Monday, January 23, 2017

Come Fly With Me, Let's Take Off in the Blue

Guess what?!  I, along with my Mom, Aunt Debby, and a friend of hers, are going to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this summer!!  It was originally just going to be the three ladies, but then Mom decided she wanted a friend along as well, and that friend will be me!  I am so excited to be going back to Mexico.

Debby and I went there ten years ago when I was just a little sixteen-year-old junior in high school.  It was my first time out of the country, and the first stamp in my passport.  Fitting that it will also be the last stamp before I have to get a new one.  Ahhh it is going to be a lovely little ten-year reunion.  We will sit by the pool, drink margaritas, eat all the Mexican food, walk along the ocean-side Malacon street, and probably do a little shopping as well.

I need to start picking up a few more hours at work to pay for it all.  Mom found a really nice hotel that also happens to be pretty cheap, and she booked all of our flights at the perfect time; I think they've already gone up by over a hundred dollars!  She's such a good travel agent and now, I can't wait for summer!

(photos by e.hunt)

Watch Out Trumpa the Hutt, The Leia's of the World Are Here

Good morning and happy Monday!  Today is the last day of my mini work vacation, and I have to say, it was a great weekend to be off!  On Saturday Mom and I woke up early and drove downtown to take part in the Women's March on St. Louis, a sister march to the March on D.C.  It turned out to be a worldwide event, with marches taking place on all seven continents, and several million people taking part in the peaceful protest.  It's actually the largest protest march in all of U.S. history.  Pretty cool to have been a part of it.

The coolest part was the range of causes being promoted/protested, and the variety of people in attendance.  I saw people with walkers, people in wheelchairs, black people, asian people, men, women, little kids, and even dogs!  And almost everybody had a homemade sign.  A lot of them were funny anti-Trump puns, and a lot of them had to do with feminist issues, a few were about the environment and saving the earth, several were about immigration policies, LGBT rights, healthcare, and there were also a few Black Lives Matter signs.  There is just so much wrong with our new President and the enabling Republican houses!

Since Saturday, I've seen a few naysaying news articles and Facebook posts from people who think, 'What a bunch of sore losers,' or 'He's our president now so just get over it,' or the classic, 'What a bunch of angry women who just want free birth control and other free stuff.'  If you think this, you are gravely missing the point.

I marched because I believe in all people and think that they deserve the same rights as everyone else.  I think that women deserve to make their own decisions about their bodies and that religious people should be free to practice their own religions without fear or without forcing their beliefs on other people.  I think that America is about more than making business deals and we need to wake up to the fact that trickle-down economics DOES NOT WORK.  Just pick up any history textbook.  I think that politicians need to understand that many people do not receive healthcare benefits from their jobs, but they should still be able to provide insurance for their families without paying an arm and a leg for it.  I think that actual facts should be acknowledged as facts.  None of this "alternative fact" or 'I don't want to believe it so it must not be true.'  I think that if you want abortion to be illegal again, you better make Planned Parenthood even more accessible, and provide every opportunity for birth control and reproductive health, not to mention you better be all for welfare and other outreach programs so that the kids who are born to parents who cannot afford a healthy life for them at least have a chance of doing so.  I think that our newly instated government is headed in a very bad, and very wrong direction, and clearly, I am not the only one who thinks so.

To the naysayers and Trump voters, please realize your own privilege and try to see the world through people's eyes who are different and had different walks of life than you.  Be nice to all people and they will be nice to you.  I hope you all will join me when the next march occurs; it was inspiring, uplifting, and reminded me that there is still a lot of good in the world.

(photos by e.hunt)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Wind Under Your Wings

Today is the first day of a mini vacation I took from work.  I actually only asked off the weekend, but my boss forgot about my request and scheduled me Saturday and Sunday, but is honoring it anyway.  So, not only do I have my original off days of today and tomorrow, but Saturday and Sunday too!!  I've decided that every other month or so I am going to request a weekend off work.  I may just have it be relaxing me-time like this weekend, or I may take little trips to Kansas City or Springfield.  I don't really know how this happened, but there's only a handful of us that have availability on weekends so we end up working eight-hour shifts every weekend.  And as much as I don't think that's really fair, I've decided to compromise and came up with this solution.  Side note, I recently found out that I've been earning paid vacation hours since I've worked for Starbucks for more than a year -- Woohoo more money!  Ahhh, some days I get really frustrated with my job, but other days I really love it.

I have a few things planned for my days off: laundry, a trip to the mall, possibly doing a closet clean-out, an art project or two, and catching up with my college roommate, Kaitlin.  I may go down to the Women's March on St. Louis on Saturday, but I haven't decided yet.

The ice from last weekend has all melted and since the weather is a little warmer, we've gotten quite a bit of rain.  Although rain is easier to handle, I'm wishing it was ice or snow.  We get rain all the rest of the year, why can't we have some snow when it's Winter?!

(photos by e.hunt)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful, But the Coffee is so Delightful

Happy Friday, everyone!  We are currently experiencing a winter ice storm; it is expected to continue through Sunday.  And not two days ago it was sunny and in the 60s.

I was lucky enough to be off work today so I am enjoying a leisurely morning catching up on Pinterest, drinking coffee from the little snow bears mug, and watching the ice rain fall outside the window.  It has been lovely.

I plan on not going outside at all today.  Yesterday I, along with every other person in the world, went to Schnucks to pick up a few things in anticipation of the storm.  While it took a while to get through the check-out line, it was worth it to not have to venture out today, and everyone was really friendly.  Nothing like a little crazy St. Louis weather to draw people together.

Mom also stopped by on her way home from work yesterday.  A couple days ago I stopped in our local Goodwill and found quite a few gems, including this seemingly brand new, super comfy, perfectly grey, tufted chair!

It was originally from Target.  I looked up the price online and I don't know who donated such a nice chair with nothing wrong with it, but thank you to them because I got it for a fraction of the retail price!  A kindly gentleman behind me in line helped me fit it in the backseat of my car then Mom helped me get it out and up the stairs to its new spot by the window.  Doesn't it look great?!

Not only did I find the fabulous chair on this particular Goodwill trip, but also a couple pieces of decorative dishware.  A few months ago I found a pair of lusterware plates with a beautiful handpainted Asian landscape on them.  I only bought one but then Taylor really liked it so I went back to get the other one and it was gone!  Lo and behold, the other day I found another similar plate with a different, more blue landscape on it.  I picked it up and a second one was underneath it!  I snatched them both up, along with a cool vase, gave one to Taylor and kept one to go with the first one.

It was an exciting day.  Anyway, I hope you all are warm and cozy on this icy day.  I can see the road from my window and it doesn't look that bad.  Hopefully they don't freeze up overnight -- I'm supposed to work bright and early in the morning.

(photos by e.hunt)

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Sudden Flash of a Thought

I took down my little Christmas decorations the other day.  I didn't have much but it's always sad to close up the happy, festive Christmas season.  Rather than completely taking down my tree-of-lights though, I decided that I really liked having that wall in between the two windows with lights on it.  I like having some form of light on when I come into my apartment and over the holiday season I started just leaving the Christmas tree plugged in.  Before that I would just leave on the ceiling lights but I really didn't need that many on while I was gone so the tree was a good alternative.  So, I altered the tree to be a year-round Tree of Life!

(photos by e.hunt)

The Cold Line

We had our first snow of the year this last Thursday.  It wasn't a lot but it was pretty.  I was of course opening at work, but we were a little slower than usual and got to look at the still-falling, glittery snow falling outside the big windows.

It was brighter out when I got off work so I was able to appreciate my brick apartment building covered in snow; notice the freshly shoveled sidewalks!   

Last night I went home for a delicious chili dinner and we ended up looking through some old photo albums.  I found this gem of Dad, me, and Andrew playing in the snow in 1993.  I don't remember this far back but I remember in later years when we would go sledding down the driveway or build little snowmen in the front yard and Mom would have hot cocoa waiting for us when we came inside and took off all our multiple layers of snow-things.  I hope we get a little more snow this winter.  As much as I hate the cold, I do like looking out the window to see a snowy winter wonderland.

(photos by e.hunt)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; You're Our Only Hope"

The week between Christmas and New Year's was pretty uneventful.  I worked a lot and did my own, quiet thing for a few days; it was a lot of family-together time over the holidays!  New Year's Eve came and went.  We went out to dinner then I went home and went to bed.  I welcomed in the new year by waking up at 4:45 and opening the store!

It was okay though.  After a week of people being after-holiday crabby, our customers were actually pretty nice and we were slower than we have been since before Thanksgiving.  After a nice nap that afternoon I went home for the first feast of 2017!  Dad picked up a couple big beers from the store for celebration!

Did anyone set any New Year's Resolutions?  I want to produce some kind of art once a week, whether that's keeping a sketchbook or working on a more long-term pastel piece.  Mom gave me some charcoal, an 11x17 sketchbook, and a 72-piece chalk pastel set for Christmas and I plan to put them all to good use!  

Carrie Fischer passed away on the 27th, and it did effect me a bit.  She, as Princess Leia in Star Wars, has always been one of my celebrity heroes.  In all the movies we watched when I was growing up, she was a great inspiration.  Yea, there were the lovelorn ladies of the Disney movies, the femme fatales of the James Bond movies, and the damsels in distress of the Westerns, but Leia was different.  She stood for what she believed in, didn't fall head over foot for the first random guy she met, destroyed a nasty slug lord who held her hostage and made her wear the gold bikini, and helped topple an evil empire.  She also looked great while doing all of these things.  In her honor I did my hair in the Leia-on-Hoth fashion.  It's not perfect, but I figure, if I keep doing it every once in a while it'll get better.  Next up will be her braid from Jabba's Palace!

(photos by e.hunt, and g.hunt, and collected from plentyofpopcorn, and shortlist)

Look at What You Just Saw, This is What You Live For

Happy late Christmas everyone!  And happy New Year!  Hope you all had a lovely time with family and enjoyed any extra free time.  We had a grand holiday and as such, my four days off work didn't really feel like off days. They were busy, but in a good way.  The Nashvillians arrived a little before dinner that Friday before Christmas and we walked down to Dewey's for a welcome-home pizza.

Christmas Eve morning we all met up at Kaldi's for a morning coffee and pastry.  After that we all had some things to do on our own before meeting back up that afternoon.  I helped Mom make some little desserts!

A while later we piled in the cars and left for the Hunt family party.  We all caught up and ate plenty of good food.  At the dinner table we played a version of the Drawing Game.  Rather than just sketching the person across from you, we did a blind contour drawing, meaning you can't look at your drawing, and you can't lift your pencil up off the page.  It was quite fun.  When dinner was over, we moved into the living room for the present-exchange game.  After that, Sara and I examined and compared the ornaments on their tree while everyone sat around chatting before saying our goodbye's and merry christmas's and heading home for the night.  

I had packed a bag to stay at home that night so I wouldn't miss a second of the Christmas cheer.  Everyone slept in so we would be all well-rested for the day.  After preparing coffee and breakfast, we began opening the mountain of presents that had taken over our living room.  It was a great year for gifts; lots of well-thought out and useful presents for each person.  My gifts to others were a little Star Wars/Starbucks-heavy, but everyone liked them.  Taylor gave me another one of his photo prints to match the pair he gave me a couple years ago, and Andrew gave me a series of Star Wars movie poster prints.  Both look smashing hung up in my apartment.

After all gifts were opened and all the wrapping paper was collected, everyone got dressed and began preparing for that night's party at our house.  Dad made an awesome Christmas dinner with ham, salmon, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Everything was delicious, especially when paired with Uncle Gary's pre-dinner Christmas eggnog.

A jolly, festive time was had by all!  After everyone left Taylor and I watched The Empire Strikes Back and I stayed the night in my cozy, second-floor bedroom.  The next day Mom and I went down to Ikea, which was fun but a little disappointing.  We each got a couple little house things though.  After that I packed up everything at home and went back to my apartment to get it set up for the party I was hosting for all the cousins that night.

Everyone arrived at different intervals so I ended up giving about six different apartment tours!  We all sat in the living room (I had to use every single seating surface available to accommodate everyone!) discussing life and sharing fun stories while enjoying drinks; it was a great time.  I wish I got a picture with everyone!  Oh well, happy New Year from me!!

(photos by e.hunt, r.hunt, and j.daily)