Do Unto Others: Part One

This is going to be a long one so pull up a chair, grab a cup of whatever and buckle up.  I've divided this into two parts and will put the other up tomorrow.  It's not the usual post, so I appreciate your reading along.

It was mid-morning on Monday when I finally decided to haul it up off the couch and go outside.  Opening the backdoor I shuffled to the left and let my back slide down the wall until my bottom landed on the wooden deck.  Sun on my face, eyes closed, I sat there trying to let the warmth burn away knots in my stomach left from Friday.  In the yard next door I could faintly hear my two elderly neighbors having a skiff.  Nothing abnormal, just the effects of having been together for 38 years.  As the door closed and she came outside I opened my eyes to see her look up and gesture to me.  Squinting closer, I could see her making a C with her thumb and index finger.

I gave her the "What?" sign with my face.  She's hard of hearing so we speak in gestures a lot she and I.

Again she gave the C and then pointed at her chest.  "Oh sh*t," I thought to myself "this woman is trying to tell me she has breast cancer."  I motioned I would be right down as she started to cry.  Ducking inside I quickly threw a sweat jacket over my pajama uniform of electric blue tank and matching A&F sweats before darting down the stairs.  We met outside our back gates where she broke down telling me how she had ignored a nickel size lump in her breast until it became the size of a tennis ball.  And then she showed me the tennis ball and I cried with her:  two lunatics clinging to each other bawling by the trash cans.  That lump scared me.  It's big. When I hugged her I couldn't help but think of the cancer that was literally touching my own chest from the other side of her shirt.  Strange thought, but true.

I've known her for the seven years I've lived here. She and her husband traveled the world living in Bali and Hawaii for most of their married lives before he became ill forcing them to move back to the mainland.   When I met them he was wheelchair bound; she told me in secret it was hard to look after him.  Then one day a couple years ago he went in for a random check up and doctors realized he needed a valve replacement in his heart.  That operation changed his life, their lives, -- within months he was out of that wheelchair and back to healthy living.  It was really a miracle and something they were so excited about.  They live in a meager bungalow attached to 3 others next door.  They're in their 70's.   He enjoys an afternoon cigar and she a glass of wine.  And now this.

After we pulled it together she told me her operation was Tuesday (today) and they were removing the entire breast.  Maybe she'd get reconstruction, maybe not.  "What does one boob look like after you've had two you've loved your whole life," she asked?  I didn't know what to say.  "Can I come with you?" "No can you wait here?  I'll be back on Wednesday and might need you." "Can I pray for you?" "Yes -- please do -- and tell your friends, too."  She's observant aka a little nosy this woman, but in all the ways you would want your neighbor to be.  We parted ways so she could get back inside before her husband came looking for her.  I went back upstairs calling friends I knew I could trust to pray for her.  And then sat back on the couch in a state of shock.

If you are a praying person and feel so inclined, please pray for my friend Pat.
She is brave, but scared and would appreciate it so much.  
I'll keep you updated on her progress as I learn anything.  
She is still in hospital and I may not have any news for a couple of days.

I'll be back tomorrow to give you the second half of this story which involved me ripping her neighbors a new hole.  You won't want to miss that one.

And for everyone who has been emailing and sending notes about my weekend -- I want to thank you -- It means so very much.  Friday was a major suckfest of a day that leveled me personally and professionally despite my many years in this business.  The person who did that to me was not my friend, but certainly was a candidate/executive I've known for many years.  Live and learn I tell myself.  Always go with your gut or you end up with someone's foot stuck in it. Ugh


Not So Great Expectations

If you had peeled by my place this weekend you would have found me wrapped in blanket, wearing my favorite things, spending time with my cats.  It donned on me Sunday afternoon that I was having a breakdown, subconsciously attempting to comfort myself by wearing, eating and doing things that made me feel safe.  This grand revelation occurred as I watched the ending of Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Neal is on the train on the last leg of his hellacious trip home.  He's remembering all the crazy moments with Del who went from stranger, to annoying stranger, to despised annoying stranger, to endeared stranger -- and suddenly while rewinding through the events in his mind he realizes that Del has no one.  Suddenly he could hear what the circumstances had been whispering to him all along.  

What do you suppose it is about some people?  That dishonesty can reign supreme with little to no effect on them?  On Friday I had someone I've known for years decline a very good job offer with one of my favorite clients --- just days after having accepted that offer.  And it gets better (or is that worse?) after having been treated so respectfully by my client this person took their offer and waved it in the face of a company she really wanted to work with to force them to accelerate their process on the job she really wanted.  Are you disgusted yet?

Pardon me while I go gag.  I might be gone for awhile.

I am genuinely deflated by the lack of character I keep coming across in people.  Users, manipulaters, climbers, people who will align themselves with whomever they need to in order to get where they want only to then turn on those people and glom onto a new group who will help them get a little higher.  I see it every day.  I avoid these people like the plague and can pick them out a mile away.  But this time this person swore she had learned her lesson and like a fool I gave her a second chance.  I ignored the whisper and it screamed in my face. 

Well thanks to 72 hours of John Hughes movies, my weekend uniform of James Perse + ripped jeans + vintage belt, copious amounts of Vietnamese food, a taste of lemon meringue waffle sandwiches and being smothered in blanket for not nearly enough time I would like to formally announce that I am done dealing with asses.  Pardon me while I assume the position until tomorrow morning when I have to get back on the treadmill yet again.  I'm nowhere near ready. 

At the very least it happened when I had three days to recover instead of just two.  Silver lining.

Stilted Haiku

Pied marshland dainty
Lady in a tuxedo
striding on pink stilts


Bottoms Up!

Holy mother of Friday it's finally here....loooooooong weeeeeekend!! To say it's been a hell of a week is an understatement.  On top of mad work drama late yesterday afternoon I overheard the bbq'ing neighbor beller out, "Heroin is not a lifestyle!"  Well.  I'm glad we got that settled.  And you were moving out, when?

To cap it off I came in moments ago (it's 1:30am Friday morn) after almost drowning in my car when the cap popped off my 5 gallon glass water bottle as I was wheeling down the freeway.  Can you say screech the car over to the right?  As I pull off into a parking lot to stop the gusher I get out of the car and hear the most insanely loud singing.  Looking up I see a person go pedaling on by, potentially lit out of their gourd, singing Bible songs at the top of their lungs.  How do I know I heard a Bible song you ask?  All I could make out was Jeeeee-suuuuus as they sailed on by bike weaving in the evening breeze.  Hey at least the guy was happy.

More insanity occurred outside my garage as the next door neighbors were convened outside their garage partaking in a smoke of some sort.  Briskly hightailing it up the stairs I heard, "Be careful in those heels" as I shut the door behind me.  Nighty-night metal heads (see here).

Can't believe it's taken this long to plop them up here on the blog seeing as I wear 'em daily.
Well, when I'm not wearing these ones.  Oh yes.  Pass the pink heels.  New addiction.

See why I'm ready for the weekend?  Oh friends I could tell you much, much more but will spare the deets.  Let's just say for the first time in 15 years I've got hives on the palms of my hands.  Carrie needs a nap.  And a cocktail.  Speaking of which Anna Jane is getting married in Mexico today so the Chef and I werked (spelled incorrectly on purpose btw) a little magic signature cocktail concoction for the event.  Get your tequila and let's get a toast ready.  What's that?  You don't know Anna?  No worries.  You know me, it's the weekend, someone's getting married, we have 3 days off -- CHEERS!

The Anjerita (Anna Jane + Eric + Margarita)
for one serving

1oz Silver Tequila (Don Julio is my fave, but Patron or Jose Cuervo work too)
1/2oz Patron Citron
1 Grapefruit wedge removed from skin
Squeeze of Lime
A pinch of Sugar
A sprig of Mint
A splash of Pom Juice
Club Soda to cover

1. Place grapefruit wedge, lime juice, sugar, and mint in a glass or cocktail shaker.  Muddle it with the back of a spoon.
2. Add all remaining ingredients except Club Soda and cover with ice.
3. Stir or shake until chilled.
4. Strain liquid into a martini glass.
5. Top with Club Soda.
6. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
7. Enjoy :)

Anna and Eric - the Chef and I hope your wedding is everything you ever imagined it to be and more.  Here's wishing you many happy years together.  Congratulations!

Everyone else - bottoms up and let's get going on our weeeeeekends!! 

p.s. - Don't forget to enter the $150 Perricone Skin Care Giveaway 

Appalachia to Asia

I'm sitting in my home office today in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio (and will continue doing this over the coming holiday weekend) trying to write a compelling, readable account of an adventure I had back in March of 2009 in The Philippines.

The subject of the article I'm writing is a trek I took with some birding pals (pictured above) to see the Philippine eagle on a mountain in Mindanao.

This photo (above) of the thick mountain jungle with a bit of rising mist (or is it smoke?) figures prominently in the story, which will appear in the September/October 2011 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest. If you don't subscribe to BWD, dang it, ya should, because you're missing out on some of the best bird-related content on the planet. You can get an entire year of both the printed-on-paper version of BWD and eBWD our enhanced digital edition for less than $20.

Just wanted to post this today to note how weird it was to be sitting in these old mountain foothills in Ohio, remembering our incredible hike up Mt. Kitanglad on Mindanao. It's all coming back to me now...

$150 Perricone Giveaway: Sulforaphane and So Much More

I am super excited to offer this Perricone skin care giveaway to all of you - the winner will get to select one item of $150 or less.  Ever since I started blogging last year I've entered these Perricone giveaways to no avail.  The irony in all of this is I literally, just today as I'm typing this up, learned I finally won one!!  So it's even more fun to see what one of you might choose when you win.  I've been perusing products trying to figure out what to get and a couple caught my eye.  Anyone try either of these yet?

The Detox Elixir (sounds magical!) containing sulforaphane (not to be confused with profane) got my attention because it's a hydrating mist you can lightly spray throughout the day for a glow.  Now I don't know about you, but I'm all about a healthy glow that doesn't come purely from the sun's rays.  As much as I love that warmth from the sun I do not love the idea of premature fine lines and wrinkles, so this one could be a great solution.

The area around my eyes is one I give special attention to.  I've managed to avoid crow's feet for many years, and fully intend to ward them off as long as possible.  Anything to aid in this battle is welcome in my daily routine.  Enter Bright Eyed:  it contains antioxidant melon fruit benefits to keep your eye area firm and bright.  Side note:  could have seriously used this every day this week thus far as 'bags under eyes central' have taken up residence.  Not pretty.

Giveaway Details:
*One winner will be chosen at random to receive one Perricone product valued at $150 or less.

1.This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers (sorry International peeps - will have something for you soon!) so just make sure you're signed up to follow on the upper right and then leave a comment sharing which Perricone product valued at $150 or less you would want or need and why.
2. For an extra entry or two tweet about this giveaway and/or follow this free bird on facebook.
3. Winner will be announced on Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Good luck everyone!

Wayuu Mochila Bag Winner

Winner of the fabulous and beautiful Wayuu Mochila Bag is Taylor from Curly in the City
Congrats Taylor - stay tuned for details.

And thanks to everyone who entered!!
*winner selected via random number generator*
image via we heart it

Do You Believe in Magic?

There I was:  all dressed up and nowhere to go aka on my way to get more Ben & Jerry's Boston Cream Pie ice cream groceries when I found myself in the most random of random neighborhoods.  You know, the one 10 blocks from my house that I've never ventured into because I work from home and barely leave the house except on weekends? Anyway suddenly I could barely contain the 70's fever of it all.  Shaun Cassidy and K.C. and the Sunshine Band came out on blast through the speakers as I drove up and down the block super slow to see if anything, anything was for sale.  In my mind I packed my stuff, grabbed a disco ball and went back in time.  Long wavy hair, high-waisted wide leg denim for days, big ol' platform shoes, billowy maxi skirts, culottes with blouses tied at the waist, arms piled high with bangles, a patchwork suede handbag, dreams of the huge afro I'll never have -- and neighbors that are actually neighborly.

When I think summer in the 70's my mind floods with images of a home with a big cream colored stone fireplace and a rainbow VW bus parked in the driveway, block parties, kids on skateboards playing in the streets while sprinklers wave in the breeze, parents on front lawns drinking Pilsener from cans while charcoal bbq's send smoke plumes into the warm air.  Hot damn if I haven't found my ideal block and house.  I wonder if the neighbors are included in this transaction? A girl can dream...
Complete with Corvette
Note:  Tabletop BBQ next to crazy plastic lawn chair in back.
FP bag (seen here) + H&M Caftan + Wide Leg Denim + Infamous Danys
Quite possibly my fave pic of all time.  Looks like it came straight out of the 
parents' old photo albums.
See what I mean?  Uncanny -- from my mind to my neighborhood. 
Look for me driving by 3x/week to see if they're moving out yet.


Birding the Inland Sea

There's something sort of magical about getting in an airplane in the flatlands and flying to a place where the mountains are capped with snow. This (above) was the view out my airplane window as we circled in for a landing at the Salt Lake City, Utah airport. I was way out west for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival.

The kind folks at the GSLBF knew that I was interested in doing some photography/digiscoping/videography and so they made arrangements, on the day before the fest started, for me to have a guided birding tour of a place called The Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve (ISSR). The ISSR is a mitigation project of The Kennecott Utah Copper company, a copper-mining operation nearby. To mitigate the habitat damage being caused by the copper mining, Kennecott funded the creation, enhancement, and maintenance of the Inland Sea site. You can read more about this mitigation site here.

Turning overgrazed range land into shorebird-friendly habitat seems to have worked and it has been a boon to the shorebirds. During our first few minutes inside the gates we saw black-necked stilts, American avocets, teeming herds of killdeer, and lots of semipalmated plovers. More special for this site were the snowy plovers and black-bellied plovers we found, thanks to the scouting skills of my guides, Valerie and Haylie, both of whom work at the ISSR as field research interns.

Haylie and Valerie scoping the Inland Sea

Many of the shorebirds at the ISSR were already getting "nesty." Several males called loudly and flew circles around our truck.

Black-necked stilt and barbed wire (isn't that a Lucinda Williams song?)

Pronghorn antelope.

As the afternoon wore on and we'd covered most of the good birding spots, I started to get some of the more interesting insider info from my guides. For example, they knew where several of the male pronghorn antelope hung out, and the gals had given each male a name: Michaelangelo, Donatelo—actually I 'm not remembering the names correctly, but I do recall suggesting that one be named Fabio. It seemed fitting at the time.

Like often happens when I take someone birding in my local patch, a set of truly objective eyes will find something out of the ordinary. The same was true on this afternoon of birding. We found two notable species for the ISSR: a male lark bunting and a male red-breasted merganser.

Red-breasted merganser was a noteworthy species at the ISSR.

All too soon it was time to split. Their work day was over and I (still being on Eastern Time) was so hungry I was tempted to chase down a pronghorn on foot. As if to show us one more eyeful of wonderment, a golden eagle took off from his hunting perch and flew past the distant mountains. Majestic overload!

Though I knew the eagle would be just a speck in the frame, I simply couldn't resist taking this shot.

Great birding on the Inland Sea! Thanks to Valerie and Haylie for guiding me. What a fine way thing, to get right off the plane and be birding in a spot like this only minutes later.

Bright Bag Small City

Rarely does a weekend go by when the Chef and I aren't racing the clock trying to squeeze an outfit picture in. Truth is, without him there would be no outfit pictures (yes i'm having a moment).  I'm uncomfortable enough as it is and pretty much wither up at the thought of lugging around a tripod (which coincidentally I don't even own - go figure).  When I started blogging last spring time was a luxury because he was still searching out restaurant locations - now he's mere weeks from being open and it's a completely different scenario.  To say we're stretched thin is pretty tame.

Sunday was such a treat. We spent the whole day together, had a leisurely mani-pedi - hey the guy is on his feet non-stop and has custom built so many things for his new place he deserved it - relaxed over lunch and then kicked it into high gear to get the pictures done.  After driving around aimlessly, for what seemed like forever, we haul out both kind of frazzled, and suddenly I got the giggles.  There we were on the bloody sidewalk in a hoity-toity part of the neighborhood where you know people were wondering what we were doing and I just lost it.  I was like 'what the hell was I thinking starting this thing? Look at us. I am standing here in 5 inch purple velvet heels that I never would have dreamed of wearing 18 months ago and you're laying on the sidewalk.  What is happening to us?'  We rolled.  It was the best day yet.

~Gap-Leather Jacket and Denim Trousers (first seen here), La Befana-Silk Blouse, 
J.Crew-Belt, Curly in the City-Clutch, Tom Ford-Sunnies, Melinda Maria Jewelry~
Moments earlier...not so composed.  Okay not composed at all.
How about that sassy clutch?  Taylor from Curly in the City started an Etsy shop and can't
keep them in stock. She makes an animal print version, too.  Brace.
I love the contrasting turquoise zipper.  
My purple shoes are in favor, too :)
Not sure what I was thinking when I didn't get these Jessica Simpson Dany's in tan.  
They were $39 on sale! 

Hope your weekends were bright and cheery.  I don't know about you, but I am so excited for the upcoming long weekend.  Only four days to go!

The Row Fall 2011 via Bergdorf Goodman

I just.  I love it.
Visionary is the perfect word to describe it, too.  
Head to Bergdorf's for this and so much more.
Yes I realize we haven't even gotten to summer yet, but how could I not share?  
Would you take a look at those boots.
~note to self:  wallet requires monetary infusion~

Double Chocolate Crumble Bars

Here's a tale for you:  for three days I have been unable to get these dessert bars out of my mind.  At Christmas (yes it's been raining so every morning I wake up feeling like I should plug in the Christmas tree.  In May) these are amongst the first things I request from my mom.  The reason I ask her to make them rather than making on my own?  Taste them for yourself and realize how difficult it is to keep from devouring the entire pan...within a day.  Guilty pleasure!

Yesterday afternoon, after much internal struggle, I fall off the wagon and decide come hell or high water I'm making these things, tasting a row and then giving the remainder away.  Just enough to satisfy the craving - you know how it is, right?.  There I was in the kitchen up to my elbows in chocolate, peanut butter and rice krispies.  It was Thursday, one work day left and all was right in the world.  I set the tray out to cool, laid down on the couch and prepared to relax for 15 minutes.  Cut to scene where I wake up an hour later to find the cat has decided she wouldn't mind giving these a sample either.  True story.  Have you ever seen a cat try to swallow peanut butter and chocolate?  Think "licking chops" for 2 hours. It's a lot more amusing today than it was last night - although I did have a giggle or two.

Let's just say this morning involved a re-do.  And so without any further ado I present to you - The Double Chocolate Crumble Bar.  Prepare for greatness and keep away from cats.

Double Chocolate Crumble Bar
1/2 C  margarine
3/4 C  sugar
2         eggs
1t        vanilla
3/4 C   flour (gluten-free blend listed here if you need it)
1/2 C   pecans, chopped
2T      cocoa
1/4t     baking powder
1/4t     salt
1 - 6oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 C      peanut butter
1 1/2 C rice krispies
2 C      mini marshmallows

Cream margarine and sugar; beat in eggs and vanilla.
Stir together nuts and dry ingredients.
Stir into egg mixture.
Spread into bottom of greased 13x9x2'' pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle mini marshmallows evenly on top.  Bake for 3 minutes.
Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat.
Stir in rice krispies.
Spread on top of cooled bars.  Chill and serve.  Keep away from cats.

Have a great weekend everyone!  What's on your agenda?  I'm going to try to conquer the closets.  If you don't hear from me on Monday send a search and rescue team.  Lord knows the Chef won't be checking in...all the booths are installed in the restaurant and it's full steam ahead.  Woo Hoo!! Will try to sneak in there and get some pictures to share for next week.  

How We Get Our Bird-friendly Coffee

A few months back, while we were kicking around some ideas in our marketing team meeting, a bunch of us at Bird Watcher's Digest came up with a concept for a video to help promote the sales of shade-grown coffee.

The benefits to the birds, coffee growers and workers, and bird watchers of shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee have been discussed and explained many times over. We decided to ask some of BWD readers and friends to help us make a video that would be light-hearted but that would also demonstrate our enthusiasm for this kind of environmentally friendly product.

The video above is the final version of our project. We hope you like it. And if you DO, and you're a coffee drinker, we hope you'll consider buying coffee that is certified as bird-friendly. Birds & Beans is one of the most tasty and popular of the bird-friendly coffees currently available. You can buy Birds & Beans from the BWD Nature Shop, or directly from the Birds & Beans website.

Special thank-yous go out to Bill Wilson of Birds & Beans, to Jefferson & Gabriella of Gaia Estate (growers of Birds & Beans coffee in Nicaragua), to Chris, Ann, Wendy, Shirley, Eric, Robin and Roger, Emma, Edmund, and our leading man, Jim Cirigliano for contributing their acting talents to this video.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go refill my coffee cup with bird-friendly goodness.

Shopbop Winner!

image via we heart it

The winner of the $100 Shopbop Gift Card is Summer from Athena in the Middle
Congrats Summer - the Shopbop giveaway person will be contacting you with your code!

And thanks to everyone who entered!!

Fly Away Pants

Where to begin, where to begin.  I realize I spend an incredible amount of time waxing on about Free People, but I honestly just can't help it.  There is rarely a time when I glance at their online shop or visit a store and don't find something that is truly unique and a blast from the past.  If you get their catalogues then you know firsthand how well they capture a moment, an item, and your wallet.  Which is exactly what happened when I saw their Extreme Vintage Flares.

It all started while I was prepping for my tax appointment aka tax showdown 2011.  In order to get myself through the paper sorting process I do not allow for lollygagging of any sort including internet browsing, catalogue shopping or cookie baking.  If there is one thing I know about myself it is procrastination rules at tax time.  Just prior to t-day I happened to get an email from Free People bearing no other than the Extreme Vintage Flares.  Unable to contain myself as images of Gene Simmons and the Bay City Rollers flooded my mind I found myself clicking over completely disobeying my own rules.  

pause. stare. pause.

*internal struggle ensues as disobedience to rules carries on*

'the papers aren't sorted and the appointment is tomorrow.  but what if they sell out? they're not going to sell out.  they might sell out! (said in pleading voice to self)' rinse and repeat.

Long story short I purchased the pants immediately after the appointment.  We'll skip the part where they ran out of inventory and I had to track them down at a store.  Victory was mine and that's all that matters.  
~H&M Blazer, TuckerxTarget Butterfly Cami, Free People Extreme Vintage Flares, 
Old Stud Handmade Belt, Sorial Handbag, can't remember the sunnies~
Up Close
Note swooshing pant legs.
Not my car.  Just loved this shot.  And the pants.

I've been staring at them in my closet for a month which provided ample time to think of different ways to wear them.  It would be predictable for me to roll out in the Winter Kate fringe vest, which I'll do later anyway, so given the brisk air I dressed them up a little with a soft pink linen blazer (the one I stalked down at H&M's from here to kingdom come) and ta-da.  Gotta say I love the look and random passersby did, too.  One of the few times I wasn't self-conscious taking the pictures.  It was all about the pants.

Wayuu Mochila Bag Giveaway

As much as I love an expensive handbag, come the warmer months I am full swing embracing my inner hippie and searching for ways to express that to the fullest - especially in the accessory department.  Does it have fringe?  Is it made of burlap?  Any tassels on it?  Okay I'm in.  About a month ago I was in Barneys making mad attempts to avoid scoping out the the Isabel Marant selection when lo and behold I spotted the most insane bag out of the corner of my eye.  Leaving Isabel behind (no small feat to divert my attention from her) I darted over to discover the coolest Wayuu Mochila bucket bags.

I went home that day with the bag locked in my mind.  After doing some digging I learned the Mochila is a traditional, hand-woven bag that originates in Colombia.  One of my favorite things about these bags is that they are made by indigenous people groups that each have their own style.  The bag up for grabs was crafted by the Wayuu - a tribe native to the peninsula of La Guajira, Colombia.

This is the very Mochila (size large) that Wayuu Mochila Bags will gift to one lucky winner.
Truth:  I wish I could keep it seeing as I'm in love with the straps and fringy tassles.
Imagine it with denim shorts, a t and a vest...or a maxi dress, light fringy sweater and a pair of strappy flats. 

Wayuu women handcraft these bags as a way to support their families and community (now that's my fave part).  Each mochila is crocheted with cotton by a member of the tribe and takes around 40 hours to complete.  Incredible, huh?  The variety of colors and patterns used in the bags represent the creative ideas of the Wayuu - and the straps are known to be tightly crocheted and colorful.  When you look closely at the each mochila you can see patterns like wind, rays of sun, love - a vast array of personal expression.

Giveaway Details:  2 simple steps - 
1.  Make sure you're signed up to follow the blog on GFC.  
2. Visit Wayuu Mochila Bags  and peruse their one of a kind bags then come back and leave a comment including your fave bag and email address where I can contact you if you win.  Simple!  

*For an extra entry or two you can tweet about the giveaway (Enter to win a one of a kind Wayuu Mochila Bag @birdgirlc: or follow This Free Bird on facebook.

*This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers only (So sorry everyone else - I'll have something for you soon).  The winner will be announced next Wednesday May 24, 2011.  Good luck everyone!  And a special thanks to Wayuu Mochila for this beautiful one-of-a-kind bag.  

Beach Stop

Living close to the water has to be my favorite thing about living in Southern California.  As much as I miss home on the prairies in Canada, there is something glorious about being able to walk onto warm sand and have salty ocean breezes tousle up your hair.  Truth is I somehow always knew, even as a kid, that I would end up in SoCal.  I realize that sounds crazy, but it's true.  As a result I never really settled anywhere after I left home in my late teens - and even more bizarre is my flip flop pile consistently predominated all other shoe collections as my nomadic lifestyle carried out.  One of my best friends in Seattle told me from the time she met me she was always learning to slowly let me go.  Isn't that kind of sad, but poignant?

Speaking of sad it's Monday.  The past two days have officially been declared "Weekend of the Spontaneous Purchase" as a Saturday toothpaste run somehow resulted in 3 pairs of shoes - each the last or only pair in size 36 meaning it was a sign right?, a tunic that I'm pretty sure Carey is going to tell me is a caftan (I think I've crossed over to the dark side aka caftan-lover-in-training), $15 worth of dark chocolate at See's Candies, and a random pitstop at the beach.  To be fair I left the chocolate with the Chef at his restaurant and actually zeroed in on the tunic Friday night at, oh, 8:59pm after randomly spotting -and then immediately purchasing- the very last blush linen blazer at H&M after stalking location after location for three weeks.  Should have seen the signs coming...

Every time I see the ocean, it stops me in my tracks.
Kind of like the fringy tassels on this tunic...I didn't stand a chance against them.
~Club Monaco-Tunic (caftan?), James Perse-Ribbed Dress, Lucky Brand-Denim,
Dulce-Clogs, PANYC&Motif 56-Bracelets, Melinda Maria-Rings, Foley&Corinna-Bag~
This Free People necklace, from what has to be a year ago, turned out to
be a mad show stopper.  Got stopped at least 5x that day.  Who knew?
Had to slip this picture in, cool is that surfer running out of the water?
And, in picture overload, I leave you with a full body.  Despite the fact that I'm 
pretty sure this is a bikini cover-up it will be in daily outfit rotation.  
As I sit in my pj's in the home office. Ha!

Hope your weekends were relaxing after Blogger meltdown 2011!  Can I get a Tuesday?

The Big Question about the Chukar

How many cars could a chukar chuck if a chukar could chuck cars?
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