Friday, December 30

Bohemian Guy

My husband playing guitar in his classroom, taken by a parent

How can you not love a guy that plays bass guitar for his 5th grade students?

Here's a funny conversation that transpired about 4 years ago:

Brother in-law Jay: You should marry a teacher.

Me: Jay, I don't want to marry a teacher. I'm attracted to musicians, writers and artists.

Brother in-law Jay: You'll end up marrying a teacher.

Me: I might not ever get married...let's change the subject.

Brother in-law Jay: Teachers are nice, dependable and smart people.

Me: Whatever.

So...what happens a few months later? I met a teacher. A teacher who is a musician, a writer, designer...and is nice, dependable and smart.

Be careful of what your family members wish for you.

I don't think I've ever admitted to Jay that he was right. Let's just pretend it was my idea all along.

Thursday, December 29

Spilling Open

Some of my favorite books, Kodak EasyShare LS753

Sabrina reminds me in her books that it is okay to spill open. That it is BRAVE to spill your emotions as you feel them.

Yesterday I was feeling embarrassed of the blog I wrote. I felt that I always have to come to this place being positive and fruitful and wise. I feared that my words would leave the readers sad and depressed.

Today I am feeling brave for speaking my truth and am full of hope that you will be inspired to speak yours. I am reminded that it is beautiful and human to feel a myriad of emotions. I am reminded that to be in touch with myself is being ALIVE and AWARE.

Today my dear childhood friend also reminded me that I tend to be hard on myself. That being a Virgo, I always strive towards perfection...even with my own emotions. Her loving and kind words allowed me to embrace inperfection with my feelings today and I find myself breathing deeper and more full.

One of the many gorgeous aspects of having friends in your life is that they remind you to laugh at yourself when you take yourself too seriously.

Tuesday, December 27

Proud Auntie

My niece Kelly & Me on Christmas Day, taken by Kelly's camera

I've been an aunt since I was 10 years old. So I feel like I went through the majority of my adolescent growing pains along with my nieces and nephews. Perhaps that is why they all feel like such good friends, rather than just family.

I was fortunate to spend some quality time with them the last few days. Fortunate because they are amazing human beings. I feel I must bow down to my two older sisters for how they've raised such incredible individuals.

My niece Angela on Christmas Eve, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I've always been the auntie that lives far away. Sort of the "wild" one I suppose (although my sisters are closet wild women)...off on my many adventures. I often wondered and worried whether or not my distance would affect my relationship with my nieces and nephews. What I have learned is that it hasn't. When I see them, they treat me as if I've never left. I know it is because they sense my deep love and respect for them and that they understand and respect my choices. I've always wished that my choices would be a good example to them to take large leaps in life. That there is a whole world out there just waiting to be touched, felt, tasted and seen for them to explore. One has already gone to Europe. It will be fun to see what follows and to live vicariously through their experiences (or just join along).

My nephew Casey on Christmas Eve, Kodak EasyShare LS753

Now that they're older...I so look forward to our adventures "together". I have always had a dream of traveling the world with them. So I am putting that energy out there...manifesting that idea for our lives.

My nephew's Sean & Mark on Christmas Eve, Kodak EasyShare LS753

Mark, Angela, Kelly, Casey and Sean...I love you beaucoup and admire the people you are.


A few special bits about each of them:

Mark at our wedding, Photo by Robin Nations

Mark: His peaceful, zen attitude helps everyone sitting near him in a room feel calm, even in the midst of chaos. He always makes you feel so listened to. That is a rare and beautiful quality.

Goofy Angela & Me with Pink Drinks downtown, Kodak EasyShare

Angela: My lil' full of zest Euro-traveler. Her passion for women's history is so inspiring. She does Irish dancing in a pub like none other (sorry, love...I had to). I love that she gets me...perhaps because we're like twins.

Kelly at the Beach, Taken by her boyfriend Dave

Kelly: She never judges, always embraces everyone's differences with her tender heart and has a love affair with vintage people and things (including Marylin Monroe). She's an old soul and illuminates any room she walks into.

Casey at camp, photo taken by his friend

Casey: He sits there quiet and calm and then all of a sudden does something hilarious which makes you belly laugh. I like not knowing what to expect from him. His goofy humor is confident and refreshing.

Sean, photo taken by his friend

Sean: He has a huge imagination and is so passionate about his inventions. I could listen to him for hours...and look forward to how he will enlighten our future society with his original ideas.

Proud, proud auntie...

Me (Sean in background) grinning while singing carols, taken by my hubby

Thursday, December 22

Portuguese Family Christmas

My Immediate Portuguese Family, Photo by Robin Nations

I am away for a few days to be with the family in Northern Cali.

Let me bring you into the home our Portuguese Family Christmas Eve.

Come on, let’s go…

The minute we step foot into my aunts entry way, we hear…”Oooohhhhh…Awwwww…Eeeeeeee….” and feel a plethora of arms, hands, lips from sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins grabbing us from various directions.

Bright, passionate, beautiful, LOUD people lovin’ on us.

Here comes the Matriarch (our Va Va…meaning, Grandmother in Portuguese). She charges through all of the folk, throws her hands up in the air, claps a few times, and fists them together as she brings them to her lips with a huge smile on her face. She then grabs your face with both hands and kisses you on each cheek, then your lips with her plump, wet lips that have a few crumbs left on them from something she was nibbling on. She then proceeds to look at you up and down (with her gorgeous blue eyes) and says…”You Look Healthy!” (Translation = “You have put weight on and look chubby”).

Can you imagine my poor husband experiencing all this for the first time? He comes from a small German family. When my Va Va first saw him, she grabbed his face and covered him with kisses, then looked at me and said…”He’s a hunk…if only I was your age!”

She continues to say this to me every time she sees him. My grandmother has a crush on my husband.

So…after sitting/standing around catching up on one another’s lives and eating until our bellies protrude enough to when the top button needs to come undone, we all gather into the living room to sing Christmas Carols.

As we are all squeezed into this one room, shoulder to shoulder, limbs toppled over one another on couches, my aunt passes out the sheet music to every other person.

As she stands in the middle of us, conducting her Portuguese Family choir, we belt out the carols (mostly out of tune), glance at one another and giggle with amusement. Although, there are always those few that take this very seriously and have a desire for us all to know how beautiful their voice is.

Are those bells ringing that I hear outside the window??? *ding, ding, ding*. Did I just see a large man in a red suit walk by??

Into the living room comes one of our family members, dressed up in a red Santa suit two or three sizes too large, with a white beard falling apart, hanging below their chin, and a large pillow sack full of gifts over his/her shoulder. “Ho, Ho, Ho…” We all gasp in surprise as the little ones squeal with glee. Side note: My husband has to do his deed as soon as we have children. He’s not looking forward to it; although…I think he’ll be a Supa’ Star Santa.

One by one, the wee ones (or not so wee) sit on Pseudo-Santa’s lap and receive one gift (bought by that particular child’s parents) and Santa shares something comical about the child’s personality which brings us all into a fit of giggles.

After Santa stumbles out of the room, the evening mellows.

This is when I (the quiet wallflower of the family) just sit and observe what is transpiring all around me. I typically feel overwhelmed, almost brought to tears by the abundant energy, the fierce and passionate love shared between us and it always brings me back to watching Va Va (Grandmother) across the room.

None of us would be here if it wasn’t for her. Our Matriarch. She sits on her throne and watches all of her children and children’s children with a peaceful smile on her face. A knowing that all the fruits of her labor have blossomed.

Va Va, Photo by Robin Nations

She ponders these thoughts as crumbs fall off her lips…

Wednesday, December 21

Cure for the Grumps

Amber Elvis, Kodak EasyShare LS753

Today I felt grumpy and then I looked at these two.

They always help me wash off the grumpies. Especially when they lay on my chest, look at me close in the eyes (as seen above) and say, in cat speak..."chill out mama".

ps. Amber likes to play fetch with my hair ties...and Elvis likes to chew on and juggle with my husbands Q-tip in the morning after he cleans his ears with it. Nice.

Monday, December 19

Narnia and Kong

So, I went to go see a few matinee's this weekend with the hubs: First King Kong on Saturday then the Chronicles of Narnia on Sunday.

I cannot stop thinking of the fiercely passionate 25 foot Gorilla and the spiritually magestic Lion (Aslen).

Their characters moved me. I am not even going to mention how fantastic the special effects were because that will make these animals seem less real to me. So...let me just live in my fantasy world and pretend that I can visit Kong on Skull Island if I miss him and go into my parents wardrobe later this week so I can venture into Narnia and cuddle up next to Aslen, the Lion.

Let me share a cute moment. My husband and I were sitting all cuddled up in our theater seats with our legs up on the empty chairs in front of us. With our arms intertwined and our eyes wide with amazement, we watched the little girl Lucy take her first steps into Narnia from the wardrobe. The snow was falling, wind softly blowing and ethereal music was dancing all around us. I was immediately transported into a fantasy world, just as I was back in third grade while my teacher read this book by C.S. Lewis to our class (little bits every day).

Then my husband looked at me, whispered in my ear and said..."Let's go there together..." (meaning Narnia).

My heart dropped to my stomach when he said this. I looked at him, with my face all lit up, nuzzled my nose into his shoulder (good thing it wasn't runny) and thought to myself; I am so blessed that I married someone with a huge imagination and childlike spirit...just like me. He's currently writing a fantasy novel, so I know how natural it is for him to create in his mind and write about a world such as Narnia.

I know...we're freaks.

If inspired, go see these films...you'll know what I mean. I'd love to hear your experience.

Saturday, December 17

Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek, Spring Tour, Photo by Adam Brimer

Last night I went to a Nickel Creek concert at the House of Blues with some extremely cool people. I truly dig this band. In fact, whenever I see them I am most definitely brought to tears. Their music is soulful and the harmony and melodies divine...but what truly moves me is how passionate each one of them are about their instruments as they play. Not to mention the fact that each one of them were natural musicians at a very young age and have played together for years.

This band inspired me to love Blue Grass.

This band introduced me to the sound of a mandolin.

I have a crush on the way Sarah Watkin's dresses...and how confident she is about her beautiful goddess~like curvy body up on stage. She is radiant:

Sara Watkins

See, isn't she adorable??

Well...unfortunately I felt a bit ill and had to leave far too early than I had hoped. Although, what saved me from being extremely sad about this was the previous time I saw them.

I have a seriously cool friend (more on how I met this sweet guy in a future blog) that is a producer for a local independant radio station. This station is a huge fan of this band. So my friend invited me to a private members concert for Nickel Creek and I was able to show up before the concert and watch their sound check. As I helped my friend put up posters in the dim, candle lit bar...I was feet away from them. They were chatting with one another, giggling, being their talented down to earth, very~human selves.

I felt honored to be a part of that and the concert was very intimate. They played old songs, new songs and told funny stories. Their entire family was sitting up front and that just made it feel so homey. I am not sure if anything will compare to that...but I'll keep trying.

Check out their music...perhaps you'll fall in love with them as I have.

Friday, December 16

Underneath the Stars

Our Hand-Fasting Ceremony, Photo by Robin Nations

Speaking of laying in a field of flowers, underneath the stars with a young boy in my dreams who would turn out to be my husband one day...

I stumbled upon this song today by Kate Rusby:

Underneath the Stars

Underneath the stars I'll meet you
Underneath the stars I'll greet you
There beneath the stars I'll leave you
Before you go of your own free will

Go gently

Underneath the stars you met me
Underneath the stars you left me
I wonder if the stars regret me
At least you'll go of your own free will

Go gently

Here beneath the stars I'm landing
And here beneath the stars not ending
Why on earth am I pretending?
I'm here again, the stars befriending
They come and go of their own free will

Go gently
Go gently

Underneath the stars you met me
And Underneath the stars you left me
I wonder if the stars regret me
I'm sure they'd like me if they only met me
They come and go of their own free will

Go gently
Go gently
Go gently


Find this song and listen to it with your eyes closed. It will move you.

Thank you, Kate...for putting to words a dream that always danced in my imagination as a young girl. Although...he never really left me, just sort of dissapeared temporarily until he grew hair on his chest!

Thursday, December 15

Lushy Love

Our red, red wine, Kodak EasyShare LS753

"Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved."

- Medieval German saying

This above quote is for my lovely true-blue German mother in-law. She's indeed a lover of wine and will relish this! Cheers, mom.

I sat up at a wine bar the other night with my best frister. The ambiance was dark, candle lit and full of single (or not so single) men drooling at the sight of her. The coolest thing was that she was so oblivious to it and was totally into me instead. *smile* Nice!

We did a bit of wine tasting. A bit meaning...ummm...6 glasses of HUGE half filled red wine goblets. Feeling Lushy??? Yes!

At first we tried to be all elle-professional wine taster-esque by swishing the wine in a circle to see the legs (aka: wine trailing down inside from the rim). Then putting our nose up into the glass to smell all the aromas (learned this from the movie Sideways). Sipping and swirling it around in our mouths, and then snapping our tonques to the roof of our mouth as if to taste the strawberry, peach, cedar - whatever the description our wine menu displayed.

We'd then look at one another, nod and gently grab the next glass by the stem. After trying each of the six wines with this, "Oh I totally know what I am talking about" attitude...we then started the Lush Wars. Gulp, Gulp, Gulp...aaaaaaaaahhhhhh...the buzz. THAT is what we really wanted, right???

Usually when we feel that yummy-wine-buzz, we giggle at ourselves, giggle at others, as everything floating around us becomes the muse of our conversation.

This time was different.

We got deep. We got mushy. We even got teary!! *gasp*. It turned out to be one yummy love fest. Soulfully sharing about our thoughts on the relationships in our lives (boys, families, work, friends) and speaking our truth on some concerns we had about one another and decisions we had made. Noone around us existed (well, with the exception of the handful of Canadian hockey players that she would glance at in between sharings).

Everything we shared came from a place of the deepest of raw love...even the uncomfortable things that we had been afraid to share for fear of hurting one another. It is all in the delivery. If you offer up feelings with a big warm hug and gushing with love...defenses come down and hearts open...and trust is solidified.

So there we were...a tall blondie and a petite brunette, looking like Lezzies all draped on one another up at the bar. One of many of the most amazing moments I have ever exchanged with my best frister. Cherish, cherish...

Thank you, truth serum...for your assistance here.

*chink, chink* Cheers!!!

Tuesday, December 13

The Gift of Healing

My husbands healing laughter, Photo by Robin Nations

My husband has the gift of healing others hearts just by his presence alone. Something about his jolly spirit, his all knowing big brown/green eyes, his warm smile and his laugh...oh his laugh.

This is all what drew me to him the instant I met him. In our first few exchanges, I felt as if we had been friends as young children, running in fields together, tickling one another in a bed of flowers, starring up at stars and naming them one by one. These were the images that came to my mind when we were introduced standing in his best friend's kitchen in Santa Barbara. And now that I know him in my thirties I can say without doubt that if we were indeed friends in our younger years, those are definitely the playful things we would have spent our time together doing (perhaps sneaking in a quick kiss now and then between star naming).

Last night I was sitting in his comfy leather chair again, with my knees up to my chest and tears streaming down my face. He sat up on the arm of the chair stroking my back...just letting me cry. There was a time when he would try to fix the problem because I know it is natural for men to do so. Now he just allows me to have my emotions and gives me what I truly need at that moment...silence, touch, a nod of understanding and a look in his eyes that says..."I know it hurts".

We've been trying to get pregnant since October of 2004. It has been quite an amazing journey for us. That is what I call this...a journey. I'll go into it a bit more perhaps in another blog...I don't really have the strength to do so today.

I just needed to write about my husband and his strength and his ability to heal the hurt when I am at the point of exhaustion from it all.

There are just a few days a month...that time when I find out we aren't pregnant that are the most difficult for me. There was a time during this journey when I pushed those emotions aside, trying to remain strong for myself, for my sisters, my parents, friends and for my husband. Now I just allow those messy feelings to spill...and instead of trying to make it better, my husband swims through the currents with me and is there holding me up when we stumble upon the shore to lay on the sand, in the sun and rest from it all.

I'll share more on my journey...the beautiful and the messy some other day. Today I just wanted to thank him for cradling my heart last night and loving me....with a swollen face and snotty nose from crying. He still kisses the goop.

I also wanted to thank this dear friend for leaving me the most amazing voicemail of encouragement. It made me cry and giggle all in the same moment. Your journal entry yesterday about your own journey was serendipitous and your phone call following was adorable and REAL and free-ing for me.

And thank you to this sisterly~friend who sent me a video of herself doing beautiful and graceful hand interpretive dance movements about a vision she had for me and this journey. It is one of the most soul penetrating gifts I have ever received. What love. I am so grateful for this.

And to this friend for your package of creativity, love, music and healing that landed at my doorstep at the most perfect time, as always. You're divinely beautiful and gifted.

Honey...thank you for loving me with snots and all. Thank you for your strength and faith that our little one will come when it is ready. Thank you for your patience with my messy emotions at the root of all this. I love you.

Monday, December 12


Twisters Vintage, Berkeley, CA, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I adore this vintage store. I have a love affair with second-hand vintage clothes, accessories and THINGS.

I've often wondered what it is, exactly that I find so desirable about a piece of clothing, a hat box (my husband will tell you I have too many of these), kitchen ware, that have been worn and adored by another person...long ago.

A few of my hat boxes, Kodak EasyShare LS753

Why do I love *old* things?

Perhaps it is because each piece carries a bit of history of an era I have at times wished I could have been a part of.

Like when I wear my favorite long vintage jacket with it's faux fur collar around the neck, my thoughts drift to its previous lady~partner. I imagine her sitting outside a cafe in Paris with her Ava Gardner-esque beauty, sipping her espresso, smoking a long, thin cigarette and watching the passers by with her pouty lips. What was going through her mind?

When I am open to these ponderings...I sometimes feel her whispering to me, sharing her stories. Perhaps it is all in my wild imagination, perhaps not. So yes...I suppose I have a lot of imaginary friends!

There's just something comforting about having treasures that have been worn, held, loved and snuggled in by someone else. Someone that had their own personal style and loved to express themselves in how they dress and decorate their lives.

I guess I like to do that too. Perhaps someone 100 years from now will be wearing my clothes and carrying my hat boxes.

I'll whisper to her too. I will.

ps. Speaking of vintage-flaire type clothing...here are a few duds that I drool over by this fabulous designer and this delicious store.

Wednesday, December 7

Strength Feels Abundant

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

I won't be here for a few days...but wanted to leave you with a picture of a place that moves me beyond words.

"In every walk with nature, once receives far more than he seeks"

- John Muir

This place is home to me. Wherever my bohemian life will take me...this will always remain home in my heart.

Thank you, dear souls, for your support yesterday following the launch of my site. Your emails and comments have carried me through this transition. When your loved ones believe in you...strength feels abundant.

My cup runneth over.

Tuesday, December 6

Sweet Sixteen

Kelly, my niece...our lovely wedding fairy, photo by Robin Nations

Kelly is sweet sixteen today. Do you remember what a milestone this was for you, as a young woman?

Sweetness indeed.

Her presence has been with me all day as I celebrate her in my heart. Kelly is a kindred spirit. An old soul.

As long as I can remember looking into her beautiful, unique eyes, she's had this penetrating way about them. When she looks at you...she really sees into your soul. I relate it to how I would feel if I was standing before Jesus, or Buddha. I can imagine I would feel naked, stripped of all material things and it's just me left...the real me. Standing there, I would still feel accepted, embraced and not judged.

That is how I feel around Kelly.

Accepted... with all my quirks.


Embraced...in her warm hugs.

So this journal entry is ode to Kelly...my dear niece and true friend. The kind of friend that always picks up where you left off, as if it never left in the first place.

I love you, as does everyone that meets you.


Auntie Denise

Monday, December 5

Working for Self

Morning chat with my pensive feline, Amber, Kodak EasyShare LS753

How do I begin?

My first journal entry.

I am still in shock about taking the leap from Corporate Goddess to Working for Self. As ecstatic as I was about taking this leap, anticipating it for months, perhaps even years… I found myself with tears constant, a pale face and lethargy for my first few days of freedom. Perhaps I was mourning the death of an old life. I even wore black out of respect for the eighteenth century mourning custom.

My husband cradled me in his yummy brown leather (oh so boy) chair and asked me tenderly why I was so sad. I sat pondering this for a bit. I am not sad, really…am I? So, in my pensive silence, searching my eyes, he then again asked…”Are you overwhelmed?”



Even with delicious thoughts of freedom to express myself at any time of the day, with my jammies on, pigtails in my hair, candles burning, pastel’s awaiting me and music dancing around the loft.

Overwhelmed with time, with choice, with allowing myself to relax into a groove…with not answering to anyone but me. So, so foreign to me. This is forcing me to get to know my new boss (me). What are her expectations? Will I fail her?

It sounds silly, I realize this.

I found myself keeping busy with as much as possible with everything but my art. Laundry, dishes, groceries, straightening the same place only to return back to this place and straighten it again later…in a different way. *sigh*

I was afraid to begin. Just begin. So…here is what has helped me get out of this foreign funk of mine:

**Snuggling in a coffee shop with my uber-supportive husband and writing down a business plan for me…together.

**Reading the first chapter of this book and actually DOING the first exercise of de-cluttering my studio. This took a few days of me swimming amongst piles of my *stuff*, organizing and cleansing the energy. It is much more Zen…but I am still tempted to straighten what is already straightened!

**Reading thru this marvelously yummy book by an inspirational and soulful woman. It helps get me out of my head and into the playground.

**A harmonious phone conversation this past weekend with my beautiful friend across the globe who is on this messy~beautiful journey with me. I am beginning Winter, she is going into Spring…but we are in the same exact place. Picking new flowers at her abode and tasting rain at mine.

**Remembering all the blessed souls in my life (see "Friends" page on my website) that are also on this journey and how nourished they feel as a result.

**Wearing my Superhero necklace (made by a beautiful friend)...which I am convinced has special she-powers.

So, I am allowing peace to settle.

But I am still scared…excited but scared. Although I'm not wearing all black today.

Welcome to Bohemian Girl Designs (that was for you and for me).