Fiona.

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To lose a forever dog, a family member, is one of life’s biggest heartaches. One that is stale, world-stopping and devastating. Maybe I have just been lucky to have never experienced a “loss” of any sort. But this one has not been easy for me. I have been going through the stages of grief like a never-ending circle. Thus, this post is more for my healing and therapy than for anyone’s interest. But, I also hope that this resonates with all pet lovers and to those who have lost a forever pet.

I’ve had to think back to the very beginning of our time together. Here’s the story:

She decided to follow my brother home from middle school one day. And we never looked back. She was not a pup when we took her in. She must have been at least a year old– I was 9 or 10. Making her at least 17 years old this year.

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Fiona and my Dad probably over 10 years ago. Hence, that couch pattern.

If you know me, you know Fiona.

She was the strongest little lady. She managed to get taken from our yard twice, returning both times. The first time, we were living in my old house. She disappeared for days, maybe even a whole week. One night, we got a call from our neighbor letting us know that Fiona had come home all on her own. The second time, just last year, she was taken by someone in a car. She made it back home all on her own before I could even put up the Lost Dog signs. Aside from being terrible irresponsible, isn’t that crazy? Aside from that, she developed a tumor on her foot about four years ago. With fair warning from the vet, she let us know that because of her old age, she probably would not make it out of surgery. We tried anyway, and received a happy, much healthier, toe-missing Fiona in return.  She lived.

Holidays were fun with Peonies. My mom dressed her up as a bumble bee more years than I can even keep count of. This last year, as i was a cactus, my mom tied a bow around her head and claimed she was “Frida” that year. During Thanksgiving, she sat on my right side. Always. Some years, she even had a plate on the table. I never had shame in feeding her with my fork. Christmas was fun because she loved to rip apart the wrapping paper left on the floor from opening gifts.

Fiona had a sassy personality. If she could talk, she would be one of few words. Her facial expressions and lack of interest for things happening around her spoke to the core of her personality. She was strong. So much so, that she never expressed the amount of pain and discomfort she was experiencing that led to her last days. Suddenly, she decided she couldn’t bear anymore and it started to show. She had liver failure along with other things that come with old age. And although she was holding on, and looked like she had more fight, we made the decision to end her pain and send her off to the heavens.

You see, Fiona was much more than just a pet to me. She was the wagging tail, squinty face, ears pushed back girl that I came home to through elementary, middle school, high school and college. My move to Tennessee was hard because of my pups. I knew I would miss them more than anything. The morning that I was leaving Fresno and flying out to Nashville, I was rushing into the car and ran back to hug Fiona and Peas one last time.

My last memory of her was just a few days before I left to Tennessee. I picked her up and placed her on my chest. She fell asleep. Luckily, my mom captured a picture of that moment. I can always look back at it to remember her. img_8824

The beautiful thing about this whole loss, has been the amount of people that have reached out to acknowledge and remember her. I feel so privileged to have been chosen to love her for the last 15 years.

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Peonies, I will miss you and love you forever. I hope that you’ve found a nice patch of sun to lay in while you wait for us to catch up to you. 

Xx,

Sandy.

Fiona.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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My first Monday in Tennessee is sooooo Monday-y. My husband (woah, thats weird!) went back to work today and I am now at home alone in a state of limbo. Our home remains empty with nothing but a tv on the floor and a few important items in the fridge to hold me over until tonight. My dad has been making his way through the US to deliver me all of my prized possessions– which right now, would be my car. I’m thinking this may be a good thing because if i actually had my car, i would be at Target or TJ Maxx instead of sitting here on my kitchen counter, eating chocolate chip ice cream straight from the tub, writing this very blog  post. What is it that’s so empowering about having corn dogs for breakfast and ice cream for lunch that makes me feel like I’m an adult. Rebellious even. (Sorry Ma!)

I have hardly anything to complain about though. I believe that I am in the midst of my biggest life adventure thus far. I start working again very soon. I’m spending a lot of time browsing and shopping for home items. I’m really into this interior design thing right now. PINTEREST AF.

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The most exciting thing about my time here so far? Probably the empty home that’s allowing me to dream and image what it’s going to look and feel like once it is full, the moving boxes are gone and my dad has made his way back to Fresno.

When I asked Steven what he was most excited about, he said, “January 16th, watching TV on our couch.”

We are ready for some steady life.

Day 5 here, and life is so good y’all.

Cheers,

Sandra

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Fresno, California

It is time to make an official announcement: I’M MOVING TO TENNESSEE!

Although it’s very expected as my husband-to-be currently resides there, it was a daunting decision. It is bittersweet to leave my hometown, my family, my job, everything I know to start a life somewhere completely new. But what better place to start an adventure than Nashville? A complete dream, am I right? #letshopeso

As a small tribute to my hometown, I wanted to list my favorite things and places in Fresno. Pre-warning: the foodie in me is alive while writing this.

1. Sandy’s Country Junction: If you are a breakfast person, you must visit Sandy’s in Old Town Clovis. The biscuits and gravy here are absolutely to die for… along with everything else on the menu. Added bonus: orange juice served in a glass boot.

images by @eatlikethegosds & @allisonmayyys

2. Salsa’s Cantina: When it comes to Mexican food, I am quite the critic. Salsa’s is also in Old Town Clovis and has such a beautiful space with wood beam ceilings and chandeliers. Aside from it being pretty, the food is the best Mexican in town. Trust me on this, get the tacos or chile verde burrito with a handmade flour tortilla. You. Will. Thank. Me.

images by @curlysnu & @rsvpem

3. Ampersand: best ice cream ever. ’nuff said. But seriously, they make their ice cream in-house and come up with the best combinations. I’m all about their vanilla, but their coffee bean is a close second.

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4. Anthropologie: Aside from this being my workplace for the past three years, Anthropologie at Fashion Fair Mall is the reason why I’m always questioning where my money has gone. The clothes here are just so good. Quality really is a thing you guys. Getting away from fast fashion retailers and submerging myself in Anthro has opened my eyes to the quality and price of a piece really correlating accurately. If that’s not enough, the retailer can almost be considered an art gallery with all of its seasonal displays.

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5. Spano Park: I wish I had a picture of this place. This tiny baby park is located (and well-hidden) in the corner of Palm & Nees. It overlooks the SJ River and mountains. It’s especially pretty during sun down. Steven and I often go the Spano Park for just that… and ice cream dates too since Cold Stone is just down the street in Riverpark.

6. Fresno State Library: I have been going to the Fresno State Library to study even before I was a Fresno State student. There’s just something about being in that library with other students that makes me get stuff done. I have a new appreciation for large Mac computers, too, as they are strategically placed on all floors for students to work on. The other great thing about this library is the video that is constantly playing on the outside of the building and second floor indoors. It is a woman in a red dress weaving a traditional Native American basket. Fun fact: this video plays from beginning to end in one academic year. Crazy, right?!

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My plan is to come back once Steven is done with the Army, but who knows what lies ahead and the type of adventures and opportunities we will stumble upon. My hope is to fall in love with independence and the unknown. Wish me luck–ready or not, here I come Tennessee.

 

xx,

Sandra, the forever California girl.

 

Fresno, California

PLAYLIST.

I am a deep lover of music. Not just any kind of music–but music that makes you feel something. I can vividly remember loving to sing as a young child. I did choir and picked up my first instrument when I was in elementary school. I played the clarinet for three years. I’ll be the first to admit that I actually didn’t suck at it either. I almost wish I would have pursued it through middle school, but God forbid I be associated with the band (*rolls eyes at my maturity level back then*) I pursued singing for the first time on a team when being forced by my then, youth pastors. I love them for it now. I continued to sing for the main worship team when I got older and even got to travel for conferences. I also started to learn piano right after high school. Again, thanks Doug and Kim.

Today, piano and singing continue to be my saving grace. You’ll find me at my piano when I am extremely stressed out or feeling very inspired and/or emotional. It’s been very therapeutic for me for years.

Steven makes fun of me because I am an avid playlist maker. I have a playlist on Spotify titled “Currently” that he has memorized from top to bottom with how often I play it. Whaaaaaaaatever Steven. (for your amusement, click here for this super cool playlist)

In the spirit of great music, I have gathered a few of my all-time favorites (including a few new ones) in hopes that this playlist makes you feel something in the depths of your soul as it has mine.

1. Saturn- Sleeping At Last

Anything by Sleeping At Last is so musically beautiful. This song just speaks about the beauty of passing life.

2. Take the World- Johnnyswim

3. Touching Heaven- Johnnyswim

I become a puddle with the two songs above. They give me ALLLLLLLL the feels. They are anthems for this season of my life (because if you don’t know, I’M GETTING MARRIED Y’ALL *insert 100 heart eyes here*) Also, please do yourself a favor and listen to the entire new album by Johnnyswim titled “Georgica Pond”. It is beautiful, heartfelt, and full of feel-good music.

4. Map Of The World- City and Colour 

5. Poison and Wine- The Civil Wars

Who else is still mourning the band break up of The Civil Wars, because MY GOD they are everything.

6. Work Song- Hozier

7. Falling Slowly- Glen Hansard

Oldie, but goodie.

8. Barcelona- George Ezra

The epitome of feel good music.

9. Emmylou- Vance Joy

10. You Are Enough- Sleeping At Last

 

CLICK HERE to open up this playlist on your spotify!

 

xx,

Sandra

 

 

PLAYLIST.

Twenty-Five

You guys! I am turning twenty-freakin’-five on Monday, October 3rd!! Where has the time gone? It is terribly true when adults (do I count as one now?) say that time goes by much faster when you’re older. Can everyone recall wanting to be grown up when you were just a child? I can. I thought 25 was OLD. I AM OLD (according to my 8 year old self- YIKES) I’ve been in reflecting mode all week and really wanted to write something about my twenty five years on this Earth– so here it goes:

In my 25 years on this Earth, I have learned that you have to work hard for what you want. Expect nothing to be handed to you. I have been so fortunate to have an amazing set of hard working parents that have always pushed the best values on me. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I remember receiving was from my dad when I was about 10 years old. He said this: “Always keep your word.” I still hear his voice when I’m trying to back out of something that I committed to.

I realized that you are responsible for your own happiness. It is your job to choose who your surround yourself with. And from experience, it makes a difference who those people are. I am so lucky to have the relationships I have. My family, my workplace family, my friends, Steven. STEVEN. He is such a light in my life. Which brings me to my next point-

Relationships should be easy. One of my best friends, Kim, told me that dating should be two things: easy and fun. When Steven came along, he got the best version of me that I had ever been. It was absolutely perfect timing. And everything suddenly made sense, everything Kim told me, everything that everyone else had told me- it made sense. THIS is how it was supposed to be all along. EASY. FUN. I understood it. More and more, I became more of myself. More myself than I even knew I had.  Everyone deserves a love like the one Steven gives me. Unwavering, pure, light-hearted, free and forgiving.

This year, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would do more. Regardless of my agenda. Spontaneity is what I needed. I found that saying yes to last minute things are still not necessarily my favorite thing (the organizer in me is fierce!) but I did learn that taking time to step away from your day-to-day routine is very necessary. As exhausting as it may be, it’s so freeing. Thanks to the spontaneous people I’ve met along the way that have stimulated this part of me.

And if I can be thankful for one thing in my life, it’s definitely for God’s promises. For every tough time in my life, God has turned it around with five more great things. His promises are still true today, tomorrow and forever.

I think 25 is going to be a good year for me. I’m still learning and growing. But I heard that your brain is fully developed at 25… so things can only go up from here, right?

Happy Birthday to me, and here’s to another year full of love, hard work and too much laughter.

xx,

Sandra

Twenty-Five

#girlboss

I believe that the best kind of women are those that empower other women.  Many of the characteristics include and are not limited to— grace, empathy and more than often a much more tolerable version of #kanyewestconfidence.

This is the start of my #girlboss series—these are some of my most near and dear to my heart, gosh dang favorite #girlbosses of Instagram.

#1: Jen Gotch

I’ve got to mention her first due to her most recent accomplishment in landing a highlight in Forbes for being the ultimate boss. She is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of  Ban.do. Please do yourself a favor and shop through their selection of all things ridiculously cute. She is a creative mastermind and works so hard. OKAY OKAY– i don’t know her personally (i wish!) but I do follow her on snapchat where I observe that she is often working long hours all alone on weekends at the ban.do penthouse (yes, the penthouse is just as cool as you’re thinking it to be. Think pink couch, pink chairs and lots of disco balls) Last but not least, I love her due to her obsession with Rachel Comey shoes.

#2: Karly Santiago

I might be a little biased with this one, but its my blog and I can do whatever I want! Karly is one of my closest friends. Aside from being an amazing friend, she is a small business owner of Cloth and Twig. You can see her business instgram here and her etsy shop here. As you might have already guessed, she is a master crossstitcher, wife and momma of two. She has a great track record of getting some impressive regrams: the ups store, dodgers, and Jo-Ann’s (just to name a few) I purchased a pillow from Karly a few months ago (see here)– is that not the best thing you’ve ever seen?! With crazy talent, comes high demand. So if you’re looking to purchase, make sure you do it in a timely manner as holiday is coming up soon!

#3: Jessica Dekker

Have you ever met anyone that is so diligent and committed to their job that it is at times mind-boggling as to how they are keeping sane? This is Jessica, the visual manager at Anthropologie Fresno and owner and creative genius behind JRD Art. One of the best qualities of a #girlboss is being able to wear many hats with timelines and distance, and STILL be able to genuinely smile through it. Jessica is the epitome of just that. She recently opened up her shop (here!) Her art work speaks to her personality as it is full of life, color and texture. Please do yourself a favor and check out her shop– warning: you will fall in love with the colors.

 

Who’s your favorite #girlboss? I’d love to know! Leave a comment with a link or handle so I can follow along!

xx,

Sandra

#girlboss

In the Midst

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Welcome welcome welcome! This is the very beginning of my blog. This has been in the making for quite a few years now… and here we are now!

I titled my first blog post, “in the midst” for a reason. I always said that I would never start my own blog unless I had the time for it. Well. I don’t really have the time for it now as I have a full time job at Anthropologie and now officially a full time student again at Fresno State University. I have everything but time. But in the midst of being busy, I have to find sanity. I think this is going to be a great outlet for me to really just commit to making time for myself.

I have to be honest, the biggest push to making this blog a reality is because blogging is a requirement in one of my business classes (Hi, Professor Balakian– as she’s probably reading this!)

A little bit about myself to get this started–

As stated above, I am currently a supervisor at Anthropologie. I absolutely love my job and would not trade it for anything. I am surrounded by amazing, talented people who are in the business of development. I am also a student at Fresno State. My education took quite the halt right out of high school as I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do with my life. I did end up going back to Fresno City College when I was more serious about my education. To date, I don’t regret this decision. Now that I am at Fresno State, I am focusing on my business degree! Last but certainly not least, I am a Christian. I believe that God orchestrates our lives in the most beautiful way even when terrible things happen…but more on that later.

Through this blog, I hope to inspire you in many ways through fashion, travel and personal mementos.

Xx,

Sandra

 

 

 

In the Midst