You Look Great for 60, Disneyland

The park has been decorated with diamond-themed all year, and on May 22, they'll be officially celebrating 60 years. It's the original park Walt Disney dreamed to life and every detail is in place to celebrate, including the castle. You can enjoy the diamond decorations all through 2016. 

The Sound of Depression

Apathy is the good friend of comfort. Comfort is a place where you don’t thrive. It’s atrophy for the soul. Sometimes I have to physically force myself to move, to get off the couch, to shower, to be human. Getting out of bed, putting on running shoes, eating for health over taste, these are things the average person does. When I rise out of the comfortable part of myself, I'm healing. When I just stop going through the motions and actually feel something, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. It's the difference between feeling alive vs just living.

For those that don’t understand what a person with depression goes through, the best analogy I can think of (and of course it’s with food) is a donut. Think biting into a warm donut, with extra rich frosting, and so many sprinkles they fall from your lips. It’s delicious and you make sure to come visit this donut place again to get the same delicious donut. For a person with depression, a donut has almost no flavor. We bite into it and while we know what a donut tastes like, there’s still something unfamiliar about it, even though we’ve had it numerous times. We know we’re supposed to love it, but we’re only eating it because we go through the motions. We don’t care where it’s from. We don’t care about the flavor. That’s apathy for you. 

Depression is a disorder. It can be treated but it can’t be cured. As much as I believe in the power of prayer, prayers aren’t always answered in the way we want it to be answered. I also believe in the power of medicine and it can’t be cured with pills. I’ve done diets, I’ve done workouts, I’ve done acupuncture, I’ve done all of it and it can’t be cured but I do have hope. It’s very uncomfortable but just like comfort is a form of atrophy, hope is oxygen for the soul. 

February 2016 Favorites

Let’s take a look back at favorites for February

Favorite album is Wet's Don't You. This isn't an album I would think I would love so much but it's a throwback to 90's all girl R&B but with synth pop and a little folk. There's something tragic in Kelly Zatrua's voice that's reminiscent of The Ronnette's, but backed with something you'd dance to. It's different and as I'm writing this, I have no idea how to describe the album other than it's amazing and I think it's going to be a favorite for a long time. Listen on spotify here. 

Favorite store in Nashville so far is Parnassus Books. I was lucky to hear a panel with founder Karen Hayes earlier this month and why she decided to open a book store at a time when Borders was closing it's business and Barnes and Noble, along with indie book stores were closing. There is a romance about physical books and it's a little section of Nashville that's become one of my favorite places. 

Favorite nail polish is Palate Polish. I've written about this brand before  and my collection is slowly growing. I was limited on what to pack and after getting rid of my acrylics with gel overlay, I needed some major treatment to my damaged nails. Palate is one of the few brands that doesn't have harsh ingredients and I'm using while my cuticles and nail beds are healing. 

Favorite lipstick is Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani's Rock Steady. It looks darker in the tube but it applies a little brighter on my olive fair skin. It's creamy, it doesn't dry out my lips and it doesn't bleed. It's lasted me through breakfast, lunch and dinner and it's not until the end of the day where I may need to brighten but it fades evenly. 

Looking forward to share March favorites with you!

Tools To Help Grow Faith

I guess this should be titled tools that help me grow my Christian faith. I'll admit I don't like posting faith based stuff because it can come off cheesy, judge-y, and just annoying and I tried my best to share things that were neither of those.

I was looking through my journals and devotionals and trying to figure out which ones to pack on my trip. After looking through the most recent one, I noticed a big jump in the maturity of my prayers, my wisdom, even my writing. It threw me off because this is how I used to be before- not that good of a writer, prayers were pretty selfish (“Lord, please let there be fast wifi at this Starbucks. Amen.”), and my wisdom went as far as having gray hair. My devotionals were short and grew long and longer in notes. 

So why the jump? 

I connected. I grew. There are tons of tools out there to flourish, I used them and I met God halfway. He provided, and I took action. Okay, Apostles didn’t have apps and websites to connect and they did just fine. I also bet Apostles didn’t have wifi, TV, and books and the distractions that comes with it. 

Another thing I learned while reading my journals? No one is responsible to grow my faith except myself. Not my pastor, not my Bible study, not my more Christian friend, not even an app. It’s up to me to decide what I put into it and what I get out of it. 

Find a church. That seems obvious but you won’t get the same connection from a podcast or live streaming. When I hurt my leg and couldn’t leave the house much, I was partially feeling worse because I missed community. I missed gathering, I missed sharing. I can only get that from a church. A church helps you find a connection group to grow, and volunteer services. 

Find a connection group. A connection group is just a millennial term for Bible study. After being in a connection group for almost two years, I don’t really see the point of going to a church if I wasn't going to challenge myself with a study. Yeah, it’s great to be there and listen for an hour but what will I do with that message? I got out of my comfort zone and it helped me grow. I met with people I though I'd never talk to simply because we didn't have much in common but we have the most important thing in common that matters, our desire to grow. 

Join The Influence Network. Okay, so I’ll admit for awhile I wasn’t really sure what I was paying for when I first became a member. Look at the Influence Network like your smart phone- it does more than make calls and take photos. It can use apps and help you in your every day life but you just have to dig a little to find the ones that work for you. I logged in more often, I signed up for their book club, I listened to their podcast, I got connected to the forums that were relative to my spiritual and network needs, and I even discovered great blogs and people along the way. It’s a network full of endless possibilities and amazing women who are seeking and wanting to thrive as me. 

Glo Bible Devotionals- There are a million devotionals out there but I’ll admit I like this one for the UX and UI of it (for those that aren’t familiar with those terms, they basically mean usability and it’s pretty to look at). It’s free, and you can do one on the go. I don’t need to carry my heavy beautiful Bible around, as sentimental as it is, I know I’m not growing on sentiment. life gets busy and sometimes all I'll have on a commute home or a silent moment is my phone. 

Music and Podcasts- did you know Spotfiy has non-cheesy Christian music playlists? Some of my favorites are here, here and here. As for podcasts, The City Church, Cross Point, and Eastside are great resources. 

Inspiring blogs- do you ever have those moments when you read something at the right moment and the right time and that’s all you needed? I love reading blogs that dig a little deeper. My favorites right now are Ashlee Gadd, Casey LeighRachel Kincaid and Kriselle to name a few. While I'm barely touching base on faith based stuff, they worship Jesus loud and clear through almost every blog post. 

Inspiring books- Get a new perspective on how other’s deal with life, with struggles of faith. It reminds me I’m not alone and my problems aren’t that big, and if they authors can be moved enough to write a book about it, I can handle the ups and downs of life. Lara Casey's book, Make it Happen, shares her messy life and the redemption with it. I also started reading Savor by Shauna Niequist last year. I haven't finished it but so far, I really like it. Sex God, The Screwtape Letters, are ones I've read more than once over time. 

Toontown

We were talking to a Nashville native and asked about what to do around here. They said “Anything you do in California, but we probably have it here too”. My snarky reply was of course, “Do you have a Disneyland in Nashville?” We laughed about it but I was feeling homesick and I missed parts of my every day life I take for granted, like my dog and a couple hours at Disneyland on an emotional hard day. After leaving home for what now my third week, I didn’t realize how much part it helped in my recovery. As soon as I found out I was leaving, I took in as much as I could of my favorite things California could only offer, including the magical park. I took some photos of Toontown, an often forgotten corner of Disneyland. Minnie’s pink house, the over exaggerated architecture, and the details like Goofy’s well, goofy mail box are what made it special. 

I Stopped Blogging

I stopped blogging because every time I opened my computer, I looked at my keyboard, and my Squarespace dashboard and I got this knot in my throat, this anguish in my stomach. Those physical pains have a name - fear. I feel like this blog lost itself very much like I lost myself when Max died. Yes, I still blogged about what I loved and pretty things but there was no substance to it. Not that blogging about pretty things doesn’t have substance, but I purposely removed myself from the posts completely. Just like the rest of my life, I detached. It’s been 3 years and I’m still picking up parts of me I forgot about along the way, and one of them is this space to write.

One night, sitting on the couch, while browsing my blog, Scott said, “If I were to read your blog, I’d have no idea who you were. You like the color pink and Hello Kitty, but who is Diana? Who are you?” I hated this question because he was right. The problem was I wanted to give up blogging and I was ready, but something tells me not to give it up. I’ve said it a million times but it’s one of those things that would be on my mind whether I wanted it to or not. Something tugged at me for months. It didn’t matter how many things I would distract myself with, my blog was a platform to share about recovery and I was ignoring it. My insecurities were louder than my message, “Who are you to share your life?Why are YOU so special?” 

I also had this tug at my heart to keep writing about Max and while my heart soared at the thought of it, my head would scream, “no one wants to read about dead babies !!” Ok, yes, well, I never wanted to write about them but here we are. As I'm writing this, the problem isn't just fear, it's connecting the two things- something bad that happened to a joyful space. I think you can have the color pink and sorrow. I think you can find joy in pain. I think you can move forward without moving on. I think there is hope in tragedy. I want to connect, see the vision come true for this space and let the fear go. So here I am publicly declaring this fear and owning it. My name is Diana, my favorite color is pink and yes, I am pretty damn special. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame + Hatch Show Print

I should first disclose I am not a fan of country music, or at least new country music. I like old country music like Johnny Cash and Wanda Jackson, and going through the Country Music Hall of Fame museum introduced me to new old artists (does that make sense??) I'll admit half of the museum I didn't know who the artists were, but it did show me how much music is embedded in Nashville. Even if it wasn't my favorite type of music, I can't deny how much I loved the history of the city. Plus I got to see Elvis' ridiculously tacky gold piano and Johnny Cash's boots! I also had a chance to see the Hatch Show factory. I got a tour of the history, how it's made, and I even got to see them make a poster of what The Ryman would be selling at the Jenny Lewis show. I wasn't allowed to take photos of it, or any others before their clients saw but it was so cool watching them make it. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame is located 222 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN.

The Hatch Show Print Shop is located 224 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203



January 2016 Favorites

Ah yes, favorites are back! And with a fresh start! I think I hated this series for a while because I really didn't have any favorites of much for some time. I was consumed with stress, anxiety and I found no enjoyment in what I used to love. Now, I'm feeling better and I'm excited to share. 

+ Favorite app Okay, so I'm a little biased because I support a lot of ABM, but what I like best about A Color Story, the ABM app, is how convenient it is. I've written about how much I love their Adobe actions and this app reminds me of the usability but for my iPhone edits. It's one click away and I can even save favorite custom filters. Find A Color Story in the app store. 

+ Favorite TV show Ah, Agent Carter is back! This is season two and it's set in LA. Agent Carter is already a very stylish TV show (think early Mad Men plus hot women with guns) but the LA backdrop adds an element of aesthetic to it, and the vivid jewel toned colors and wardrobe to Peggy Carter add more life to the show. Of course I love the story line and the plot but as a visual person, I'm so happy it was renewed for season two.

+ Favorite album Mutemath's Vitals is one an unexpected gem for January. I've been listening to Mutemath for years and after this album was sitting in my library for weeks, I was surprised. It's an updated sound, but I also rate music on the danceability of it, and yes, this one is a dance-y one. There are a couple slow jams on it, but it's been my soundtrack to my office music the past week, non-stop. 

+ Favorite moment We were offered a great opportunity in Nashville. We prayed about it, talked about it, and it felt like God was telling us to give him these next few months to see what amazing things He can do. It's a leap of faith not just for our marriage, but for our livelihood as well. I'm back to work as a creative director working with some great people in the publishing industry and being mentored by them to grow in my career. It's an opportunity I can't pass down and the moment our plane landed, I knew it was the right decision. Hello, Nashville! 

I can't wait to see what favorites February brings



Free Month Trial

There's a Tumblr text post going around, 2016 is going to start February 1. January was a free month trial. That's exactly what January felt like. It was a lot of catching up from the holidays plus we are temporarily moving to Nashville for a few months. By the time I had confirmation, I've been so busy getting everything ready and packing, and blogging had to be set aside for this month. Do you know what it's like to pack 4-6 month's worth of clothes (including work attire, which I haven't worn in years) in one suitcase? It didn't happen but it was a fun challenge. We're excited, nervous and it's the perfect opportunity for us. There will be no other time in our life we just pack and go live across the country. We both work from home, we have family to take care of our pets and house, and we have no kids. So January may not have been the month I began blogging again, but I'd like to call it a head start into February. Thank you everyone who's emailed, and left motivational comments, I didn't think my lack of blog presence would be noticed, it's encouraging!


Marvel Monday: Civil War by Stuart Moore

Marvel Cinematic Universe is releasing the highly anticipated Civil War this year, the trilogy to the Captain America series. I’m one of those annoying “I read the book before the movie” people so when I found out there was a novelized version (not just the comic), I had to read it. 

The story is about two superheroes, Iron Man, Tony Stark, and Captain America, Steve Rogers. Tony who wants government support and and a stabilized ID documentation and Steve who wants full control of their personal status. They each have a team of superheroes on their side, some end up betraying their own side, others end up being killed. What I loved about this book is when you take away the superhero part of it, it's a political story. As far as the writing goes, Stuart Moore writes the characters and sticks to their mannerisms the way Marvel has built them for the past few years. I don’t know how to review this book without giving much away but I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the Marvel series, especially with so many movies and tv shows lined up over the next year and Netflix having a contract with Marvel. There are appearances by familiar characters like Daredevil and Spiderman, but this is a great book to introduce the reader to unknown characters. The action is detailed, it reminds me of watching a Marvel movie and there was no gore or anything too horrific, but mentions of blood from fighting and death scenes. 

I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a movie to come out in a long time (yep, even compared to Star Wars, I’m more excited for this), and I know Marvel Cinematic Universe has their own story changed around but I can’t wait to see the comparisons. Even if you’re not a huge reader of the comics, this is a great start to the Marvel world. Buy it here