Friday, March 23, 2018

The Reflection of Shadows: With Everything

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

With Everything

With every touch,
With every kiss,
With every moment filled with bliss,
With all I've got, with everything-
I'm loving you.

With every laugh,
With every grin,
With every moment I gave in,
With everything, with all I know-
I'm letting go.

For all you're worth, for all you do-
I'm loving you.


This weekend marks my one year anniversary to my wonderful, amazing, ridiculously handsome husband. The man who showed me love in a new light, a new depth.

A lot of my poems are about loss and heartache because that's my preferred subject matter - always exploring the darker emotions - but this one is not. This one is about how powerful love can be. How, by letting it fully take you over, you can let go of fear, of caution, of all the things holding you back from loving with your whole being.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Mantra: Loud and Clear

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Hold yourself accountable

I have this theory...

When I say something out loud in regard to a goal or dream I want to achieve, I feel like I'm making a promise. I feel like I've committed my thought to the air and now have to follow through with whatever it is that I said I was going to do. I imagine my words being captured by the wind and whisked off to to some higher power that holds me accountable to what I've promised.

It's a crazy concept, but it works for me.

When it's in my head, it's not real. It hasn't become solid, tangible, accessible. There is no plan and I don't have to take action. But when I say it out loud, I'm making it known that I will do this thing, whatever this thing is, and I will give it my all.

This concept of speaking my ideas out loud keeps me in check. I feel an instant accountability to give it my best. I've chatted with friends about this and they too feel there's something about getting the idea/goal/dream out of your head and spoken out loud that activates a switch inside of you. A switch that your hand may have previously been hovering over, scared to flip from OFF to ON.

Flip the switch, my friends. Now is the time. Use your voice and speak your dreams and make it happen. Make a commitment to yourself that you will try, try, try whatever it is you need to try, try, try. Give your words to the wind and give your idea/goal/dream everything you've got.

You can do it. You can and you will.


This will be my last post for a little bit, folks. Taking some time to get things done and enjoy the nice weather before it turns into a lava pit here in AZ.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Reflection of Shadows: Calm

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


Ever calm, serenely balanced-
Nothing fazes you that passes.
Change will come and change will go,
But you don't flinch within its hold.

All my plans- destroyed and ruined.
Blue skies darken to my bruises.
Anger and frustration setting,
All my work is now unmending.

Holding my hand, gently, calming,
When I know the sky is falling.
You open my eyes, try to show me-
Nothing's actually unfolding.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Mantra: Let What You're Seeking, Seek You Out

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Let what you're seeking, seek you out
I couldn't tell you how many poems I've written. They're everywhere; Word files on my computer, college lined notebooks in desk drawers, notes typed into my phone. Poems scribbled on whatever pieces of paper I could find - grocery lists, receipts, napkins. Most are finished, but a solid amount have yet to be finalized.

Some are simply ideas; a sentence here or there. A title. A thought. Some are complete, in the sense that they are, technically, fully written poems. But I can't bring myself to call them complete because there's something off. Something that's missing. Something that needs to be adjusted.

For a long time, I've let them sit untouched. I suppose I gave up. Many felt close to perfect, but so very off that I had deemed them failed attempts. Lately, however, I've been challenging myself to look at them with fresh eyes, an open mind, and a willingness to say, "You must be dismantled entirely so your true form can emerge."

It's been an exiting adventure in trust, creativity, and letting go of what I think something should be for what it is or needs to be.

Some poems emerged better than I ever could have pictured. Some came out perfectly aligned to what I had thought they might be so many years ago, but better in ways I never saw coming. Others have changed in direction, intent, tone. Some, it seems, are writing themselves, with words and phrases leaping out of thin air.

This practice in trying again has taught me two important lessons:

First, things that at one time seemed ruined may, in fact, have never been ruined at all. Maybe they just needed a second, different life. A second chance to become what they were meant to be all along.

And second, when something is not working out the way you hoped or when an idea isn't fully emerging, leave it be. Stop, walk away, and let it come back to you in its own time. Forcing something to work will never yield the same results as letting is naturally unfold. When the time is right, everything will be revealed.

Have patience when you dig through what you've deemed to be ruined. You may just find a treasure.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Reflection of Shadows: Wind and Time

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Wind and Time

Golden-red, the leaves are plenty,
Hanging by a thread with care.
Waiting for the music's rhythm
'Till they dance with you in air.

Playing in a nearby meadow,
Lifting here and there a tune,
Rising up and plunging downward,
Dancing to a deaf man's tune.

Branches creek as you blow by them,
Knowing now it's time to rest.
All their leaves have left them lonely,
Now they welcome snow and mist.

Children hurry off the playgrounds;
With your strength you bring the cold.
Tiny swirling crystal moments
Flutter down to those below.

All the shivers, all the moments-
First the fall and then the night,
All the whispers that you've stolen
Captured in the breath of time.

Monday, February 12, 2018

All Around the World: Victoria, B.C.

Victoria, B.C. 

You know how you can go to a place just once and enjoy it so much you decide that one day you might just live there? That's how Victoria was for me. I loved everything about it. Not too big, not too small. Delicious food, great shopping, amazing views. Nature all around and just the right amount of city. It's easy to see why people come here. It's easy to see why people decide to retire here. It's gorgeous.

Things To Do in Victoria, B.C.

Shop! Shop your heart out and then casually stroll back to your hotel because everything is so freaking close. The shops are unique and fun, filled with all kinds of great finds.

The best areas for shopping are: Lower Johnson Street (LoJo - Johnson Street between Wharf and Government). Fan Tan Alley is famous and worth a visit, but I have to say that the Market Square area was my favorite. To be fair, it was decorated for Halloween, so that's an automatic win for me. It was so wonderfully weird and awesome.

Saltspring Soapworks (in Fan Tan Alley)
I found the yummiest smelling body scrub at this place. The product is so fresh you have to use it within a month or it goes bad. Now that is some serious attention to quality and freshness. But here's the kicker: the item (Cranberry Orange Body Gelato) had gold shimmer in it. I came out of the shower shining brighter than a diamond, just like Rihanna always says to do. They only make it once a year (fall) so if you want to get your hands on this baby, plan accordingly.

Silk Road Tea
This store is for everyone. There's tea, body products, and a spa all at this magical little piece of heaven. My favorite thing about Silk Road Tea is the sample sizes. Can't decide which one to get because so many sound good? No problem. Get yourself the little two ounce tins and get as many samples as you want for a reasonable price.

Don't let my love of shopping make you think that's all there is to do. Oh no, no no no. Walking around Victoria is an experience all by itself. The visuals, the nature, the ooo-ing and ahh-ing you'll do. For example, these things:

Ogden Point
Holy wind, this is one heck of a lookout. My recommendation: Walk here in the late afternoon/early evening before sunset. Have yourself a snack or cup of tea at the restaurant right next to walking path, and then head on out to the point at sunset for some amazing views.

Galloping Goose Trail
Rent yourself some bikes and ride along the Galloping Goose Trail. It. Is. Beautiful. The city did one hell of a job creating this walking/biking path. You can go for miles on it, easily, with views almost everywhere you look. It was a highly enjoyable experience.

Fisherman's Wharf
Three words: Awesome boat houses. I'm talking houses floating on water of all shapes and sizes, decorated in all kinds of ways, right on the wharf. That, plus a few dining options, ferry tours, a little bit of shopping, and oh, hey, did I mention the adorable boat houses???

The whole harbor area is amazing, night and day. At night, in particular, everything lights up. The city is a gorgeous sight to behold. The Empress, the parliament building, and of course, the harbor area are all must-sees.

Russell Books
When I say this place is jam packed with books, I'm not lying. They are stacked from floor to ceiling on every level of this place, and there are many levels. Head on in for an adventure in book searching and finding.

Alright, you guys. I saved the best for last...

Sunsets at the Beach Along Dallas Road
First of all, this is not your California Movie beach. It's different, but beautiful. You want to get here for the sunset. You really, really do. Get there early enough to scope out the best views because you have a LOT of options.

Market Square...or Scare for the holiday
Russell Books
Boat Houses

Galloping Goose Trail

Gluten Free Dining in Victoria, B.C.

The Empress - High Tea
I'm going to start you out with my most favorite thing ever: tea tasting. I love, love, love trying out high tea/afternoon tea when I travel. Every place is different and every experience is amazing. The Empress took care of me in every possible way from a gluten free (GF) perspective, too. I didn't miss out on a single experience and, I have to give them credit, because the scone was impressive. Normally, GF scones can be really tricky aka hard and crumbly. But not here! The scone was soft, sweet, and delicious. The selection of teas available was impressive and - I love this -  they support their local tea store, Silk Road Tea. Win-win in my book. Note: Make sure you give them advance notice that one (or more) people need gluten free options so they can be ready.

Nubo Japanese Tapas
There are some pros and cons to this place, but the pros definitely win. There are a good amount of GF options, but finding the right server that knows them is the tricky part. However, once you do find the right person, you'll be delighted with the various options. There aren't as many as I'd like, but I still had a great time trying all kinds of new and delicious things. Make sure you get here early or you'll be waiting for sure.

This place was an unexpected open faced sandwich surprise of awesomeness. The menu is unique and mouthwatering and they have a lot of GF options, which always makes eating somewhere way more exciting. I enjoyed this place so much that I think about going back to Victoria just to eat here. No joke.

Blue Fox Cafe
Yet another amazing place with a boatload of GF options. The service is also noteworthy. These people take care of you. The hubs and I both got the french toast because it was so original and one-of-a-kind sounding that we had to try it. I should note, they are VERY popular so be prepared to wait. It's worth it.

Ohmygoodness, this place was not only yummy but also super cute. I had a killer steak and veggie dinner here with an excellent grilled octopus starter dish.

Crust Bakery
A must for a snack or baked breakfast goodie. All my GF friends know this: baked goods are the trickiest. So when you find a place that has multiple ridiculously good GF baked goods, you know you've hit the jackpot.

Nubo Japanese Tapas

I'm working on the pictures still, but I'll get the good ones loaded to my Society6 page soon for those who are interested.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Reflection of Shadows: Once Again, Again Once More

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Once Again, Again Once More

Once again, again once more,
Memories of you wash ashore,
Memories of you flood my dreams,
Dark and light and mixed with steam.

So real, so fake, so strange and odd-
It's like you're here and then you're not.
You morph, you shift, you change in shape,
My heart - it stops, it hurts, it breaks.

Each dream is like a sharpened knife-
It cuts me open, side to side,
Confronting what I've known so long:
For you, I'd hurt the ones I love.

I've tried to find my happy ending,
Tried to fill the vast and empty
Gaps and holes and spaces in me
With these broken, shattered memories.

Then you come, in dreams so rare-
It's like a trap, a trick, a snare,
A flame within my heart ignites-
I can't forget your love, your life.

I've tried to break, to tear, to undo
All the love I've kept here for you,
Though the torment held me down,
My heart refused to let you out.

I begged, I pleaded, on bent knees,
I couldn't tear your love from me.
I tried to find my heart a cure,
But never, never, nevermore.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday Mantra: When All The World Is A Hopeless Jumble

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: One day you'll wake up when the clouds are far behind you
LostFog Co.
Three day weekends. I love three day weekends. There's something about having that extra day that's legitimately thrilling. One day to be lazy, one day to get things done, and one day adventure? A shopping spree? An eight hour back tattoo? One day for whatever the heck you want.

On a recent three day weekend I had plans, you guys. PLANS. I was going to sleep in, clean my office, arrange my next vacation, and have some bubble bath and face mask time. It was going to be stellar.

Except it wasn't. Every single second of my glorious 72 hours went to hell and back again at least three times. Let me set the scene for you.

My brain was freaking out again (see this story for more thrilling details). We recently discovered what I've been suffering from all these years are vestibular migraines. They're caused by a load of things that are impossible to avoid for the most part like heat, crowds of people, looking around a room too fast, chocolate...see what I mean? Long story short: they suck, there's no cure and, oh yeah, hey, they suck.

On top of that awesomeness, I'd also been feeling under the weather with some weird stomach bug that seemed to be coming and going at will and this strange copper taste in my mouth that I couldn't shake. It was so odd that I actually thought I might be pregnant because my symptoms matched up pretty doggone well, which was not the plan right now, no no no, not at all. Needless to say, I was a mess.

On Saturday of my beautiful, glorious, three day weekend my husband came home from a football game hunched over, hardly able to walk. He'd messed his back up (again) and was in a good amount of pain. Throughout the day we iced his back and had him taking Ibuprofen, thinking that would help, but it didn't. By 6pm he was in excruciating pain, laying on the living room floor, unable to move. An ambulance was eventually called and they had to dose him with 20 mg. of morphine just to make a dent in the pain before taking him to the ER.

At the ER I had to chill in the waiting room where I was surrounded by people who were very, very, very sick with the flu. It was horror movie gross in there, friends. Because it was so jam packed with people we ended up being there for hours upon hours while they treated my husband, finally able to go home at 4am. That was Saturday (plus the wee hours of Sunday morning).

Later, on Sunday, my migraine was pretty bad (it ebbs and flows between nothing at all, manageable, and holy crap). My neurologist (aren't I fancy?) gave me some meds he wanted me to try when the migraine became unbearable, which had only been happening on and off recently. So, in an attempt to help myself so I could help my hunchback hubby, I took one of those suckers.

Flashback to one week prior: I'd been having a case of the crazy brain and, up to this point, hadn't taken any of the pills my doctor had given me. I hate medicine and really try to avoid it as much as possible, but I decided to take one and see if it helped. Later that night I became violently ill, which I chalked up to a potential case of the flu coming on thanks to this gloriously terrible flu season. My tummy was unhappy on and off the next week, but I was completely fine outside of that. This is where all of those "Oh crap, am I pregnant?!" concerns came in. Back to Sunday.

About four hours after I'd taken the pill I started to feel odd. Odd turned into downright terrible, which turned into Holy Shit I'm Dying. At first, I thought I'd caught the flu from all those folks at the ER. It was the only thing that made sense at this point, after having ruled out the pregnant thing (because seriously, if you're that sick when you're pregnant then it is not for me, people. Not. For. Me). But then I started thinking about that stupid dizzy pill I'd taken and a little light bulb went off in my head. Now, mind you, the side effects listed on the bottle said very mild things could happen, like being tired. I went to the source of all information, Google, and low and behold, in severe side effect cases you could get allllllll the symptoms I had, plus some bonus ones that showed up in the wee hours of the morning. Yay me.

Sunday came and went with me awake until 5am and my husband all jacked up in pain. Monday was a blur because both of us were so sleep deprived and still feeling terrible that we lost sense of time.

Bye-bye, beautiful three day weekend.

Sometimes, when life hasn't handed me lemons, but thrown them straight at my face, I get a little "woe is me"-ish and miserable. But I know I do this, so I try very hard to make sure I also focus on the good that's happening around me, even if it's very small.

While it was a legit awful weekend, when I was certain I was on death's door (so dramatic) and my husband wasn't able to walk (so legit), there was still good to be seen and acknowledged. I wasn't pregnant (whew - also, apologies to all my friends who really want me to be pregnant AKA Nichole), I got caught up on Black Mirror, and I got some serious puppy snuggling in, to name a few things. When we were both feeling a little better, we even finished the plans for our next adventure.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: On the cloudiest days, it serves us all to remember that the clouds will, and always do, pass. The sun is out there, somewhere, shining. And if all else fails, Netflix has your back.