Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

A Morning on the Beach August 31, 2009

Filed under: Photography — Lulu @ 11:11 am

Today is my niece’s husband’s birthday. He’s not big into parties, so to celebrate we got together and had a little family outing to the beach (like Fanless, they also live just two blocks west of the ocean, but in the northern part of Miami Beach).


The weather didn’t much feel like participating as the afternoon was met with a really bad thunderstorm; but just prior, I managed to get a few good shots.


My niece and my sister. The water was great on Saturday, and the tide was really low. They were actually pretty far out in the water when I took this.



You can see the dark clouds heading our way.



Fanless chats with my sister’s fiancé under our “Tent City.””






I love this shot.



I love how colorful the Miami Beach lifeguard stands are (read more about them here). One of these days I’m going to have to get pictures of all of them and make a mini-album.



Look Out, Lance! August 20, 2009

Filed under: Life,Miscellany,Shopping — Lulu @ 12:13 am

I am super excited about getting this baby this coming weekend!


One of the benefits of dating Fanless is that he lives on Miami Beach (literally just two blocks west of the ocean). The  downside is that the beach is not really "car friendly." Parking is always a mission, and during the tourist-heavy times the traffic on the three main streets is out of hand. The majority of beach residents use either bikes or scooters (like Vespas) as their main mode of transportation.


We’ve talked about me getting my own bike forever and it’s finally going to happen! Even though Fanless has six bikes, I can’t ride any of them. One is a huge – and extremely intimidating – mountain bike, and the other five are all BMX bikes. Have you ever tried riding one of those?? You have to ride them standing up because the seats are not designed to accommodate "lady parts."


Anyway, I’m thrilled that I finally found a bike that meets all my ultra-important requirements:

1) It’s super cute

2) It’s super cheap (WalMart, yo!)

3) Hmm… no, I guess cute and cheap about covers it.


I have to admit though, that I have not been on a bicycle since I was about 18 (go ahead, do the math. I’ll wait.)  Yeah, that’s like 22 years! So I’m really hoping that old cliche about "it’s just like riding a bike" is actually based on some kind of fact.


BUT, I have a really strong suspicion that it’s probably going to be a lot like this episode of “Frasier.” 


P.S. Only 22 days left until I leave for my Scrap Retreat weekend in Sanibel! I really can’t wait. I need a break from the daily grind so badly. Not to mention that I haven’t seen my Scrappy Girls in forever! Seriously, I miss them.


Scrappiness August 18, 2009

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 4:36 pm

I’m excited to share my first foray into 8.5” x 11” layouts! These were all made over the last few weeks.

I had never made layouts this size before, but I’ve seen a ton of them in other scrappers’ layout galleries. I finally decided to give them a try, and I have to say I really enjoy making them! They are much less overwhelming than my usual 12” x 12” layouts, as there is not as much space to fill. I prefer a simple, minimal embellishment look to my pages, but with 12-by-12 pages, that kind of style can sometimes look “bland.” I also find that working with a smaller space makes them come together pretty quickly, and I am all about that.

I’m finally scrapping all those random photos I’ve been hanging on to forever.

(I am so grateful that Fanless taught me how to make multi-photo canvases in Photoshop. I love how they look.) Products: Making Memories Sabrina, except the pink Thickers (By The Yard).


Products: Cloud 9 Design, except the little white flower.


Products: Making Memories Noteworthy Tara, except the green Thickers (Remarks) and the “Friends” epoxy sticker (Imaginisce, I think.)

friends 1st

Products: Work In Progress kit (the papers and chipboard are SEI), except the Thickers (Leg Warmers).


Products: Paper Crush by Colorbok.


Products: KI Memories Juicy Summer, except the Thickers (Sprinkles) and the flower brad (from my stash).

silly smiles

Products: K&Company Que Sera Sera (LOVE this collection!) and the photo of Fanless was taken by my photographer friend,

so very next level

Products: Making Memories Whimsy, except the white alphas (EK Success) and the green Thickers (Rockabye).

sweet dreams

Products: Making Memories Noteworthy Tara, except the “Y” and “H” (I think those are Making Memories Funky Vintage).


Products: American Crafts Moda Bella, except the Fleur-de-lis sticker (Hambly). The Thickers are ‘Chit Chat.’

ahoy cutie 

Oh, I almost forgot: all the cardstock used is from Stampin’ Up and The Paper Company.

I predict I’m going to be making a lot more 8.5” x 11” layouts in the future!


Scrappiness August 10, 2009

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 9:58 pm

I used some of the pictures I took at the beach on Saturday to make a two-page layout using BasicGrey’s Ambrosia collection. I don’t typically do multi-photo, two-page layouts so this was a bit of challenge for me. Normally I don’t spend more than 20 minutes per layout. This one took me a little over an hour!


I like that the patterned paper picks up the colors in the lifeguard stand of the photo on the bottom right, but that it provides a lot of contrast for the blues and beiges of all the photos.


I’m not really happy with the placement of that chipboard element at the top of the page. I accidentally touched it to the page after removing the backing, and then I couldn’t get it off without ripping the paper. Those suckers are sticky! I do love that chipboard piece right above the word “beach”; I think it gives that swirly feeling of the waves.

I love the Ambrosia line and I haven’t really used it much since I got it, so I’m glad I got to put it to use. Although this isn’t my usual style, I kind of like it.


In the Early Hours… August 8, 2009

Filed under: Photography — Lulu @ 10:57 am

Miami Beach, Between 3rd and 7th Streets, 8:30AM.

beach16 beach2

beach1   beach4 beach5 beach10

beach6 beach7 beach8  beach3


beach11 beach12

beach13 beach9




Ms. Goodwrench? Not me. August 3, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 9:10 pm

Today was one of those days when I really wished my dad wasn’t in Panama.


I decided to take a midday break from work and run a couple of errands in the ‘hood. Unfortunately, my car had other plans. I have no idea what happened between the hours of midnight and 1:00PM, but my car – which had been running perfectly fine until yesterday – decided to go on strike.


I’m sure the expression on my face registered somewhere between “huh?” and “wtf??” when I turned the key in the ignition and instead of hearing the soothing purr of my engine roaring to life, the sound was more akin to something like the clacking of horse hoofs on a tin roof. It took a second for the reality of the situation to sink in. I immediately looked down to see if the car was in park. It was. I looked at the radio  display and the Snow Patrol CD I had put in was playing. All the lights on the console were on. I tried to start the car again.


Nothing. Well, okay then. So, of course, I did the next logical thing… I popped the hood.


Go ahead, take a moment and let that sink in.


Yeah, I popped the hood. But wait, it gets better. I got out, opened the hood and looked inside.


Now, see, my dad taught me how to change a tire and how to check my oil level and where the antifreeze goes; all that kind of stuff. But that’s the extent of it. So someone – ANYONE – please, for the love of Jehovah, please tell me what the heck I thought I was looking for, because I really have no idea. I don’t know what I was expecting to find. Perhaps a flashing neon sign that said “Look Here” pointing to a specific part of the engine??


See, normally, this would be about the time that I would have whipped out my cell phone and called my dad. “Papi, le paso algo al carro. Tu puedes venir?”  (“Dad, something’s wrong with my car. Can you come over?”) And my dad would have come over, popped the hood, jumpstarted the battery, and taken the car “al mechanico que es primo de mi socio”  (“to that mechanic that is my friend’s cousin”). A couple hours later he would have driven up with my car, running good as new, and probably washed and waxed, too! (Yeah, my dad’s awesome like that!)  But Dad is in Panama. So what did I do? I grabbed my purse, shut the car door, and came back upstairs to my apartment. I sat down at my desk and IM’d Fanless to let him know what happened. Let me tell you, my boyfriend is a smarty. He replied “does your insurance offer road service?”  Oh my God. He’s right! I have Geico and it includes emergency roadside assistance.


So I called Geico and spoke to a very sweet girl in Georgia, who set me up with a tow service in no time at all. The tow truck driver showed up about 20 minutes later and managed to get the battery jumped in less than 2.2 seconds. As soon as he got the car started, I jumped in and took it to the Tire Kingdom down the road. They ran a test on my battery, alternator and starter, and found that it was the battery that was bad (it died in the middle of the diagnostic test, so you know, I think that sort of gave it away). So they replaced it with a mega-super-fantastic new battery that will probably outlive the car, and 30 minutes later I was back home.


Sure, it was kind of annoying to  have to deal with this, and being out $100 for the new battery sucks, but I have to say, all things considered, I think my dad would be very proud of me for handling things today!