It’s been crickets around here lately, due to the craziness that is our life. I’ve been updating Instagram regularly, so if you follow me there, not all of this is news to you, but I wanted to fill the rest of y’all in. So if you need a coffee of wine refill, now’s the time, before we settle in for a good old fashioned catch up.
I realized right before we left for NYC that all of the pictures David and I have had made look nothing like me- I have totally outdated hair color! Oh, unicorn life problems. Fortunately, we were able to make a little time for a date with Paige Sovic to get some updated shots taken, so I wanted to share them.
If you remember, I set 15 goals for myself last year, and another 16 this year. It would be terribly unfair if I shared only the goals, without owning my minor successes or failures. So yes, let’s review.
You’re reading here, aren’t you? So, I think LoveRavayna’s happening (#5). If you’ve been following for a while, you know that bread (#4) and braids (#2) are now comfortably within my wheelhouse. I gave notice at a unrewarding early morning position, which made for major improvement in my rest (#14) and relaxed my schedule (#7). I’ve made some new girlfriends (#8), and grown closer to others, but it continues to astound me just how hard it is to make quality friends as an adult. Perpetually in love with places I’ve never been, I visited (#6) Joshua Tree with David, Santa Fe with my college girlfriends, and fell head over heels for Barcelona.
I definitely stepped up my nail game (#1)…when they were long enough to polish, that is. Working on that in 2016. David treated me to a glitzy birthday manicure at Olive and June, and I loved it but I can’t justify the expense regularly, so have been playing with tamer nail art at home when I have time and patience. It takes me forever!
Beyond settling skincare (#9), I’m a serious devotee. I experimented with Asian skincare, and now have established a great routine of gentle and effective products (sharing my routine soon!) I’ve gotten more compliments on my skin in the last six months than I have in the rest of my life, and from this side of 30, I’ve got no complaints about that.
I took a pointed pen modern calligraphy course (#3) with Lauren of a fabulous fete. It was a lovely afternoon, and totally have gone down a rabbit hole- though I haven’t practiced as much as I’d like, I’m totally geeked out over it, and excited to continue my progress this year.
I’ve seriously upped my outdoor time (#12). Hiking at home (Runyon or Fryman Canyon) or while traveling has become a more frequent occurrence, as have beach days. I’ve also been riding my bike instead of driving for nearby errands, and though I look like the biggest dork in my matching helmet, I’m really enjoying it. And I honestly think it’s helped me keep focused on what my body can accomplish, versus how it looks (#10), though that’s always a work in progress.
Speaking of works in progress, that’s where the last three stand. I’ll likely still be trying to mange my anxiety (#11) and perfectionist tendency (#15) when I’m old and grey, and streamlining stuff (#13) is a perpetual battle. I’m fighting it hard though- culled 40 pairs of shoes this week, in the midst of a major closet clean out.
So there’s a little accountability and authenticity for you!
I almost can’t believe that this year makes a dozen Valentine’s Day I’ve spent with this sweet man. What’s that they say about time flying when you’re having fun?
Granted, we haven’t always celebrated on February 14th- we spent several years in a long distance relationship, and I don’t always get a lot of say over my pageant travel schedule. This Valentine’s Day, I’m in Dallas at a pageant with my girls and moms while he’s at home and work in LA.
Celebrating love a little early, we spent a sunshiny day with the fabulous Nicole of Nicole Renard Photography, and I just love all the sweet Valentine’s Day shots she captured. Nicole and I have several collaborations in the works for this year, so you’ll be seeing more of her around the blog for sure.
David got me this bright red scooter as wedding present, and I’ll be honest that he rides it all the time while I’m pretty wimpy about it still. I need to take a safety course before I feel road-ready solo, but I feel totally secure and love riding as his passenger…. Look Ma, no hands!
Because it seems like no Valentine’s Day is complete without at least a little sappiness, I’ve got a dozen reasons I’m glad David’s my husband and Valentine. #smugmarrieds
He’s funny as hell. Obviously, as an improvisor and comedian, making people laugh is his wheelhouse. But I have a picky sense of humor, and am very often not amused when others are rolling with laughter. Yet David cracks me up on a regular basis.
He indulges my quirks. Far from typical, I’d prefer a pet goat to a puppy. I would rather arrange my own grocery-store flowers than receive a fancy bouquet, and regularly have power tools on my gift list. Weird is my way, and he’s happy to oblige.
He believes in me religiously. Though I wish it wasn’t the case, I can be very insecure- yet it’s much easier to believe in yourself when someone else believes in me first. He always does, and never hesitates to tell me so.
Those blue eyes. Lawd- deep, piercing, practically iridescent as they change with his moods… I’m already beseeching the universe for a baby with their daddy’s eyes. (Someday…. don’t get too excited people.)
Our shared history. We’ve been together just about our entire adult lives, so there’s a lot of memories over those dozen years. There’s something special about having grown up and evolved together- and to know that he ‘knew me when” and has loved me through my worst and best.
He’s practically my personal lightning rod. He can pull me from the depths of a panic attack with a few firm words, ground me in a stressful situation with just a look or a hug. For someone as prone to anxiety as me, his ability to gauge and regulate my mood is an immeasurable gift.
He’s stellar at backing me up and bailing me out. Whether it’s sous-chefing and doing the chopping and kitchen prep, masterminding pageant schedules and invoicing, or problem-solving a crisis, I know I just need to say the word and he’s got me.
He’s so amazing with children. Watching him with our clients, friends’s babies, and even random kids in the grocery store, I’m already impressed by his patience and affection… He’s going to be an incredible father.
He’s so patient and tolerant when it comes to my whims. Whether it’s trying every flavor at the ice cream store, being a superior Instagram husband, or spoiling me with a glass-fronted display case for my shoes, he rarely puts a stop to my shenanigans without good reason.
He’s an over-the-top partner. In a world where an even 50-50 split can be a struggle, he never fails to go above and beyond, make me feel special, and spoil me rotten.
He’s a hottie. Sorrynotsorry if that’s totally shallow, but it’s true. More often than not, I find myself ogling… He’s distracting! And, like fine wine- instead of getting paunchy in his thirties, he’s getting stronger and sexier.
Our future. It gives me the warm fuzzies just to think about the lifetimes together ahead of us. What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.
“Lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again.”
– Jason Mraz
You may recall that I set 15 intentions for myself earlier this year. I’ll be sharing my successes and shortcomings in an upcoming post, but a new year has begun and there’s no time like the present to set new goals! So here are some of the points I’ll be endeavoring in 2016.
- Be kinder- to myself. Joanna Goddard posted this Emily McDowell/ Jen Pastiloff collaboration (above) for Girl Power: You Are Enough on Instagram and it totally spoke to me. I’m incredibly supportive and emphathetic towards my beloveds, but rarely as compassionate towards myself. I need to tell my judgemental inner voice, the one that preaches gospels of insufficiency and self doubt, to shut up and sit down.
- Konmari cleanse. Like most everyone else in the blogosphere, I’ve been motivated by Marie Kondo. We’ll be downsizing our dwelling later in the year, and the less to move, the better. So I’m planning on Kondoing all of the things- I’ve already pulled three baskets of clothes for ThredUp from the closet, and that is only the beginning.
- Upkeep the efforts. I tend to clean once things have gotten messy or I’m stressed. I want to try and tidy a bit more regularly, so clutter doesn’t build up as easily. I’m thinking about 20 min a day, 3 days a week, but we’ll see.
- Organize differently. I’m trying a new Maybook agenda layout for the year, but I’m not loving it yet. I may trade it in for a more elaborate paper planner, but I’m also totally intrigued by bullet journaling. Regardless of what I try, I need a more streamlined method of keeping on top of my ever-crazier agenda.
- Read and record. I don’t need to endeavor to read more- I devour books, to the point that I have no idea how many I read. So this year I’m keeping count with a running list.
- Heavy hydration. I’m pretty lax about drinking enough water, but notice such a positive difference when I do, especially in my skin. So I’ve added hot lemon water to my morning routine, and am infusing just a bit of fruit into my ice water to help me drink more throughout the day as well.
- Send more mail. I’m a huge fan of the the handwritten thank you note, and send those regularly. But I’ve also been sending spontaneous letters and postcards, just little love notes. And inspired by the little marshmallow mailers I sent over the holidays, I want to send little care package/sussies more frequently as well.
- Craft more. I have a long list of projects to do, both to share on the blog and for personal use, and even supplies for some already on hand. I’ve just gotta make the time to do them!
- Photograph fixed florals. I’m a perpetual sucker for the flower stand, especially on my frequent Trader Joes runs. I always fuss and arrange my bunches into a vase for my dresser, so this year I want to snap a shot of each bouquet before it wilts.
- Step up my sewing. My mom spoiled me with a new sewing machine for Chanukah, and has promised me a serger as well. I’ve made wearable items, but want to make more and learn more so I can ditch the reckless gambling vibe that currently occurs when I tailor my own clothes.
- Continue calligraphy. I’m head over heels for my new hobby. I want to carve out time to practice regularly, and specialize my skills. I’m leaning towards really focusing on copperplate- I just love its traditionally beautiful style. But brush calligraphy or hand lettering would be more convenient, so we’ll see about that.
- Kitchen capers. I love to cook, and am damn good at it. This year, I want to push my comfort level and make lots of new recipes, including some really ambitious things- charcuterie, laminated pastry, butchery.
- Grow our faith. We don’t regularly go to temple, but we’re planning on getting more involved at our local synagogue. I’m really looking forward to it, to Torah study, and an eventual pilgrimage to Israel.
- Freshen my look. My appearance has been fairly static for the last few years, and I’m bored with it. I’m thinking about bangs, a big chop, or something more creative… I just know I need an upgrade from basic brunette.
- Bite no more. Damage from gel manicures and stress contributed to the ressurection of my grossest childhood habit. I’m going to care for my hands meticulously and quit biting my nails for sure.
- Pick up the phone. I don’t love talking on the phone, and that’s exacerbated by time changes, crazy schedules, ease of texting, and more. I need call my long distance friends and family more frequently. Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but I want to hear voices and share laughter.
Here’s to growth, health, and happiness for us all in 2016. Cheers!
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. –Thoreau
Like most typical American households, my alarm rang obnoxiously early this Thanksgiving morning, and I was up long before the sun. Most times, us early risers are cooks, waking to tend to a turkey or its accompaniments. Instead, I turned on bright lights and various hot irons, because by noon I had styled and loved on dozens of sweet, talented, beautiful (inside and out) young ladies. As a full-service pageant consultant, Thanksgiving nationals makes for one of the busiest weeks of our entire year. We move into a suite of rooms at the host hotel near Disneyland for ten days to support our girls and their families as they compete, and workdays often run into the eighteen-hour vicinity. It is madness in the best, sparkliest way, and my Thanksgivings have always been that way! In true #tbt spirit….
First as a longtime contestant and queen, now as a consultant, pageantry is my most longstanding Thanksgiving tradition. There are only a handful of years across my lifetime where I didn’t start the holiday season in or around lots of crowns.
Though it doesn’t behoove a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we’re used to it. We get our turkey fix in a few weeks when I do the whole spread and then some, for our annual Chrismakkuh party. The pageant hosts a lovely formal black-and-white Thanksgiving, and we’ve attended in the past, like when I was competing or royalty, most recently about 7 years ago when our kid sister gave pageantry a (brief yet successful) swing.
We’ve occasionally had one of our mommies organize lovely pageant family Thanksgiving dinners. We invite all of our clients and their families, take over part of a nearby restaurant, and make quite the raucous bunch… one year there were fifty-odd of us having a dance party in the private room at Ruth Chris between courses!
And over the years, we’ve developed our Coe thanksgiving tradition… All-you-can-eat Korean bbq. Sometimes it’s just us two, other times we bring a few, or many, clients with us. We are beyond casual about it- I’m generally barefaced and in leggings, so we head into Garden Grove, where you never need a reservation at Cham Sut Gol.
We eat banchan and grill pounds of delicious meats and seafood, until we are full and slightly smoky. We always discuss what we’re thankful for, and the evening is full of toasts and jokes- very festive, but low key comparatively, and a nice escape from the formality of pageant land. And then we head to the self-serve freezer, to dip ice cream cones for dessert! The flavor selection varies, but it’s always several yummy options… It’s amazing how I manage to make room for a double cone after gorging myself on bulgogi.
I make a conscious effort to live my life with gratitude, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share some things (beyond K-bbq) that I’m especially thankful for this week, from the pageant trenches.
L’Oreal Elnett. I’m on can number 3 for the pageant thus far, and I’m appreciative of its pageant-proof hold, brushability, and mostly inoffensive scent, since I’m sometimes in a cloud of it for hours. I’ve been using it since it needed to be imported, and I love that you can get it anywhere nowadays.
Fashion tape, e6000, and good old fashioned needle-and-thread. Between these three go-to’s, Mrs Ravayna can make most anything work! On that note, I’m especially grateful for zippers cooperating on evening gowns today, which is not always the case, and that I haven’t had wardrobe issues drastic enough to use the sewing machine I always bring.
David, who’s generally a beast, but really steps his game up this week. We run in lockstep, except for when he shoulders a burden completely (like building the master schedule, or steaming dozens of gowns) to ease my workload. He helps our girls express the most amazing charisma and heart, and when I see the relationships he has with our sweethearts, my heart is warm and fuzzy to know what a fabulous dad he will be someday.
Our girls and their families. As they are in and out of our suite all week, I’m sometimes awed by how lucky we are to be entrusted to help these girls grow and dream, then be able to watch them succeed. Our girls are classy on and off the stage and though the goals we pursue are of personal grace, not perfection, they never cease to blow me away. Many of our clients are not in attendance this week, and we are missing them terribly! I’m so thankful to have clients, who became friends and grew into our family.
And for pageants on the whole. Despite the media brouhaha, a lifetime of pageantry has been so, so good to me. It honed my communication and stage skills, instilled a work ethic and servant’s heart, and taught me to both win and lose with grace and class. Winnings paid for a large portion of my college education, and we’re now employed in the industry. Pageants created and strengthened some of my longest, most trusted and most treasured friendships- the girls in those ancient pictures are my ride-or-dies still, so many years later. I learned to be confident in my authentic self, to be brave even when I didn’t feel that way, and to tease hair to the heavens. Crowns may dull, but being a firecracker lasts a lifetime, and I’m so appreciative of all this and so much more.
Wishing you warm hearts and full bellies this thanksgiving!
As a blogger over at Weddingbee, I had the incredible opportunity of growing friendships with some crazy talented women. Though our weddings are mostly memories, I’m lucky to have these incredible gals as friends and inspirations.
Like Emery. When she’s not cracking me up with some flawlessly-timed truth, she’s writing amazing YA novels that are so realistic and relatable, I feel 17 again (in the best possible way). She’s also motivating me to not be such a shrinking violet, with her #15in15 challenge. You can read her post about it here. To summarize, it’s a challenge to try new things or make improvements, in active (rather than passive) endeavors.
This idea crossed my path early this year, so some of the points are in progress or accomplished. Good thing- the year’s half over! They are, as follows:
- Experiment with nail art. I’ve been a polishaholic for a while, and I always do my own nails at home, but shiny, solid color is my mainstay. I’m going to be more playful with color and design, maybe even make a salon excursion… It’s just nail polish, after all.
- Learn to Dutch braid. I learned how to French braid as a kid, but wanted to step my braid skills up. I’ve managed to master the Dutch braid, now to get good at different applications!
- Relearn calligraphy. I attempted to learn calligraphy as a child, but lacked the patience. Revisiting it as an adult, it’s so beautiful and meditative, and I am obsessed. But I don’t even have a set handwriting, so it’s definitely an uphill battle!
- Conquer homemade bread. We don’t eat a ton of bread, but when we do, it creeps me out how long it lasts on the counter without mold. I want to find or develop a bread recipe equal parts healthyish, delicious, and easy, so that I can consistently keep basic bread stocked that I feel good about us eating.
- Make loveRavayna happen. Man, I’ve been rolling this blog around in my head for years, just letting life get in the way and being a big fat wimp about actually doing it. Enough of that- big girl panties are on, because starting somewhere is starting.
- Travel someplace new. “I’m in love with places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met.” I’m constantly wanderlusting, but this year I got to realize a dream trip to Spain and France. Art, food, wine… incredible. Lots of details on that to come.
- Live life unscheduled. This is major for me- I live and die by my lists and agendas. Most days, I need them to get it all done, but I want to be better about blocking out time to just chill. And of course, I’m perpetually working on rolling with it when my carefully orchestrated schedule goes to hell.
- Make new friends. Other than the one I married, my closest friends are scattered worldwide. I can be so painfully shy, but I want to really push myself to form and invest in new friendships, especially local ones.
- Settle skincare. I’ve been on the sunscreen and skincare train for a while, but #thisisthirty and my skin’s starting to show it. I’m going to make some serious efforts in handling my current skin issues before it becomes an avalanche.
- Focus on strong not skinny. I’ve been working out fairly consistently for a few years, and am generally pretty close +/- to what used to be my “goal weight.” I weigh in often to regulate, but it’s really important that I prioritize the way I feel in my body, and its increasing strength, over the number on the scale.
- Choose happiness. I’m so incredibly fortunate, but I can be a total worrywart and fixate on the worst. I’m making conscious efforts in several aspects to have more positivity in my life.
- Get outside. I want to spend some time hiking, at the beach, maybe some vague camping? In general, more time outdoors- I can be too prissy sometimes, and a little grub’s good for a girl.
- Streamline stuff. I’m no packrat, but life would be easier if certain aspects were simpler. I’m working on major culling and organizing, and utilizing what I’ve got on hand rather than mindless consumerism.
- Rest more. With my crazy schedule, I definitely need more sleep. I’m working on going to bed earlier and optimizing naptime, along with making time to unplug and unwind.
- Pursue polish, not perfection. My tendency to perfectionism can simply be too much: energy, effort, to handle. So in life, style, and most other things, readjusting to more reasonable ideals is the idea.
So, there lies my quest. Most of these are pretty abstract and rather long term, but I feel like simply taking the time to evaluate and enumerate these items is a great way to focus, and lord knows I love crossing stuff off a list. I’m looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone, trying new things, being brave, and sharing the adventures along the way!
… if I had a dollar for every time I thought or talked about starting a new blog, I’d have a bunch of dollars.
… carpe diem and all that jazz.
… I’d rather make than buy, create than consume.
… I take good food seriously- making, eating, and talking about.
… things don’t need to be expensive to feel fabulously rich.
… my beloveds are scattered all over creation; this helps keep them up-to-date on our escapades.
… life is an incredible adventure, so worthwhile is the chronicle.
… a little bravery is exhilarating.
… happily ever after is a work in progress.
I’m far from perfect, and this blog won’t be either. But I’ll be having fun with it, and I sure hope you will too. Cheers!
Thanks for reading- come on back!