My Maid of Honor

life

A good friend knows all your best stories, a best friend has lived them with you.

As we get older, adult relationships become more complicated.  Location, work, significant others, children and our overall daily routines play such a huge part in what we can do on a regular basis.  Sure, some people grow apart.  But overall, life has ups and downs and people come and go. Aside from all of that, there’s usually at least one person you know is always gonna be there.  For me, that’s my best friend, Johnni.

When Danny asked me to marry him and I sat down to start planning, I had a really hard time when it came to my “bridal party.”  I have a lot of acquaintances, but I don’t have a lot of friends.  That probably sounds sad, because so many brides have bridal parties of like six plus girls, and tons of people have multiple girlfriends.  That’s okay, but that’s just not me.  As I got older, it became more about the people in my circle versus the size of the circle.  I did a lot of back and forth, wondering who my closest friends are that I think would want to be a part of something, sister-in-laws, and not wanting to do any of it at all.  I even bought bridesmaids gifts that are still sitting in my closet because I can’t return them.  But in the end, having a big group of girls with me on that day just didn’t seem important.  I was trying so hard to be traditional and have this group of friends to take pictures with, but that’s not me, I’m not traditional.  What did seem important was having the one person who has known me since I was fifteen, like – really known me in a different way than anyone else on this earth ever has.

I met Johnni in an online Harry Potter forum, and we instantly clicked.  She understood me, what I was thinking, what I wanted in life, who I was to my very core.  I have so many memories of the times we spent together as young angsty teens, and how those moments have helped define the person I am today.  I’m still that little emo kid who loves My Chemical Romance and isn’t having an easy time coming to terms with the fact that this year is the final Warped Tour of all time.  (I’m trying to cope, okay?)  But she understood that, and we were friends with no judgment and I could truly be myself.  This meant so much because I lived in a really small town where people judged me daily for my choice in music, clothes, literally anything I did – I was scrutinized.  I had local friends in high school, but I can tell you one thing: I’m still friends with Johnni, and I only talk to one person from my high school friends, who wasn’t even necessarily in my every day “group” of friends.  Teenagers are stupid, so I’m not going to paint a picture and tell you that our friendship was always perfect.  We had a long distance friendship, and whether or not you believe it, those are a lot like long distance relationships.  It’s so much more than effort or love, you need patience too.  Let me tell you at 16 and 17, we were not patient the way we are now.

We grew apart, but not in a bitter way.  Just a natural way.  I went back to school for my senior year after taking a year off for independent study because I missed the structure and I missed things like choir and theatre, and I was busier than I was my junior year.  She had friends locally, and we both had our own lives to live.  But that didn’t mean we would never find each other and that strong core we had before.

Soulmates aren’t just romantic, and I honestly think there are different types of soulmates.  The man I’m marrying is my romantic soulmate, my dog is a soulmate, but Johnni – she was the first, the original, and she’s my sister and best friend soulmate.

In a way, I think we are a lot like twins. I’ve never had a sister,  but I look at my mom and my aunt and I think our relationship is pretty similar to that. I’ve never had a twin, but my husband-to-be is a twin, and I find so many similarities in my relationship with Johnni there, as well.  They say twins have this secret, silent language that only they understand with the smallest of cues.  That the slightest shift in attitude, body language, even breathing and a twin automatically knows what’s wrong with their other half.  We have that. She knows, without even hearing my voice and just reading a text what kind of mood I am in.  She knows without a single sound how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking when we’re together.  I don’t know what kind of sorcery that is, but I’m totally okay with it because it means I’m never going to be alone.   I can call her at any time, and she’s there – and vice versa.  We’ve sat outside talking at Yogurtland until 11 pm just because we needed time to talk.   When we reconnected, it was like we’d never drifted and were just two old friends who had not seen each other for like a week.  She is the strongest person I know.  She’s a single mom of three, just navigating her way through the world like the rest of us, but she’s so strong for her kids and that’s the kind of mom I want to be.  I’m so proud of her.  I look at her with her kids and I just beam, I’m sure I look like her significant other/partner when we’re out in public because I just look at her with such admiration and love.  It’s hard not to love such an amazing, generous person.  And she’s smart as hell.  I can’t talk about the things we talk about with anyone else, and that means so much to me.

She still just gets me.  She gets who I am at my most center core.  It was such an easy choice, I didn’t even need to ask her to be my maid of honor, it was just … right.  And she’s been so supportive, understanding, and just… helpful, this whole entire time we’ve been planning.  I’m so proud to have her stand with me and not have a bridal party, because that wouldn’t have been right.  What’s right is that it’s the two of us, because in a way, it’s always been the two of us.

So, to Johnni on her birthday –

I wish I had that picture of us in the teacups at Disneyland with our cringy emo bangs and the skinniest of skinny jeans on, but unfortunately Photobucket doesn’t value our past.  Thank you for loving me exactly the way that I am.  For lifting me up when I’m feeling shitty about myself and need that boost of confidence (she always tells me my eyebrows look great even if I’m entering muppet territory.)  Thank you for allowing me to be in your kids’ lives and letting me have the honor of being Aunt Allie.  I can’t wait for you to be Aunt Johnni.  Thank you for loving Danny, and just accepting him, no questions asked.  Thank you for just being you.  I fucking love you, and I’m so proud of you, and I’m even more proud to have you be my best friend.  x

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An Introduction | Cruelty Free Living

beauty, food, life

So, on top of the I’m Getting Married series I’m working on, I thought I’d do a cruelty free 101 series as well.  I know there are a lot of resources out there about living cruelty free, but one more honestly couldn’t hurt.  I have a lot of plans to discuss the problems with misleading branding and information, recipes and my journey to a plant based diet,  tools you can use to see that you’re living a cruelty free lifestyle to the optimum potential you’re trying to achieve, links to other resources and blogs on the internet with more in depth information on various subjects, and my overall experience transitioning to a cruelty free lifestyle over the last few years.

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Why a cruelty free lifestyle?

I originally decided to transition to a cruelty free lifestyle in the spring of 2015, because it finally hit me that I wanted to work toward a career helping animals.  My end game goal is to be a veterinary technician, and I’m working on school for that now.  After deciding how hypocritical it would be of me to want to help animals live a better and more fulfilled life with the people that love them, yet continue to buy products that use animals as test subjects, I knew I needed to make a change.

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” – Charles Darwin

My main area of transition was going to be cruelty free beauty and skin care, and I knew that was a venture I was going to need to do a lot of research on.  So I did.  I looked up anything and everything I could think of, and still have the vast majority of it bookmarked.  I am most excited to write about this, because it’s something I so strongly stand behind.

I’d been a vegetarian before in my earliest years of college, but had fallen away from it out of convenience and honestly, laziness.  I still eat fish, so technically my fiancé and I are pescatarians, but that’s a rare occasion and primarily our diet is plant based and we consider ourselves mainly vegetarian.  He’s lactose intolerant, and although we do use a lot of vegan cheese, dairy has not been cut out of our diet completely as of yet, although that’s a transition we are working on together currently.

My transition to cruelty free beauty, hair, and skin care was done in less than five months.  I had a tight budget at the time, so throwing product away I no longer wanted to support wasn’t entirely an option.  But once I used things up, I replaced them with products I had found to substitute.  A lot of people might not agree with my decision to do that, and can say I should have tossed everything away and started over; but at the time that I made this decision, I was living paycheck to paycheck so my transition was what was right for me.  And I want anyone reading this to realize, your transition will be what’s right for you – the fact that you’re taking a step and decided on making the transition in the first place is SO important.

If you have any questions or if there’s anything you’re dying to get help with or learn, ASK!  Send me an email, leave a comment.  I want this series to be amazing, and I want it to help someone make a progressive choice to better themselves and the world for the animals we share it with.

xlittle wolf

 

*Photo courtesy

WOLF & BEAR CO | I need your help.

life

So.  Cat’s out of the bag.  Danny and I have been hard at work the last few months putting together a small business of tees, sweatshirts, and some accessories.  I’m so, so excited about it.


wolfandbearland

This is a huge step for us.  I’ve had Etsy shops before, but this is something else.  Right now, we’re outsourcing our printing via Threadless as it’s the most cost effective option for us.  We don’t have the space or the income while planning a wedding to be able to print on our own – but hopefully, one day when we’re in a house, we’ll be able to print in our own garage!

It’s been a struggle only having control over designs.  I can only do so much, and it takes a few days for samples to get to us while they’re being printed.  I’m kind of a perfectionist in anything I create, so you can imagine my frustration and anxiety as I wait for the sample anticipating it’s sheer perfection or absolute awfulness.  But it’s good.  It’s good that I can focus on designs, because we’ve planned two collaborations and launches for the rest of 2018!  I’m so fucking excited.

I haven’t been this passionate or excited about a project in an insanely long time.  Yes, wedding planning is exciting and so thrilling and enjoyable, but this is something that I’ll have (hopefully) long after the wedding is over.  There will be sneak peaks over on our Instagram and we set up a twitter as well as a Facebook page.

But there’s a dilemma, and I need your help.

This blog has been mine since 2011 or 2012.  I love this blog.  I’ve been able to come and go, and only in 2018 have I dedicated myself to really pursuing this.  But with the launch of the business, a lot of people have told me that blogging on our website using that as a platform to be more relatable than just a clothing line is something I should consider.  And in a way, I totally get that.  We’re starting our life together, so maybe I should consider that.  Maybe I should be blogging there.  But I also feel that a lot of what I plan on writing about – wedding planning, a lot of stuff if we’re being honest – maybe doesn’t have a place there.  But maybe that’s the kind of shit that makes us human and more relatable, because it’s… us.  And our business.  Our brand.  I want people to see us as PEOPLE, not just a t-shirt.  Does that make sense?  Do I keep both blogs and separate them as I see fit?  Do I merge everything over there?  Do I keep only this and use that space for launches exclusively?

What do you think I should do?   HELP ME.

I’m Getting Married | How the Hell do I plan this thing?

life

married.png

This is going to be a series I’m working on, because if I commit to blogging, I have to blog about stuff in my life – and this is definitely something going on in my life right now.  I also think it will be nice to document the process of planning our wedding and looking back on it later.  Danny wants to vlog a lot of the process so we can look back on it in video form, so we may revisit that at another time.  For now, though, I’m going to start posting on this space.

Let me start by saying: I have no fucking idea what I am doing.  Pinterest makes planning a wedding look so easy, and even in the time I have spent watching shows about weddings – I didn’t realize how complicated this all actually is.  Way more goes into it than anyone makes it seem, and we are even going for the simplest of weddings.  My Pinterest “dream wedding” board is overflowing with ideas we probably won’t ever use, and I know I need to narrow it down and really make shit happen.  Our wedding is 9 months away, and we haven’t even secured a venue as of right now.  We have a few places in mind, but we definitely need to buckle down and make some decisions.

Invitations are done and ready to be printed and sent.  We have an officiant lined up as well as a photographer.  We have colors picked out.  We know we are not doing groomsmen and a bridal party, just a maid of honor and a best man.  I started a website with tons of information about where and when we are getting married to give to our guests.  We have a venue.  Aside from that, there’s still a lot that needs to be done.

As frantic as this all may seem, I have learned that lists work really well for me.  I bought a new planner for 2018 and got enough supplies and colored pens to make sure wedding to-do’s will fit right in.  I bought a separate notebook for all things wedding, including food menu, guest lists, etc.  My point is: do what works best for you.  If you need a wedding coordinator or planner, go for it.  If you are the type of person who wants to do it all yourself, you might find this series entertaining at the very least.

I have a wedding dress appointment coming in February, and tons of mood boards I’m working on for this series.  Welcome to wedding planning with me.  Any tips you have would be incredibly helpful, I am learning as I go.

I’m On Your Side

life

It’s 12:30 am when I’m writing this and I just got home from babysitting three littles, and I can’t sleep even if my life depended on it. It’s okay though, because I’ve been using this time to do most of my thinking. I guess in a way that sucks, because I would actually really love to be sound asleep right now. Instead, I’m laying here and can’t get comfortable while I listen to airplanes and wonder where the hell I put my chapstick.

2017 was a hard year. I know that’s something a lot of people have said, but I think it’s because it’s so true. Everyone dealt with 2017 differently, the same way we’ll all take on 2018 differently and so on and so forth. But this is my blog, so forgive me but I’m gonna talk about me. Last year sucked for the most part. I lost myself in a lot of ways. A job I loved turned into a job I couldn’t love anymore, but I stayed because I kept telling myself that age old mantra “it gets better” but it wasn’t getting better, and it didn’t. I don’t want to say I hated my old job because that would be a lie. I loved my job and the vast majority of all it entailed, I thought and still think highly of my coworkers, but a large part of that job was destroying me. I think it was mostly the environment. I just didn’t feel like I was being challenged, and when I was challenged it wasn’t for my own benefit by any means. Money was tight, and a lot of the things I wanted to do and that Danny and I wanted to do got put off , and are still being put off. That sucks. I left in December.

Life isn’t pretty we all get a little wrecked sometimes, if God is listening, people think you’re out of your mind, even if you believe it – through all the hard times, I’M ON YOUR SIDE.

babe2Let me say that once you lose yourself, finding yourself is really fucking hard. You catch glimpses here and there, but it’s definitely a road of recovery. I think I was at my worst in November. I felt so defeated and emotionally exhausted at the end of every day, and I dreaded going back. But I’m lucky to have Danny, Johnni, and my family as heavy duty anchors. He’d make me laugh when I felt like I couldn’t stop crying. I’m more myself with him than I ever have been with anyone. Even now, after crawling into bed so late and waking him up, he just smiled and said “hey, babe” and I felt safe and so at ease.

Johnni let me vent and hated everyone when I couldn’t and she helped hold me up by being my backbone. My mom and dad would tell me to focus all my energy on finding a new adventure. So I fucking did. And man, is it nice.

While I go back to school and work part time, we are putting a lot of time and energy into launching a small brand of tees and other accessories because it’s stuff we want to wear, and I hope you’ll all like it too. I haven’t been so passionate about life, love, a project, or myself in a long time; but it’s showing in every piece we’ve created and every moment of each day I’m happier and feel more myself and more passionate about everything.

It’s hard admitting I can’t do everything.

When I created my first Etsy shop in 2011, I invested a lot of my income on resources and managed everything in my bedroom. But times have changed and we’re not in any place to buy screen printing equipment to put in a one bedroom apartment. Even the silk screens would be a nightmare with our youngest pup, Cody, who feels the need to eat everything in his path. This all means we have to outsource our printing, and in the most cost effective way. Threadless.com is the most cost effective way for us to get the shop running, and longterm, we’d love more space to be able to print in house. Not having control over this process is definitely driving me crazy, but I know I need to have faith and pride in what we’re making and hope it will all fall into place.   If you wanna see and maybe buy a couple things, we’re over at wolf & bear co.  A separate post about this process is coming sometime next week, I swear.

This post is all over the place, but I guess that what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to find yourself and fall in love with yourself and those around you all over again.  I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to that point, and it feels amazing.  So go forth and do what makes you happy.  Surround yourself with people who will always be on your side.   Be on your own fucking side.

doggosxlittle wolf

Hello, 2018!

life

There’s so much to say, I don’t really know where to start.  The good news is that I’m back and here to stay on the blog, I really need a creative space to use words and photography and I’m excited about that.  I know I’ve said that many times before, but this is the time.  I’m in a huge transitional stage of my life, and I think it’s about time I have something for myself instead of for other people.  There are a lot of things I want to do this year for me, and I think it’s about fucking time I do them.  I’m 29 now, and in the next year or so Danny and I will start a family so I need to do the things for me, for us, now.  Some of the projects are ones we want to try together.  I’m excited.

 

What are your resolutions for 2018?

This is L.

beauty, life

l001

No one wants to talk about periods and products, but we’re gonna.  I’m a 28 year old woman.  I got my first period when I was 9 and a half, on the Fourth of fucking July.  You know, that one holiday where literally half of the population is wearing white pants?  Yeah.  White capris.  It was my lucky day.   I’d had talks with my mom about what was going to happen (very reluctantly, she will inform you) and even though I was technically prepared – let me tell you, I was not.  I was the first girl in my fourth grade class to start any of this, so I couldn’t talk to my friends about any of it because they thought it was weird and gross.  Let’s be honest, it’s pretty gross.  At 9, my flow was completely different than it is today.  My hormones were completely different than they are today.   The products I use are COMPLETELY different than they were then.  For the better.

Not to say that whoever chooses to stick with whatever brand they’ve always used is wrong, because hey, we are creatures of habit and I order the same thing every time we go to our favorite breakfast joint and have for the last four years.  But this isn’t just breakfast, it’s your inner body health.  I spent a lot of time using top name brand pads and tampons, and some were better than others, sure.  But on a whim one day while at Target with my boyfriend, a fancy bag with palm leaf print (a weakness, sue me) caught my eye.  It was the same price as the brand I normally bought, but it had about 16 more pads in it than the one I used to grab out of habit.  Why not try it?  I grabbed the bag and threw it in the cart.  I haven’t looked back since.

The white bag with the palm leaf and gold bag was a pack of L.’s Chlorine Free Ultra Thin Pads in regular (but not basic) format.  What got me initially was the quantity I was getting for the price.  42 for $6.99, that’s unheard of.  I mean unless you’re buying your pads and tampons at Costco.  

How to Deal with Disappointment

life

Disappointment is part of being human at any age.  It sucks, but it’s true.  A lot of disappointment has been floating around in my life for the last two months and I just haven’t had a lot of motivation to do much.  However, I saw a quote on the Huffington Post blog when I was looking for inspiration and re-motivation and it resonated with me so loudly.

“Disappointment is a temporary obstacle on the road to success.”  – Tamiko Cuellar

parisbathroomAt twenty eight years old, I’ve learned what I’m capable of.  When I want to fight and how hard I want to fight for something.  I’ve learned not to expect much of most people, because disappointment is nearly always inevitable as our expectations are just that – our own.  Words are words and unfortunately they don’t always mean what they are.  But after being sad and upset about things I can’t control and things people keep promising that aren’t coming through, I have to let it go.  There comes a time where you just have to pick yourself up and let it be and do your best and use that disappointment to work harder and do what you know you are capable of and when it’s time to move on, you will.  I’m on that path.  For now, I’m just doing the best I can until I can let things go completely and move on.

To help with that, I’ve been doing a lot of these things.

  1. Make a plan.  Whether that’s making a list of the goals you want to accomplish next, setting resolutions to better yourself and your environment, or all of the above, just make  a plan.  For me, this meant sitting down with Danny and talking about our future.  What we wanted to accomplish individually and together, what we needed to do for our future to be the way we both wanted.  I’ve got lists literally everywhere.
  2. Talk to someone.  Not someone involved directly, or anyone who can recirculate your frustration and magnify it or make it worse.  But it’s relieving for humans to be able to share our feelings with another person who can offer advice and just help you through what you’re going through.  It feels nice, and it helps you see things clearly when you aren’t keeping everything bottled up.
  3. Surround yourself with as much positivity as possible.  People you love, things you love, good vibes.  Your pet.  Sunshine.  Good music.  A nice candle.  Anything that makes you happy and improves your mood.  It works, I promise.
  4. Have a good cry.  Fuck it, you earned it and it’s okay to cry when you’re upset.

The quote was what I needed to read to pick myself back up and keep going.  A lot of good things are going to come in this next year, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of things I thought and wanted to happen and see through won’t be part of it.  I’m not going to let disappointment be one of the things that come with the next few months and start of 2018.  I’m just going to work hard and finish what I wanted to two years ago.  Working hard, finishing school, starting my future.  These are my priorities for the next 9 months.  It’s funny how disappointment turns into motivation so quickly.  I’m entirely re-motivated to complete everything I wanted to.

Hey, self — let’s do this.

x little wolf