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Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Writing a novel is the best thing I’ve ever decided to do.

It’s hard work. It’s frustration and tears. It’s learning about myself one sentence at a time.

At this point I don’t care at all if anyone else loves it the way I do.

 

So, most of my spare time is in some way, shape, or form, given over to this writing project. When I’m not actually sat down at my desk or a table at Starbucks filling blank digital pages with the words in my head, I’m thinking about a character and the way they smell, or talk, or wear their hair. Or I’m thinking of what I need to go back and re-write, what needs to be added, a detail that I didn’t know until I had written this far. Honestly, it’s work that is very hard to step away from and for the first time in my life that’s a really good thing.

Last night I did take some time to step away, though, and I had dinner with my sisters.

All of them. Including my sister in-law.

We had dinner at Abuelos in Austin and then coffee and desserts at Mozart’s after.

It was a beautiful and fun time together.

I figured I’d better enjoy it while I can because someday I’ll write a novel about all of them and then they’ll all hate me. Ha! =)

These are things that came out of my mouth during my sister and I’s shopping trip to Ikea this morning…

“Oh! I love that weird picture of leaves.”

“I feel like I need these glass shelves but I have no idea where they’d go.”

“A FROTHER!!”

“See those mirrors? You know what they don’t look? They don’t look dumb, that’s what.”

“Dig deeper, find pillow cases!!”

 

And Kristin’s words?

“I can’t help feeling when I come in here like I am being controlled by robots. “

This week my threshold for any type of ridiculousness has been at an all-time low. And by “ridiculousness” I mean anything and everything that falls outside of what I want to be happening at that moment.

I’ve been in my head a lot and cooped up because of the blasted cold weather in Texas ( PLEASE GOD, I know it’s a lot to ask considering it’s early March and all, but can we just be done with 30 degree weather? As a birthday gift?).

In spite of my less than stellar attitude about life this week,  good things have happened…

God has taught me some beautiful things about himself in unexpected places and I LOVE that. Even better, he’s given me people with great minds and hearts to talk about those things with, to bounce my observations off of and broaden my ways of thinking and knowing him.

I’ve been noticing how precious it is to have sisters– I don’t think I do a good enough job letting them know how much I love and appreciate them, because I do love and appreciate them and I’m proud of the women they are and will be. It hasn’t even been a handful of years since we lost our mom and so much has changed. We all have changed. I know that my mom is so proud of her girls and this week I have felt burdened, in a good way, to start looking for ways to let my sisters know how much they are loved and seen.  It’s terrifying and beautiful to me that I can remember running through the woods with them to our “Secrete Creek” as children so clearly and now, here we are, and I’m a week away from being 33 and they are all grown up, too.

There’s been laughter.

And speaking of sisters and laughter…  Several days ago I was having a meltdown in Kristin’s car, this is, for reasons unknown to me, the place I meltdown. We were taking the little girls shopping and on our way I just became overwhelmed by all of the things that felt like they were crushing me. My meltdowns are always preceded by the announcement, “I’m going to cry now.” As though I owe the person I’m with the curtesy of a warning. While bawling in the front seat of my sisters Mazda I just start spilling out everything, even the things that I think are stupid, that are bothering me, until nothing is left. Kristin listens silently to my whaling pity party and when I’ve finished looks at me calmly and says, “Thank you for telling me that.” Which is the absolute weirdest thing my sister could possibly say to me in that moment. “What?” I replied completely thrown. And then we both laughed until I cried again. She’d read that when receiving someone’s vulnerable thoughts it was good to thank them for sharing with you. Doesn’t quite work on your sister. After all of that we had a great time shopping with my nieces: Photos below.

I laughed with friends and with children and it was good.

There were also lots of I love you’s. One of my favorites came from my youngest nephew who, holding my face with his small, chubby hands, looking me in the eyes said, “I loooooooooooove you” in the way only a toddler can. And you feel it all the way into the deepest regions of your soul and know that it is truer than just about anything.

For a rough week it’s also been pretty good.

May we all have the heart to find the beautiful moments stuck in between our frustrations and meltdowns. There’s hope and love and peace in those moments.

I had/have the great honor of being raised by two individuals who were/are vehemently FOR people.

My parents, much to the frustration of some, always found a way to put people first– This meant that the house was often messy, sometimes there were people living on our couch, we always cooked in bulk so that we could feed any and everyone who just showed up, and yes, people sometimes just showed up unannounced and my parents welcomed them in. It meant that as often as we could we adjusted our plans in life to put people before all the things we were “supposed to do”.

Some people didn’t get it.

Some people said it was irresponsible.

I believe that it was a gift from God and I am so thankful that the attitude of being for people is something that has had a powerful influence on my life.

Today was filled with being for people.

I’ll share some of my favorite parts in photos. =)

 

You’ve held your head up
You’ve fought the fight
You bear the scars
You’ve done your time
Listen to me
You’ve been lonely, too long

Let me in the walls
You’ve built around
We can light a match
And burn them down
Let me hold your hand
And dance ’round and ’round the flames
In front of us
Dust to dust

Today was a beautiful day.

This morning I had coffee with my sister, Kaylan, at a little place on the square here in Georgetown. It was quiet and cool outside and we sat and shared a danish and chatted and then went to Hobby Lobby to find knobs for my dresser (which I will post pictures of later).

After that I met with another friend and braved the crowds at Ikea to find decorations for the Graffiti (youth) room.  We found some fun stuff and enjoyed good conversation.

I got to squeeze my nieces and nephew and talk to them about all of the interesting things they had been up to this afternoon. Tessa’s 5th birthday party is tomorrow afternoon and she is hardcore into making sure that she has every princessy thing in order (including making the request for my Dad to wear a “pretty-pretty dress”). I am kind of excited about her gift… Tessa loves My Little Ponies and I found new ones that are COVERED in glitter. I’ve been providing ponies for her for some time, so I’m pretty happy about these new additions.

This evening I went with my friend Sarah and her husband Mark to a pond on Mark’s boss’ property to let our dogs run and play. I think Zeke is going to be fast friends with Mark and Sarah’s dogs (Penny and Kate). They ran and ran and ran some more, and leaped in the water, swam and rolled around in the tall grass. It was beautiful. There was quiet, setting sun, good friends, happy dogs, and Mark and Sarah’s little guy having fun. It was the perfect way to unburden my heart after a rough day yesterday. I love how God knows that I need that sort of thing in order to feel right in the world again.

Last, but certainly not least I wandered Target (where I found the ponies I mentioned earlier) and talked. It was a short trip, as trips to Target go, but it was still a nice way to close the evening.

The lyrics to the Civil Wars song Dust to Dust have been stuck in my head all day, particularly the second verse and course I quoted at the beginning of this entry. I think I understand some things today that I didn’t yesterday, and I think God has been trying to teach me some things. Today I listened a lot more than I have in a while. Listening is good.

So now all that remains is to watch friends until I feel sleepy enough to drift off. I hope that your Saturday was as bless with small wonders, comforts, and signs of love as mine was.

 

From left: Kari, Kristin, Katie, Kaylan

Three Thanksgivings ago… amazingly our hair was almost all the same color. You can see the resemblance… which is rare. All similar smiles, we get that from our dad, the cheeks we get from our mom.  These are 3 of the people who’ve had the most profound impact on my life. These are my sisters.

Being a big sister is an interesting thing, for me at least. I am the oldest one and when I was younger I didn’t really feel like a big sister. We’re all fairly close in age and sometimes it felt too close for the small gap of years between us to count for much of anything. I find myself feeling differently now, especially living away from all of them.

I had some PTO stacked up and so I’ve been off for the last week and this weekend my niece, sister, and I came to Corpus Christi to visit one of our other sisters.  I just spent the day on the beach listening to the sound of the waves and building sand castles. My hair is a shade lighter and my skin is a shade darker! Perfect for the beginning of fall, right? It’s so worth it though, we’re having a blast.8435_151102621783_540671783_3305034_5334162_n After an amazing dinner at Water Street Seafood Co. ( the crawfish chicken is to die for!!), we ran into HEB (local grocery store) for things to make brownies and I took a peek at their cosmetics section because I saw some things I didn’t recognize.

It’s no secret that I’m a makeup snob.  I work with the best of the best in cosmetics on a daily basis, so to say I’m spoiled is a bit of an understatement. I’m always curious about what’s out there though and I’m alway interested in trying things. I have this irrepressible urge to know that the products I recommend to my clients are better than all of the “cheap stuff”. So this evening I came face to face, in HEB, with NYX Cosmetics and e.l.f. Cosmetics, neither of which I have personal experience, but both of which I’ve heard quite a bit about. I like to watch a lot of makeup tutorials online, it’s a good way to stay current and just see how other artists are doing things. I’m using the term artist very loosely here, and I don’t mean that as an insult to the majority of the people making the tutorial videos, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and learning from some very talented, experienced, and successful artists and while I don’t consider myself the worlds most amazing artists, I do know a thing or two about technique and so there are few who I personally consider real artists. Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of people using NYX and e.l.f. and so I get curious about them, I have a lot to compare them to and I just wonder how they’d hold up against my personal favorites.

Of course HEB had no testers, (another thing I’m spoiled to), so I would have to actually purchase and play with some of the stuff in order to find out just how well they worked compared to the products that I normally use, which isn’t something I’m opposed to doing, but before I made the investment I wanted to sit down and read some reviews first.

The trouble I have with reviews is there seems to be no one in my shoes doing any of these reviews.  Every review I could find was done by someone who’s cosmetic exposure was limited to MAC at it’s high point. No offense to MAC but they aren’t the end all, be all, to cosmetics, so I’d really appreciate a more well rounded approach to some of these reviews.  In all of my searching, I found not a single review that I felt I could trust given the amount of product knowledge I have at this point.

What I did find out is that the general consensus is that NYX is pretty darn good. According to the reviews I both read and watched, the price point is low and the quality and pigment payoff is high. I can personally attest to the price point. It is low. I loves me some glitter, and NYX has a glitter palette of 5 shades that immediately caught my attention and they were only $3.99. The trouble I run into is that age old adage, you get what you pay for. This has always rung true for me when it comes to my hair, skin care, and my makeup too. I spent countless hours in front of a mirror when I was younger trying to reproduce the looks I found in magazines, only to be disappointed. And then I was introduced to real pigment, primers, different mediums and it’s been an on going love affair ever since. I know what it takes to get good pigment and so it’s a bit hard for me to digest that a company can afford to pull it off and still be able to charge $3.99.

Another thing I found a little curious was that all of the packaging I looked at said that they products are cruelty free and hypoallergenic, however, when I checked out their website (http://www.nyxcosmetics.com/index.php) I couldn’t find anything that talked about those points. I know a lot of lines that go to quite a bit of trouble to be cruelty free, and while not every line can afford that cute little bunny logo stamped on their brand, they still make quite a bit of noise about it because it’s something that’s extremely important to a lot of people.  I don’t know… I guess I’m going to have to do some more research.

So all of that to say that I’m considering doing product reviews myself… because I wont know until I try these things myself, and I wont be satisfied until I know. =)

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