Street carnival.

Adrian and I went to dinner last night and then an impromptu carnival. I don't believe the carnival was impromptu itself but we somewhat stumbled upon it.

Turns out I like city carnivals best. Less stinky animals (none at all, in fact) and more pavement which consequently means less muck. Excellent.

Happy weekend, friends. Carnival or not.

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Donut break.

We're taking a brief intermission from Maine recaps. Please enjoy the coffee milk and doughnuts.

Yeah. We made those tonight. Every now and then when the heavens open up and God smiles down on me, the vision I have in my mind connects with the materials in front of me and I end up with mini doughnuts just as I had imagined. So cute. So pink. So sprinkly. 

And that last shot? Of the doughnuts and milk? That was Adrian's idea. I love a man who not only doesn't think the idea of a doughnut photoshoot is ridiculous, but actually contributes with brilliant ideas.

I will keep him. Indeed.

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Maine Adventures, part two.

So in case you haven't heard, it's ridiculously hot in Chicago right now. Has been for a couple days now. Such a bummer because it's so beautiful outside but who wants to be outside when it feels like 110 degrees?

Not this girl.

Which brings me back to the point of this post: Maine is sooooo good in the summer. Shall we peruse more pictures from our vacation? Excellent!

These pictures are from our first full day in Maine which, as was planned, included Adrian's first view of the ocean...ever! He loved it. Portland Head Light is such a great place to wander. And perhaps most importantly, there's always a lovely and welcomed ocean breeze. Chicago took learn a thing or two from Portland.

Needless to say, Adrian adored the ocean. So much so that we had to return to the beach on his last day so he could take a little swim. Bt-dub, way too cold.
Post freezing swim.
So that's it for now. I'm hoping to rope Adrian into giving you all this perspective and maybe some of the pictures he took too! Cross your fingers, friends. He's a little shy.

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Maine Adventures, part one.

I'm back!

You didn't even know I was gone. But I was. And now I'm back. I couldn't tell you all that I left since my husband left too and we had an empty house. Better safe than with a broken window and a missing wii, I always say.

So anyways. Let's talk about where I was, no?

I went home to Maine. And it was probably the best trip home to Maine since the beginning of trips home to Maine. Mostly because Adrian got to come!

Since it was his first time to Maine, we did lots of typically Maine things.

Adrian in Maine is a happy Adrian indeed! 

We went on a boat. And if you're not thinking of this, you ought to be. (Note: you may want to turn down the volume if you're with kiddies or your mom. Unless of course your mom is like mine, in which case she's already got it memorized and made reference to it when on aforementioned boat.)

Oh but it was lovely. Boat rides are so quintessentially summer. This particular ride was a tour of Boothbay Harbor. I love this little town for its tourist-trappy shops and outdoor-seating restaurants.

I snatched a couple pictures while on the boat and I think they came out almost as lovely as the ride itself.

It was such a beautiful day. Adrian was so excited for his boat ride and I was so glad to be there with him. Also, shouts to my mom and my cousin Maddy who accompanied us and made the day even better.

So thanks, nice weather, for allowing me to capture these lovelies.

Come on back tomorrow and I'll share some more of our adventures and our pictures. I've missed you all!

(Bt-dub, those pictures are mine, all mine. So don't use them without permission, eh? Especially not that one of that handsome guy. Oh and if you wanna see them even bigger, just give them a little click.)
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Remake number two: patio set.

Last week, or maybe two weeks ago (time is currently inconsequential), Adrian and I spent a couple afternoons repainting some goodies that were in desperate need of a coat of joy.

I'm just not a fan of dark wood.

So here's what we started with:
*from ikea
More or less. Ours is actually about twice this size. Lovely, but like I said, dark wood just doesn't do it for me. Plus I wanted the set to match our plates. Naturally.

So I had this brilliant idea to make it a little more joyous:

It's a bit difficult to see, but one of the chairs is an icy blue color and the other is white.

Like I said, they match my plates.

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The story of the short ponytail and how it came to be.

I got a haircut today.

And for the first time in my life, I cried when I got home. Not even home, really. I cried in the car. Which was parked two blocks from my home. Then I cried on the way to Target. Pulled myself together (read: moped). Then cried on the way home from Target. And on the couch when I got inside.

No, no. It's not a bad haircut. It looks decent. Looks like a haircut I've had before, actually.

Somewhere between "I want my bangs cut" and "Why don't you give me layers?" I lost sight of what I really wanted. Long hair.

Sometimes when I haven't cut my hair in a while and my bangs start to blend into the rest of my hair, I feel ugly. Usually for a few days. And then I remember it's because God made me to have bangs just like God made me to have a big forehead. And I go on down the block and get my bangs cut for $5. The birds chirp a little sweeter and all is right with the world.

But sometimes. Oh that dreaded sometimes. I forget that I've worked hard for this long hair. And all those wonderful creations I can make with that long hair somehow run away from me. And I say something stupid.

"Why don't you give me layers?"

(In honor of full disclosure, I actually tell my husband to tell the hair dresser to give me layers because layers is literally foreign to me in Spanish.... for a reason. It's "capas". Not that I'll ever need it again).

The nice obliging man wets my hair. He makes the first cut.

And for the first time in my life, I know there will be tears. But I was too embarrassed to tell him I changed my mind.

That's the thing about embarrassment. Little does it effect the other person. But oh how it consumes me. I embarrass quite easily. I have to tell you, the fear of said embarrassment prevents me from doing many things. Adrian always tells me that's silly. Because in the end, had I said or done what I wanted to say or do, the other person most likely wouldn't have even noticed. Or at least not cared. He's probably right. Though I wouldn't know. I have yet to try.

As I type this, my hair is neatly gathered in a short ponytail. And it will take about a year to get back to what it was. And many a morning I will wake up and regret the decision to ask for layers and the consequent decision not to speak up.

The hairdresser wouldn't have even cared.

Next time you hear me make a decision based on the mere possibility of embarrassment, remind me that that's how this short ponytail came to be.

Oh, and if you hear me say I'm looking rather ugly, remind me I just need to cut my bangs. Nothing more.

*picture via pinterest. Click picture for link.
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Yesterday I mentioned that I had made and decorated cupcakes, all in the name of freeeeeeeeedom.

And since my mom wanted to see what they looked like, 
I present you with my cupcakes for the Constitution:

So adorable yet so patriotic, right?

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Freedom and fireworks.

Is there anything more quintessentially fourth of July than fireworks, bbqs and ocean breezes? (Disregard the ocean breezes, my landlocked friends).

Each year, in the name of independence and freedom, I eat a burger, probably some chips, ohh definitely fruit salad and I enjoy fireworks. Ideally, I do this all beside the ocean or a lake among family and friends.

This year, I'm avoiding the masses, and thus Lake Michigan, as Adrian and I are hosting a bbq in the backyard, complete with patriotic cupcakes. (Check back later for those!)

And each year as I celebrate, we enjoy our freedom, without batting an eye. I think, perhaps, having been raised in communities, in states, in this country and within the families we have been so graciously blessed with, we fail to recognize that truly, freedom is a privilege. That is not to say that I believe it ought to be. I most certainly do not. I believe it ought to be an inherent right, something bestowed upon us at birth for the simple fact of having been born.

Unfortunately, I don't think this is the case for all of us.

Ironically, perhaps, this year I will be celebrating independence and freedom in a neighborhood which houses many undocumented immigrants. And we will celebrate within a country where, though we rely on their labor and their taxes (which, btw, my friends do in fact pay each year), we refuse to acknowledge them as contributors to the community.

By mere chance, I was born in this country to a middle class family in a rural town. Thus I am privileged. I never worried about food appearing on the table. Or whether I'd have shoes, which thankfully I did and have come to love. Nor did I worry about my father packing up to move to another country to have the means to put food on aforementioned table in his absence. I, indeed, have been privileged.

And while I acknowledge that I have been privileged, I must also acknowledge that others have not. I live in one of the wealthiest, most advanced countries in the world, in a time where most anything is possible. A time where you truly can be most anything you want with a bit of work and, perhaps, connections. And I am afforded those dreams, opportunities and connections because I was born into it. Not by anything that I've done, but because of the location and circumstance of my birth.

Where I have been granted freedom by my circumstance and thus am required to nothing to neither deserve it nor preserve it, others must prove themselves worthy. Rarely have I met any undocumented person who deserves citizenship any less than I do. Often I find the very opposite.

In a country full of resources, even in the midst of a recession, I often wonder how it could be that we are without the resources to grant those who have not been born to privilege and who work much harder than me for it, the freedom to work and contribute without the consequent fear and hiding. Perhaps if we, the people, and the lawmakers personally knew a few more of these immigrants, we might come to admire their work ethic and their refusal to give in, to fatigue, to failure, to the powers that be. The ones I know work long (and often odd) hours in physically grueling work that I would never deign to do, while still finding the time and energy, miraculously, to come to English classes. Often after an overnight shift. I tire after just teaching them for four hours a day.

So on this, the fourth of July, my friends, my students, they celebrate a country that, perhaps begrudgingly and often unwillingly, presents them the opportunity to do the one thing they always hoped to do: put food on the table and offer their children something better than what they've survived.

After the fireworks have burnt out and the hamburgers and hotdogs have been eaten, is there nothing more quintessentially fourth of July than the hope of freedom for a better future?

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
-Emma Lazarus 

Happy 4th, my friends. To those born into freedom and to those who still yearn for it.
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