Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Taylor Swift's Gift Giving of 2014

This furthers my desire to have Taylor as a little sister.  I think we would have so much fun being Pollyannas together! :-)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays from Mongoose Manor!

I swear I meant to send out cards this year.  Since I hadn't had the time last year, I actually bought cards in October this year to ensure that I would get them out.  I even bought stamps!  Yet, life doesn't always play out the way you think it will. Anyway, on with the year end update!

The year started pretty slow.  Gage was plugging along through his first year of High School.  It was a big adjustment from a tiny K-8 to on of Oregon's largest high schools.  He was involved in stage craft class and got to assist in several school productions.   We also learned that Alan's job would be ending in June.  Knowledge Universe, the company he's spent almost 11 years working for, decided to outsource his department to the Philippines.  Alan seemed to take it all in stride and was looking forward to the change, and I'll admit, I spent the next 6 months worrying about what was going to happen!  I also took a part-time job at the National College of Natural Medicine working in the Student Counseling Center.  This was wonderful opportunity for me, personally and professionally.  I has given me the opportunity to use my skills in non-profit management as I get to participate as a part of the leadership team, I get to build solid clinic relationships with the student interns in the clinic and the students accessing services and do my best to assist in their growth and change and I get some of the best clinical supervision around through the Center Director, Dr. Wolmark.  This makes me a very lucky lady for sure!

February was an exciting month for me.  After deciding to go back to grad school in 2009 and getting my Masters in Social Work in 2011, I had finally completed all my clinical hours toward licensure and past the national exam.  I officially became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker!

In March we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to rent a beach house in Astoria for Spring Break.  Gage brought his friend William along and my parents came with us too.  It was a gorgeous couple of days exploring the NW part of the Oregon coast.  We had gorgeous weather the whole time.  We could not have asked for a better break!
Gage and Alan at the Tillamook Cheese Factory

Gorgeous spring sunset!

Can't beat view from the Oregon Coast!
Nena soaking up the sun at Cape Disappointment 

Gage and William riding the trolley through Astoria, Oregon

Alan, Gage and William at
The Shipwreck at Ft. Stevens State Park , Oregon

Nena and Pa at the Tillamook Cheese Factory

Alan and I at the Astoria Column 

Nena and Alan, great explorers!

Mom and I with the Astoria Bay in the background
The spring brought even more adventures.  In April, Alan found out that he was a finalist for The Ford Family Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship would allow him to attend college full-time and earn at least a Bachelors degree. In May he had his final interview and in June was awarded the scholarship.

Alan and I after accepting his scholarship award 
 He also found out that he would get the opportunity to travel internationally for the first time to the Philippines.  He spent most of the month of May living and working in Manila.  He had a great time, got to see some amazing sights, made some new friends - however ended up with food poisoning and spent multiple days in the hospital.  That being said, he says he would like to go back and do more exploring of the county.

Alan at the Taal Volcano.
A complex volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
It is the second most active volcano in the Philippines with 33 historical eruptions. 
In July, we were able to take our first big family vacation.  We headed south to Arizona to see both Alan and my family.  We spent a week in Tucson.  While we were there we were able to meet Alan's Uncle Pat and Aunt Karena for lunch one day and were able to get up to Meza to see his Aunt Shelly and Grandma Jackie.  We were so happy to get to see his grandmother one more time as she passed later that month at an amazing 95 years old.  We also had the opportunity to spend time with my brother and his beautiful family.  We had lots of fun exploring Tucson, grilling out, swimming and just being in each others company.  After a great week in the sun, we flew home bringing 3 of our four nephews with us.  We all were able to attend my side of the family reunion together.

The Linhares Crew - Alan, Gage, Aunt Shelly and Grandma Jackie
Gage, me, Alan, Uncle Pat and Aunt Karena

The boys hanging out together!

Nena with her grandbabies - Camren, Skyler, Tristen and Jaden.  
In August we spent time working on projects around the house including Alan pulling up, patching and repairing part of our hardwood floors.  Alan was officially unemployed and adjusting to life before starting back to school for the first time in 15 years.  My hours at the college increased, which was exciting and allowed for more professional growth.  Alan and I got away to Redmond, Oregon for a weekend to attend my cousin's wedding and enjoyed the warmth of the high desert and spending time with family.  Mom and I traveled over to Fruitland, ID to check in on Grandma Thomas and spend a lovely weekend with Aunt Bette and Uncle Woz.  I always love the opportunity to travel with my mom.  We are best friends and don't often get time together, just the two of us.  It's always special.

Alan and his assistant Coco, patching the floor. 
Alan getting the last of the boards in. 
Alan and I in Redmond, OR
Mom and I road trippin!
Mom and I on the Columbia River Gorge.
September was back to school for both Gage and Alan.  Gage started his Sophomore year at David Douglas High School and Alan his freshman year at Portland Community College.  The fall continued to be filled with LOTS of studying, cheering our Ducks on to victory, more house projects and trying to squeeze in time with friends.  All this hard work paid off as Alan finished his first term in college with a 4.0.  We are all so proud of him and all his hard work.  He is such a great role model for Gage.  And it will be exciting to see where this wonderful opportunity will take him.
Alan's first day of school!
Gage, 10th grade
And for now, we will keep plugging along.  It is such a great privilege to watch Gage grow into a thoughtful and caring young man.  I have no doubt that he will grow into an even more wonderful person in the next few years.  He is slowly figuring out how he wants to fit into the world and like many other teens his age, starting to stretch those growth muscles even more.  As challenging as balancing our lives the way they currently our, between two jobs, two full-time students and normal daily life, I really do feel blessed and cannot imagine my life without these two wonderful men.  They do make my life much richer.

Lastly, before I close this update out, I am sad to report that we had to lay Marty, out 16 year old Japanese Chin to rest this month.  Many of you had the opportunity to meet this sweet little guy over the 12 years I had the honor of spending with him.  He was a lovely old man, right up til the end and this was one of the hardest things that Alan and I have had to do together.  I was so glad that Alan was with me for support.  Sweet Marty dog is missed daily and has left a big void in our family...

So from our little piece of the universe to yours, here's wishing you all the happiest of holidays and the best in 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cooler days call for cooler fatshion!

The weather has been so strange here in the NW.  We had the longest summer ever, then overnight it was freezing.  We had a patch of snow then ice and now we have mellowed back into our cool-ish rainy season.  All this to say dressing in layers is the way to go.  

I injured my back and was struggling to feel good and find clothes that I could wear comfortably all day.  Here are a few of my favorites of recent!
Skirt, Leggings & Scarf: Lane Bryant
Tank: Old Navy
Sweater: Kohls

Blue wrap, Leggings, Scarf & Boots: Lane Bryant
Skirt: The Avenue
Vest: Fred Meyer

Jeans & Boots: Lane Bryant
Sweater Hoodie: Torrid
Vest: Fred Meyer

Boots & Jeans: Lane Bryant
Love Shirt: Torrid
Vest: Fred Meyer

Monday, October 20, 2014


I shared before my crazy work schedule. I'm currently working two jobs.  One full-time 40 hours a week in the afternoon/evenings and one part-time 12 hours a week in the mornings. This doesn't leave me much time for anything really, other than working.

I've had to become pretty regimented in meal preparation, otherwise I would never get the decent homemade meal Monday through Friday. Every two weeks I sit down and plan dinners for next two weeks and then go grocery shopping accordingly. The week after a big shop is my favorite. It's usually when I try new recipes.  Today is one of my favorites, vegetarian enchiladas! The hard part is going to be waiting for dinner break to eat it. :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Whew! What a week!!

I got super sick last week.  I think that comes with working in an urgent walk-in clinic.  You run the risk of coming into contact with more sick folks.  Anyway, I did my best this week to dress in the "fake it until you make it style" to get through feeling crummy and still having to be at work.  

I use this tool often in my life. It helps me get through when things feel overwhelming or I'm unsure or I'm super anxious.  I feel that sitting with discomfort is not something that we as a society are very good at anymore. It seems that in this "I should be able to get anything I want whenever I want it culture," the idea we may have to be uncomfortable for a while is unheard of.  As I continue working on sitting with discomfort, little things like fashion create a space for me.  If I am in comfortable clothes, I can focus on being present in my feelings and pay attention to what may be bringing me discomfort and how I might change it.  If I am at ease in my skin I am more able to be present and open. So last week was definitely about comfort!
Monday was jeans and sweater day.
Jeans and tshirt: Old Navy
Sweater: Catherine's
Boots: Payless
Tuesday was hoodie sweater, jean skirt and boots!
Hoodie sweater and tank: Torrid
Jean skirt and Moto boots: Lane Bryant
 Wednesday was comfy dress and sweater day. 
Dress: Target
Sweater: Kohl's Croft & Barrow
Leggings, boots and belt: Lane Bryant
 Thursday was a gorgeous new Torrid Dress (Haute Cash for the win!)
Dress: Torrid
Sweater: Kohl's Croft & Barrow
Leggings: Lane Bryant
Flats: Crocs
 Friday I was barely alive and it was "how to make yoga pants professional enough" day. 
My new favorite sweater: Torrid
Yoga pants and boots: Lane Bryant
Tank: Old Navy

Monday, September 22, 2014


I have fallen in love with Pinterest.  I was late to the game, much like I was with Facebook, however once I arrived I hit the ground running.  Like many people, I started using it for recipes, then when we bought our house I started pinning ideas for how to garden, patch dry wall and other adventures.  However it was until recently when I started my "journey to fashion" if you will, that I found out how amazing it was for inspiring new outfits. Check out this example!

This was the original that I totally
fell in love with her outfit!
This was my first attempt.
I have struggled finding the perfect
striped shirt.  This is a chevron
shirt by Avenue.  The jeans and
jacket are both Lane Bryant
This was my second attempt
after finding a stripped shirt
at Lane Bryant.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey guys, I totally killed it at yoga!

I try to make it to Fat Yoga every Saturday.  Due to my ridiculous work schedule, I can't make classes during the week so Saturday mornings are precious to me.  There is something magical the happens in that time and space and when I miss it, I feel like I have missed out in some sort of cosmic cleansing and emotional refueling.

I have been doing yoga off and on for nearly 20 years and never has it felt quite like this.  The owner, Anna, is a magic maker.  She invites us back into our bodies, which on more than one occasion has brought me to tears.  Anna reminds us, as we move through poses, of how strong we are and how we deserve to be here today taking up space.  She encourages us to grow in our love of our bodies.  She challenges us to trust our bodies and to listen closely to them.  She creates a space for rich conversations to happen, where we can safely explore what we don't know and continue our journey to being allies for one another.  She mirrors humility and pride, so that others might take risks, not always be right and own their worth.  Anna has become an important part of my journey and for that I will be forever grateful.  I wish everyone had an Anna and a Fat Yoga in their life.  Image what kind of changes we could make in the world if we were all given the time and space to honor how our bodies and minds have gotten us to where we are today as well as learn and grow together.

Yoga Dress: The Avenue
Leggings: Torrid
Flip Flops: Teva's

Monday, September 15, 2014

Party Dresses

I have always loved dressing up.  My mom has awesome pictures of me a child in frilly dresses.  I loved having my bone-straight towhead blonde hair up in pink curlers the night before an event and then watching them fall in to bouncy curls the next day.  In my teens it was getting dressed up in my gowns for Job's Daughters, or singing at weddings and in the choir which required emerald green and black taffeta dresses with sweetheart necklines and poofy sleeves.

Frilly dress and curls circa 1978
Somewhere between adolescences and adulthood it changed.  I have been reflecting back and think it was upon my return from living a year abroad.  I feel like I changed a lot that year.  I got pierced and tattooed.  I feel like I came into my identity as someone who was not straight (it wasn't until college that I fully embraced my queerness!). I became a much more whole being during that time, exploring and embracing more complicated facets of who I was in general.  Then I returned home to Eugene, where everyone had moved on with their lives growing and changing together.  When I came back, it felt like I was supposed to just pick up where I left off - when in fact I was a completely different person.  I believe now that that dissonance fed my poor self-image and forced me further into my shell.

Some who have known me my whole life would probably never describe me as someone that was ever overwhelmed or intimidated  and that is often how I felt and still feel inside.  My experience growing up in a fat body allowed me to only see two choices; one was hiding away and never being seen or heard the other was to step into my own skin.  This would often mean "faking until I felt it" and displaying a brave face when other people were mean and hurtful.  This meant laughing at myself first as to beat others to the punch.  Big smiles, confident, out going; lonely, lost, sad.

I am glad I no longer reside in those places as often.  That's not to say that I don't get tripped up on my own stuff on occasion.  It's easy to do, regardless of your size.  Now a days, I have been trying to investigate and stay curious when I start walking down that road.  I try to find spaces where I can be ok, just how I am in my pretty frock or sweatpants, reminding myself that this is a journey, not a destination.

This was a dress that I bough over a a year ago to wear to a wedding, however the in one of those moments decided that I couldn't wear it.  A year later I pulled it out and got lots of positive feedback and felt pretty sexy in it! 
Dress:Lane Bryant, Belt: Torrid
Shoes: Crocs Tattoos: Roll Hardy

This is a new addition to my collection.  I bought it two months ago for a wedding and was so excited to gt to wear it.  It looks like lace and is in fact a wonderfully comfy heavy rayon/poly/spandex blend.  It is incredibly comfy and both hangs and twirls nicely.  Can't wait for cooler weather to partner it with a jean jacket, leggings and boots! 

Dress: Torrid Sandals: Aravon

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Profound Change

Today I was looking through the pictures I have loaded to my computer thus far in my fashion/body pos blogging journey, and this is what my screen looked like.

I started giggling with giddiness.  I don't think I have ever seen 36 pictures of myself in (mostly! - but that post is literally for another day) clothes that I love and a smile on my face.  Oh, I have a selfie here and there and some lovely engagement/wedding photos and nothing quite like this.  I have to say that the more I do this project, the more comfortable I have become with my body and aware of my feelings about my body. That might sound funny to those of you who read this and know about my body journey, and it's true!

For many years I have had an ambivalent relationship with my body. I have both loved and loathed it.  In public and among my peers in the Fat Activist/HAES movement I was full of pride and joyfully presented myself.  Strong, confident and outgoing - all words used to describe me.  Often times, I felt (and to be honest sometimes still) the exact opposite.  I was able to look at my peers bodies, both larger and smaller than mine, and find beauty, grace, strength, softness with genuine appreciation - yet often could not see the same things in myself.

It has been in the last year or two that this has really begun to shift.  I feel that as I age, I have begun to be a little more gentle with myself.  I have been able to fully appreciate that my body and soul have carried me through so much.  Recently, in my yoga class I have paid close attention during savasana as my teacher reminds us that we get to live this life once that we know of and that our bodies have carried us through to this moment and we should be grateful.  It feels like such a simple, yet profound statement every time she says it.

Today, when looking at this page of pictures I had that same feeling.  How simple yet profound it is to love myself.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When I'm feeling shitty...

It's been a rough week.  Not just rough, but truly soul aching.  People in my life, both personally and professionally have been struggling and sometimes it is hard to bear witness to.  With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, the talk of depression and suicide have been on the forefront of social media, the news and many conversations this week.  I am so glad people are talking, sharing their feelings and creating space for dialog to happen.  Also, I am feeling super tender about it.  I feel like I have very few spaces where this conversation is not happening all the time.

There has also been the brutal murder of Mike Brown, a young black man, by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri.  By all accounts he was a good kid, getting ready to go to college like thousands of other kids this fall and arguably due to racism, is now dead.  Not only has his bright star been dimmed, but a whole community is suffering because of it.  I don't know how anyone can deny that we have a serious problem in this country that needs to be addressed now.  We are not post anything.  We are actively racists.  From our foreign policy, to how we treat children escaping violence in other countries and seeking refuge here, to educational policy, to stop and frisk laws, driving while black/brown and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Institutional racism is destroying our future and making the here and now nearly impossible for many people.

All this being said, in order to feel like I am showing up and being present with those who need my support, I have to feel good.  Part of me feeling good is dressing myself in a way that is physically comfortable and fashionably fulfilled.  Here are my ideas for comfort dressing this week...

 This is an old Lane Bryant dress that I got from a clothing swap 
and I threw on some LB leggings and Crocs for comfort. 
 This is a Torrid dress and belt, LB leggings and Old Navy cardi
 Comfy Avenue capris and shoes with an LB top.
Lastly a splash of color to brighten up my spirits.  
Top and jeans from LB.  Fancy shoes by Torrid

I am feeling a bit nervous about posting about my fashion, suicide and racism in one post and I think it accurately represents some of the complexity that exists in the world.  I cannot occupy one space or idea all the time.  I have to create a space where my brain, body and spirit can take a break. I know that this is a privilege and I truly believe everyone deserves it.  I want to support and encourage anyone who reads this to take care of themselves, in what ever way feels true to them.  Just as it is so important that we are taking care of each other, we need to be sure to take care of ourselves as well...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Make sure to take care...

I need to work on my self-care.  I am really good at talking game with others, however when it comes to ensuring my own well being, I am not always the best.  I stay up too late, haven't found a way to fit in exercise - beyond my weekly yoga class at Fat Yoga which is awesome - just not enough and I have an ever growing afternoon Diet Coke habit, just to name a few.  Needless to say I am working on it, it's just tough.

I am currently balancing between two jobs.  One is a fulltime, benefitted job in community mental health, where I get to do some really interesting work with people who are mainly in crisis.  My second job 12 hours a week is working with naturopathic medical school students, in a student mental health clinic.  I love this as it is less crisis oriented and gives me the opportunity to build therapeutic relationships.  I also get to provide supervision to student interns who are broadening their skill set while preparing for a future career in mental health.  It keeps me engaged with students, which I love (being one too!) and it keeps me engaged with the public administration side of my brain.

The thing is working 52 hours a week outside of the home, then trying to be a good parent and supportive partner is tough.  Like many people who have to balance lives similar to mine, it is easy to focus on what we aren't doing versus where we are being successful.  I know that most days, I good at my job as a clinician, parent and partner.  I know that when I take better care of myself, I am able to be more present in each of these roles.  I know I feel better and have a healthier mindset.  So today, I slept late, lazed around the house in my jammies until near noon.  Took a long hot shower before heading in for a wonderful pedicure.  Then I hit up Trader Joe's to make sure that I had the food necessary to nourish my body this week.  Lastly I grabbed dinner out.  It was a nice reprieve since it was so hot today.  All this to say, take care of yourself.  Do what you need to do to make sure you can show up in your life.  Your self-care is just as important as everything else you do for everyone else.  Remember, it doesn't have to be big and fancy, it just has to be something that nourishes you.  

 Shiny new toes post-pedi! 
I wasn't too sure about this outfit today.  I felt a little bleh, then as I was getting ready to leave, my partner said, "I like your outfit.  The shirt looks really good with your earrings," and it put a smile on my face. 
Shirt: Torrid, Tank: Lane Bryant, Shorts: Old Navy, Shoes: The Avenue  
My earrings were by a local artist that was selling at NAYA's Holiday Bizarre in 2010. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Moon - August 10th, 2014

The lovely view from our back deck...

 The one above is my favorite.  It looks like lace to me!