Birthday Girl 2013!

Here are just a few highlights from Sofie’s big Birthday two Sundays ago!

STILL can’t believe my little girl is TWO!

It was such a long, fun, day, but I’m so glad the weather cooperated and we were able to take her to the zoo.

Morning started off with birthday waffles, opening presents, I got her some new clothes, shoes and a purse! She loves the purse, has to take it with her everywhere now, she’s got her own little lip balm in it and a compact mirror. God, I’m gonna turn her into such a mini-me! Haha.

After breakfast we headed out to the Woodland Park Zoo.
The Zoo was great, we made it mostly around the park, spent almost all afternoon there walking around and seeing animals. It was my first visit to the zoo here as well, pretty neat, but also kind of a bummer. Couldn’t help but feel bad for some of the animals in there, it’s a cool experience, but I’d much rather see them in their natural habitats…

Anywho, we saw a huge list of animals; penguins, monkeys, leopards, zebras, hippos, gorillas… all kinds of cool creatures.

I would say the best part of our zoo visit was the very last exhibit we visited: the snow leopards!

When we got there all the snow leopards were way far off and the closest was turned away from us; after watching for a few minutes, we were almost ready to head out since Sofie was so tired. Then, the leopard closest to us turned around and came right up the glass in front of Sofie! She was so excited, the thing would have been nose to nose with her had the glass not been there. It was the coolest moment, and so glad I captured it!

We walked through the gift shop right before leaving and I couldn’t help but pick out a stuffed snow leopard doll to keep as a little keepsake from the day.
Sofie still talks about how it “looked right at” her, so friggen cute.

Enjoy some of our highlight pictures from her birthday morning and trip to the zoo!

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Opening Presents!

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Not sure about this one… 🙂DSC_0147 DSC_0150

At the Zoo!

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The Snow Leopard!

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March Update, Me Rambling, and Sofia 365!

Hi All,

I know it seems I’ve completely dropped off earth the past few weeks, I’ve been super busy, but just wanted to do a quick update since it’s the week leading up to Sofie’s birthday.

Here’s a little of my plan for the culmination of my “Sofia 365” project, as well as what I’ve been up to lately.

Thanks for watching!

New Year, New Outlook

I definitely couldn’t let the year end without getting in one more Vlog post.

It’s that time of year to feel especially nostalgic, talk about the years accomplishments, failures, embarrassments and learning moments.

Looking back at my resolutions from last year, there’s definitely a lot I didn’t accomplish, but there are a few that I actually succeeded at, and/or am now working towards.

This last year threw a lot of curve balls at me, and it certainly wasn’t the easiest, but I will grow, and learn, and move forward.

I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the last year, and set myself a few more goals for 2013!

Here’s to a a fresh start with a new year!

Hinamatsuri

Sofia with her Hinamatsuri Dolls for the first time.

Hinamatsuri, otherwise known as Girls Day, is a traditional celebration stemming from Japan’s Heian Period (in other words, a very, very long time ago!).
It is celebrated on March 3, and traditionally, dolls are set out to mark the day. It is the day when families in Japan celebrate their daughters, and yes, there is also a boys/childrens day called Koinobori celebrated on May 5.

This is Sofia’s first Girls Day.

We set up the dolls this past weekend, and once the holiday passes, they will be taken back down. I hadn’t seen those dolls in such a long time,  they brought back a lot of memories. The sights, the sounds, and the food.

As a small girl growing up in Japan, I remember setting up the dolls every year with my mother. I remember thinking of how ornate and beautiful these dolls were, what a wonderful holiday to celebrate me! Then we would usually have a dinner with chirashizushi. I can remember helping my mother mix the vinegar into the rice and fanning it until it was the perfect temperature and flavor. I loved ripping up the nori (dried seaweed) and garnishing the rice with a variety of toppings.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

My grandparents bought the doll set for me when I was born. These dolls are as old as I am, and now my mother, Sofia’s grandmother, will pass the dolls on to her. Perhaps in the future, if I have a grand daughter, I will have the chance to give them to her as well.

At the top tier overlooking all are the Emperor and Empress. The next tier, three court ladies, and below that five musicians. In some sets, there are even more dolls and tiers. The amount of dolls and the decor, can vary from family to family. It may seem very elaborate for just one day, but these displays are deeply rooted in tradition. These dolls represent the successes that every family wishes for their daughters, and rice cakes as well as sweet sake are made for the holiday.

Although Sofia is only a quarter Japanese, I still want her to know that part of her culture. My mother chose her middle name, Aya, in Kanji, it means “twill” or “woven together”. Growing up in Japan, the traditions, culture, and people all hold a very special place in my heart. I hope to be able to take Sofia to Japan someday so she can experience it all for herself.

We sing a song to mark Girls Day – you can hear it playing in the background of my video below:

Ākyāri o-tsuke māsho bonborini
O-hānā o-agemasho momo no hana
Gonin-bayashi no fue taiko
Kyō wa tano shi hinamatsuri

Translation: 

Let’s light the lanterns
Let’s arrange the peach flowers
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums
Today is a joyful Dolls’ Festival

This is a video of my mother, Sofia and I setting up the dolls. Sofia is dancing to the music, it is adorable.

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

Fun in the Snow (Sofie’s first Snow!)

We’ve been hit HARD with snow here the past few days! The car is buried in snow, the roads are icy and dangerous, and we’re definitely not going anywhere for a while. It’s definitely a lot more snow than we’ve seen in years, but I welcome the snow with open arms. We all need a good snow day every once in a while, don’t you think?
It’s the “Snowpocalypse”, and with that comes Sofie’s first chance to really experience snow. She was super curious of it and although it was cold, I think she had a good time playing around in it.
I just wanted to share a few pictures and video of Sofie’s first snow. Enjoy!

12 Resolutions for 2012

 

2011 was a milestone year, so many moments and memories. The biggest of which being the birth of my daughter Sofia. She has already changed so much since she was born last March; I can’t wait for what the next year has in store for us. With that said, I have 12 New Years Resolutions/Goals that I would like to set for myself for the coming year. ..

1. Start my business.
I really can’t stress enough how much I’ve wanted to start my own business the past few years. It’s always been a dream of mine to work for myself and be independent, and of course successful. I want this to year that I finally got my own makeup business off the ground and start building a career! I have a lot of planning yet to do, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go with it. I hope to get everything in order in the next few months so I can start booking events and weddings for Spring!

2. Finish everything I start.
For the record, I am usually pretty good at following through with the major things in my life. I’m talking more so about smaller things, such as projects and things of that nature. I am great at being gung-ho and starting things like a craft project, or writing, or anything I’m currently excited about, I’m just terrible at finishing them. So all over my house I have half-finished scarves, arts and crafts projects, and journals and scripts everywhere. I want this to be the year I’ll GET THINGS DONE!

3.  Direct my first movie.
This is pretty major for me, I have been working in the local independent film industry for quite some time. My first project being when I was 17, so that’s nearly 4 years. I have fallen in love with the art of movie-making and I would love to be able to tell a story from my own point of view. I have a few scripts currently in the works, and I’m hoping that by next Summer I’ll be starting a movie project of my own.

4. Act in something.
Back in high-school I was really into theater and performing arts. I did a lot of musicals and plays, I even considered majoring in acting once I got to college. Yet, the major roles always eluded me, my high school theater teacher, although he believed in my talent, didn’t think I had enough “maturity” yet  to perform more complicated roles. That was very discouraging. After a while, my other artistic ambitions got in the way, and I had to make a decision to go one way or the other. So I chose fashion and makeup, figuring that it might be more lucrative for me in the long run. Every once in a while I get that itch to get back to performing; these days with the baby, getting involved in a theater project seems a little too time-consuming with the rehearsals and long performance runs. Perhaps this year I’ll venture into film. I want to find a role that can challenge me; I want to see how far I can stretch.

5.  Work on my relationships; friends, family, etc.
Over the past year this has become increasingly important for me to do. I would really like to work on all my relationships, with my friends, my family, and most importantly my boyfriend. Having the baby has stretched me thin at times, and I’ve become more and more secluded in my own little corner. I hardly ever get out anymore unless it’s for groceries or errands… I really want to start reviving my friendships and relationships with people, and be more open and available. I have been pretty bad at being social the past few years, I really miss seeing my friends and I want to make more of an effort this year to spend more time with the important people in my life.

6. Get myself out more.
This goes along the lines of working on my relationships. I don’t think it would hurt for me to get out more and try and form connections with new people and perhaps make more friends with people that I can relate to. I can be very shy and shut-off from the world, and I think it can sometimes be a deterrent for people to try and get to know me better.  Having a baby doesn’t mean I can’t have a social life apart from home, I think it would really help me emotionally and mentally to get out into the world a little more.

7. Have a date night at least once a month.
This also goes back to working on my relationships, but more specifically with my boyfriend. We really don’t get out much alone, and I think it’ll be good for us to have some “us time” apart from the baby. Home life can be very stressful and I think it would be a positive thing for us to be able to get out and blow off some steam every now and then. I want to make it a goal for us to go out at least once a month and have a date so we can catch up and work on our relationship one on one.

8. Read 1 book a month.
Last year I don’t think I picked up and read even one book. I used to be a pretty avid reader in the past, but nowadays I either don’t have time or am too busy doing other things. I am definitely guilty of spending too much time on my computer, or watching TV. I think it would be good for me to actually enrich my mind in other ways and pick up an old fashioned book. I think 1 book a month is a pretty lofty goal, but if I can do it I think it’ll be great!

9. Wake up earlier. (Go to bed earlier)
Definitely a major, major goal. I have such terrible sleep patterns, but sometimes I can’t help it. I’m usually busy all day doing housework, errands, or taking care of the baby, I hardly have time for me to get my personal projects done. That’s why I often stay up until 1 or 2 am trying to catch up on things I didn’t get to do, and I often just lose track of time. This then leads to a terrible downward spiral of drowsy, grouchy days and long sleepless nights. I think if I can get myself on a more “normal” sleep schedule I can actually be more efficient and happy.

10.  Go back to school.
My plans have been changing constantly as far as school goes. When I was pregnant with Sofie, I just planned on taking a quarter off of cosmetology school and then going back to finish. Well, it’s been almost a year since I left school, and still no signs of returning. Lack of finances, the baby, home life, a lot of reasons have lead me to put school on hold. I only have about 3 quarters left of cosmetology school and I would hate to not finish what I started (resolution number 2!). Even if it’s not this Spring or Summer, I would love to start making plans to finish school by the end of this year. I have put my life on hold as far as my cosmetology career and I think it’s about time I start getting back on track.

11. Stop dwelling on the past and look forward to the future (stay positive).
For sure another very important goal for me. I’ve spent a lot of last year dwelling about the “woulda coulda shouldas”, just depressing stuff that I have no control over, yet I can’t stop thinking about! I hate that feeling I give myself, and I really want this year to be a great one. I want to look more forward and be positive about what’s to come. There’s not much that I can help about decisions I’ve made in the past, but I still have control over my future. I am young, smart, and talented, and I know that as long as I stay positive I can be whoever I want to be, and do whatever I want to do.

12.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Last, but definitely not least. I want to be more care-free. I admit, I can be very uptight. I have to have things done a certain way, and I am extremely organized and anal-retentive about many things. This can lead to a lot of anxiety and restlessness on my part, and my poor boyfriend often gets the brunt of it as he has to live with me! It’s important for me to keep a schedule and have a clean house and have everything perfect, but I don’t think it would hurt for me to be a little less OCD. It’s okay if the dishes don’t all get done, or the house doesn’t get vacuumed, or if all the baby’s toys don’t get put away in the right place, the world isn’t going to end. Things don’t always go as planned, so I shouldn’t worry about it. Being so organized isn’t such a bad thing, but letting things get a little loose isn’t so bad either. As is life, nothing is always perfect. I don’t need to worry about all the little things in life, I just need to focus on what’s important and what makes me happy.

So to conclude, I hope you all have a very Happy New Year, and best of luck with all your resolutions if you have any. I am making this the year for me to get things done, and stay positive. I have a very good feeling about this coming year, and I hope you can all join me on my journey.
Until next time,

Love,

Michelle

Welcome, and Merry Christmas

Hope everybody is having a wonderful Christmas weekend.

I’ve decided to delve back into the blogging world, at least in a more personal way (I already do a beauty blog). I started vlogging about a month ago, but figured that I could expand it and provide a little more insight into my life (You can visit my Youtube page for the previous vlogs I’ve done, all subsequent posts will be posted on this site as well). Being a young mom (I’m 20 years old, with a 9 1/2 month old girl), it can get isolating at times. I can appreciate the need for a strong support system, as well as the desire to have people you can relate to. I feel that having an outlet for your thoughts and feelings is extremely important. Writing has always been a way for me to do so, and sometimes the only way I could let my true feelings out. My hope is that my experiences can help others in a similar situation as mine.
However, I can continue more deeply into this topic at another point in time because tonight is Christmas eve, and that is a very special milestone in my baby’s life.
Her first Christmas.

For baby’s first Christmas we decided to spend the eve quietly at home. What better chance for some quality family time?  Instead of running around seeing all the family (which would have been a chaotic day I’m sure), we took it easy, or as easy as having a little baby can be, and spent our evening as a little family unit. Although sometimes it can be frustrating, things don’t always go as planned, tempers can be short, the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep, she’s fussy, she’s needy, there’s dishes to be done, my knee is hurt and swollen and I hardly even remember hitting it… these are the times that we will cherish, just mommy, daddy and baby. Time as a family is special; however dysfunctional it can get.

Now, the baby is asleep, tummies are full, eyes are slightly groggy, the house is quiet, the daily duties have been accomplished, and it is now my time.

In all honesty, I am quite excited for the morning. Not for myself, but for my baby Sofie. In the past I’ve always looked forward to opening my presents, morning couldn’t come sooner. As I have gotten older I have come to want, or need, less and less each year. Yet I have been wanting to give more and more. There is something rather rewarding about being able to give a gift, and see the joy you can bring to others. I know the baby won’t appreciate it that much this year (or even remember it); she’ll probably just want to play with the wrapping paper, but even being able to give her something, however insignificant it might be in the future, means a lot to me. We are not the richest or have the perfect home or life, but we are comfortable, and we are content. There’s no shame in wanting more, but for tonight, for this weekend, it’s all good.
I guess it’s the principle of it all, tradition, or whatever you might want to call it. I want to give the best that I can for my baby, and I want her to have everything she needs.  It is her first Christmas, and I want it to be the best that it can be.

With that said, we have a big day ahead of us in the morning. Presents to unwrap, places to go, people to see. I should rest up while I can.

Until next time, hope you all have a wonderful Holiday weekend.