FRIDAY, JULY 31ST | #004

1. “TOGETHER, YOU CAN REDEEM THE SOUL OF OUR NATION” – JOHN LEWIS

This powerful and inspiring final essay by civil rights leader John Lewis is a MUST READ. You can find it here, in The New York Times.

2. 20TH-CENTURY SLAVERY WAS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

I came across this article in Smithsonian Magazine today and it was a reminder to me of how important it is that we know who made our clothes and where they come from. There are more and more ethical brands we can purchase from and many ways we can help make sure we aren’t contributing to the modern day slavery that occurs in the fashion industry. If you want to learn more, read the linked article and check out the documentary The True Cost. This was the movie that made me vow never to purchase from fast fashion again and be as conscious as possible about the supply chain and transparency of not just fashion companies but all companies and brands that I purchase from.

3. TWO PHOTOS FROM THE WEEK

Sitting at a park bench writing letters, enjoying the shade of the trees, and listening to the sound of birds.

Freshly groomed puppy paws <3

4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESSICA!

Three of my closest friends had birthdays this month and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate each of these special people I am incredibly grateful to have in my life! I don’t know where I would be without their support, the conversations we have had, and their friendship. I can’t thank them enough for always having my back, wanting the best for me, and for experiencing this life with me.

Jessica is one of my oldest friends–we met in the middle of 4th grade when I transferred to Carr Elementary after my family moved to Torrance. She came up to me and introduced herself. Looking back, I don’t know if I realized how lucky I was to so easily find a friend the first day at a new school and someone to eat lunch from that day on! I’m so glad our friendship has lasted throughout the years, even after she moved and neither of us could drive and social media didn’t exist–actually, I don’t even think cell phones really existed back then! Some of my most happiest memories involve doing something with her from watching Mighty Ducks 2 at sleepovers to going to our very first Color Run to Backstreet Boys concerts :) She is super caring and thoughtful and puts so much into each of her relationships–as a daughter, sister, friend, significant other, aunt, teacher, co-worker just to name a few. I really admire her for all of her wonderful qualities–as well as the fact that she manages to have an empty email inbox!! (But seriously, how!?) I can’t wait to continue our lifelong friendship and celebrate more birthdays together–hopefully in person next time!

5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAO!

Bao is my only friend I met during college at FIDM. At a commuting school, it felt harder to make connections but luckily our paths crossed and we had a few classes together–that was all that we needed to solidify our friendship! I always have so much fun when I am with Bao–she’s super laid back, has a great sense of fashion, creative, is an amazing dancer, and great partner in crime. It’s because of her that I crowd surfed and know about post secret and jumping photos (when you jump and take a photo mid-air lol–they are my favorite). In our younger days we had plenty of dance parties and drinks together, went to tons of concerts and obsessed over Jack Johnson, had a ton of fun running around LA doing scavenger hunts, and so much more! It has been amazing watching her become a mom to her son Elijah and then to her daughter Brooklyn and raising awesome human beings! Although we live in different states and have such busy lives, I know we will always be there if the other needs them. And I hope in the future we can see each other in real life again!

6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARCHNA!

Although I don’t work in the fashion industry anymore, one of the best things I have gotten from it is my friend Archna! We both worked at PacSun (or Pacific Sunwear for those of you who remember those stores at the malls!) and I remember loving her style and all the cool dresses that she wore to work :) Although we were in different departments, we worked together a tiny bit, and kept in touch after we both left. I joined her in creating a children’s clothing line and we experienced so many firsts together like traveling to New York for our very first trade show! I look back and am super proud of all that we did. Throughout the years we’ve also tried lots of delicious vegan restaurants together, participated in 4 years of Dressember, and probably exchanged millions of texts! She has great taste in music, has a lovely singing voice, and pulls off short pixie-style hair SO well! We are actually seeing each other tomorrow for a safe, socially distanced, and masked hike and I am really looking forward to it!

Wishing all of these beautiful ladies a year ahead filled with love, laughter, and joy.

This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


FRIDAY, JULY 24TH | #003

1. COMPASSIONATE GOODBYE

“As parents of our animal babies, we are fortunate to be able to make these decisions for them…not only giving them a second chance filled with love and wonderful memories but knowing them so well that you could make his transition easier in the end.”

This is something my friend Jennifer said to me when I had to say goodbye to Bernard and it has stuck with me ever since. As gut wrenching and heart breaking as this decision is, I find some comfort and relief in knowing that they will no longer suffer–that I can help prevent them from enduring or feeling more pain.

Like most animals out there, almost all of mine have been terrified of going to the vet. The thought of having to bring them there when they are unwell and to have their last moments be in a place where they fear is something I have tried to avoid at all costs. Being able to allow them to stay in the comfort of their own home and peacefully move on has been something I am so grateful for. I know not every situation allows for this to happen but if it does, I would choose this option time and time again.

There are many at home euthanasia services in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. I wanted to share the ones I have used. In such difficult times, these places have been so considerate and compassionate. I have called each place in tears, sobbing, and have all been so patient and kind, making the situation the best it could possibly be in these circumstances.

If this is something you have been considering, you can find more information on their website or give them a call, especially to confirm whether they service your area. Please feel free to email me if you would like to hear more about my personal experiences as well (I have been able to do this for 3 of my pets).

The cost includes the euthanasia and whatever aftercare you decide (cremation, urn type, etc.) I have always chosen cremation and have had the ashes returned in a wooden box along with a ceramic paw print. The pricing has been around $800 for me but may vary so I suggest getting a quote directly from them.

Home Pet Euthanasia of Southern CA
I believe Dr. Julie was the one who helped me say goodbye to Jefrey last year. She was incredibly compassionate and kind and explained every part of the process. I would highly recommend them, especially if this is your first time–their website also has a lot of very helpful articles. I was in Irvine at the time but they also service Cerritos and surrounding areas. I hope I don’t have to call on them soon but I am planning on using them if I need to in the future.

Hearts and Halos
Dr. Peter from Hearts and Halos helped me say goodbye to Makani. I am thankful that even during the pandemic, their services are still available. He was very kind and we both had masks on and practiced social distancing as best as possible. The situation with Makani was unexpected and I was able to call when they first opened and arrange for an appointment the same morning which is what I had wanted as I was very nervous she would get worse and feel worse. When I called they mentioned that due to covid the procedure would be quicker than usual and I made sure to say my goodbyes beforehand. I am currently in Cerritos and they have a map on their site of the areas they serve.

Very Important Pet Mortuary
This was the very first time I used this type of service and it was to say goodbye to Lucciano. From the initial phone call and throughout the entire process, they made it as smooth as it could possibly be. I can’t express how thankful I am for their kindness and compassion–this was a really tough and painful time for me. Lucci’s vet actually performed the at home euthanasia so I coordinated with VIP Mortuary for aftercare. VIP arrived on time but my vet ended up being an hour late–VIP stayed that entire time and was so nice about it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. If you need both a vet to perform the euthanasia, that is something they can coordinate as well. I highly recommend them. I was living in Torrance at the time, they are located in Venice and serve surrounding areas.

Please note that everyone’s experiences with this is different but speaking just of my own, each time has been very peaceful and done with so much care and respect.

2. FOLKLORE | TAYLOR SWIFT

I have always found music to be healing and cathartic. I had no idea that Folklore came out today! I usually play relaxing cat music for Samone in the mornings and that’s when I saw the cardigan music video–then I saw a bunch more songs and found out Taylor released an album!

I have already listened to the entire album once and it is making me feel so many feelings and has brought tears to my eyes a few times.

I do love cardigan and the music video, linked above.

seven and ephiphany really touched me–both musically and lyrically as well as the topic of each song–being a child and seeing a friend have an unhappy home life, how covid is affecting those who have it and those caring for them.

My favorite line is from invisible string: and isn’t it just so pretty to think / all along there was some / invisible string / tying you to me

I can’t wait to listen to this entire album again.

3. LOOK UP AT THE CLOUDS

It’s become an almost daily habit of mine to look up and capture a few moments of the clouds in the sky above me. There is a kind of hope and comfort that I get from looking up. How it is constant yet ever-changing. Nature has shown me that even if the world is in turmoil, you can count on the sun rising and setting, that the sky will be above you tomorrow, that flowers will bloom, and insects and animals will go about their daily routines, chores, and life.

Friday 7-16-2020 Photos

This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


MY MAKANI

Makani came home with me on June 26th, 2013 when she was 8 ish years old. I had never had cats before and was actually a little scared of them–but I was promised that they (Bubba and Jefrey also joined us) were all very nice so I put together my first cat tree and welcomed them to their new home

All three of these special kitties had FeLV, the feline leukemia virus. I had taken them home as forever fosters from The Lange Foundation as the virus was contagious and they couldn’t stay at the shelter with other cats. Thank you Megan for trusting me with them and bringing them into my life.

From the moment I brought Makani home, I could tell why her shelter info card described her as “spirited”! While the other cats cautiously looked around/at me then proceeded to go hide, she immediately wanted to be pet, was purring, let us hold her, and almost escaped from the room I had prepared for them! She was completely unafraid and curious!

It was also clear from the beginning that Makani was the queen of the bunch and she wasn’t afraid to show it! Maybe it was how her personality had always been or that she was possibly a stray who had survived on the streets. But regardless, Makani was bad ass, bossy, aggressive, brave, assertive, and didn’t think twice to slap one of the other cats if they pissed her off lol.

She was always sweet to me though and any other human she met. She’s been the only cat I’ve ever had who LOVES to sit in laps! Our routine would be for me to put a pillow or cushion on my lap (to help make it more comfortable) and she would run over and come sit on it. (And if any of the other cats wanted attention and got too close she would swipe at them!)

I don’t know what Makani went through as a kitten until the time I had gotten her but I feel like she had been through some rough times and experienced suffering and pain. Despite that, she always came out on top because she was a fighter.

When she first came home, Makani had just gotten all of her teeth taken out except her canines due to stomatitis. She was very skinny because she hadn’t been eating due to the pain plus now she was recovering from a dental procedure. Eventually her canines also created trouble for her and once all her teeth were out, we could stop forcing pain meds on her and she was 100% better!

I remember the change–there was a point where she had gained weight and become fat and happy! She no longer was in pain and could eat as much as she wanted and she always had a great appetite!

I vividly remember thinking, WOW, getting to help Makani and seeing her thrive is the most rewarding feeling. My heart felt so full. This is what animal rescue is all about–this is what life is about! I am so grateful to Makani for allowing me to experience this.

It is with great sadness that I had to say goodbye to my beautiful, strong-willed girl, Makani, a few days ago. It is truly an honor to have had her in my life these past 7 years. Every single day she has shown me love and affection. How lucky am I to have been on the receiving end of that?

If you have ever had to make this decision, you know how hard and gut wrenching it is no matter the circumstance. But it seemed her kidney disease had finally caught up with her and I was afraid she would suffer or be in pain if I did not help her move on.

It was shocking that this happened and I think I might still be in a little bit of shock–if you read the last Friday post, I had mentioned Samone was going through health issues, not Makani. We’d been managing Makani’s kidney disease for several years and Sunday morning she seemed FINE. Ran to me as she always did when she saw me, ate all her food and tried to steal Samone’s, and was jumping up and down from her spot on the bench by the window. By the afternoon I could tell something was up when she didn’t come up to me. By evening it was clear that something was seriously wrong and her energy seemed to be drained. It felt like her body just could not go on.

I kept her company that night and didn’t leave her side. I wanted to make sure I was spending the precious time we had left in the best way I could. I wanted to make sure I was there in case she needed to be taken to the emergency vet or needed my help. Anytime she opened her eyes, I was there. I hope it made her feel safe and comfortable.

I stroked her head, scratched her chin, told her I loved her out loud and in my head, tried to send her good energy and vibes, cried and held her, told her she was the best, helped her use the litter box, held her paw, kept my hand against her, just tried to be there for her as much as possible. She was sleepy and tired but peaceful. At times she even looked like she was smiling at me. A few times, she grabbed my hand with her paw and nuzzled her little head into my hand. I will always treasure these moments.

Saying goodbye, even if you feel it will end their suffering, is always so SO hard.

It is so hard when you expect to see them in their usual spots as you have for all these years and they are not there.

It is so strange that they are there one second and then they are gone.

The hardest part for me has always been the first meal without them. Their bowls are still there, their food, their meds. I usually keep everything for a ridiculously long time until I am ready to let it go.

Although all of this happened so unexpected and quickly, maybe it was for the best–maybe it saved us both from prolonged pain and sadness.

But I still wish I had more time with her.

Animals are so amazing. I have no doubt they are incredibly connected to their spirit and energy and to the universe. I know Makani was not scared of death at all (I don’t think she was scared of anything). And I hope that I was able to help her start the next chapter in her journey. Her body might have been old but her spirit is strong and lives on. I hope that wherever she is, she is doing all the things she loves–so happy and so free.

I want to always remember how she loved sitting in my lap, that her favorite spot at this house was behind the curtain, and how the first time she slept there, I couldn’t find her until I saw the lump by the window :).

That somehow I got in the habit of calling her Miki, that she always insisted on walking or climbing or sitting on me, and how she and Jefrey became frenemies but I think mostly friends.

How she was a wonderful model and inspiration for Atiliay (she is the cat behind the cat hair t-shirts!), her deep purrs, how much she LOVED catnip and cardboard scratchers, and her very strong headbutts (that the other cats would always be taken aback by lol).

The way she would viciously chase and take down toys, how athletic she was, how she was the only cat I have had who was not scared of the vacuum at all!

I want to always remember her strength, her resilience, her soft side, her tenderness, her unconditional love.

Thank you, Makani, for everything you have given me. I am so appreciative and grateful for you.

Every beloved animal who has become a part of your life changes it for the better and takes a piece of your heart.

Makani, you will always have a very special place in mine. I love you. I miss you. Until we meet again.

Makani watching her frenemy Jefrey, one paw tuck, caring zero about the challenge where cats will sit in any ring, sitting on my lap, posing for the camera, and always assertive and curious :)

FRIDAY, JULY 17TH | #002

1. SOME SOUND ADVICE

It’s been a stressful few months and tough couple of weeks–my cat Samone has been having health issues and we’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to help her. She’s gone through a bunch of tests and realistically, it doesn’t seem like I have much more time with her. 😭 💔 A few more months at the least and 3+ months if I am lucky. I think I am currently in denial, hoping for the best, and deep down inside preparing for the worst. I was telling my friend Claire about the situation and she shared some wise words with me:

Try to remember that our pets don’t know what the future holds and therefore aren’t worrying about it. They always simply adapt to whatever they’re going through that day.

I’ve never thought about it that way and this perspective made me feel better. It’s just one of the many lessons we can learn from animals–they truly know how to live in the moment.

I wanted to share these words with you in case you are going through something similar or know somebody who is. Maybe these words can help bring some comfort your way.

My goal in life right now is to give Samone as many moments as I can filled with yummy food and treats, cuddles, chin scratches, naps in the sun, and love.

Here’s sweet Samone’s first day home <3 and one of my favorite photos of her below.

2. A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN BY ROSEANNE A. BROWN

My copy of this book finally came in the mail! I have been patiently waiting it’s arrival so that I can dive into this magical story inspired by fantasy and folklore. Learn more about author, her work, and this book, over on her site: roseanneabrown.com. Did I mention that the book cover is absolutely GORGEOUS?! Pic below!

I am already captivated by the very first line, “Abraa! Abraa! Come and gather–a story is about to begin!”

3. IT’S A WRAP!

I can’t believe it but The 100 Day Project is donezo and my 100 Days of Alphabet Connections is complete! You can find my very last connection here and I also shared 7 tips for a successful 100 day project. Did you participate this year? How were these past 100 days for you? I’d love to hear about your experience with it!

4. A BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE

Read this beautiful post by Dr. Elvis Francois. We tend to share the wins and the successes but there is something beautiful in the struggle that got us to where we are today. Let’s share more of those stories. Photo below is one of the images from Dr. Elvis Francois’ Instagram post.

5. LOOK UP AT THE CLOUDS

There is something comforting to me about looking up at the sky and at the clouds above us. I can never capture how beautiful they are in photos but I still can’t help myself from snapping some pics.

This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


7 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL 100 DAY PROJECT

100 Days of Alphabet Connections by Atiliay.com

If there’s two words I could use to describe my feelings at the start of this journey, it’d be hopeful and skeptical! But here we are–at day 101 with the entire 100 Day Project completed! :D I have attempted this once before and failed pretty miserably, so I am super happy to have finished it this year!

Throughout these last 100 days, I have been thinking to myself: What did I do this time that made it successful? Would I do anything differently in the future? What did I and do I want to accomplish? I tried to organize my thoughts and share them in today’s post. There’s 7 tips for a successful 100 Day Project as well as some final thoughts. I hope that if this project is something you are interested in participating in, that the points below encourage you and also give you some helpful tips!

Before we get started, here’s a quick explanation of my personal project so you know what I’m referring to! It was called 100 Days of Alphabet Connections and I took each letter of the alphabet and connected it to all the letters of the alphabet (ie: aa, ab, ac, all the way to zz.)

Take time to plan ahead.

Dedicating a good chunk of time to think through this project and plan each day in advance helped me TREMENDOUSLY! The reason this set me up for success is because I just had to focus on executing each day instead of planning and executing. I figured out exactly what connections would be lettered per day and all I had to do was refer to my list once the project started. If I hadn’t done that, each day would’ve taken way more time! I am also pretty sure I would’ve messed up along the way and not ended with zz on day 100!

In comparison, my first project was lettering daily entries for a gratitude journal. I found that having to come up with what I wanted to write PLUS actually lettering it took up a lot of time! In the long run, this made it less sustainable and easier for me to fall off the bandwagon.

I’ve seen people with less structured projects–for example, write a book and each day would include something that worked towards this goal. I love that idea and I think that format totally works as well! It just depends on what works for you and what you prefer. I think personally, I need to stick with as much structure as possible!

Add the actual date!

Speaking of planning, the way I got organized was by listing each day followed by the connection, ie: Day 1 = aa, ab, ac, Day 2 = ad, ae, af, etc. Nowhere did I put the actual date and I quickly learned that this was a total rookie mistake! After 10+ days, I had no idea what day it was or what date it was lol (plus we are in pandemic times so the sense of time is even more messed up than usual!) I ended up penciling in the dates next to each connection and that made it MUCH easier! I was able to make sure I was doing the right connection, not miss any dates, and keep track of everything!

Pick a project that can be done in less than 30 minutes…

If you have more than 30 minutes to work on your project that’s awesome! For me, I found that knowing I only had to dedicate 30 min (or a little more/a little less) made it possible for me to complete my project. If I didn’t have much time I could still squeeze it in and if I was a little behind, I could easily catch up.

I think one of the coolest aspects of this project is seeing what can be accomplished with a little bit of dedication each day. It’s a wonderful reminder that little actions do add up and make an impact!

I know this won’t always be possible depending on what your project is, but this worked for me! I think I will stick to the same format next year as well.

…and includes variety!

Getting to letter connections I had never lettered before really helped to keep me excited and engaged! Although letters were repeated, they switched often enough where it never got tedious. Lettering is something I do quite often so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get bored. A boring project easily turns into an abandoned one!

Break it up / set mini goals + milestones throughout.

Before starting the project, I made a tracker as a fun way to measure my progress. It included 100 boxes I would color in each day. To help break up them up, I bolded every 25th box and switched markers every 25 days as well. Seeing the days as 4 sets of 25 made it seem much more manageable!

The other way I broke things down into chunks was the process of pinning each day’s connection onto my bulletin board. The board only fits 25 cards but it ended up working out great that way! After each quarter, I’d snap a pic, then clear the board for the next 25. When I finished, it was fun to see these photos side by side :)

There are many ways to do this–having sub-topics/themes for every quarter, planning rewards at certain milestones, documenting every 10 days, and so much more! I find doing this to be helpful and it’s another fun aspect of the planning process.

Have a visual.

Are you a visual person? If so, I think having visual elements adds a ton of fun and motivation! I find it encouraging to be able to see the progression of your project! I loved getting to color in my tracker and pin each day onto a bulletin board. Seeing both start to fill up during the different stages of the project was very satisfying!

Let it go.

Did you miss a day? No worries, let it go! Pick up where you left off or start again. Missed a few days? Or a week? Let it go! It doesn’t mean you have to scrap your project. You can still finish it, just make the decision to do so.

This year’s 100 day project happened during the middle of a pandemic. It also was going on during an important time of social unrest. I also ended up taking a social media break about 3/4 of the way through. While the idea is to do something consistently for 100 days, life happens! And I think it’s ok to allow yourself to let it go and keep going.

I had to play catch up a few times but was ultimately able to complete it. If I had felt that I “messed up” and that I couldn’t continue it, I never would have finished!

My favorite part…

I have always loved the concept of The 100 Day Project and had so much fun joining in this year! My favorite part was actually planning everything out, coming up with different ideas, and seeing it all come together (like the tracker and bulletin board). I also enjoyed being able to practice my lettering on a (almost) daily basis. I don’t do it often enough and usually the excuse is finding time for it. This project helped solve that problem!

Thoughts on the next 100 Day Project.

I’ve already had so many ideas when it comes to next year’s project ranging from photography to writing to my pets! I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I am excited to continue to brainstorm until I get that feeling that a certain idea is the one :)

Something else that’s been on my mind is how The 100 Day Project is primarily hosted on Instagram. I currently have no plans of using the platform but would still love to participate–and I don’t think I’m the only one. Besides my blog, I’m wondering if there’s a way to make The 100 Day Project more accessible to everyone, including those not on social media…do you have any thoughts about this? Luckily, I have some time to think about this before the next 100 Day Project starts :)

What about you? Did you participate this year? What were your take aways? Will you be joining in next year? Is there anything stopping you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And please also share your project links/hashtags with me if you have one! Leave them in the comments below or feel free to send me an email.

I hope you enjoyed this post and congratulations to my fellow project participants for hitting the day 100 mark!

If you want to learn more about The 100 Day Project and my 100 Days of Alphabet Connections, head over to the very first post:

THE 100 DAY PROJECT | 100 DAYS OF ALPHABET CONNECTIONS


100 DAYS OF ALPHABET CONNECTIONS | DAY 100

100 Days of Alphabet Connections by Atiliay.com

Happy day ONE HUNDRED of the #The100DayProject! Wrapping up my 100 Days of Alphabet Connections with the last connection: zu-zz.

Day 100 / zu-zz

I can’t believe that we are at the final day! I will be writing a separate post on this experience–this is the first time I have actually completed all 100 days and there were definitely some things I learned along the way! In the meantime, here are a few photos of my completed project.

100 Days of Alphabet Connections by Atiliay.com
100 Days of Alphabet Connections by Atiliay.com

Thank you to all the awesome letterers who joined me in creating connections with every single letter in the alphabet! It really helped me stay motivated by seeing other people’s posts.

Did you participate this year? Why or why not? How has your project and journey been? I’d love to hear more about it :)

If this is the first time you are hearing about The 100 Day Project, you can learn more about it and my personal project, 100 Days of Alphabet Connections, head over here:

THE 100 DAY PROJECT | 100 DAYS OF ALPHABET CONNECTIONS