The Obligatory NAMM Post

*Another post found sitting in the drafts bin. Oopsie!*

Every year, I disappear from the internet for most of January. When most people roll back into their regular routines after the holidays, I’m already going full speed ahead preparing for the NAMM show. The NAMM show is one of the biggest trade shows for the Musical Instrument industry (I’ve blogged about it here) and it’s the largest event that we do each year. I don’t normally bring work onto this blog, but I always make an exception for NAMM since after all these years, it has become a labor of love. It’s my fifth year at the NAMM show and this year was by far the most difficult to pull off. We doubled our exhibit space which translated to twice the amount of work. I was a dummy and thought that we could manage the job as we always have, with the same # of set up days and a crew of 2-3. Oh boy was I wrong! In addition to the expanded size of the project, we had a few major hurdles thrown at us this year. Thank goodness I really truly like my work, my company, and my team…it eases the blow of throwing yourself completely into getting a job done.

When most of my day-to-day work happens online and behind a screen, it’s a nice change of pace to work with something that is tangible. Walls need to go up. Lights have to be plugged in. Graphics and product have to be hung. On the other hand, looming deadlines, messes and overall incompleteness is so much more obvious when it’s right in front of your face. The theme of the year was “just breathe” and know that in the end, it always comes together. Some how there is always just enough time and with enough resourcefulness, you can always improvise.

So 2015 me — I hope you learned a lot from this experience and next year will no doubt go smoother!

Mini Photoshoot

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*BRAG ABOUT YOUR CUTE PUPPY BLOG POST ALERT*

We’re so lucky to be friends with talented people like Jocelyn. When she’s behind a camera lens, she can make anything and everything look awesome and dreamy…

A few weekends ago, Jackie, Charley and I tagged along on one of Jocelyn and Ivy’s photo adventures. They are working on perfecting their night photography (and Jocelyn’s focusing on B&W) so we were going to meet at the Griffith Observatory because it was a beautiful full moon. Apparently all the couples in town had the same idea so we turned to plan B: the First Street Bridge in Downtown LA. J and I never leave our Westside bubble, not to mention after 9pm, but Ivy and Joce are slowly getting us out of our grandma habits…I’m so glad we went! All the photos in this post were taken by Jocelyn and if you like what you see here, you should definitely go check out the rest of her work here.

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The photo on the left is one of my favorites — ASPCA ad anyone? Can’t you just hear Sarah McLaughlin singing in the background?

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Speaking of ads…if anyone from Ruffwear is reading this, Charley would love to be one of your models. She is sporting her Webmaster harness here and always receives so many compliments! We think she looks like she’s about to jump off a plane!

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The most awkward/awesome family photo and Charley’s soft schnoz. My, I love that pup.

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Thanks for the impromptu photoshoot, Joce!

Tugging at Your Heart Strings

“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” Roy E. Disney

Kind of a long story short…last year, I was inspired to spend some time thinking long and hard about my goals. I wrote out a list of short term, long term and really long term goals in a few categories: personal, career and health. It sounds like an easy task but when I actually started putting pen to paper, I struggled! Asking yourself, “What do you really want?” is harder than it sounds and writing those goals down made them seem even more real*. One of my short to long term goals was to identify one (or some) organization(s) that I would want to contribute to with both my time and money. Last year, I dipped my toes into this idea by starting a small monthly donation to KCRW, our local radio station. I’m not overflowing with money but I figured that it was the least I could do since I tune in daily. I want to continue supporting local programming, music and arts but the following video really inspired me to think of other organizations I might help. I promise it’s worth watching!

I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want to just scoop up those kittens and put them in a warm, loving home? I’m not sure if it’s a natural reaction to shed tears to a silly lip synced video to Abba but Jackie can attest that I had tears rolling down my face by the first chorus. I couldn’t help but think “those little animals need homes!”

I should also mention that I’m not an “emotional” person who cries at everything. That said, there are a few things that really do make me tear up every time they’re mentioned…I have a feeling that might be a good indication of where my heart is. The first one already mentioned: anything about adopting animals. We now have 3 little nuggets and I can’t imagine life without them! The second: anything that has to do with gay marriages. Yup, teared up when Queen Latifah married all those couples at the Grammys and if that wasn’t enough, Madonna appeared and sang “Open Your Heart”! Everyone was so happy and in love!! Everyone deserves that. Third, anything that has to do with life-changing weight loss…ha! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Biggest Loser? Tears!

This year, I’d love to somehow contribute to one, all, or some of these causes. Jackie and I are on the path towards getting Charley certified to be a therapy dog and once that happens I think there will be a lot of volunteer opportunities for us to do together. Until we get to that point, there are a ton of really great no-kill animal shelters and adoption organizations in LA who need volunteers and funding. Some of them are NKLA, LA Love and Leashes, Angel City Pit Bulls…the list goes on! For human rights and the support of gay marriage, some of the organizations on my radar are the Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and the Self Evident Truths Project. I’m a little stumped about my third heart-tugger…anyone know of any awesome healthy non-profit lifestyle / food education programs?

ANYWAY…thanks for making it through this long post…hope you were inspired to think of some areas where you can give back this year, if you aren’t already.

*If you’re inspired to give this a try, I found this worksheet from Lululemon super helpful! Also remember that if you do write down your goals, it’s okay to change them later. Life isn’t static…things happen…adapt and take it all in as you grow and change. Namaste. Just kidding.

What City Should You Actually Live In?

Have you taken this Buzzfeed quiz? Lots of people were sharing their results on Facebook and Instagram this week so I gave it a shot. Surprise, surprise…Los Angeles! There you have it. I guess I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Also, Jennifer Lawrence is my fave.

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I find that many people my age have troubles seeing themselves living in the same city 5 or 10 years down the road. We’re so fickle — we like to think that we can pick up and go wherever the wind takes us. Some of us live in an apartment for years without really settling in because we don’t know when we’re going to move on to the next best thing. But, what if this is the best thing? Would you know it if it bit you in the butt?

Sure, I know that a Buzzfeed quiz isn’t the most accurate way to assess someone’s personality or lifestyle (come on, my true Beyonce choice wasn’t even an option!), but when Los Angeles popped up, I was not surprised one bit. I….love…it…here! It’s cliche, but I really do yoga classes and drink green juices. I prefer sun and I even order skinny vanilla lattes (with coconut almond milk to take it up a notch!) I used to identify myself as a true PNW’er with a super laid back, mellow disposition. I used to knit my own purses for goodness sakes. But, I think as each year goes by, I’m starting to sense a flip flop. Maybe one day, I’ll find myself back in Seattle. But not anytime soon…

(Sidenote: Apparently, I still SPEAK like I’m from Seattle! This dialect quiz is fun…give it a shot and let me know if it’s accurate!)

Day 1.

We started 2014 on a great note. Since the end of January is always a crazy time at work, there was extra pressure to spend the day off wisely. Driving up to Santa Barbara to take Charley to the beach couldn’t have been a better idea. Santa Monica is pretty strict about their no-dogs-on-the-beach rule but a few of Santa Barbara’s beaches have awesome off-leach areas and it was a good excuse for us to get out of town. Before heading out, we looked up a few dog-friendly restaurants and made sure to stop by the dog park to get some of her energy out before the long car ride.

For lunch, we chose a Vegan plant-based spot, Adama, right off State Street. Parents, don’t be alarmed – we aren’t going vegan in the new year! The holidays (and the free NYE pizza that we scored) had me feeling super heavy so I craved a nice organic veggie juice and something light. If you find yourself in SB, I highly recommend the Jackfruit tacos at Adama! Yummy and flavorful for everyone…meat-eaters, gluten-free friends and you crazy vegans. Jackie also got a “Depth Charge”, which was apparently a Chai tea latte with a shot of espresso but when you add coconut milk, it tastes like a really thick and amazing hot dark chocolate drink.

I’m getting off topic.

Arroyo Burro beach is just a few minutes away from State Street. It took Charley a little while to figure out what to do with all the sand but once she got the hang of it, she was in heaven. So far she doesn’t seem like much of a water dog but she will chase anyone who lets her (especially the tiny fuzzy dogs). She’s slowly getting the hang of fetch…

We didn’t do it on purpose but we were there long enough to catch the sunset …  the perfect ending to the first day of the year.