I groaned, even partially yelled, but then realized that energy needed to be focused into my core. My mom stood by me pressing an oxygen mask against my face. As Dr. Phillips made eye contact, she repeated “breath for baby”. These words made all the difference and when I struggled to hold my breath while pushing, she used the softest voice to count. This helped me direct all my might downwards.

Nic was steady at my side. When someone yelled she has hair he went to watch our girl be born. It felt like everyone was at my feet gazing with wonder but I could not have cared less. They all kept saying with joy “there’s the head, she’s almost here, keep going, she’s coming”. After 20 minutes of hearing this repeatedly, I started to doubt but frustration fueled my need to push harder and longer. A few seconds later, our little girl slid right out greeting the world with wide eyes.

Elena Leslie Ortiz was born on December 2nd at 1:57pm. She was 7 pounds and 7 ounces, measuring at 20 and half inches long. They placed her immediately on my chest. She did not cry but just quietly stared at me. I embraced all her beautiful features. There was absolutely no vernix, which makes us think her due date was closer to the 17th, and even though there was blood all over her head from my 2nd degree tear, she smelled like vanilla and flowers.

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Nic and I locked eyes turning together to gaze fervently at our daughter. In that moment I am sure we were both thinking the same thing… this will forever be our adorable little girl… half of you, and half of me.

Natural labor and recovery was brutal but it was also beautiful. I thought I knew this family was strong, but I never could have realized how much strength we have together, if we did not conquer through unknown territory. Planning is a constant in my life. As much as anyone can plan for what labor or postpartum will be like, nothing will provide perfect preparation. I was not prepared for the pain, but I was prepared for the unknown. My support network made me feel safe and provided me with the motivation to not turn away from the birth I envisioned.

During labor I could barely think through the pain. My thoughts revolved only in each breath until Elena arrived. After the birth high faded, the struggle of postpartum slammed into every part of my body. Everything hurt below, I could barely walk or sit, and my breasts felt like they may explode. I just wanted to cry alone so one evening I went into the bathroom letting tears stream down, grabbed the towel bar for support and looked up. On the wall were my birth affirmation cards. Not once did I need or use them in labor but somehow Nic knew I would need them in that moment.

Following delivery, I felt brave and amazed that I had labored naturally. After I broke down at home, I realized I am a warrior. I was a warrior through labor and even through those tears in the bathroom. It has taken me awhile to feel like my body is mine again and still it is an endeavor. Whether women choose to go with or without an epidural, formula or breastfeeding, Nanny or homemaker, never before have I realized the all-encompassing endurance women have to fight with courage through life, to give life.

While pushing, and after when holding Elena, I kept thinking the words “A woman’s birth is her chance to hold hands with God.” In all the important moments I have felt God’s presence, there is nothing that naturally makes me fall deeper into Faith than giving myself up to God’s will in labor and taking on the responsibility to care for Elena Leslie forever and always.

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The Stages

It has been awhile since I have posted to the blog! I have unknowingly focused a lot of energy on going through “the stages”… The first stage was morning sickness and fatigue, which made me feel at times kind of useless and depressed. The second and third stages have been alternating back and fourth! One stage is nesting and the other is figuring out my “work life”. I knew my focus was off centered due to the emotions of pregnancy but I didn’t realize how common this is for a lot of people and that I am not some exception!

After we got home from vacation, my husband probably thought I was crazy for how fast I put the nursery together! Now, I keep saying all the old furniture needs painting and it should get done before the baby is born. Oh and there is the constant anxiety over the fact I don’t have a concrete job, I will be a new mom, and have no idea where Uncle Sam is sending us after Elena is born. It is hard to be going through something so natural, all while crossing new territory. To not have a visual of what my life will look when Elena is potentially only 4 to 8 weeks old is lets just say… stressful!

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I have focused constant energy on Etsy, trying to build my online inventory, hoping that this would help pick things up for the shop. I only recently realized I am not sure if that is what my time should be put towards. I needed a goal to latch onto the past few weeks hoping it would give me some peace. If anything though, I have realized this has just created more stress. There are so many things I love in this life. I love to draw, I love bridal, I love to sew, I love to be active, I love to write, I love to learn people’s stories, I love to bake, and so much more… but this does not mean I am meant to create a career out of everything I love.

The other day I discovered a podcast called Totally Mommy. The main host of the show is a new mom and she mentioned she has been going through “the stages”. She has a fear she might loose herself or become “just a mom”. No one who is a mother will ever be “just a mom” though, and this is something I have been realizing. Whether if you work or you are a homemaker, as individuals we have hobbies, passions, and characteristics that set us apart from one another. The host was interviewing another woman who manages to be a mom while having a steadfast career. She mentioned that no matter how well her career has taken off, the biggest accomplishment is bringing her babies into the world. I want to believe that is true and I think the bigger part of my heart truly does, but it has been a slow 5+ months of coming to these realizations. Now, I am trying to embrace and accept the possibilities of being a stay at home mom, while also trying not to get caught up in the feeling of a changing identity!

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My husband and I went to a Bible study the other day. We weren’t sure what to expect since we had never gone to the group before. Everyone was so welcoming and the host gave a warm speech after dinner. He said “We may tell ourselves our priorities are faith, family, and work, but are we really living that way?” I realized even though I do not have a job right now, the thought that I should be working, be better, be more successful, has been haunting my mind. That stress has been taking precious space, the space where faith and family should reside.

So for the next 3+ months I plan to put most of my energy into connecting with my faith again. Thanking God for what he has blessed us with and praying for the future that I cannot see. I plan to focus on how to be a great mother by reading cheesy books, preparing for labor, and finding peace in this new woman I am becoming.

In the end, I am not sure who I will become in this life,

But I do know I will be a mom

And I can’t wait for that day.

 

Pure Joy

Dear Little One,

You are the size of a plum! It is almost the 2nd trimester! this means (hopefully) less food/smell aversions, sickness, and more energy! This also means we told all of our family and friends about you (aka. Facebook “official”)! For the first time I got to celebrate mother’s day not only for all the mamas I look up to, but for this new special family I treasure. Nic told everyone “there have only been a few times in my life when my wife has left me speechless. The first was when I saw her walking down the aisle at our wedding. the second was when she told me I was going to be a dad.” Now, I am pretty sure I scarred him speechless with my peppiness when we first met and maybe a few times when arguing haha… let’s be real, no one is perfect! But wow your father is a special person. He tries to rub my belly and give you a kiss or two, often when I am grumpy and tired. His sweet actions towards you make up for all the moodiness you and I have been going through together.

We have a lot to learn but his pure joy reminds me, that through the good and bad, this family will be pure joy… always.

Tuesday, May 16 (Week 12)

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Dear Little One,

What a whirl wind it has been recently.

I am constantly thinking… even in my sleep! I had a dream recently that I was in the car talking to someone about life and then I just started crying because someone said your dad was getting deployed soon. For most of my life, I have not been one to let out tears (especially for the little things), but recently I let tears flow for everything. I am sure it has to do with the hormones in my body that are constantly changing, but I also believe at a certain point in life you have to realize showing emotion can take more strength than trying to wrap it up. So now, I am feeling everything magnified. I heard your heart beat at the doctor’s again and let my heart flutter as they told me you are healthy. Instead of feeling down when struggling to find excitement in Alabama, I use these emotions as motivation to do what I love. Some days this means writing for myself, readers & you my little one. On other days, I create & try new things to experience something everyday!

You may grow up but there will always be more to learn. These experiences are what make people so interesting. Everyone has their own story with passions, failures, and successes. You are my success no matter what. Your father and I may not always be able to give you everything but we will provide the love you need to see this world for what it is… beautiful. If we can’t afford a beach house, we will go camping right next to the waves. If we can’t afford multiple plain tickets to visit family, we will have crazy road trips where you constantly ask “are we there yet?” and if you want a pony or a spaceship, we will teach you how to use your imagination… how to play for hours just dreaming.

This life will lead in all different directions, and I am not sure where our family will end up as time moves forward, but I do know we will end up seeing your little face come November.

PS: I gardened for the first time since middle school! It has been something I have wanted to do for awhile and I just randomly decided to go for it! I think the combo of florals turned out really lovely… now I am just trying to keep them alive haha ❤

Sunday, May 21st (Week 13)

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With Me, With You

Dear Little One,

How dreamlike it is to realize you are growing inside of me at this very moment. Knowing our life will completely change come November 30th, is absolutely unreal in the most blessed way. You were not necessarily planned but at the same time you were not unplanned. That statement is slightly confusing so let us put it this way, your dad and I have always known embracing a family of our own was a life of love and purpose. We had discussed wanting to to begin a family in the summer. There was a different plan though that God new about as he watched over us in the stars.

Come late February you were with me and I with you.

I plan to continue journaling this adventure with you, so that one day, your curious mind can look back at the memories captured and know there is great love in this wild world.

Keep on growing little one… its going to be quite the ride.

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PS: These journal entries may be personal but I want to share them anyways, because more than anything for this blog, I want it to be truthful and authentic. I hope everyone feels empowered through that sentiment with each word. – Xo!

Sunday, May 7th (Week 10)

Lost In a World

Flipping through pages we dive deep touching the atmosphere of another world. Our minds wander with the written words of an artist lost in thought. Nerves tingle with new knowledge and we suddenly become attached to this unfamiliar world. We embrace it as our own for just a little while every day, until reality blows the pages shut.

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A book seems so simple: a writer, concept, pen, and paper, but this is a facade. Books leave us legacies to remember, unheard stories, and magical galaxies across a multitude of lands… space. It takes true grit for an author to put their whole heart into hundreds of pages that may or may not be welcomed by readers. I appreciate this courage, whether the book I read ends up being more of a flop than a success. Writing for Cinnamon Starlight encompasses the same concept. Books are meant to inspire the mind and soul with ideas to enrich daily life. I remember the first book I read entirely out loud to my parents, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I was so proud for not having stumbled too often on the letters and words. Dyslexia is very prevalent in my daily life and I have fought to gain my ability to read smoothly with purpose. Reading has become an outlet of mine to find peace or excitement in times of need.

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Recently, I discovered the website Good Reads, which has helped build a list of books I want to finish by the end of the year! This platform is motivational for anyone who wishes to tackle their New Year reading list. Good Reads almost acts like an online book club where you can join discussions, review books, and/or set personal goals. It is better though because you have more independence and choice.

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In December I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I got lost in a world of…

Bright silk woven with expectation,

Loss of family, free will, and friendship,

The reality of sweet cherry blossoms kissing rubbish left on the roads from war,

Love almost never found, hidden in the abyss of heartbreak, Yet later flourishing with time.

And the journey of a unique girl who becomes a woman having to fight through constant obstacles.

Honestly, the idea of reading Memoirs of a Geisha intimidated me somewhat because the multitude of names I am not sure how to pronounce and curiosity towards cultural differences. Golden brings so much life into the book through the main character, Sayuri. She is observant always describing little details, from the rotten fish baking on the ground to the emotional movement of dance that overcomes a geisha’s body. Sayuri’s spirit is one of a dreamer and I relate to her in that sense. Always her mind wonders to the ones she cares for and her spirit prevails.

151Arthur Golden reminded me how different this world is across cultures and that loVe transcends time.

*This month I have been reading The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and will update everyone what I think about it soon! – Stay in touch! XoXo

Fashion Essentials: ANYTHING COZY!

Fuzzy Slipper Socks – Target

Wool Jogger Pant – Anthropologie

Floral Top – Vintage

Denim Dreams

One leg steps into a pair of faded blue pants. Then wobbling to keep balanced, the next leg settles as her foot discovers an opening to reach the ground. Hooking her fingers through the belt loops, she wiggles into the tightly woven fabric. While in sync with a few jumps (more so looking like a dance in honor of the day), a slight stretch helps the pant fit to perfection around her waist.

downlayThere is something about wearing a great pair of denim jeans that can seem down to earth and sexy all at once. Remember the time when we all walked around in leggings 24/7? In actuality most of us still do, because who does not loVe the modern freedom spandex offers throughout the day-to-day life of women. Now though, at 22, instead of feeling uncomfortable and itchy, I search for the perfect pair of fitted jeans. I never realized until recently it is not the style that previously influenced my hatred of the pant, it was the fact that I had not learned quality jeans make all the difference. Think, you could have six cheaper jeans that you hope will get worn all the time, but in actuality you try them on every morning soon resorting back to leggings… the jeans were falling down too much, the stitching was scratching at your skin, or maybe they just didn’t accentuate your curves the perfect way. To find one or two pairs of impeccably made jeans changes that typical morning attitude to encompass a sassy confidence!

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Three places I highly recommend for jeans to last a lifetime (Seriously, quality jeans last forever so it is a well thought out investment!): J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Bebe. At J. Crew and Bebe I actually bought my jeans probably 75% off. Stalk these two stores and wait for the sale! J.Crew. leans toward a more slim body figure, Bebe is great for a curvy/athletic figure, and Anthropologie works for most body types. In actuality, choosing what jean looks best on you and how many are in your drawer is completely a personal preference… So live life with what makes you feel beautiful. ❤

mirrorThere is nothing more timeless and sexy than a simple top, paired with denim cut like a dream (Okay, a little black dress can be pretty sexy too but that’s to be discussed another time ;)!

Fashion Essentials:

High Waisted Ankle Cropped Jeans: Anthropologie (Adriano Goldschied)

White Sheer Peasant Shirt: Free People

Blue Felt Hat: Tommy Bahama

Black Leather Booties: Coach

Longlasting Lipstick: Estee Lauder (Pure Color, Pinkberry Cream 82)

Eye Shadow: Urban Decay (Naked Pallet 3)

#Goals

Is there room for me at the table?

I see them laugh and wonder if they know about my secret.

Only I can hear the whispering.

It tells me I should move on,

Past the hidden conversations, manipulative snickering, and intolerable exclusion.

The bell rings.

I am meant for something more.

Really though, aren’t we all?

 

That was then,

This is now.

 

People ask…

“What do you do?”

My thought hidden deep behind hazel eyes…

“Well… I eat chocolate every night, sing in the shower, and watch too much Netflix”

Instead, it seems the expectation of an answer meets the qualification of knowing…

I am meant to bring glowing life into the world,

Or to find power in the jungles of concrete towers.

 

So I pick my poison with pride,

With the knowledge we all have a choice,

And  in this very moment I choose neither.

I am content discovering who I am in the present.

Love on my lips.

Paint seeping on canvas.

Words touching keys.

Don’t you see?

We are all meant to be an unbreakable force,

Fighting against the standards and opinions of others.

 

Peace comes with knowing one’s self,

During the height of change,

When flying against the wind.

 

Last night I was restless.

I dreamt of constant tornados crashing into the soil.

Yet, they blew past my home.

Left me safe to cry.

Teardrop on my cheek,

For the beauty I was scared to loose,

For the future imagined,

Meant to be lived,

Not told to strangers wondering about my destination.

 

Ask me “What are your goals?”

Go ahead I dare you.

My response will be,

“I am dancing with the gifts God gave in search for the most beautiful souls”

 

Women face an extreme difficulty when it comes to meeting society standards. One battle I have faced recently is the perception people have of where my personal and career goals are placed. I have talked to friends about this topic who are also going through the same experience. Some of us have followed our husbands because at this moment in our life it is the right thing. With this comes a challenge… work. People continue to ask “What are you doing?” like I should have some long answer to tell them of where I see my life in 10 years, or why I have chosen to get married at 22. This question has become a common way to try and relate, or understand an individual. It is meant to be a nice way for someone to say they care. Often, it is used instead by acquaintances/strangers as a competitive question in a quest for perfection or gossip. Why can the question not be “How is life treating you?”, “What excites you these days?”, or “What are your passions?”

The beginning of this post is written to simulate the anxiety felt when in middle/high school. This is a time where life becomes less pure and many fight their first battles to discover their true self. As a child, school was extremely difficult due to my dyslexia, so I always viewed my future career as a pinpoint to strive towards. I interpreted the challenges as a way to exercise my strength in reaching who I was meant to be. Life cannot be planned though, and I could have never predicted where I am today. I wrote this blog post because we don’t all have to fit into a mold. We don’t all have to be a stay at home mom. We don’t all have to be climbing the job ladder. We don’t all need a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/cat/dog/hamster. Let us just be content with life.

#Goals are great, but sometimes it takes some time to figure out where we are in the present, before discovering where we can go in the future. So this is for those who feel like they are meant to be someone, but need a little time the cherish who they are NOW. ❤

 

 

 

 

Wanderlust in Santa Rosa

Most call wanderlust a trend… a trending travel word, a trending thought process. After at least 3 years of hearing and reading this word from college friends, magazines, and even professors, wanderlust is here to stay. Wanderlust is a trend no longer but now more so a dreamer’s way of approaching life with an inexorable determination to dive deep into the invisible boundaries between cultures.

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Personally, I love the concept of wanderlust. In college stepping through classrooms I would hear peers talk about how they have wanderlust. I sometimes have to admit a bad twinge of annoyance was hidden under a happy ambiance. I graduated with a fashion merchandising degree. Often, people do not view the degree seriously, but just as most in college this degree was earned through tears, sleepless nights, and 1,440 days of hard work. Okay enough of my rambling, the point of bring up my degree is that I know these girls who are beautifully bright. Yet, they would sit before class scrolling through Instagram proclaiming the desire of wanderlust in their hearts, followed with statements like “I want to be her”, “Why can’t I have her life?”, or “How does she have so many followers?”. To be honest, I think these statements partly bothered me because I sometimes felt them during insecure moments, but also because no one should wish they were someone else, or find jealousy in numbers. We are all given gifts and instead of wishing for more, my goal is to use these gifts to reach you, my readers, with truly transparent content. You are extremely important to me because it means I am inspiring or speaking to someone who I probably don’t even know, which gives an amazing sense of purpose.

dancenicbeachcoatIs that not a part of wanderlust? Sharing ideas and content with people across a great distance (even through the computer)? The best part of trying new things and traveling is not always the mouth-watering cappuccinos or the bewitching architecture… wanderlust at large ends up being about the unique people one encounters along the way. It is the people who make a place whole.

coffeestandcoffeeRecently, I took a trip with my in-laws and husband to Santa Rosa, Florida where we stayed in a community called Watercolor. Wow, what a beautiful place that encompasses everything in a bloggers dream: Capu-mochas, large open pastel houses surrounded by palm trees, biking trails, a little town resembling the Gilmore Girls Stars Hallow (except think cute Key West), a local book store, painting galleries, and little gift shops (a very Anthropologie vibe). The community has a perfect mesh of charming style and a relaxed attitude: From the chill guy working at the coffee shop who handled our utterly confused family of 6 not knowing what to order, to the girl sitting at another table wearing red lipstick with a nautical shirt, rugged jeans, Tori Birch sandals, and a WordPress account open on her computer, to across the street at the book shop, where the sales associate began to recognize and laugh with me (considering I had visited probably 6 times in the span of two days).

These interactions paint a picture of Santa Rosa to keep.

If you have a case of wanderlust… Santa Rosa is for you.

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Starlight in the New Year

“You can be clumsy yet clever. You can be classy yet poor. It’s not tearing a leaf off a calendar which will make you a better or a worse man but the attitude that you have from dusk till dawn every day.” – Indeewara Jayawardane

Change: A prevalent instant that has created a different path consistently throughout my life. This change has not always been my will but often the will of faith’s hand. As I gaze back at the past years remembering the 9 schools I have attended and the 4 times I have moved, The New Year approaches like sunbeams tasting growing evergreens. As many believe, it is a time for new beginnings. How can we not have faith in this fresh start, but how can we not also view every day waking up as a beginning to seize?

Just as an Evergreen, our leaves remain in place growing with the minutes, hours, and days. As long as our hearts are nourished, goals are set, and mind exercised in strength, new beams of light are within reach.

2016 gave me the chance to accomplish many goals and give thanks to many blessings… a college degree, a husband, backpacking the El Camino, Living in my own little home, adopting a rescue puppy, and now this blog. After having the summer of my life, I moved 12 hours away from my family/home for my husband’s job. For a little while I felt I was starting to partly loose who I was, but one day I decided to dive into Cinnamon Starlight, take the chance, and swim in creativity.

I feel revived and inspired to push my readers and self further into the starlight.

Now it is time to seize 2017!

Photographer: Kristine Pringle – http://kristinepringle.com/

*Side Note: More wedding details and photos to be posted on our 1 year anniversary 6.11.17 – Xoxo keep in touch!

Romantic Untouchable Badass

2017!

Who will I be?

Looking in the mirror,

I want to see a blank pallet.

But I have not changed,

Only remain the same.

I am who I was made to be.

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Habits move with motion,

But my core remains still,

Even with time moving uphill.

There are days I want to feel romantic,

Hours I want to feel badass,

Minutes I want to feel untouchable.

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So what is my style?

Style changes with mood,

So don’t tell me I need a staple.

Fashion finds me when needed.

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When I want to be a poet,

That’s when I feel most romantic.

I dream of a dress made in the deep Atlantic.

When I want to be a fitness queen,

That’s when I feel most badass.

I wear my workout gear with sass.

When I want to be a model,

That’s when I feel most untouchable.

I strut my strappy LBD to not be functional.

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Who will I be in 2017?

I will be me.

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Stylist: Cara Cubbage

Photographer: Nicholas Scarpinato – http://www.nicholasscarpinato.com/

Clothing: Editorial was for an Urban Outfitters competition