Blog| Cooking Part 2

Another weekend, another attempt at a new recipe.

I didn’t get around to making a breakfast recipe and only did a dinner one, so I’m a bit behind. But I’ll figure it out!

Broccoli, Egg and Cheddar Empanadas

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Of course Rony picks another Egg recipe. Because freaking eggs. And this one requires me to make my own dough.

I fee like I jumped from Easy Mode to Advance.

First off: the dough. I mixed flour, corn meal, salt, pepper, and cold butter all together with my hands to make a kind of bread crumb consistency. I kind of goofed. I was suppose to put the butter in the freezer and then grate it into the flour but I guess I didn’t leave it in the freezer long enough. The butter was still soft and I “grated” it with a fork and hoped for the best. I also wasn’t sure if I used enough butter?? I had Rony add a bit more in case. It wasn’t crumbling how it should have but I think it came out okay.

Next I made a little whole in the middle and cracked an egg and poured in cold water before mixing it all with my hands. Again, not sure if I added enough water because it was still dry and crumbly so I added another tablespoon in.

Dough is hard, guys.

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Leon was waiting for me to drop something for him to eat.

After I got the dough mixed and semi-smooth (at least holding together), I left it in the bowl and covered it with a moist towel. It didn’t say how long to leave it covered, only to move on to making the filling.

I had to steam 4 cups of broccoli (is there ever an accurate way to get 4 whole cups of broccoli? You can’t really pack it into a cup) and mix 8 eggs with salt, pepper, garlic, and chili flakes. I added only a TINY bit of chili flakes because again, I get sick if I eat spicy stuff.

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So far so good.

After the broccoli was tender, I dumped all the eggs in and had to make scrambled eggs. I was so freaking paranoid that I was going to mess this up. I am cursed when it comes to eggs. I overcook or undercook them and it’s a disaster.

I mixed constantly because I was afraid it’d stick to the pan or burn. But I have to say, I don’t think I messed this part up! I know! I didn’t mess up the eggs!

I added a ton of cheese once the egg wasn’t goopy and mixed it in to create this awesome cheesy mess and set it aside to go back to the dough.

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Rony laughed at me when I bought my tiny rolling pin at Daiso but that shit works! No paper towel roll for me this time! I cut the dough into 12 pieces, and rolled each into a ball. Then I rolled out each ball for form little thin tortillas. The recipe said about coaster size but there was no way I was going to get all the filling in with that size. So mine were definitely like small tortillas.

Once they were rolled out, I scooped some egg/broccoli filling in and folded over the dough to make little hand pie looking things. I had to pinch the edges together and they ended up about palm sized. They were pretty big!

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It took a while to get them all filled and folded and onto the baking sheet but once they were done, they looked pretty good! The recipe said doing an egg wash was mostly cosmetic and optional, but shit, I was already there. You bet your ass I’m egg washing that shit. Plus I had gotten a pastry brush forever ago and hadn’t gotten the chance to use it.

Also, I don’t have two baking sheets. I thought I did, but I don’t. So I had to use a pizza pan which worked about the same. You use what you got.

I popped those bad boys into the oven for 20 minutes and cleaned up. I was hungry, this had taken like 2 hours, and I swear to god if these didn’t taste good (I’m looking at you, polenta) I was going to throw a fit.

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Look at that shit. LOOK AT IT.

I made that shit with my hands!

And yeah, the egg wash doesn’t cover them completely but whatever! They look freaking good!

The recipe shows some sort of dipping sauce but never says what it is (what the hell, recipe book) but I’m pretty sure it’s salsa….which we don’t have. So I used marinara sauce because that sounded good.

The Rony review?

“Craftsmanship is a 9. Still hot and not falling apart. Flavor is pretty watered down and could use more but I don’t mind. It’s a muted flavor. It’s pretty great. I give it a 8!”

Probably needed more cheese. Everything is better with cheese.

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Two pretty much filled us up so now we have leftovers for a few days. I am fairly impressed with myself! I can make dough and cook an egg thing and not mess up!

Let’s hope I can keep the momentum going!

-Sam <3

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Blog| Weekend Recap

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It’s been a long, crazy weekend.

I was intially going to do a blog for my hair and a seperate one for Rony’s Birthday Party, but it’s been a trial.

TL;DR

  • I got my hair done proffesionally
  • I rearranged my office
  • Rony had a Graffiti Birthday Party
  • We had to drive to Rosswell and back
  • Frankie almost got adopted
  • Leon escaped. Again.

Okay now let’s break that down.

Friday

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I had been planning to just redye my hair since all the color had faded, but Alex and Marisa both convinced me to go get my hair done for me. I didn’t trust myself to bleach more and not ruin my hair so I contacted Alex’s friend Hair by Sarah Michelle and scheduled it for Friday after work.

I knew this was going to be a long process. First we did the bleach to extend up the color and after getting all the foil put in, I looked like a satellite. Then we found small dots of red (??? I haven’t had purple hair in like a year) so we tried to get those out. Mostly worked. My hair is weird.

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Finally we started putting in color. We were initially going to do Teal with little bits of purple but we underestimated the power of the purple and it turned darker than intended. But it would fade nicely and I wasn’t mad. So on it went!

She cut and styled it and holy shit, guys it was so soft. Like a freaking cloud. It’s never been that soft. And it stayed nice for 4 whole days like YAAAAASSS

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The end result was a cool galaxy effect with electric blue and purples and a steel-blue fading in from my roots. I love it. When I go back in a few months, we’ll be able to put the Teal straight on it to make it brighter. So thank you, Sarah, for staying until almost 9:30 to get my hair looking freaking awesome!

Afterwards I rearranged my office and found I could fit my whole desk in the weird faux closet. I moved my white board, put up some twinkle lights, and now I have my own little corner while the cats take over the rest of the room. I ain’t mad.

Saturday

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For Rony’s birthday, we decided to get some giant boards, a bunch of spray paint, snack foods, alcohol, and have everyone graffiti together in our backyard. I made corn dogs (veggie and regular), cheese pizza rolls, got a ton of Lunchables, made cupcakes, and queso for everyone. It was like a real junk food party.

We cleaned the backyard, put music on, and everyone got to hang out and paint for a couple of hours. The dogs were happy to have people over and everyone drank while painting. I even made a timelapse of the whole thing.

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Rony and I collaborated and did the Snow Owl from Meow Wolf with some eyeball trees and then he made John Wilkes Booth for some reason (I blame the alcohol and weird friend suggestions)

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Afterwards we watched Kung Fu Hustle and played Outpost 31: The Thing Board game and What Do You Meme?

The whole thing was pretty hilarious to watch. Outpost 31 is essentially One Night Werewolf/Resistance/Clue all mixed together. You don’t know who the Imitation is and have to slowly get through missions as a team while the monster tries to sabotage you. In the end, we ended with 3 Initiations (Rony included) who managed to trick everyone and win.

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Everyone stayed chatting and playing until midnight and all in all, it was a good party.

Sunday

Rony had borrowed his Step Mom’s car to get home for New Years so we had to get up at 7:30am to drive to Roswell to meet with his dad and bring it back. We were tired and hung over and by the time we got home, it was like 2pm already. It was a long morning.

I had been talking to a lady about adopting Frankie and she was all set to go. She was supposed to come over at 3:30 to pick her up but then changed her mind because she didn’t want to pay the $50 re-homing fee. Yeah. I’m not giving animals away for free. It’s sketchy and I want to make sure people can actually take care of them. So that was a no-go. Plus we’ve probably paid almost $200 in vet bills for her plus food so it’s kinda rude.

So we still have Frankie. Rony isn’t mad about it.

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We moved the graffiti boards along the fence to block some areas the dogs have been messing with. The backyard was mostly clean, the house was clean, I got to work on some projects. It was a good day.

AND THEN IT WASN’T.

At 8:30pm, while we were talking on the phone with my mom, the dogs got out. They had chewed off the chicken wire in the ONE spot we hadn’t blocked and ripped a board off that hadn’t even been loose. SERIOUSLY.

I had heard almost scratching at the door to be let in like 10 minutes before and in that time, they managed to escape.

Almond was found almost immediately still in the alley behind the house. The little butt actually walked right up to me (she never does that. She is the master at thinking she’s funny and playing keep away when she escapes). Leon, somehow, was nowhere to be found. IN TEN MINUTES.

Naturally, we are freaking the hell out.

Everyone gets called, we form a search party. It is getting cold, it is dark, and we are panicking. But we have experience which is a good and bad thing. So we split up and cover all directions. Alex thinks she spots him at one point but loses him. Marisa finds his Doppelganger. I find every stray or lost dog in the area. No Leon.

Rony finally joins up with me and we decide to go street by street, alley by alley. He gets tired late at night and hates the cold. He’ll huddle up somewhere.

We cover from 19th street to 32nd. Finally at 4am, after 7 hours of constant searching, Rony spots the jerked crossing someone’s yard on 32nd street. We had luckily turned down that street at the right time.

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Look at this jerk. Look at his ungrateful face. Don’t get dogs.

We slept three hours and went to work the next day, exhausted and happy that we actually found him. Then I passed out for 12 hours.

And that was our weekend. I need another one to recover from it.

How was yours? Do you have a jerk dog? Let me know!

-Sam <3

Blog| Meow Wolf

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Santa Fe holds a special place in my heart. It was the first place me and Marisa went on a road trip to without our parents, completely on our own, after we graduated. We went on a whim, just to experience something for ourselves and to feel like adults. 7 years later and we’re back and I’m still finding things I love.

Rony, me, Marisa, and my friends Alex, Jazmin and her husband Brandon all rented a beautiful Airbnb for our stay. It had two stories, a nice kitchen, dining room, tv room, and a living room with a fire place. That fire place came in handy. It was off a golf course so the only downside is that when we went to the backyard patio, you had to watch for golf balls. But there was an adorable neighbor heeler named Penny that loved pets and attention.

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We got to town on Friday, went to the Airbnb, Trader Joe’s for groceries and baking stuff, and then went to eat at Jambo Cafe. It was a really nice and cozy African restaraunt where we got to eat traditional foods and try something new. It was delicious and though I’m a picky eater, I went adventurous and tried the Harissa Spiced Lamb Sandwich which was basically slices of Lamb and veggies on a fluffy pita with yogurt sauce. It was very very good and I did NOT overeat this time (no judging).

Friday was very much a resting, chill day. We lazed around, I watched everyone do Yoga in our room, and we all messed with out planners. We ate strawberry ice cream Mochi in bed and passed out early.

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Saturday was hella busy. We got up early, got dressed and went to the Farmer’s Market. There were so many interesting foods and stalls that we broke and got cash so we could buy some things. We all got bundles of flowers and Sage and little handmade wreaths with chili peppers. Rony got a Lindberry Donut and I bought a jug of the most delicious Cider (which unfortunately went bad on the way home T_T)

The artist market was across the street so we ventured there too, taking a look all over the Railyard. Rony found an old Halloween card of Frankenstein saying “Boobs” instead of Boo and we hung out at a fairy tale/medieval stage set while Marisa and them ordered food from a stall.

Our last stop at the Railyard was The Ark bookstore which is a New Age shop. They had a beautiful selection of crystals and art and everything I love. I found 2 neat little enamel pins, a watercolor postcard, and Marisa bought me a beautiful Tarot card deck for my birthday since it’s on my goals list. It’s gorgeous and I love it. Afterwards we went to eat at the Plaza and explored a bit, going to the Cathedral and finding a little Christmas shop for Alex.

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After a quick stop home, we went on to the main event. Meow Wolf. I’d been seeing different things about Meow Wolf for a while and followed them online. It increased after we went to Ruidoso and hung out with Rony’s family. One of Rony’s cousins visited it multiple times and was in love and it made me want to visit even more.

If you don’t know, Meow Wolf is an interactive, immersive art exhibit with an overall narrative. The place was funded by George R.R. Martin and was created by a giant artist collective and has roughly 70(?) rooms to explore. It’s a permanent installation but is updated regularly so something is always new and they hold concerts, workshops, and have a Maker’s Lab. It’s an absolutely amazing place and close to the idea of what I want to make in my Artist Market/Studio idea.

There were so many people there that I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. I was interested in figuring out the story but knew it was going to be hard with a crowd. You walk in and there’s a house. Basically, the whole story is you’re trying to figure out what happened to them and why there are portals all over their house.

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The puzzles and figuring out clues was my favorite part. We read the letters in the mailbox, read the newspapers in the kitchen, the kids’ drawings, magazines, searched videos and computers and decrypted alphabets and safes. We were so immersed and interested in this strange story. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you like Sci-Fi mysteries then I think you’ll love it.

The first place we went was through the refrigerator. Yep. Through it. It led to this space portal travel agency thing where we had to pick a door to go through. I don’t remember the first one’s name but it led to this trailer that was decked out in lights and cactus. Then we went to the main hub, the tree house. It’s amazing. The floor is carpet but looks like bark and there’s a carpet pit to lay in, if you slide through the dryer (which is much harder than it sounds, you end up in the pit area. You can climb up the stairs to the tree house or go to the second story of the house and explore those rooms. Everything led to more and more doors and more rooms and every nook and cranny had even more stuff.

We didn’t even realize you could hit the mushrooms on the tree and they would light up.

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We found a arcade, a space Chinatown, a Mammoth with musical bones, a rainbow aquarium forest, anime room, an upside bus, and so much more. It takes a minimum of 2.5 hours just to see everything and we were there well over 4+ hours and I could have stayed longer just to soak it all in.

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The whole experience invites you to play and snoop and touch and handle everything (just don’t break anything). We pressed buttons and opened drawers and climbed over everything. There are small spaces to crawl and stairs and sometimes we’d think we found a place that was off limits but it led to even more things.

You could get lost in the maze of this house. I was constantly looking at everything, seeing how it was made, trying to figure out how it was tied to the narrative and what it meant.

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It’s been a few days since I’ve left and I’m still in love with this place. How it came to be, how each room feels different but cohesive and all the love that went into it. Rony and I talked about it and he felt really skeptical that it was going to live up to the hype but he was blown away. It’s something you have to experience and touch and see.

They’re actually going to be closed at the end of the month to add new rooms and updates and that makes me excited to go back. And I want to see a concert there so badly. I want to see how they utilize the space and how it all works.

I’ve talked with Rony a lot about my long term goal. I want to have a building where artists can rent studio/shop space and work together and have a place to display and sell their work. Huntsville’s art market gave me the inspiration for that aspect. Having an art walk and this building where people can discover art and buy from local artists directly. But I’ve wanted some sort of experience that draws people in. I’ve seen things like Refinery 29’s 29Rooms and the Ice Cream Museum and have loved that idea.

Meow Wolf is that to the extreme. And I love that. It’s inspiring to see the idea of immersive art paired with narratives. That’s definitely going to help and shape the idea of what I want to create in the future.

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Finally, we decided we had discovered all the rooms and seen what we could. Our feet hurt and our minds were boggled and we were still discussing the story on the way home. We stopped by the gift shop and Rony bought me my very own Meow Wolf plush and we got a Charter enamel pin and some patches. By the powers that be, we ended up buying the Halloween event shirt not knowing it was for Halloween. It was cool, we liked the design, and now it’s a little extra special.

At the Airbnb we ordered pizza, talked and played music, and stayed up until 3am playing The Thing Boardgame. I was the Thing and I won. Suck it.

The next morning we packed up and started the ride home. The pups stayed at a Pethotel for the first time and were excited to see us. We snuggled and I was loved and it was a perfect way to turn 27.

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I love my friends and I’m so glad they got to come with me to celebrate. Thank you to Rony for making sure I was happy this whole weekend.

Thanks Santa Fe, we love you

-Sam <3

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Blog| 27 Before 27 Recap

And so we’ve come to the end of being 26!

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It was a whirlwind of learning experiences, trying new things, and learning a bit about myself. There is always room for improvement and I think overall, I’m becoming a better person. I never would have thought that as I turn 27, I’d have a business, be in galleries regularly, be involved in events and running them, and I would know so many people.

It’s been an absolutely crazy ride. I didn’t get to do all the things, but I did a lot of them!

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  1. Save at least 4k for moving
  2. Connect with friends more outside of events 
  3. Finish the #52Selfies Project
  4. Minimize my possessions
  5. Do one big women’s event in town
  6. Visit family more often
  7. Take more napsIMG_0675IMG_0969
  8. Go to another concert
  9. Get another tattoo and get my nose pierced
  10. Have a solo gallery
  11. Paint a large painting
  12. Be less wasteful
  13. Do at least 3 cosplaysIMG_5593IMG_8604
  14. Look into breast reduction
  15. Do things that make me happy, not for money
  16. Be less harsh with my body image
  17. Learn to say no and do not stress yourself
  18. Be free to feel confident in how you look, what you love, and to not be serious all the time
  19. Take care of my body and health better
  20. Take a class
  21. Show more gratitude
  22. Try a spa
  23. Stop biting my nails22195453_10209780669383485_6721010785168625956_n
  24. Go roller skating again
  25. Start meditating
  26. Finish a short story and submit for publishing
  27. Learn to go running

I have been hanging out with friends more and more outside of events I’m in charge of, I’ve gone to see my mom and sister more, and am trying to make a more conscious effort to go and hang out with my dad. I think with things slowing down this year and with a new niece on the way, I can keep this going.

Self-care has been big for me. I’m my own worst critic and have had a body image problem my whole life. I’ve learned to let things go a bit, wear things I love, and take care of myself. I fell off the bandwagon a bit with eating healthy but I’m good to get back on it. And I take naps now! Yay!

I barely got getting a tattoo done at the last minute! We went and got small tattoos last Friday, after our last gallery! No piercing though so it’s only have crossed off.

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This is the year we not only adopted Leon, but fostered Mae Mae and 5 kittens. I’m very lucky to say we’ve gotten two of the kittens into new homes and Mae Mae as well who is being very loved right now. Rescuing has been such a reward and I’m so glad these babies are in good homes.

Of course, not everything got crossed off. I didn’t get to take a class, go to a concert, or get 4k saved up. I’m barely getting back into writing and yeah, running is a no go for me though I did use the treadmill a few times!

Overall, I did 16.5/27!

I’m proud of myself for doing so much. Sometimes, I need to just cut myself some slack and try something different. Slowly I’m getting the hang of this adult thing it’s not as scary as I thought.

Here’s to 27!

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Happy Birthday to me :)

-Sam <3

Blog| Alabama Travels

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We’re back with Part 2 of our December travels! Sunday we left our neat little Tennessee Airbnb and drove 2 hours south to visit Rony’s best friend in Huntsville, Alabama!

I’ve actually never met Jesse or his fiance Kara so it was cool to finally meet someone you’ve only been online friends with. Sunday we got there, had lunch, and got to see a bit of the base that Jesse works at in town. He showed up the cool “Doomsday” bunkers that people have in the woods and then we drove around and did some Pokemon Go hunting.

Afterwards we got to the house and had a fondue dinner and played some video games. I was exhausted and passed out early, leaving the boys to play for the rest of the night.

The next day Jesse took us around Downtown and we got to explore the shops and area.

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At the park they had a Christmas tree display kinda how we do a Pumpkin trail in Lubbock. Each company or group puts together their own tree in different styles and decorations and there were soooo many! The weather was nice so I didn’t mind walking around, looking at each one, and the park was gorgeous.

Most of the time was spent Pokemon hunting honestly, since Rony was just happy to have someone still actively playing. We went to the local comic book shop and when Kara got out of work, the boys played the new Magic the Gathering set. Both us girls ended up passing out (I swear they were taking forever).

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When they were finally done and we woke up, we went out to dinner. Rony said he was going to cheat on his vegetarian diet just once so Jesse could show us a barbeque place they love. I got the BBQ wings and Rony got pulled pork poutine at a local brewery. It’s built in an old middle school so the restaraunt is in the area that use to be a gym and you can go futher back to areas you can reserve for parties, a pinball arcade, and a pool hall. We spent a couple hours playing pool and pinball, alternating who gets to pick the music. Rony and I lost pool every time (I’m awful at it), but it was fun to try!

Afterwards we went home and watched a few different episodes of different shows to share with each other and chatted. We were going to have to go to bed early since we wanted to do a bit more exploring before heading back to Nashville to catch our flight.

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The next morning we went to a cool coffee shop called The Underground, which is located in an old mill. It’s shared with a few other businesses and a giant artist market that we got to look around.

The coffee and hot chocolate was amazing and I loved the decor of the shop. The workers were very nice as well.

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I fell in love with the Artist market. It’s 2 floors of small offices/areas that artists and businesses rent out and on the weekends the place is filled with people roaming all over the place. They’ll place items outside the shop for people to peruse and each area has a window to display or so people can look inside. A lot of the artists you could see them working or have works in progresses up.

This set up is what I want to make happen in Washington when we move. I’ve talked to Rony about wanting to buy a building or office or apartment building and renting it out to other artists for studio space and then having a gallery or shop for people to come in. This is an example of it and it works so beautifully. The halls and walls are covered in art. The main areas outside the shops are galleries and there are probably over 50 artists in the building. I saw comic book artists, photographers, sculpters, painters, screen print shops, art supply stores. Everything.

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The area was absolutely amazing and I wish I got to see it in full swing. I was so in love and inspired and I hope to one day make something like it. We went through the print shop and found a few things we loved. There were a ton of neat local artist designs but we couldn’t take them all. Rony found a cool pumpkin man design so we got it on a tote bag and visited the rest of the shops in the mill.

Piper & Leaf is a tea shop on the 1st floor and it has the most incredible tea. Kara showed us a blue tea they have and it was delicious. I loved their design and interior and they were super nice. We even got a drink to go and bought some tea for at home.

IMG_0501IMG_0502IMG_0562Next was the chocolate shop. Guys, their truffles are works of art. They look like gemstones and are beautiful. I could have taken pictures of them all day. Also they had a bunk of geeky things in their display case like Doctor Who and a Xenomorph Funko pop so that won me over.

We got 6 truffles and picked 2 each. It was very hard to choose and I tried not to just go with the prettiest ones. They were delicious as well which is a bonus. They also had cake but I don’t think I could have brought myself to eat a whole one before we got on the plane.

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I’ll keep repeating myself but Lowe Mill was the best and I could have spent hours there, seeing all the shops and watching the artists work. They do classes and have music there as well so if you’re ever in Huntsville, Alabama then definitely go check it out. You can spend all day there.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with Jesse and Kara and Alabama was such a cool place to check out. A lot of breweries, food, and art. And a lot of Pokemon haha.

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We’ll hopefully get to visit another time before we move and see everyone again. I came back refreshed and motivated and it was a fun way to start our December. I had never been to Tennessee or Alabama and it was great to cross them off our lists. Maybe one day we’ll be able to say we’ve visited every state!

Thanks to everyone for hosting us and spending time with us! It was such a great time! We’re back home, prepping for the Holidays, and snuggling with the pups. The year is wrapping up and though there were a lot of bads in 2017, there were far more good.

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-Sam <3

Blog| Tennessee Weddings

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Last Thursday we took off to Tennessee to attend our friends wedding!

First, we decided that since the flight was at 5:45am we would just stay up all night and get stuff done so we won’t have to worry about getting up early. Yeah, it wasn’t a great plan. I got a couple of hours of sleep via a nap and then spent the rent of the night running around, cleaning, packing, prepping the dogs for us being out, and packaging some last minute orders.

Rony got some last minute work in and we got an Lyft to take us to the airport. We were behind. More behind than we should have been and on the highway to the airport, I got the notification that they were boarding already.

We literally got on the plane as the gate was closing. It’s a first for me and I was not thrilled since being late gives me anxiety.

I passed out on the plane and then we were stuck with a 4 hour layover in Dallas before flying to Nashville. We took turns sleeping on the airport floor and got breakfast and coffee to sustain us.

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The flight was only an hour long and the process of  getting our bags and then getting the rental car was relatively easy. We stopped downtown to eat since we were starving and went to Puckett’s based on the rental car guy’s recommendation. It was pretty amazing and I may have over eaten.

Thursday was mostly just getting to Murfreesboro, checking into our Airbnb, buying a last minute wedding dress (both of my dresses did not make it in time so bleh had to buy a new one), and then going to the rehearsal dinner. We got to our room at 9pm and passed out after 36 hours of being awake.

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The next day we met our friends in Lynchburg for the Jack Daniel Distillery tour. I’m not big on alcohol. I mostly drink mixed drink and vodka is my choice. But I love seeing how things are made and so I was pretty down or that.

We saw how the charcoal is made, the barrels, the process the whiskey goes through, and all the buildings and history behind it all. Fun fact: all the trees and buildings are black because of a fungus that grows thanks to the distillery. It’s all very goth and we did steal a few twigs to add to our apothecary bottles back home.

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After seeing it all bottled and the different kinds, we did a tasting. I was going to skip this part but Rony of course got the front row and so I felt like I had to. Overall it was one shot, split up into 5 different types. We had to hold it in our mouths and were told you aren’t suppose to taking it like a shot. Poor me was not down for this but I did all 5!

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After the tour, we went to a local restaurant experience at Miss Mary Bobo’s house. It’s a super unique experience. They do 2-3 reservations a day and you have to do the reservations months ahead. At a specific time, they call you into a room and there’s a giant round table with a lazy susan. For the month of December, they do Christmas dinner so it was mac and cheese, ham, chicken and stuffing, sweet yams, green beans, rolls, and a few other things. The hostess will turn the lazy susan and you help yourself to whatever you want and she talks to the group.

It was like a fun little dinner party and we got to learn the history of the place (it’s like 200 years old), the history of the owner, and about our hostess. She was a joy to have and told us about all the places she had been and we talked about the wedding and what we all did. The wedding venue had canceled the reservation the day before the wedding because they failed the fire marshal test and so now our friends were trying to find a new place. By the time dinner was over, the whole place knew about what had happened.

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Overall it was pretty amazing and Rony was in love with the place. We had chess pie and coffee before leaving back to Nashville. We went to the mall to kill time for a bit and then hung out with our friends downtown and got a few drinks. Nashville downtown is pretty much like Las Vegas and Austin’s 6th Street mixed together. We ate some pizza and roamed around before calling it a night. At 9pm our friends found a new venue and everyone stopped panicking (as much).

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Wedding day we went and got lunch with the groom. Rony is a groomsman so we figured out the plan, went back to our place, got dressed, and managed to get to the venue in time for them to take pictures. Me and a few of the other of the groomsmans’ girlfriends hung out in the venue and chatted for a while.

The place was amazing. They were actually booked up until 2019 but the company party they were suppose to be hosting got canceled so they had room. It had already been fully decorated and set up and they went completely out of their way to help out. It was absolutely perfect and the owners and staff were so nice.

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The wedding was great and Rony did a good job :) Afterwards we took pictures at the photobooth and got appetizers and hung out with our other friends that had come in from out of town. There was a Polaroid guestbook and props and we all took pictures before getting food.

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There was even a surprise appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus (who actually happened to be the owners so that was pretty neat)

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We danced and drank and had an amazing time. The bride and groom were gorgeous and I’m so glad everything worked out. I think we may have danced for like 3 hours before sending them off with sparklers and a Christmas sled. We said our goodbyes and made the trek back to the Airbnb to pass out.

The next day we wanted to take off early to make the drive to Alabama to visit Rony’s best friend for the rest of the trip.

Tennessee wasn’t that bad and we had a good time. 10/10 would do again.

Next post, I’ll cover what we did in Alabama <3

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-Sam <3

Blog| The Importance of Pixar’s Coco

Last night I finally got to see Coco with Rony after waiting what seemed like forever. Simply: it’s my new favorite Pixar film and it’s the perfect example of how I wish all cultures are treated in fiction.

(This may be a little jumbled, but my thoughts are scattered right now.)

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A little background.

I’m a woman of color. My family has lived in the south pretty much forever, mainly Texas, so we’re pretty Hispanic. That being said, I didn’t grow up heavily in my culture. When we were babies, my parents moved away to Lubbock and away from the small town they grew up in. Charlotte is tiny and mainly consists of my family from both sides. It has one grocery store (that my grandparents started), one gas station, a library, and one main road. It’s a “driving through on your way to San Antonio” town.

11807567_10203646150394808_5512592928468078294_oLubbock and Charlotte are very different. My life in Lubbock was always more modern where we played video games, went to the mall, ran around with our bikes, and watched TV on the weekends. In Charlotte, you can barely get cell phone reception.

During the summer, we’d visit my grandparents and my sister would work in their store and I’d walk down the dirt road to the library. My grandpa taught us how to catch Tarantulas for fun (you fill their hole with water until they pop up. I didn’t say it was a humane way) and we would eat Watermelons from his giant garden or run across the street to the snowcone stand my uncle started. There were always a ton of stray cats or chickens running around in the road and I would play with them all the time.

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One of my most prominent memories was playing in the kiddie pool with my cousin and sister and my family skinning rabbits on the porch. The skin comes off entirely in tact so they looked deflated. For holidays, they would make menudo and barbacoa and I would walk into the kitchen and there’d be a giant, skinless cow head with it’s tongue sticking out. They would dare me to poke it’s big creepy eye.

But we didn’t really celebrate a lot of Mexican traditions. There wasn’t a Dia de los Muertos celebration (that I knew of) and even though my older relatives like my grandmother and some of my uncles and aunts knew Spanish, no one taught us. It felt like a divide between the old and the new. The kids only cared about their friends and new games. The older we got, the more the divide grew, especially with the kids from out of town.

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I would visit as a teen and I would just sit with my laptop and edit videos and write stories. I didn’t interact much with anyone. My grandpa had passed away, who I was closest too, and my favorite Uncle that I would hang out with had moved away to be an air marshal. The disconnect grew.

I haven’t been back in years. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize the loss of that culture. I’ve talked previously about being ashamed of being brown skin colored and how when I was younger I wanted to be lighter. That need to fit in, to be like everyone else had already started. I didn’t want to be Hispanic. I was stuck in between. I got called a “coconut” which is basically the equivalent to “Oreo” for African Americans. Basically it’s someone who doesn’t fit into the mold of how you should act. It’s a bullshit term but most people of color have heard it enough to know what it means.

Getting involved with comics and fiction and Feminism, I’ve fought for representation without realizing I’ve never really embraced my own culture. I wanted their to be Hispanic, African American, Muslim, Asian characters but I still felt like an outsider in the Hispanic community. So we started trying.

Rony’s been learning Spanish so he can talk to his Grandmother without a translator there. We’ve been trying to learn our family’s recipes and traditional food. When we lost family members and animals, we started celebrating Dia de los Meurtos to help us cope. I learned more about the women and figures in our history. I learned not to be hesitant about accepting my Latina roots and how I look.

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When the trailer came out for Coco, we got excited. A major film was featuring our Hispanic culture with a Latin cast and actual Latin music AND it looked like they were actually going to be respectful. It was amazing. Then we started hearing the complaints. It’s a rip off of Book of Life, we already had a Day of the Dead movie, etc.

We saw Book of Life. I liked it, but it didn’t give me the same feeling Coco did and honestly, they’re COMPLETELY different. Rony and I discussed it on the way back home. Yes, they both have Day of the Dead settings, but complaining they’re too similar based on just that is like saying being moves are set during Christmas or Halloween then they’re all the same. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday. Why can’t we have more than one movie set during it?

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This past October, we went to Disneyland and they turned the Plaza into a Coco themed area. They had a female mariachi band play along with dancers and they would sing songs from the film. The crowd was majority Latin of all different types. Young and old, it was amazing to see them all enjoy this at Disney of all places.

They even had an area where you could write messages to your loved ones or memories about them and hang them on a marigold chain. I was amazed at how respectful everything was of MY culture. Because it was mine. The whole area was beautiful and the food was amazing. I almost started crying because it was something I didn’t think I’d get to experience. Representation and acceptance.

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When Rony saw Coco on Sunday with his family, he told me that sitting in front of him was an older Hispanic lady watching the movie by herself. She cheered and cried and sang along. There are a lot of jokes in Spanish and nods to the little things that almost all Latin families do. Tiny little things that make a character dimensional. He said that he would catch her crying and laughing and completely enraptured by the film.

We went the following day on a Monday night so the crowd was thin (because, you know, it’s a Monday night), but I could hear everyone’s enjoyment. The characters and family felt real and whole and not like stupid stereotypes. There was no Cholo or Chola or drunk uncle or sassy aunt causing drama. Their family was hardworking and together and despite the main conflict of them not allowing musicians in the family, they all supported one another and took care of each other. The importance of family was emphasized throughout the movie.

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My great grandmother passed away last week. She held the family together and was strong, much like the women in the movie. My Grandma Romo, her daughter, is pretty similar to the abuelita in the film, but not as crazy strict. She’s strong and tough and fierce. I saw my family in these characters. I saw myself in Miguel. Different from the rest, but still loved. On a different path, but still having support.

The story takes you somewhere different than most. It’s about sacrifice and acceptance and dealing with the consequences of your actions. It doesn’t hold your hand through the cultural references, but also does a wonderful job of explaining certain things without seeming handfisted. The characters are multi-dimensional and complex. There are a few moments that are heartbreaking and some wonderful laughs.

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It was also refreshing to see side characters actually willing to help rather than showing a cynical, “you’re on your own” world. In one scene, Miguel is in a competition because the winner gets to play at De La Cruz’ party. Stuff happens and he doesn’t get to accept or win but the actual winners are more than willing to help him later because they loved his music. They easily could have done the whole, “No, you lost, go away” situation and then have him like steal a costume but I like the direction they took. You help one another.

And as an artist, this film is gorgeous. It’s saturated in blue and oranges and color because that’s what the Day of the Dead is. It’s traditional to wear a ton of colors instead of black because you’re not mourning your loved ones but celebrating. You want to be happy and joyous and remember all the wonderful things about them and the memories. They talk about death and some dark subjects, but it’s never perceived that way. Death is just a part of the circle of things. We live and we die and it’s nothing to be sad about. The only sad thing is being forgotten.

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They don’t dumb down our culture in this movie. The family loves each other even when they’re different and any disagreements are always showcased in a protective or loving way. The abuelitas in the film are strict, but loving. If you’ve ever been in a Latin household, you know that though the dad is looked up to, the families tend to be Matriarchal. My own families on both sides are run by amazing, strong women. I do wish it was explained a bit why they are as they are, but it’s a tiny tiny complaint.

The movie presents our culture in all it’s wonderful, gorgeous splendor and I’ve never been more appreciative of that. Coco is a marvel and a gift to Latin culture. The music is a love letter and the little details are icing on the cake. Please see this film. It’s a work of art and I could not stop crying at the end of it.

Also fun fact, the soundtrack has all the tracks in Spanish included on it. So you can bet your ass it’s playing on repeat in our house.

Rony and I are going to be working harder to embrace our cultures. A lot like Miguel, I ran away from it in search for my passions, but by choosing one or the other you’re always going to be missing something. You have to find the in between. I’m a Hispanic female artist from a family of strong women that’s full of love. It’s time I accepted and embraced that.

And you can bet that we’re going to be putting more love into our Day of the Dead alters next year and making sure our ancestors and loved ones are remembered properly.

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Thank you, Disney and everyone involved in Coco. I’ve never been more happy with a film.

-Sam <3

PS. I didn’t mind the Frozen short. Don’t murder me.