Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Sponsor News

Welcome new sponsors! 

Flowstate is a collective of conscious adventurers, passionate about giving others the tools to re-connect with themselves, and with the natural world that we are part of. We love blending ancient wisdom and modern science, with adventure sports to deliver journeys into the mind and out into nature. Flowstate are running uniquely awesome Adventure Retreats that feature yoga, meditation as well as surfing and snowboarding in some of the most epic spots around the world. Check out their Surf & Freedive trip to the Maldives and the Snowboard Yoga retreat in Japan.

February: Australia- SUP Yoga
March: Japan- Snowboard + Yoga
September: Maldives- Surf + Yoga

*Use the code: mermaid20 to get 20% any of the above mentioned trips through the end of the month!*

Hippo Sweat you may ask…what is that?

We have created an all natural and vegan friendly sun block for your face (nose, lips, ears). We are a passionate start up from San Diego with a background in surfing, running and swimming. We believe there is a hole in the market for a great, affordable, all natural and organic sunscreen. We believe the answer is Hippo Sweat. Did you know in the wild “Hippo Sweat” contains SPF? It’s a natural compound that a hippo uses to clean any cuts and protect itself from the sun. We created an FDA tested sunscreen that is 24 SPF, has full broad spectrum protection and is waterproof up to 80 minutes. We use it every day in the activities we are most passionate about and would love you to try it.

*Use the code:  mermaid30 to get 30% Hippo Sweat products! 

The Fin Ban is a wrist or ankle warn silicone band imbedded with Rare Earth Neodymium Magnets that disrupts the natural hunting electroreceptor sensor organs, called the Ampullae of Lorenzini, in ocean going predator fish. Our patented manufacturing process uses only surgical grade silicone and Rare Earth Neodymium Magnets cut to specific dimensions to produce a light weight, easily carried protection for your beach adventure. All bands have been thoroughly tested and conform to all current safety standards for both the wearer and the ocean animals we respect. Read the FinBan FAQs.

Welcome back these awesome sponsors!

Matsumoto Studio is a handmade design + paper goods shop created by sisters Jen and Jes. Check out the new handmade beach themed Christmas ornaments and 2015 Calendars

This, Too is an adventure log by Kari, an optimist on a quest for inspiration, adventure and vintage-y goodness. DIY Projects!

JettyGirl is an online women's surf magazine. Get up close and personal with today's female surfers. Email Chris to have your own surf photo shoot in Southern California with one of the best in the business! 

Pom Pom is the first surf, skate and snow wax company for girls. All natural wax for your surf or snowboard. 

Dakine builds backpacks, bags, gloves and accessories for surf, skate, snowboard, ski, mountain bike, and wind and kite surfingEverything they design and build is all about quality. 

Daphne's is a Greek restaurant featuring food that feeds mind, body and soul. Check out their new menu items and locations!

Roxy brings inspiration to girls to dream big and have fun in and out of the water. Roxy Snow collection lookbook

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oatmeal Cookies and Winter Waves

This is the time of year when, as a surfer, your feet and hands get tanner than all of the rest of you. Of course, when the creepy fog sneaks in, nothing seems to vary in color.

I normally never get anything good in the mail. In fact, it's a running joke around here that I only check the mail when the mailbox door won't shut anymore. It's not entirely true, but I certainly am more diligent about my e-mails. This time of year is the best time of year for snail mail, though. Christmas cards with the familiar, but matured faces of old students (their eyes always look the same) along with some of the gifts I ordered online are much more exciting to spread out on the kitchen table than bills from our health care provider and excessive attempts by different bank branches to get us to apply for their latest, greatest, most shiniest color of credit card. 

Last week I went surfing during the first winter swell. The surf was was predicted to rise from three to four feet at dawn to six to eight feet by the dusk, so I got out quick and caught a few while the fisherman were still rounding up their morning catches and the tide was on the rise. It was my first winter surf with Sprout. Sometimes when I get a good wave, and I'm all by myself out of earshot of anyone, I'll say something like "yeah, Sprout!" after I kick out; like the ride was good because we caught it together; like someday I'll say that to Sprout when he or she catches his or her own wave and rides it to the sand, and it'll be familiar. 

Since we found out about Sprout, I've been extra motivated to hone my crafting skills. Maybe this is nesting. I made a wreath last week with my neighbor. We're planning to do a monthly craft project from now on. I also used the sewing machine I got from Scott's parents last Christmas for the first time. Scott's mom came all the way down from Ventura to show me how to use it. We are working on Mr. Basil Fox. He has the tiniest jacket. It's hard to imagine that the baby we are making this for will be almost as small. 

After Scott's mom left, he helped me sew the miniature jeans (complete with useable pockets!). I said, "Oh my gosh! Did I just sew my finger?" after pressing the peddle to complete one of the pant legs. He said, "You should know!" 

I've been working on a few knitting projects, too. I used the whole movie Ted to learn the seed stitch. I had intended to knit myself a scarf with this stitch for the holiday season, but at this rate it will be ready closer to Lincoln's birthday.

And lastly, I baked oatmeal cookies for our neighbor. I had two before I sent them off, though, and Scott had one. I think I used one of the first recipes I found on Pinterest. I accidentally added corn starch I thought was baking soda to it and they still turned out to be the best cookies I've ever made. I added an extra pinch of salt, too.

p.s. thank you all for your thoughtful comments and emails about our baby news! It means so much!  We can feel the love! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dear Sprout,

October 17th, 2014

Dear Sprout,

When I first thought the test was negative, I was sad. But when it changed to say that you were here, I cried to the mirror and told it I was scared. Maybe you heard all of this.

It didn't feel right to celebrate yet. I had to be sure that you were real; that I shouldn't play drinking games tomorrow with my friends; that we would name you something that would come before the last name we already shared; that I would dress you in jammies like I used to dress my dolls; that I would bring you around with me feeling like I couldn't remember a time that you weren't there; that we would put your small bed in our small room; that Scott and I were going to be your mom and dad forever. So I took two more tests that came up positive, then Googled "Faint lines on pregnancy test", since that's what they were. Google said that no matter how light the lines were, that a positive pregnancy test is a positive pregnancy test, just like a positive drug test is a positive drug test. When I looked at the other images of pregnancy tests online, I saw one that produced words, not lines, and feeling that this needed to be spelled out to me, I knew I needed that one. 

The reason I took the test in the first place is because I checked the waves and they were crap, so I decided to go to the skatepark. But if you know anything about my skills as a skateboarder, you know I have the tendency to fall a lot and I've wanted to protect you from the start, so I decided to take the test to make sure I wouldn't accidentally endanger you if you were here. We did not go to the skatepark, but instead to CVS to get the more conspicuous kind of test.

On the way there, I yelled inside of my car at some bikers to ride on the sidewalk if they were going to ride in the street so slowly! Then I started talking to you and decided that it was too weird. I told you that I felt that way only because I am weird and that you might suffer the same affliction yourself. Then I decided it might be best if I didn't say anything at all. 

At CVS, I purchased four more tests and walked up to the cashier all puffy eyed, dropping the handful of tests onto the conveyor belt. I realized then that I wasn't wearing my wedding ring since I had planned to go surfing. The situation in front of the cashier must have appeared very different than it actually was in real life. 

The new tests confirmed it. You were with me now and forever.

I called Scott at work. It was only 10:30 in the morning, but I asked him if he would come home. He said "I'm sorry love, I can't. I have a lot to do today and a meeting at 3:00 p.m. Why?" And I said "I just miss you... Can you come home?" Which prompted him to ask "Is everything ok?" and I said "Yeah, I'm just driving. Sorry if I sound weird! I better go!" even though I was sitting on the couch in the living room. I was never planning to tell him over the phone. 

I had a bunch of work to do on the computer, but instead I called our health care provider and another local counseling agency for moms and asked a million questions like "Is it ok use the microwave?" and "Can I wear deodorant?" and confessed that "Yesterday I cleaned our shower with Kaboom! I know it's super poison because once I saw a spider three feet away curl up and die at the smell of it!" She told me some scary stuff about babies being born with their stomachs on the outside, but that you were probably fine. Then I went back to CVS to buy prenatal vitamins. I got the same cashier, so he definitely knew the outcome of the tests I purchased earlier. When I got back home I watched Friends and downloaded new apps for my phone with the word 'baby' in them until Scott, your dad, came home hours later. 

There were suggestions online about how to share the news with your husband in a bunch of cute ways. 'Stick a pregnancy test in a bun in the oven and tell your husband to take it out', one suggested. But I couldn't even fathom doing that. Instead, when your daddy came home he said, "What's up?" and I said "Let me show you something I did today" and led him to a bunch of sticks I peed on sitting in close proximity to the sink he uses to brush his teeth. They were all positive. He cried before he said anything and then I did too because now it was time to celebrate you. 

me-- your mom (wow, this is still a little weird!)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Baby on Board!

I know, it took a while to register with me too.

Things people have been asking....

When is the due date? June 26th, 2015. The day before my dad's birthday. 

How far along? Three months today. The wording of that question, 'how far along', makes me think we're talking about either something really personal like 'when did you last change your underwear?' Or something really common, like 'when is dinner going to be ready?' It's hard to explain, but I guess I'm getting used to it.

How are you feeling? Relieved now that we heard the flutter of a beating heart, saw the baby turning around and trying to eat its toes and can share the biggest secret we've ever kept! Also, scared, excited and very hungry for fruit and sweet things. The other day I ate yogurt with granola for breakfast and lunch. I hate yogurt. I also don't eat breakfast. Things are changing: small things as well as big things that I have a hard time picturing yet. I have also been extra emotional. The other day I cried at Ralph's grocery store when the cashier offered to go get the raisins I meant to buy instead of the prunes I brought to the register. I have also been experiencing morning sickness, but it's the worst at night. There are a lot of things I can't even think about eating right now that I usually love; like chips and salsa and soup. I was sure I wouldn't get sick at all because I love reading in the car and amusement park rides that are named things like "The Rotator". I was so wrong. I am carrying on with my love of soy sauce and parmesan cheese microwaved onto rice cakes. Rest assured. 

Are you moving to a bigger place? No. Doesn't it sound fun to share a one bedroom with a screaming newborn? No really, it does to me. Right now I'm more excited about making room than I am about moving. Also, there's a lot of change going on already, so I'm focusing on where new furniture can go and how I get to learn to knit baby clothes and buy more stuffed animals!

Are you going to find out if it's a boy or a girl? No! I don't know about secrets, but we like surprises.

Are you going to keep surfing? I've been surfing for the first three months so far and have been encouraged that I will be able to continue to surf after seeing videos like this and reading articles like this. The doctor said it's good to continue with your regular exercise routines as long as you take necessary precautions and listen to your body. I am looking into getting a foam board for my second and third trimesters, though. If surfing doesn't feel right, I will get to spend time doing things I wish I did more often like body surfing and swimming.

What I would have wanted to ask myself if I could have before any of this happened...

Are you any different now that you're a mom-to-be than before? Not really. I was always kind of crazy and emotional, remember? That has stayed the same. I don't want to surf any less, but the other day I sat and watched a perfect double-overhead north west swell peel and launch itself over the reefs in front of the house and I thought about what a gift it would be to share something so powerful and transcending with someone who doesn't even know of its existence yet. A good swell will probably always get my attention and maybe I will pass that on to this person we will raise.

I still don't feel like a grownup either. I knew you'd be wondering, old, non-baby-carrying self. I don't feel any more like a grownup because I haven't outgrown the person I've always been. I'm still curious. I'm still wild. I'm still longing for more from life. I think, by definition or by stereotype, we think being a grownup means giving up your childish fantasies, but I'm never going to do that. I'm still looking for a hole in a tree that might lead to Wonderland; for the star in the sky that is Never Neverland. I do not, however, feel invincible anymore. I never fully felt before how vulnerable we are driving in the fast lane.

Do you miss drinking alcohol? At first it was hard to imagine not having a drink with dinner or playing flip-cup with my friends for 40 weeks or more. I thought Halloween was borderline unbearable being sober. I wrote in my journal that I didn't think I had ever really been sober on that hallowed day since even as a kid I was drunk on sugar and sleep deprivation. I asked Scott if I could smell his wine while he was drinking it. I wondered why I had never appreciated all the layers of flavor in a good cabernet. But after a few weeks, it didn't matter anymore. I don't think I ever fully realized how good water is; how it wakes you up inside; how without it, nothing would live. 

A quote from one of my favorite books, The Secret Life of Bees

"'Our Lady is not some magical being out there somewhere, like a fairy godmother. She's not the statue in the parlor. She's something inside of you. Do you understand what I'm telling you?'
'Our lady is inside of me,' I repeated, not sure I did.
'You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.'"

p.s. this is the board Scott had when we met. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Waiting and Preparing {+Holiday Gift Ideas}

We've been waiting on the rain for a year. Maybe more, because I really only remember it on the roof tops a few times this summer and once or twice last winter. The eaves of our house have gotten so filthy, but it wouldn't have been right using up drinking water to hose them off. 

When we were in Catalina last weekend, we had to buy bottled water at the restaurants because they are down to their last drops in the water towers. The waitress said if they don't get enough rain this winter, then they might have to start limiting how many tourists they allow on the island next summer. That's one of those things so drastic, I can't even picture it.  

I guess one positive thing about all the warm weather is the fact that strawberries and tangerines are still growing locally and our plumeria is producing new flowers, but I think I joined a collection of Southern Californians this week in a sigh of relief once the rain finally came down.

It's also allowed me to stay inside and focus on preparing for Christmas--making gifts, going on Pinterest, texting my neighbor about DIY burlap wreaths, eating cookies. Since you might have gift giving on your mind too, I thought I'd mention a few things we like, in case you need ideas. And if you have any for us, please feel free to share! I've still got about four people on my list with question marks next to their names. 

-First off, the Electronic Popcorn Popper is awesome. After I caught a bag of popcorn on fire in the microwave and we had to wash the walls, my parents came to the rescue with a Stir-Crazy electronic popcorn popper for Christmas. They've had theirs for 30 years!
favorite features:
-you can't burn popcorn
-you get to watch it pop (still exciting) 
-the lid becomes the bowl
-wipe down the non-stick cooking surface with a damp towel and rinse the bowl and it's ready for the next use.
-we like to try different varieties of gourmet popcorn when we have friends over and for special movie nights.

-Arbor Skateboard: This is the skateboard I just got from women's skateboarding advocate Amelia BrodkaAmelia set it up with theeve black titanium trucks, bones bushings and size 58 wheels. This setup, I'm told, is best for skating bowls and skateparks. I like it because it feels stable and smooth. 

-Purl Soho Knit Kit-This is the kit I learned to knit with (as for the book, think concise instructions, big pictures). I still reference it to learn new stitches. The yarn it comes with (choose your own color) is 100% marino wool (soft as a real lamb). If you're not looking to learn to knit, but to continue to, check out their yarns. There's a million pretty colors. I had to call them today because I wanted to add another skein to my online order. I was caught off guard when, after one ring, I heard "Hello, this is Natalie". I don't think I've called a company in the last two months that didn't put me on hold first. Good customer service keeps holiday spirits in the 'Good-Great' zone. You know, if there was a scale or something. 

As for items to celebrate Christmas, I wanted to mention this Frasier Fir candle because it smells like a live Christmas tree. I burned the whole thing back down to the glass container it came in last year, so I was so excited when my mom gave us a new one this year. 

I'm sure I'll think of other things that we use and love, but all of these items have been in frequent use this year. On my Christmas list is the movie Boyhood on DVD. I still like owning and collecting movies, even though they are kind of space wasters. Have you seen it? I'm really enjoying the soundtrack on Spotify right now, too (embedded below). I love numbers 1 and 8 most.

And finally, this was a popular article about the kindness of humanity that went viral a few years ago, but in case you've missed it, check out 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity

Thursday, December 4, 2014

SurfGirl: Issue 49

I love any chance I get to slip back to the time when we went to Oregon. I don't know what it was about that trip specifically, but I think about it anytime I'm having a 'I wish I could start over' kind of day. I think it helps me remember the version of myself I prefer to be most (and sometimes to be reminded that a better version exists!). It is nice when a vacation can reveal another side of us we might not have been aware of otherwise. 

Anyways, I like the way Louise Searle, editor of SurfGirl Magazine, put together a few of the pictures and words we took home from our time up in the Pacific North West this past summer. You can find these things in this winter's issue of SurfGirl. They sell it on their website and I believe at Barnes & Noble as well. It's always a little funny reading your own words after they've been edited by someone else. It's not something I'm familiar with around here, but I've noticed that when my writing appears in SurfGirl, a publication assembled in the UK, I always sound a little British (I've never said 'wended' before...I had to look it up ;). 

Also, you may want to stop by the SurfGirl Beach Boutique for some holiday shopping. I love this little pestemal (I had to look up the meaning of that word's a Turkish bath towel!). I bet it would make a nice, light beach towel or maybe a picnic blanket. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wrapping Paper Angels

~A few weeks ago I posted a kind of embarrassing Thanksgiving video from my childhood, then asked if anyone would be interested in sharing a favorite holiday memory with us. I love seeing all the ways people enjoy and celebrate this season. If you have a holiday memory you'd like to contribute, e-mail me at (devonkh(at)gmail(dot)com) (written this way to avoid spam). So far, we've had a story from Maria and here's one from my friend and college roommate, Nicole. ~

Hi Dev,  

Here is my Christmas memory and a few pics for your pleasure :)

Each year on Christmas morning in the Bernardo house we would patiently watch each person open their gifts. Dad, Mom, Eric, Lauren and Me. Each year the order would change, but the grand finale stayed the same. I don't know how it all started, but we continued it faithfully until our adult years. Once everyone was done unwrapping their gifts, we gathered all the paper and bows together and each of us would take a turn leaping into the pile like it was freshly raked crispy orange, yellow and red leaves. We would roll around or make "snow" angels, and no matter what our move was, we would always snap a quick picture before the next person had their turn. I love the pictures we have from these moments. I especially love seeing the gifts in the background and the pajama fashions of the year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

This, Too Handmade Jewelry {Giveaway}

Kari has been a long time sponsor and friend of mine. She's constantly experimenting with new products and creations and refining her skills as a crafter in her shop and on her blog. Today she's giving away an item from her Etsy Shop. Enter below to win either a handmade beaded headband or a buddy bling necklace. Here's a little more information from Kari:

"The beaded headbands are all hand sewn and have a velvet elastic that helps make them non-slip and can be re-tied for any size head.  

I like to think of the necklaces as a cross between a friendship bracelet and a blingy statement necklace, so I'm calling them "Buddy Bling" necklaces:)  It reminds me of that episode of Saved by the Bell where the gang made buddy bands, formerly known as "love cuffs":)

So the winner (US only) will win either a beaded headband or buddy bling necklace (they can pick once they win)."

Kari is also offering a coupon code to all readers. Use TALEOFMERMAID15 now through December 15th to receive 15% off This is Found Here, the shop! Thanks Kari! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Get To...

I'm sitting in my dad's office right now at my parent's house. It's funny to be in an office with no computer. It even took me a while to find a plug for mine. Of course, there's a tiny iPad sitting here, so I guess this room isn't void of all modern technology. There are notecards scattered around the desktop with words written on them like "Good afternoon" and "Thank you all for coming" and "My dad's life was filled…". 

It's still a little startling knowing these words were spoken at my Grandpa's funeral; being aware of how temporary this life is. 

I had to move a few stacks of photo albums just to find somewhere to sit. I'm so glad we have all of those pictures of my sisters and me with messy faces and matching outfits; of my mom catching a big halibut in a homemade bathing suit; of my dad with long blonde hair; of my grandpa at his wedding to my dad's mom and after she died, pictures of him at his wedding to our Grandma Nancy with frosting on his chin because Maddie insisted on "Cake in the face!" 

I want the voice in my head that speaks to something bigger and greater than me to scream "Thank you!" for allowing any of this to happen; for giving us a life so full that we cry just thinking about it being over. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This year we will have a few less guests, and not just because some of them have died, but maybe because some things have changed.

Last night I went into my parent's attic to find this stuffed giraffe I bought with money my grandpa gave me on my seventh birthday. It was there next to a broken music box holding some of my old molars. Then the Thanksgiving decorations got stuck in the dumbwaiter shaft and fell three stories, shattering into hundreds of pieces on the garage floor. Now we'll have a statue of a pilgrim lady holding her head along with sweet potatoes and corn. The holidays can be so entertaining.

My mom told me a thought this morning that I've heard a bunch of other times about saying "I get to" instead of "I have to". "Sometimes I think we start dreading half the things we have to go through in life when instead we should be grateful we have the opportunity to even do them," she said.

In the foreground we see how far away we have to park from Costco, wishing someone else would offer to cook this year, while in the distance babies are being born, long lives are being celebrated by hundreds of people the deceased never knew they touched and food is being served by busy hands to chapped-lipped mouths who look forward to this meal every year. 

This season is filled with so many things that we get to do. And the world breathes a collective sigh of relief when we remember that.

Happy Thanksgiving! 
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