Since I have a little more free time these days, I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to and take a cookie decorating class. I love making sugar cookies, but my icing game hasn’t been as strong as I want it to be, so this class was amazingly helpful. 

It was a class of 10 mostly middle aged ladies, one nine year old and me! I’m definitely someone who learns best by actually doing something and I was able to get some experience with mixing the right icing consistency and seeing a professional in action. We learned some really cool techniques, including how to make hibiscus flowers for a Hawaiian shirt. 

Look forward to some more, improved, cookie posts coming soon!

I wanted to give you a little update on what’s been going on lately, but in a list format because I’m lazy today and that actually sounds doable!
  • First of all, my big exciting news: I lost my job. Yeah, wow. It was a shock to say the least, and I’ve been spending most days this month in a state of perpetual panic, refreshing over and over. Maybe I’ll write more about it someday, but basically my position was “eliminated” and I’m now job hunting. Losing your income is scary, but so is losing my health insurance (and my dog’s health plan). Bernie 2020 is all I have to say about that. I sadly realize I had been putting 120% into a company and structure that didn’t care about me, and I am now trying to figure out how to have a social life again - I feel like I’m emerging from a cave back into the light. I also lost about 95% of my confidence from this experience so if you have any tips for getting that back, let me know. 
  • I’ve signed up for a cookie decorating workshop next weekend, so I can finally officially learn some techniques. I’m really excited about it, it’s in this funny little shop that reminds me of the craft store I worked at for my first job. I’m looking to up my cookie decorating game so I’m interested to see what tips and tricks I can pick up. 
  • Harry and I are taking Ada to her second round of obedience classes and so far this session is going really well! We love the trainers we’re working with and they’re giving us some much needed reassurance about where Ada’s at and what she’s capable of. She’s been a very tricky dog to raise and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs with her. But we love her anyways!
  • Our lease is up in October, so we’re hoping to move out and find a house with a yard for rent so Ada can have some more room. Moving again after only one year in our place stresses me out a bit, but it would be so worth it if we can find the right place. It’s crazy how this place shrank in my mind after Ada came into the picture. 

My days lately have been spent applying for jobs, taking Ada to the park or river and drinking way too much seltzer water. I’m definitely feeling lonely, but hopeful that someday soon things will change for the better.

Is part of getting older just falling into a well of true crime obsession? Or is this just the fad-du-jour? What I mean is, everywhere I look there's some new exciting way to get into true crime - novels, documentaries, dramatized true-life series, and podcasts. I saw a joke someone made about their wife only liking two things on Netflix - baking shows and murder. And I've got to admit, sounds like me!

My favorite way to indulge in the macabre side of life lately is to listen to a podcast - usually in the car to and from work or on a walk with Ada. Here are my favorites lately:

1. Crime Junkie

This is by far my favorite right now. Ashley and Brit host this true crime show which usually focuses on one story per episode, featuring a murder, missing person, or a serial killer. They have great hosting chemistry and their storytelling abilities draw you in and keep you engaged. And they also have a little recurring segment at the end of some episodes where they feature a heartwarming dog-related story, which is a nice palette cleanser.

2. Criminal

There's just something about Pheobe Judge that makes me feel completely comforted - the cadence of her voice makes me feel safe. Criminal is a fascinating podcast where each episode is completely different, focusing on different aspects of the world of crime.

3. Man in the Window

If you've already read I'll Be Gone in the Dark, this might feel a little bit like a repeat, but still worth listening to! This podcast follows the Golden State Killer, through the stories of the victims. It's a terrifying look at one of California's most notorious serial killers.

4. Dirty John

This podcast will literally have you shouting "NO!" out loud while you're listening to it. It tells the story of a scam artist and how he fooled numerous women and it's HORRIFYING in a "how could anyone be so blind?" kind of way.

5. Atlanta Monster / Monster: The Zodiac Killer

Season 1 follows the Atlanta child murders, and then they switch gears for Season 2 and follow the Zodiac Killer. Really interesting if you don't know much about either of these cases, and also *spoiler* deeply unsatisfying because they still don't know who either of the killers were.

6. Cold

This podcast follows the story of the Powell family disappearance and murders and IT. IS. CRAZY. While this case is covered in other podcasts, I find this one to be the most comprehensive.

That's it for now! Inevitably once I listen to every episode of one, I go searching for another so I'm sure I will add more to the list soon. What's your favorite true crime podcast?

Hello friends! It's been a minute since we've chatted. I hope you're doing well. Life has felt very hectic since Ada came into our lives, and my social life and free time have both hit a real dry spell.

Ada is now 7 months old (???HOW???) and is a little terror and love at the same time. She's spunky and grumpy and loves other people and wants to play with every dog. She chews up weird things like my exercise bike and the slats under the couch, and destroys every single toy with stuffing except her little wolf we named Peebo.

Our days are mostly spent going to work, getting home, running Ada outside and then on a walk or to the dog park, shoving some kind of food in our mouths while we watch one episode of something or other (food competition shows, Pretty Little Liars, or if Harry gets me on a good night, a horror movie) and then passing out. I've lost the ability to keep up with any of my hobbies, including photography and this blog, which is bumming me out! I'm hoping things will sort of even out soon.

I'll level with you - having a dog (well, a puppy) isn't exactly what I thought it would be. Ada is her own dog, with all her own thoughts and she's definitely opinionated! Getting her to even walk with me is sometimes a huge pain, she'll just decide she doesn't want to anymore and plant her feet. It's frustrating because I'd imagined going on long walks and cuddling with her on the couch, but she hasn't been so enthusiastic about those ideas. And I've had more than a few crying meltdowns wondering if we made the right decision (should we have gotten an easier breed? I often wonder). But we're working on it, and housetraining seems to have finally clicked so that's one less thing to worry about! We do love her - there are just some good days and bad days.

We're starting to make plans to move to a house with a yard for Ada sometime in the nearish future. I'll keep you posted!

If you know me in real life, you know that I've wanted a dog for at least the last 5 years (more really, but I think 5 years ago is when I really started trying to figure out how to have a dog-friendly lifestyle). Specifically, I have wanted a bull terrier. I grew up with Australian Shepherds and they are amazing dogs, but we always had plenty of land for them to run around on. I knew an Aussie wouldn't suit my future non-farm lifestyle so I started researching other breeds. And for some reason, I fell head over heels for bull terriers.

Turns out, bull terriers are sort of hard to find! I had no idea until we really started looking. I checked Craiglist, PetFinder, Adopt a dog, and local shelters constantly (obsessively) and we kept our eye on a local rescue for months and months, but so many of the dogs that came up for adoption had dog aggression issues, which I wasn't super confident I could deal with. I also want to bring my dog into my office, and dog aggression definitely won't work for that. We had some weird experiences with Craigslist people - a strange woman who told me her whole life story for 3 hours and then gave her dog away to someone else, a man who sent me a photo of his bull terrier with a rat in its mouth (???) - so we gave up on that pretty quickly. SIDENOTE: If someone on Craigslist gets mad at you for asking questions and seem like the money is the most important part, RED FLAG. Don't buy from them.

So after a long saga of trying to find the right fit, we decided that a puppy might work the best for us right now. We started looking around at some breeders in Oregon, all of whom breed mini bull terriers and made some contacts. The price for a reputable breeder's puppy is quite high, but we felt like this was the only good option we had. And then weird fate intervened.

My friend Liz stumbled across a Facebook post from some people about 3 hours away from us who had a litter of bull terrier puppies, and after contacting them and chatting a bit we got a good feeling and decided right then, on that day, to drive all the way out to meet them and the puppies. There was one girl in particular that we liked and wanted to see how she was. The couple was really nice, answered all our questions (cue me googling "What to ask puppy breeders" and "how to pick a puppy" on the drive over) and we ended up loving the pup we had liked initially, so we put down a deposit and left. And then spent the whole drive home freaking out!

On Jan. 19, two weeks after we met her, we brought home Ada, our 8-week old bull terrier pup. She was so tiny and cried and pooped all through her first night with us.

She is now 11 weeks old (!!!) and has chunked out a little more, loves to play and bite us and is starting to really show her hilarious and stubborn personality. We have been on a roller coaster of emotions since day one - we have some really good days and some really rough days and feel like we're doing amazing and then feel like we're failing. Potty training and bite inhibition are HARD you guys. And having a dog in an apartment is also really tough. But we're working through it, taking it day by day and trying to really cherish the moments where she's having fun and loving on us (and not the ones where she's biting our hands or throwing a tantrum).

If you want to follow her adventures, I post a lot on my instagram and I created an instagram for her @ada_the_bullterrier 

The art of family photography is something I have always been fascinated with (Sally Mann being my photo hero) and something that my Dad was particularly good at. Our photo albums are filled with impromptu photo shoots of me as a kid doing all sorts of things - pretending to talk on the phone, wearing silly hats, playing with my shadow, etc. Those photos have always felt so precious to me, and are a big reason that the work of Shin Noguchi with his daughters particularly resonated with me. 

Shin began taking photos of his daughters after his father passed away and he discovered a cash of previously unseen childhood photos of himself shot by his mother. "They show me such beautiful moments, I think it’s a gift, the gift of beautiful moment they gave, these extreme gifts appear in front of me, I can’t help but catch them," Shin says on his website. 

The photos are charming, sweet and poignant, capturing a magical childhood. Here are some of my favorites:

I cannot tell you the last time I had a real Christmas tree in my home - maybe not since before I left for college? I bought a little white fake table top tree and called it good for all these years. But this year a certain guy got so excited about getting a real tree that I also got excited about it and off we went! We went small with a tree lot, but maybe next year we'll attempt to go cut our own tree down - who knows? I must admit it did feel super Christmas-y to be in a tree lot surrounded by the smell of fir trees and having a mini candy cane. Maybe my Grinch days are over :)

We're going to be going out of town to my Dad's for Christmas so we'll only get to enjoy the tree until the 21st and then hopefully it will still be ok when we get back! It's making our apartment feel so cozy and it smells incredible. 

My sister and I are currently trying to wrangle together our family Christmas party and I have a feeling we'll have more cheese than necessary, which is what the holidays are really about I'm sure. Harry and I are also going to two holiday parties, hosting an open house and going to the Nutcracker (and baking a ton!) all before we leave, so this month is feeling like crunch time. I'm trying so hard not to get stressed by it all but I'll admit that it's closing in on me a little. Wish me luck!

Here's a little sneak peak at my wrapping aesthetic this year - stars and holographic paper and ribbon! My love of stars is no secret so I'm sure everyone who knows me is rolling their eyes and saying "of course it's stars themed - like every year" but THIS year is HOLOGRAPHIC OK??? It's different I assure you...