Sunday, June 27, 2010

You Waited Since Lunch, It All Comes At Once

I haven't really written much about what's going on in my life these days.. Not sure why. I think I keep telling myself it's because "nothing crazy has really happened lately". I guess I don't always have to wait for a "did that just happen?!" moment. Last night, I had the wierdest, most realistic dream. So many shocking things "happened" to me and I even remember thinking (in my dream) how I couldn't wait to blog about it. Whatta wierdo.

Speaking of dreams, Justin and I are counting down the days until Inception comes out in theaters.

"Your mind is the scene of the crime"

If you haven't seen the trailer yet... Enjoy!

I have always been fascinated with dreams related to psychology. Especially in college, I wrote 2 or 3 papers on Lucid Dreaming. I'm not sure if this movie is exactly about lucid dreams, but I can't think of the last time I was this excited for a movie to be released. It's gonna be awesome.

Earlier this month, Justin's family came down to visit SC for a week. We had a really fun time - as always! We went to Folly Beach for 2 days and endured the 100+ degree weather, the guys watched the NBA Finals while Justin's little sis and I watched Lost - she had never seen it before, but is now completely hooked (Yay!). We hung out by the pool, played lots of Dutch Blitz and stayed up late. Our little apartment was packed with people, but it's always worth it!

The Fam (plus one!)

Our friends Marco & Michelle are expecting their little baby Ruby this August, and holy cow time has flown by since we found out! Michelle's first baby shower was last Thursday and I had a really fun time. We chatted and played games - including the common "taste the baby food and write down what you think it is" game..  One of the foods literally tasted like dirt. Oh my gosh, we were laughing pretty hard!

Work has been pretty good. I've been staying busy as summer has begun (began for me almost a month ago!). I have some pretty challenging clients, some more exhausting than others, but I'm enjoying it. I met with a new client I am going to start working with - a teenage girl - who I'm especially excited to start working with. Just the other day, my friend/co-worker Courtney and I took our kiddies to go see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I have to say, we were laughing harder than our kids were.. That has to be one of the funniest kid's movies I have ever seen. I always like to take advantage of the "Family Film Festival" that is held every year at our Regal theaters.. They show free kid's movies all summer at 10 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, a new G and a PG choice every week. I had never heard of that back in the Midwest - then again, why would I inquire about seeing a kid's movie at 10 am without it being related to counseling and my job? Anyways, it's been a great tool for therapy. Something kinda crazy did happen while we were at Cloudy the other day. About halfway through the movie, I heard this strange noise in the row behind us. It almost sounded like someone was suffocating or gurgling? Of course I had to turn around to see what could possibly be happening, and make sure no one was dying. I couldn't believe it, but some older woman who was there with a bunch of kids, was head-back, mouth-completely-open snoaring. And I mean loud. Are you kidding me right now? I'm sure it was a nice little place for her morning nap - a dark room, reclining seats... the smell of popcorn? It began to grow pretty irriating after no one around her bothered to wake her or let her know of about the outrageous sound coming out of her mouth. Oh well. Courtney and I had a pretty good laugh.

Other than that, not a whole lot has been going on. My brother graduated from High School and I'm so proud of him!!

My baby brother is all grown up!

My cousin, Dominique Nelson did a fab job on his senior photos (she also took a bunch of great shots at our MN Wedding Reception). I'm beyond disappointed that I couldn't be at his graduation or grad party. I'll see him soon though, along with the rest of my fam, because I finally booked a flight for my sister, Vanessa's, Bridal Shower weekend this August! Wheeee!! I've already started to get plans in order for her lingerie/girl's shower.. I can't wait!

I suppose that's all for now..


Totally loving The Fray ♥

["Inception" photo source - imdb]
[Lyrics: Vampire Weekend - White Sky]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life is Precious

I watched Precious last night for the first time.

Hoohh man, it was pretty intense. I have been wanting to see it for since it was in theaters, especially after all the nominations and awards it's received. After I saw it, I didn't really know what to think or feel, because it was so exhausting, horrific and achingly emotional. I think it affected me the way it did, because of the children I work with, their families, their stories and backgrounds.. It's heartbreaking. The movie was very realistic to me - I expected it to be pretty heavy, but it was much more than I thought. I'm glad I saw it though. I was talking to my friend (and co-worker) about it today.. She had said she's never wanted to see it - because of our jobs and what we do (which totally makes sense). That's exactly why I wanted to see it.. maybe because I could relate with so many of the cases I deal with, or see the reality in it.

I remember years ago, I read a Memoir by Dave Pelzer called "A Child Called It" --  Another story of abuse and hate, I remember sobbing as I read. I don't understand how these things actually happen.. even to children I am currently and have previously worked with. It infuriates me.

Based on a novel, the story of Clareece 'Precious' Jones (played by Gabourey Sidibe) is devastating. 16-year old Precious experienced physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse, is pregnant with her 2nd child and is somehow surviving on just fantasies of courage, happiness and of a better life. It reminded me of so many of my client's cases...struggles with self esteem, feeling angry, hopeless.

Gabby was nominated for an Oscar for 'Best Actress' for her incredible acting and ability to make you feel what you do when you watch this movie. Precious' mother, Mary (played by Mo'Nique - and won an Oscar for 'Best Supporting Actress') was almost unrecognizable. And speaking of unrecognizable, Mariah Carey played the role of a drab social worker, without an ounce of makeup on. The acting was outstanding. I guess now, after seeing this movie, I have an even greater motive to reach out to my clients/kids who are victims and feel completely worthless. As exhausting and devastating and foul as the movie was, there was a managable amount of lightness to keep a sense of escape or hope.

Life is precious, and I often take it for granted. I have it so made, how dare I complain about pointless and petty things. God has blessed me more than I can even imagine. I don't even deserve to be alive. What a gift.

Check out the trailer if you haven't seen it yet -- It's worth seeing, even just for the indescribable acting, emotions, reality and gratitude it brings.

[Click photos for source]


Monday, June 21, 2010

Shh -- PostSecret

Have you ever heard of I just came across it a few weeks ago, and I thought it was a really cool. "PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website (every Sunday), or used for PostSecret’s books or museum exhibits. The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.” [Source]

Basically you spill your guts to this Frank guy (who has already received over 300,000 postcard secrets), and your secret may be posted or published. Obviously not everyone gets theirs posted, but just knowing you told Mr. Frank your SECRET is pretty intense.

Of all the secrets we all hold onto, it seems so crazy to be able to share them anonymously. I've been browsing through some of these posted on the site -- They are all really different. Some are funny, sad, angry, embarassing, creepy... I've never sent one, but I'm definitely tempted!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Namaste, Losties!

Last summer, I fell in love with the TV show Lost. Of all of the series Justin and I have enjoyed together, Lost was one-of-a-kind. I remember seeing previews for it - 6 years ago - and I remember thinking that I wanted to see it. It looked islandy and beachy and actually really intriguing.

I guess I forgot about it, and kept thinking I still wanted to see it, but I didn't want to start in the middle of the series. Friends of ours had gotten into it (and loved it) so all the more I wanted to see it! The opportunity finally hit me last summer, when I found a used Season 1 for $12.00. Eee!

Justin was definitely skeptical at first. In fact, I had to convince him to watch it with me, just to give the first couple episodes a chance. Even into the 3rd episode, he was still "ehh" about it, and it made no sense, because I LOVED it! He kept watching it with me, and soon enough, he was hooked. All of last year, we breezed through the seasons, getting my family hooked and even Stacie and her family hooked on it too. It was fun to talk about theories and "what's gonna happen?!" moments with other friends who were open-minded enough to give it a chance and agreed that it was a pretty awesome show. Of course, we're disappointed that Lost is done and over with.. the final season (season 6) just concluded this past May. As Justin and I are all about parties and going big, we decided to have a Lost party with our fellow Losties, for one last 'Aloha'.

With any party, we put lots of consideration into the decor, music and food. There are SO many fun things to do for a Lost party.. especially with plenty of resources online (Dharma labels, logos etc.). Here are some photos preparing and from our crazy night:

I think invitations are definitely a huge part of any party. I really wanted to get created for these, plus we wanted everyone to get excited! I found a template online to make boarding pass invitations. We wanted to add some extra information for the party, so I created a "baggage claim ticket" and ticket jackets for the invites as well. They looked pretty realistic!

What's a Lost party without a Smoke Monster?? We created this beast out of newspaper, a big bag of pillow stuffing and loads of spray adhesive. Once we managed to make it all stick together, we covered it with about 2 cans of black spray paint. It looked pretty darn close to Smokey!

We came up with a sweet idea to make the 815 Fuselage. The sheet was a steal - only $3.50 from Goodwill. I just 'googled' the Oceanic logo and blew it up as big as I could to fit on several sheets of paper. I cut it out into a stencil and we spray painted it, along with giant scuff-marks and did our best to make it look as though the front and back of the plane had broken off.

The best place to hang it was above and around our island/bar. We really wanted to cut out plane windows, but since it was so messy hanging our walls, we had to put another sheet behind it. No worries, it still turned out pretty sweet.

For the main/food area, Justin put up a tarp and some bamboo posts we already had (..still setting up!)

There were so many options for what to put on our front door.. but we decided to go with the "Namaste!" All of the Dharma logos were super easy to find online. I made my own "Quarantine" sign for the inside of the door, using a stencil font.

Justin created the coolest Hatch out of cardboard, tape and spray paint. He did such a great job! For trees and plants, we had some help from friends - Tiffany's hubby does landscaping, so he snagged us some real leaves and branches.. Plus were able to borrow 2 large, fake trees after pulling some strings (hehe). To tie it all in together, we bought a few strands of greenery from the Dollar Tree, a live palm tree and a tropical-looking, potted plant.

"The numbers are bad, the numbers are bad!!!" - Hurley

We used a few of our suitcases for decor.. One for the plates, napkins and silverware (Notice Hurley's puffy headphones, for an added little touch! Ha!).

We really wanted to create an old-school computer (from the Hatch), but it was too much extra work. Instead, we made a screensaver that looked just like the screen (who cares if it's a laptop!).

No Lost party is complete without decking everything in Dharma labels! Took quite a while, but was well worth it!

Kate's handcuffs...

Justin personalized some of the suitcases we threw around.. Plus we put out his guitar case to look like Charlie's. This suitcase obviously represented good ol' Jack!

It was really easy to find the logo for Charlie's band, "Drive Shaft".. I resized them to fit into a cd case.

More decor.. Locke's bag, including his notorious knives and a couple BB guns for effect! We had to put out Claire's peanut butter and some yummy pineapple salsa..

We had this ceramic rabbit, which we just printed an "8" so it would resemble Dr. Chang's experiemental rabbit.

We had the Season 1 dvd's playing for some memories.. and also had Michael Giacchino's scores from the show playing on my ipod.

We came up with the coolest idea to sketch out the hidden map from the Hatch on our bathroom mirror. I used highlighters for the whole thing, and we replaced the regular lightbulbs with black lights. It turned out really cool!!

I decided to go as "Crazy Claire" -- I borrowed a pellet gun from Jutin's bro and Justin created the creepiest baby for me too!

Justin dressed as Charlie -- We bought some blonde hair spray, but it turned out super gold! He sure rocked his eyeliner and costume!!

We tied Romeo's little stuffed bear to him, and called him a "little-kid Other". He dragged it around, just like the kid did! We really wanted to dress him up as a wild boar, but it didn't work out..

Our friends really got into character with some rad costumes!! Dharma polar bear, Claire, an Other and a Dharma beer (runner up in costume contest)..

Sane Claire vs. Crazy Claire!

Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, complete with a beard and Mr. Cluck's uniform! Jody won 1st place in our "Most Creative Costume Contest".

Posing with Kate

Courtney & Jeff came as the Kate and the Air Marshal - so creative!

Paul came as the Drive Shaft drummer - Rock on, boys!!

Time to eat!! We wanted to get super creative with food, and I think we came up with a pretty good menu..

Sun's Garden Salad --

Locke's Wild Boar (Kielbasa with pineapple) --

Hurley's Mr. Cluck's Chicken (popcorn chicken) with ranch dressing --

Jin's Fisherman Crab Dip --

Along with Kate's Fresh Fruit (mango, pineapple, oranges and strawberries), I made Sayid's Middle Eastern Fruit Dip --

Had to include Claire's Peanut Butter Cravings (cookies with mini Reese's cups) --

Island and Dharma cupcakes --

More decor -- Shells, mangoes and papaya

Posing with Danielle Rousseau

Sawyer & Ana Lucia

Andy as a Mary Statue from Mr. Ecko's plane -- He earned lots of votes for his creativity!

Justin's Hatch lit up with a whopping 500 watt light inside!

Imitating Locke's orange-peel smile!

Group shots --

The night was a total blast! We played a Lost Trivia game, and the winner won an Appollo bar & 2 lotto tickets.. Our costume contest winner got a Starbucks gift card - Everyone looked amazing and it was definitely a great way to say one last 'goodbye' to one of the coolest shows ever aired. I already can't wait to rewatch the whole series!



Credits and Inspirations:

Additional fonts used:

Lost labels & Dharma stuff, Lost party inspiration/ideas, prop ideas, Lost logos and symbols

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