Sunnies California

In the late 1980’s, my mom had a beautiful pair of authentic Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They were definitely an upgrade from the half dozen pairs of  fashion sunglasses that were stored in a re purposed plastic McDonald’s Happy Meal bucket. The Ray-Bans obviously didn’t live in the Happy Meal bucket. These were special. They were stored in their designated case while my mom wasn’t wearing them, and she used neon Croakies during outdoor activities and sports to keep them secure and increase the chic factor. My dad made a big deal out of them, and said they were sharp. The photos of my mother wearing them during our family camping trips and ski trips really solidified her “cool mom” status.

When I was 32ish, I decided that it was finally time to own a pair of classy, high quality sunglasses. I wanted those Wayfarers. I wanted the exact pair that belonged to my mom. I thought that it would be so retro and cool, and it was also the most eco-responsible thing to do. I knew that she kept them, so I asked if she could pass them down to me. My mom made a face and frowned. “Really?” she said without any ounce of enthusiasm. “They’re really big and I think they’re pretty scratched up.” (Then why did you keep them, mom?!)

Bummer. It was all true. I learned that they didn’t really fit my mom all that well in the first place, and they weren’t really her favorite pair of glasses. Maybe that’s why she had to rock the Croakies? I was disappointed, but I was still going to own a pair of Ray-Bans even if it meant I had to purchase them myself. This was going to be a big milestone for me. Up to that point, all I knew in the world of sunglasses was the fast fashion type that you could pick up at any local Target, cheap mall store, or gas station.

So I finally did it. I purchased my first and only pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They fit really well. I felt like my eyes were getting legit UV protection. I solemnly swore to take care of them because they were expensive according to my budget. I was excited too because of how classic and versatile they were, and I knew they would last me a long time.

Womp Womp. Our time together was brief. We enjoyed a year and a half at most. There were a few trips to Lake Tahoe, and The Napa Valley Wine Country. I believe I had them for a wedding or two that I attended. I definitely wore them to a Giants game and a 4th of July celebration. Before I lost them for good, Instagram captured the memories.  

It’s about the people, not the Wayfarers. Well, this collage is about the Wayfarers.

After I realized that they were gone for good, I never allowed myself to buy expensive sunglasses again. I don’t trust myself to give them enough care and attention, especially nowadays when I’m trying to invest more time into people and not things. But I’m in a tricky place right now. I own the metaphorical  McDonald’s Happy Meal bucket full of fast fashion sunnies. I like having the style options, but they’re everywhere. They’re in my house and in my car, in purses, and in my classroom. I even have a slip-on pair that I got from the optometry department that go over my prescription glasses when I’m not wearing my contacts. They look pretty “cutting edge”.

Now it’s time for me to choose again. Do I purge every pair of cheap shades that I own and invest in one quality pair? This is a silly problem to have. Perhaps I should consult the Instagram poll feature.

Fast suns (1)
I spy with my many eyes…a broken pair of shades.


Until then,

I’m thankful that I have a pair of eyes that help me to see, enjoy, and learn about the world. Choice of eye wear for sun protection shouldn’t be this dramatic. It’s time for me to get over it.  


Things Always Come Back


I purchased this wall decoration while my husband and I were in the process of selling our first home. We worked hard to stage the house for potential buyers. That meant decluttering and shoving all of our possessions behind closed doors. Our realtor and the internet highly suggested to “depersonalize” our house. We did our best, but we were still living in it at the same time, so it was stressful. We stripped the walls of any photos or items that would show evidence that we had jobs, a kid, a life. I put a framed wedding photo away and replaced it with this “thing”.

I knew that I was on the verge of a huge transition that would involve dealing with ALL THE THINGS. All the things in our little house that would have to be sorted, trashed, recycled, shredded, given away, packed up, (burned?). Buying this knick-knack was a joke. I was entertained by the irony of it. I also thought that maybe it would help me put the message into action, and it would magically help me with the craziness that was ahead of us. Did it give me the strength to just get rid of everything and start fresh in a new house? No. Obviously it came back to prank me again as I’m purging away in our current home.

I had time for Bed Bath and Beyond on that fateful day. Looking back, I probably should have just taken my daughter to the park down the street instead. I was stress shopping and wanted some retail therapy. When I swiped my card, I was fully aware that I was actually spending money on this thing that encourages people not to have things. I fully believe in the message that this tchotchke promotes, especially now, as I try to shift some habits. I don’t need it written on the wall. Or shoved in a cabinet. Or on the floor where it currently is now because my daughter took my picture with it and then we moved on. I better make final arrangements for this thing.

Until then…

If there’s ever time for Bed Bath and Beyond, I will make alternative plans.   


Crafting Made Me Cry Like a Baby (Part 2)

My daughter’s 3rd birthday party was going to be the cutest little cowgirl roundup ever. She had a high interest in cowboys and the Wild West at that time because she would watch old episodes of  Bonanza with my Dad. She owned two cowboy hats and a pair of painfully adorable pink cowboy boots that we found at Payless. As she approached her 3rd birthday, and her Wild West enthusiasm stayed intact, I had one thought. I NEED to throw a cowgirl themed birthday party and the guests will LOVE my amazing handcrafted decorations. Not only would the guests think that I am still a crafty legend just like last year’s Hello Kitty party, but my Instagram likes would surely skyrocket. I even pre-grammed the craftiness.

Cowgirl pre

I went all out. I was too proud to buy any pre-made party decorations at the store. I cut and glued and assembled like there was no tomorrow. I made a “wanted” poster as a photobooth prop. Pinterest told me it was a good idea to also make cutesy fun labels for the food. Little bags of “Happy Trails Mix” were a must do. So I did it all. Then I carefully packed it all up the night before the party. We had decided to have the celebration at the Lafayette Reservoir that year. It was the perfect spot for little toddlers to run around and the space would work well for the theme.

Our best friends woke up at the crack of dawn and camped out to reserve our spot since the picnic area was available on a first come first serve basis.They texted us a selfie to let us know they grabbed the spot. I noticed that the sky was looking pretty grey in the background. It was grey at our house too, but I was staying optimistic. I was also in crafty party mode. I refused to think that anything would foil our plans for celebrating and showcasing the craftiness.

We arrived to the park as the skies continued to darken. The reservoir was eerily quiet and empty for a Saturday morning. I knew in my heart what was probably going to happen in the next bit of time, but I continued to ignore those thoughts and pressed on. I directed my husband and parents to lay out the food and the beloved decorations.

A passerby mentioned something along the lines of, “….going to get wet” or  “….rained on…” I only half-listened.

I laughed and said, “Hope not!”, in response as I laid out food on the picnic table.  

The toddler guests and my mommy friends were perfectly punctual. They came prepared with umbrellas. The kids got to run around a bit and chase some wild turkeys while I set up some more party items. Then it started to drizzle. Everyone who was present headed for spots under the trees to wait for it to pass.

Cue torrential downpour and sad violins. The rain didn’t pass. It was a loud thick curtain of heavy vertical rainfall that stunned us for a few minutes as the party space began to erode. Donuts and other various breakfast items turned to mush. The happy trails mix got flooded with California rain and there was no saving it. Every time I reminisce about that day, I still hear the sounds of the inconsolable crying toddlers, including my own, drenched, while their parents struggled to fasten them into car seats. Of course, at that time for me, worst of all was the completely destroyed party decor that I had made. Craft legend fail.       

California was in a severe drought that year. It barely rained a drop for the remainder of the season, but it was a complete downpour on cowgirl roundup birthday party day. Luckily, the rain stopped an hour or so later, and my cousin and his wife so graciously opened up their home to relocate the party at their house. My family, friends, and relatives gathered and enjoyed each other’s company. More importantly, we celebrated my daughter, and she was happy. She got to run around with her cousins and friends, and blow out the candle on her cake. It had been spared.

The sun came out gloriously as I stood with my friends in the front yard of my cousin’s house while the party was winding down. It was warm outside. We all had to wear our shades. Other than being very frustrated at Mother Nature at that very moment, I finally realized that my kid’s birthday parties are not the time for the Crafty Jenn Show. I’m embarrassed to think that I even wanted that in the first place. Let’s not forget about all the time I spent for the production of that show.

I recently looked back at my Instagram posts and found the ones from the party. It was all for show. No photos of the crying children or destruction were posted or even exist. I only posted the cute things and what I wanted people to see. Five years ago, I had different motives in mind for my own child’s party, and I am glad that my mindset has shifted a bit since then. I’m hoping to continue this learning process as I push myself to be more mindful of my time, energy, possessions, and money, as well as what I post on social media.

Cowgirl party

Until then,

Acknowledgement: I am sometimes heavily influenced by the images I see online and this could potentially skew my perspective.

Goals for the future: For future kid parties, I will focus on the people, and less on the decor. Maybe I’ll make ONE decoration by hand.

Now: I’m going to go play with my kids.