On the Run

Oh hey, so did I mention we went to the last US show in the On the Run Tour?

Yes, yes we did.

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Best. Concert. Ever!

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We spontaneously decided to go after we got home from Spain.

Different story, different blog post ;)

So we grabbed us some tickets to the show at AT&T Park in the best seats we could find (and afford – ha) and made a night of it. A quick stop at the original Sightglass shop, dinner in SOMA with the one and only Renee Hong at the Willows, and our first ever Uber ride were all great additions to an amazing concert.

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I can now die happily. Beyonce is my fav forever.

Jay-Z and Beyonce are such a dynamic couple. They performed 40+ songs, a non-stop assortment/arrangement of their hits, and shared the stage for about a third of the show. Bey aims to keep the crowd guessing when it comes to which song will be performed next and that seriously keeps the energy up throughout the show. Beyonce’s costumes, designed by Diesel, Versace and Givenchy to name a few, were incredible – sexy, eye-catching and very deserving of the Queen. Jay is a very talented entertainer (though, apparently he considers his wife the best alive [such a man]), engaging the crowd and bringing the fun. Beyonce had us all memorized. It was seriously a good time. And it was fun to celebrate the end of the tour with them as they wrapped the show. The end, that is, until they perform 2 additional shows in Paris for an HBO special of the concert. That’s a must see, guys.

Doctor Who?

This week, we lost Dr. Cat

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If you’re visiting the blog for the first time, let me give you a little background on the Doc.

Dr. Cat was a “stray” who showed up at our door the night I moved into our house. He was a really handsome -looking guy, very talkative, super friendly. And very determined to come inside. He’d paw at the door and meow until somebody’d give him some attention. But then, he’d refuse to come in unless bribed with food. But, he was altered and declawed, so I worried about him being out there on his own. He had to be someone’s cat, right?

He was a good-size cat, not too thin or anything, so we started asking around to see who was feeding him. Or who he belonged to. Our neighbor across the street wasn’t sure where he came from, but had been looking after him (aka Dr. Cat was stealing his kitty’s food). We decided to start taking over the responsibility of this sweet tomcat. We called him Lewis, ’cause he didn’t have a name as far as we knew.

This went on for a while, till some people down the street (who had a collection of dogs living in the front yard) stopped out front of our home and said he was a cat they’d brought down with them from Seattle. But he wasn’t their cat. Nope. He was a neighborhood cat. They’d just brought him here.

Huh?

Ya. He’d been cat-napped. Poor guy.

At least we knew then that he’d been Dr. Cat to them, and at that point we were able to get him inside. We bathed him (he hated it) and put him on some flea meds (he was covered in them). He slept next to our bed and loved to jump on the kitchen counter. Well, any cool, hard surface, really. He drank out of the toilet. He kept himself perfectly clean. He made friends with everyone who visited us. He was an indoor/outdoor cat when we got Coach, but they did alright together.

He was an old cat. Not sure how old, but he was old. He mostly sat around the house and laid out in the sun. He started loosing weight pretty rapidly a year ago, so I changed his food and moved him back inside full time.

I started to worry about him when he had a few accidents inside and started getting restless at night. He started drinking twice as much as before and eating us out of house and home, but the weight kept coming off. He was suffering from hyperthyroidism – not uncommon in older cats. We knew time was probably running out and just wanted to keep him happy.

Dr. Cat always purred until the day he died. That’s what made me think it was time. He didn’t purr when we pet him or talked to him. But, he went peacefully and we were happy for that.

He was the perfect cat and we are so happy to have spent the last 4 years with him. RIP Doc, we miss you <3

The Water Situation: California

Call me Crunchy. But I have a bit of an issue lately with the over-use of natural resources.

You can stop reading here if this offends you.

I know it’s not polite to talk about politics in a public setting (i.e. on the internet), but I can’t help myself. I come from a very conservative community, grew up in a very conservative home, live a very conservative lifestyle…you get the point.

But one thing conservatives seem to be very liberal about (in general) is using things up.

Growing up in California, I’ve seen it all. Water shortages, electricity shortages, clean air shortages…the depletion of precious resources (like old-growth redwoods and oil)…in this state, we use like it’ll never run out.

But it does.

Blackouts, droughts, clear-cuts, waste waste waste.

For a state with such a rough history, we certainly do know how to abuse whatever’s available to us.

It disgusts me.

And now I’m just mad.

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Though the Sacramento area (my hometown) has successfully cut back water-usage by 18% in 2014, it’s not enough. And this is not a state-wide reduction. Water is a very precious commodity, with 10 of the state’s 12 major reservoirs at less than 50% full. According to the SFGate, last year was the driest year California’s seen since records began in the 1840’s.

It’s true that things were worse 40 years ago. But, 40 years ago, Californians seemed more interested in conserving water. Government officials are threatening a $500 fine for residents who do not conserve, when in 1977, people took the responsibility of living within their means upon themselves.

I wish more Americans would visit developing countries. Places where clean water is not available through a faucet. Where pit toilets and dirty hair are the norm. We are so, so spoiled. Rotten. And when we’re faced with a deficit of any kind, the response of the masses needs to be managed by financial implications.

Time to grow up, California. This drought is potentially devastating. We’ve all seen those hand-painted signs on I-5 about the need for water in California’s farmlands. Farmers and ranchers, who have been under pressure over the lack of water for years, are going to have to make serious financial decisions. Without farms, there’s no food (thanks for the line, Whole Foods). People loose their jobs. California doesn’t have the money to keep renewing farm subsidies.

Think about it.

How can you change your lifestyle to help?

It’s so easy:

Check for leaks and drips. Be vigilant.

Let that lawn go. Men, I know it kills something deep inside you to see a brown patch in that beautiful sea of green. But really. Priorities. Lawns are so embarrassingly wasteful, drought or no drought.

Shorten your showers. Self explanatory. Don’t run the water while you brush your teeth. Stop waiting for the water to heat up like a baby. Cold water won’t hurt you, especially during a California summer.

Use your grey water. This is a hot topic. Grey water is not used in toilets or anything gross like that. It’s water from your shower, sinks, washing machines, etc, that can be reused for irrigation. Boiling pasta for dinner? Great. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, water your flowers with it. Starchy water is like fertilizer anyway. Everyone wins. At the Boatman home, we’re still trying to get the hang of this. It’s so easy, but also easy to forget. Gotta make it a habit. Be aware of the products going into your water before repurposing it, though. If you’re washing your clothes with vinegar, use that water to kill off some pesky weeds. Use biodegrade soaps. Ya know, be vigilant.

And if you want to invest a little into your home, hit up your local home-improvement store for some water-efficient gadgets. Many cities are offering rebates for them, so you will save money right away and in the long run, too.

Bottom line – everything is connected. We are responsible for how we use what is made available to us. And since we are responsible, we need to be responsible. Take the initiative today. And pray for rain.

 

Wedding Stressing

Your wedding day is huge. A life-changing occasion. A monumentous moment.

Yes, I made that word up.

Women grow up dreaming of this day. The dress, the man, the flowers, the first dance…It’s our chance to be a princess for a day. For some of us, it’s our chance to really express ourselves to the individuals invited. It’s our turn to tell our story and be celebrated for us.

In other words, it’s incredibly stressful and even overwhelming.

I don’t know about you, but I’m an achiever. A perfectionist. And I have a background in events and design. I had to have the. Best. Wedding. Ever. And I almost turned into a bridezilla.

But I didn’t. Achiever, remember? :)

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 I had this idea in my head of how things needed to be. How I wanted people to feel at our wedding. What I wanted them to remember. From the flowers to the votives, I knew what kind of vibe and atmosphere I wanted. I hesitated over flowers for a split second, but that was about it.

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 Actually, I wasn’t sure about my dress, either. Which is a bummer, but now I know life goes on ;)

So, when I hear someone’s engaged, I’m legitimately excited for them. Like, yay I want to talk wedding with you excited. Also, I feel like it’s rude to not ask an engaged woman how wedding sheesh is going.

Which is probably why everyone does so and annoys the heck out of the bride to be.

With that being said, the pressure continues to mount as you’re planning your big day. Here are my fav rules to remember while you’re working on your wedding.

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 1. You don’t have to invite the whole world.

People ask about your wedding because they are curious/there was a lull in the conversation/they want to offer advice (which may or may not be helpful in nature). The number of people actually fishing for an invite is probably pretty low. Think of it as training for when you’re preggo and everyone wants to touch your belly ;)

2. Compromise happens.

You’re the bride. This is your day. But, your mother probably has her own ideas about how things should be, your mother-in-law may want to live vicariously through you, your dad has a tendency to be particular and your maid-of-honor doesn’t like the bridesmaids’ dresses. Ugh. Get together with your groom/whoever’s paying early on (or right now if you haven’t yet) and talk things over. Decide which hill you’re willing to die for. If it’s the menu, let the decor slide a little. If mom still wants you to wear her veil, ponder the consequences of agreeing to versus turning her down. Everyone’s got to give a little. We gave on the entrees, but “put our feets down” on the invitations and printed material because we’re designers and I’m paper-conscientious. But most importantly, figure out what the heck your man wants out of the day. If he really wants a football-shaped cake, see if you can make a groom’s cake a reality. If he’s going to die a little inside over the ceremony playlist, let him have a go at putting it together. It’s totally worth it to have him back you in the rest of the planning.

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 3. Get stuff done.

Get a list together. Pick a bridesmaid to help manage details. Find a friend with some knowledge of local vendors and locations. Put together a wedding team and get your sheesh together. The two most important thongs to get done first are the venue and dress. After that, you can take your time. Forget the wedding checklists, calendars, planners, etc you can get off theknot.com. But, don’t neglect your wedding planning either. Take things one step at a time, but keep on steppin’ so you don’t get behind.

4. Everyone has a budget.

You’ve probs got a budget to stick to. So do your bridesmaids. So do the groomsmen. So do your guests. Inviting friends and family to an engagement party, bridal shower, mens shower, house-warming party, bachelorette party, bachelor party and wedding really racks up. For you and for them. So don’t let it get too crazy. If your bridesmaids want to shower you, yay. If your family wants to as well, double yay. Get those registry gift bought. But, don’t expect multiple gifts from everyone. Bridesmaids dresses can be pretty expensive, so shop around for a good price. Renting a tux and buying a suit are sometimes comparable in price, so ask the groomsmen what they’d prefer to do. And, most importantly, give yourself some wiggle-room in your budget. If you spend more on the flowers than originally planned, can you spend less on the caterer? Is there something your future in-laws are willing to help with? It’s still your day – people will rally to help if you ask!

5. Eat your dinner and a piece of cake, too.

Your wedding day is finally here! Don’t sweat the small stuff – you’re the bride and you set the tone of the entire event. Which means, your guests will have fun if you do! Don’t let that stress you out, it’s actually a good phenomenon. So the florist is running late? No worries, let your mom deal with her. Your welcome table doesn’t look as good as you wanted it to? Oh well, you look hot. The best man didn’t shave his nasty beard? It’ll be a great story to tell in a year. Really, it’s ok. Insert yourself the day of if you want – I did – but, keep your cool. Eat your dinner and have some cake. You did it! And you done good.

It’s Summertime Designtime

Finally! Breaking out some fun colors. Love love love.

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Summertime’s around the corner and that means summer camps are kicking it up.

And the kid’s ministries are getting ready for business. Here’s some branding I just finished for Venture Church’s children’s ministry in Southern California. Again, sorry about the screenshot lameness ;)

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You can see more on my Behance page, too :)

And if it gets as hot here this summer as last summer, I’ll need one of these:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 8.38.52 PMInflatable Pinwheel Pool – Urban Outfitters

What makes you summertime-happy?

Cha-cha-cha-changes!

Hey, guess what?

I  own my own business!

Jacque Boatman Designs is now a thing. It’s been a wild ride and I’m so excited to see where things go from here!

I’ve got to update you guys on what I’ve been up to sometime soon. Oh, and what do you think about the changes to the blog? :)

Once You Go Subaru…

Well.

Remember when I told you the Camaro was gonna have to be retired?

It has. Been retired, I guess. Not replace, just PNO’d.

And, we bought a new (to us) car!

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Buying a used car might be the more economical option, but it is not easy! Once we knew we wanted to go with Subaru, it was tough to find one that had low(er) miles and was relatively recent. We were so lucky to get this 2011 Subaru Outback used (CPO) with only 30,000 miles on it.

Originally, we wanted a Forester. But, they’re pretty elusive on the used car market. And, their engine was just rebuilt this year, so it didn’t really make sense for us to buy one of the few used Foresters available.

Check out my List for more info about why we went with the Outback!

About That American Dream

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About this idea we have as Americans that we can be anything if we out our minds to it.
We tell our kids this.
It’s further ingrained in them by the education system.
This idea motivates many to continue on to college or vocational school.
But then, when they join the work force and are stuck in an entry-level position, they’re confused. And frustrated. And aren’t sure how they’ll afford to pay off their student loans.

I think we’re living in a broken system. Where people feel entitled to certain achievements they haven’t necessarily worked for.

But I don’t think it’s the people’s fault. I think the fault lies with the idea they’ve been fed since they were young.

“You can be anything you wanna be.”

I get where this idea comes from. It’s the summary of the American dream. Instead of being stuck in the same situation for your whole life, you can work your way out of it and make a better future for yourself.
The problem is – the key word there is work.
You don’t get a high paying job because you went to college. You can’t expect to be given much before you’ve given at all. You have to earn your way.

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Most of us Americans come from immigrant roots. We’ve all heard the stories, “My grandfather came here with fifty cents in his pocket,” etc. Do you think someone told him, “You can be anything you want to be in America”? Sure. But, did he expect it to just happen? For his dreams to just come true? Probably not. Because, as we know from experience with these stories that these men and women seeking better lives here in America worked hard. We learned about it in elementary school. Later on in our education, we heard the horrible stories about the conditions they had to endure. But, endure they did. And we’re not talking about dirty bathrooms or cramped offices. These men and women actually had good reason to feel used, overworked and put in harms way. Yet, on they pressed. And for many, things got easier. They lived the dream. They worked within their abilities and now we, their kids and grandkids, are here – living better lives.

Did they have other unattainable dreams? Probably. But, they focused instead on living a better life, caring for their families and building a legacy.

So, how did we get to this place? Kids grow up being told they can be anything. College students graduate from school and turn down decent jobs in hopes of finding something more ‘deserving’ of their degrees. Career-focused adults put off having families or investing in others until they’ve achieved their loftiest goals. Many people go through life without knowing what they’re good at, working for a paycheck or for prestige instead of utilizing their talents and abilities.

Sounds problematic for society.

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Now, let me rewind and address a few things. Do I think dreams are important? You know I do. Do I think they should be pursued? Sometimes. There’s this thing they don’t teach kids anymore – discernment. Discernment is more than knowing right from wrong. Discern and perceive are often used interchangeably. According to the dictionary, there are two separate ways to use the word discernment. The typical usage refers to sound judgement. The other, annotated for Christian contexts, describes perception beyond the ordinary, focused on seeking spiritual direction and understanding.

I know not everyone in America is religious. I understand, to the best of my abilities, the plight our nation is in due to spiritual dryness. So, I guess the rest of this blog entry will seem a little skewed to those who don’t share my beliefs.

The problem with the American dream as it exists today is it focuses almost entirely on our selfish desires (which encompass a need to work less and enjoy more) instead of seeking out God’s better plan for us.

According to C.S. Lewis, ‘There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”‘ (The Great Divorce)
So, we can choose. To adhere to the modern American dream, which is much more self-centered and self-indulgent than that of our predecessors, or to develop our gifts and trust the will of an all-knowing Creator.

Doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me.

You see, I think we all have it in us to continually improve ourselves. Not in order to climb the ladder of success or force our way into a career ill-suited for our giftings, though. I think we can surrender our lives, given to us by the Lord anyway, back to Him and enjoy the wild ride, or we can (because we have free will) try to force His hand and zero-in only on what we want out of life. It’s His will versus ours. And it’s a choice we have to make every day.

Wish you could pursue a career in music, but it’s not your gifting? Bummer. Come to terms with that. Take some time to feel a little sad if you need to. Then, get on your knees and pray about how to use your incredible talents in other ways, maybe even in ways related to the music industry.
Wanna be a doctor because of the paycheck, but you’re a terrible student? That’s probably not going to work for you. Rethink your priorities and try something else.

This is where discernment comes back into play.

If you don’t know your talents well, if you’ve been focused on trying to foster abilities you don’t have, you may need to reevaluate what you’re best at and spend some serious time in prayer. Then, once you have a purposeful direction, you can move forward toward success.

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And guys (erm, and gals), we have to get past this idea that one gift is better than another. That one career is superior to the other. We know from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth that this was an issue even in the early days of Christianity:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Cor 12:4-11, NIV)

Right? Right.

So you don’t have the gift you want? Ya, I get it. However, we were bought with a price and for that reason our lives are no longer ours. And, if we choose to be self-seeking and pursue the life we wish for instead of surrendering to the plan He has for us, we won’t be be happy either. And also – everything worth living for demands work from us. You work through school, work through your career, work through your relationships and even work through your hobbies. Work isn’t just essential. It’s a huge part of improving ourselves. Let’s stop being afraid to work hard.

Bottom line? Don’t not dream. That’s not my point. Don’t not make money, that’s not my intention either. But decide what kind of person you want to be: the one who trusts God’s will or chooses his/her own way. Use your gifts for His glory or for your own. Seek a path laid by Him or try to forge your own.

My opinion? Use discernment, develop your gifts, receive the gift of limits and thrive in the relationship (based on trust) you can have with your Creator. Throw in a lotta hard work and a little imagination, and who knows what you’re truly capable of ;)

Photos from IM Creator

Camaro Rumble Ramble

So I haven’t posted a rambling blog in a while.

Because nobody’s got time for that.

Even though I really enjoy writing them. And I know someone enjoys reading them.

Anyone? :P

Life’s been a little crazy lately. Navigating the new business, managing day to day things, Justin becoming a pastor, becoming a pastor’s wife, helping with a church plant, working with awesome clients, figuring out our financial future (read this – saving for retirement!)…

And now, we have to buy a new (to us, at least) car.

Yep. I’m about to ramble about the loss of my husband’s beloved Camaro.

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(A very pro, in-motion iPhone shot)

I’m not sure how we’ll get through this. And you think I’m kidding. This car is not a machine – it has a soul. His father bought it brand new in 1995 and it’s been in the family ever since. Justin’s driven it since he was 16. It’s been totaled, sideswiped, pranked, and repaired (a lot). It’s a part of one of his earliest memories. It’s also the car we went out on our first date in. It’s the car we drove around in when we were hunting for our first home. It’s the car we had our (very awkward) second kiss in.

Obviously not in that order. Rambling, remember? ;)

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Anyway. This poor car. I’ve been the bad guy here – trying to get him to get rid of it for years. Ever since it was totaled back in 2009. But, I helped him salvage it anyway, finding mechanics to bring it back to life. We’ve put new tires on it, had the motors in the windows replaced, tried to manage damaged head gasket, put in a new stereo, had the passanger door replaced, put in a new catalytic converter…This could go on for quite some time.

Wanna know what totaled it?

A smog check.

No, seriously. If you’re reading this and do not live in California, you may not understand our frustration. Every vehicle in California must pass strict regulations in order to be re-registered as operational. And, if we lived in Nevada, just an hour away, we’d be smooth sailing. But, there’s a minor issue with the gas tank that keeps the Camaro from passing smog here in California. It wouldn’t be a big deal to fix, says our mechanic, but to get to the problem, well…it would cost about $500.

$500. That’s how much we’d get if we traded it in.

So, now that we put all this work into the car to get it in great shape, we can’t keep it. I guess it’s all worked out in a timely manor. We’re in need of a little more room anyway (read this – we’re not pregnant) – I’d love a compact SUV to fit our outdoorsy lifestyle. But, it sucks that it happened this way.

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So, RIP you rumbling, white ‘Maro. I’ll miss hearing Justin come home from work in it. Hopefully we can find something worthy of you in the next chapter.