Turn the Beat (Year) Around

I’ve had writer’s block for almost two weeks. I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t know how to say what I want. I have things that I want to talk about…to write about…to hash out and try and make sense of things that don’t always make sense. I want to start conversations and get the ball rolling. I want to be creative and wake up that side of my brain that seems to be sleeping away the rest of 2013.

We had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with family. We surprised the hell out of my mother in-law on Christmas Eve with visiting family from Mexico. I still get verklepmt when I think about how excited she was (and still is.) My sister came to town a few days ago, so we’ve been spending time with her and her family, too. We’ve gone to a hockey game, we’ve gone to Apple Hill…we’ve tried new things around town that we’ve never tried before. I’ve spent time with friends. I’ve enjoyed my family.

So maybe it’s not that I have true writer’s block. Maybe my energy has just been spent on being present and enjoying my loved ones.

Maybe sometimes you just need to realize that you’re where you need to be.

I’ve taken some time to think back on 2013. To say it’s been a big and busy year is a tremendous understatement.

I started Life of Jill.
I chopped off all my hair. Because of course.
Sarah and I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
Ramona turned 11.
I was a cast member of Listen to Your Mother – Sacramento.
Beezus went to prom.
I went to a couple of amazing conferences.
Campfire Wednesday was the best thing to happen to summer.
We bought a house.
A Giants game where they lost, but we had a blast.
We met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences along the way.
Beezus turned 16.
Ramona started middle school.
My brother got married.
Paisley turned 1.
Cap City Moms became a (softly launched) reality.
Celebrated 16 years of marriage.
College Visits? Ooph.
I enjoyed the hell out of my family and friends.

 

2013 - 1

2013 - 22013 - 3

That’s not even all of it. Not even a little bit!

Yeah, there were stressful and hard times and sad times mixed in. But when I think about 2013, there were some pretty badass things that I’ll be celebrating tonight.

And maybe that’s where I get stuck.

I focus so much on the past. I am celebrating a fantastic year coming to an end. I think about all the good that happened. I am thinking about all the fun that was had and all the love that was shared. But for some reason, I get stuck on how great things were, and I have difficulty looking ahead. I prepare myself for disappointment in 2014 because 2013 was so rad? That’s a pretty piss-poor way to do things if you ask me.

AND YET.

I basically have about 15 hours to celebrate and enjoy the end of a very awesome 2013 and snap myself into realizing that 2014 could be even more. More fun. More family time. More awesome. IT COULD HAPPEN.

Instead of sitting here worrying about what could go wrong. I should focus on all that is so totally right.

Life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans, right? Well, sometimes you can’t even make plans because you’re stuck looking back at the past and trying to walk into the new year backwards.

So yes…I have 15 hours to celebrate an awesome year. But I also have 15 hours to turn myself around and start walking face forward and get ready for what an amazing year 2014 will be.

Happy New Year, everyone.

a delicious night with Tillamook

You know what? I get it. Talking about cheese and yogurt and ice cream is, well…I guess it could be kinda odd. Except when it’s not. Like when you sit down with other area bloggers and talk cheese with some of the coolest people in the business. I’m sorry, but that’s when talking about cheese is super, super cool. (Actually, there was very little cheese discussion. It was mostly ice cream talk. Let’s be honest.)

tillamook sign

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining other Sac Bloggers for a Tillamook Ice Cream Social Event. And nothing says “ice cream social” like putting a social media spin on the evening. Or maybe I just find it awesome that Tillamook put a social media spin on an ice cream social. Either way, social media is so much more delicious when there is an ice cream social involved. Especially if the ice cream is Tillamook.

I think. I’m not even sure what I just said.

The lovely and talented Gillian gave us a brilliant overview on how to make social media work for us. Our “Visual Voice” in the internet and social media world and how we can use that to develop our brand and our stories and our visual presence on line. Did I mention she was brilliant?

Stephanie and I may have wanted to take the baby bus for a joyride.
Stephanie and I may have wanted to take the baby bus for a joyride.

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love Tillamook. My family is maybe even more obsessed than I am. (Okay, there’s no maybe…they really are obsessed. And maybe threatened my life if I didn’t bring home yogurt from the event.) But one of the things I love most about Tillamook is the relationship they build with their consumers. I mean, c’mon…they know they they’re a company that makes and sells cheese. (Delicious cheese, of course.) But more than just cheese is the history of dairy farmers and creameries and the commitment to quality they made over 100 years ago. They have always been owned and operated by those that “work the soil” and “milk the cows” and who know the business best. But the community that they have built and nurtured is pretty fantastic. Tillamook doesn’t just care about selling you cheese, they love to be a part of that experience. And, yeah…I keep joking about cheese. But obviously cheese is just the jumping off point.

Because have I mentioned ice cream?

YUM. Also, YUM. (My favorite.)
YUM. Also, YUM. (My favorite.)

At the end of the evening, we all had a chance to make an amazing ice cream sandwiches out of the delicious Tillamook ice cream. The best “stylized” and best Instagramed picture of the ice cream sandwiches would be chosen. I was a little concerned about my sandwich melting. I took a picture, sure…but found it much more important to eat the darn thing. (I didn’t win. Clearly.) (I didn’t care. Clearly.)

tillamook emptyplate

I obviously had a wonderful evening. I got to hang out with some of my favorite people…I learned a lot…I ate way too much ice cream. My kids were so jealous that I got to hang out with Gillian and Katie from Tillamook that I kinda felt bad that I didn’t arrange for my own private ice cream social. Not that my family deserves their own event, but…when your 16 year old kid is so disappointed that she didn’t get to see them she started stalking following them on Instagram in a totally non-scary way? Well, I guess that means you need to admit that your yogurt addiction is worse than you thought.

 

 

A huge thank you to Tillamook, SodaPop PR and Sacramento Bloggers!

Tillamook and Sunset and Some of the Greatest Folks on the Planet

I’m a terrible salesperson. I almost wish I could give you some sort of visual that would help explain just how bad of a salesperson I am. I thought about putting together a PowerPoint presentation, but I ran out of time. Also, that just seems like a lot of work to tell you that I’m really bad at something, so it might not be very good for my self-esteem. Let’s just pretend you all totally understand how inept I am at sales.

But here’s the thing…if I like/love something, I’m going to talk about it. In fact, I probably won’t shut up about it. I might even name my children after my most favorite products ever. (JUST KIDDING! I don’t have a kid named M*A*C iPhone Starbucks! Silly…)

(Wait…can I change MY name?)

(Nevermind. Don’t encourage me.)

Every once in a while, you find further proof that a product is just as awesome as you thought it was. And even better? The people that represent or work for said product or company are dreamy and wonderful and especially fantastic and I’m super glad that I got to meet them. Like these people. Right here.

Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan ang Gillian
Katie, Beezus, Ramona, Me, Dyan and Gillian

I wasn’t lying when I said I love Tillamook products. You can believe this because I’m pretty much one of the worst liars in the world, but also because I really meant what I said. I didn’t say nice (and slightly ridiculous) things about these fine folks because I felt like I had to. I said them because it just so happens that I would say nice things about them anyway. (Also: YOGURT ADDICTION.)

If you’ll let me, though…I’d really like to say some nice things about those lovely people in the picture. But let me back up first.

Beezus is an excellent Vana
Beezus is an excellent Vanna

This weekend in Menlo Park, Sunset Magazine held their Celebration Weekend. It is a wonderful event, I might add, that highlights some of the awesome products and places and ideas that they include in their magazine with many of the vendors there to answer any questions and yes, probably to sell you on their product a little bit. But first of all, since we know how much I love California, you can blame Sunset for making me want this in my house:

8926062552_5aa3e8ab65_o
this *just* went on a certain “honey-do” list.

And possibly all of these things, too.

remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.
remind me to tell you about those chairs that are sitting in the sun and were not HOT.

The amazing Tillamook and SodaPop folks invited us down for the day so that we could have a chance to meet up with them face to face and also take part in the festivities.

Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore
Ramona painting by number with Benjamin Moore

There really was so much to see and do, but I have to tell you…meeting up with Dyan, Gillian and Katie was one of the best parts of the day. The entire walk to the car, my family talked about how gosh-darn-nice the three of them were. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. And yes, the shade, yogurts and water made it that much more enjoyable, but mostly all kinds of nice and wonderful people! (And there may have been a moment where we shared cute dog pictures and tried to convince Gillian that she needed one. That probably happened.)

So a very big and giant THANK YOU to Dyan, Gillian and Katie…and also to Tillamook and SodaPop PR. We really had such a nice time and loved getting the chance to meet all of you. And, not gonna lie (because I really can’t) we are really hoping make the trip up to Tillamook and visit soon. Because YOGURT ADDICTION. But also to see where all the cheese/yogurt magic happens. We promise to be on our very, very best behavior. Probably.

And because you knew this was coming, and since Facebook is right down the street, may I leave you with the obligatory Facebook sign thumbs up picture. Because my kids are just that cute.

Happened
Happened

I’m Sorry, But My Family Has a Yogurt Addiction

Here’s the thing. My family gets REALLY excited about yogurt. I’m not even lying and I kinda can’t believe I just announced it like that, but that’s an actual true thing about my family. I will buy a big carton of yogurt and it will be gone the next day. If I buy a bunch of the little containers? HEAVEN HELP US ALL. Because they just can’t help themselves. So if you ask if you can send me some yogurt to try, I am bound by the law of my family to say yes. And I will do so gladly.

So then you tell me it’s from Tillamook? I may be more excited than I should be.

(I just can’t help it. I love Tillamook. Also, cheese.)

peace and loaf...obviously
peace and loaf…obviously

I’m a huge fan of Tillamook. In fact, when my sister visited the Tillamook factory last year, I was more jealous than I would originally admit. But remember when I mentioned the Golden Ticket giveaway? It’s all part of celebrating National Burger Month (YUM) and their Loaf Love tour. Also, YOGURT.

NO artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Also? NO high fructose corn syrup or artificial growth hormones
NO artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Also? NO high fructose corn syrup or artificial growth hormones

I’d like to say that *I* was able to taste the yogurt and tell you how dreamy it is, but my children took over that job. While I was at work. Thank goodness I snagged a couple of pictures of the goodies we were sent because CHILDREN. But I’m not mad. They loved it and they raved about it. And honestly, it was their opinion that mattered. They want me to buy more (shocker) and were thoroughly entertained by all the Tillamook goodies.

may not be the 11yo's real lips
may not be the 11yo’s real lips

(Okay, maybe it was me that was thoroughly entertained by the goodies. Whatever.)

All I know is that I’m pretty sure that I will do my best to celebrate National Burger Month when my family gets together this weekend.  With a proper loaf of cheese, of course. And yes, I will buy more yogurt for my kids and my husband. Not for the burgers, obviously…although, I wouldn’t put it past them and their love of yogurt.

 

 

Tillamook provided the delicious yogurt and wonderful goodies. All opinions are my own.