Growing Pains

“Hey Michael, go get me some milk!” a bossy 12-year-old-Robin chirped from in front of the living room television. This was not uncommon. In fact, as the middle sibling, I knew my rights to practice the skillful art of bossing that had been exercised on me for years. It was the natural order!

Dutifully, Michael slid his Bob-the-Builder-undied bottom down from his perch on top of the back of the leather sofa, and scampered toward the kitchen.

He reached the entryway, and that’s when he stopped. I looked at him. He pivoted to look at me with the bewildered self-actualization of one discovering their self-autonomy for the first time and said, “No… get your own milk!” And resumed his position on top of the back of the couch. I argued, relented, and sighed.

The jig was up. My baby brother wasn’t a baby anymore. He was growing up, and that meant fetching my own snacks from the kitchen. He was too smart for his own good. It happened so fast!

But as quickly as that moment came, nothing compares to the eye-blink seperating splitting a cookie-jar’s worth of Oreos together after a day of hide-and-seek and the moment Michael walked the stage a fully-graduated 18-year-old, 6’3″ human man last weekend.

(I swear I just picked him up from basketball practice… the hip older sister with a license who stops for ice-cream on the way home! What, he has his own license?! He’s driven himself to practice for years?! He buys his own ice-cream?! Someone, quick, make it stop!)

The get-your-own-milk moment isn’t when he stopped being a baby. This he-shaves-and-drives-and-is-gradating moment is, and realization hit me all over again two months ago when my mom asked me to shoot some senior photos.

There’s a lot I miss about being kids together, but as less of a Mom #2 and babysitter now and more of an equal, there’s a lot I love about my grown-up relationship with my brother, too. I couldn’t be more proud of his goals, dreams, sense of humor, and gentle heart. And I love him.

Meet Kendrick 

“Let’s take our calm, sweet puppy into this random meadow for some photos while he’s still tiny!” AK and I thought on day 7 of our newfound pet-parenthood.

 

Immediately after being released onto the damp grass, however, Kendrick Lamar Karber became a wet bullet of fur streaking around our feet, circling the field, and back again in a burst of manic energy we had never seen the little guy exert before.
Why we chose the wettest day in February?

 

Sheer naivety, Pet-Parents. Sheer naivety.

 

In our defense… We had grown quite accustom to hours of lap naps, lazy tug-of-war games where *we* did the pulling and he did the clamping-onto-the-end-of-the-rope-with-tiny-teeth and starring at us, and a general abundance of mellow puppy snuggles during waking hours -so it was nothing short of shocking to see our puppy be a puppy. 

 

Equally assuring, though, that he wasn’t broken.

 

But we knew he wasn’t! He’s just becoming fully-puppy the more comfortable he is around his new home, but full-Kenny: affectionate, people-loving, and mellow in the very best way that makes him a top-shelf apartment puppy, and perfect addition to our little Karber family.

 

 

And smart. I thought it would be, like, harder having a puppy? He’s taken to potty & crate training like his human-mommy to shoe shopping and it has been quite a surprisingly easy affair.

 

The #1 debate we have with everyone is Kendrick’s breed.

 

 

We know Mom was Shih Tzu/Yorkie, and Dad was Chihuahua/Question Mark. Coined by my father-in-law: he’s shi-yorkuahhua.

 


To me, he just looks like a dog: a precious, breed ambiguous, tiny dog.

Like if you walked into an elementary school classroom and said “everybody draw a dog now!”I think 90% of the drawings would look something like Kendrick. Big eyes, four legs, floppy ears, and a happy wagging tail.

Good parents we are trying to be, Kendrick’s big day was followed up with a “it’s good for you, trust us” traumatic experience:

After which the cold shoulder was given for a ten-minute eternity. He really showed us.

High Five for Friday 03

Or should I say, High Five for Getting Back On the Blogging Wagon (more accurately blogging-publishing wagon because don’t think for half a happy minute my iPhone Notes don’t runnith-over with potential content, always.)

The concept of H54F is “Five Highlights of the Week”, but since I haven’t been active on the blogging ball, let’s stretch the definition to include “Five Whatever I Want To Talk About Today That’s Happened Lately” just this once.

1. Perfectly ordinary Sundays with brunch & movie dates, evening church services, and spending regular time with AK have become my favorite days on the whole planet. Our schedules are so flipped + packed, I cherish the together-time, and usually commemorate them with sappy Grams.
I get a lot of questions about that nail polish. I rotate it year-round as a serious go-to when I’m feeling particularly indecisive.
They are almost identical shades, with Chinchilly being ever-so-slightly-lighter. Perfect if you have undying allegiance to either brand, and fancy a greige with the *tiniest essence* of purple.
2. Considering myself something of a 19 Crimes Enthusiast for a hot minute, I tried their newest dark red blend a couple weeks ago and man oh man if you’re looking for a $10 Friday Night Investment, you’re welcome.
Addendum 1: That is, if you’re a fan of bold reds. It’s a gorgeous opaque, deep red-almost-black-color, fairly fruit-forward, and smooth in a way my palate adamantly approves.
Addendum 2: I’m less of a wine connoisseur, more of a just a girl who really likes wine. Take my advice with a grain of salty dark chocolate.
3. I cooked salmon for the first time in my life on Monday, and if that isn’t an exciting update for you, I don’t know what you want from me.
Except maybe, also, a photo.
By cook, I mean I bought the pre-seasoned pieces of fish from the deli of Central Market, moved them onto a cooking sheet, and baked them for 20 minutes. Served alongside Ready Rice +asparagus I tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic salt then roasted for 20, and voila… color me a dang 5-Star Gourmet Chef. *bows*
4. The Super Bowl.
It happened Sunday.
There was a winner, but I don’t really wanna talk about that.(Forever Skeptical, Forever Salty).
But! I will talk about snacks and commercials and the best Halftime Show that’s happened in a while, if you want! You go, Gaga, you go.
Pictured: Cream Cheese + Raspberry Chipotle Sauce + Ritz Chips and Oreo Truffles to satisfy an unhealthy urge I’ve had lately to do work on family-pack of double-stuff’s single-handedly. Letting myself eat a few of these felt like a healthier compromise.
5. Brunch with some great pals at Bolsa in Oak Cliff perfectly punctuated last week, leaving AK and I rearing do it again real soon. Fantastic locally roasted coffee from Ascension Coffee, some seriously off-the-chain Chilaquiles, or Shrimp & Eggs (my plate below) come highly recommended out of the Karber house.
And instead of, you know, capturing a great moment with friends, we snagged this selfie instead.
Alas, a paparazzi fail on my part.
Cheers, my friend, as I’m sure you are, too, counting down to the weekend.

Antler Jewelry Tree

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I enjoy target practice as much as the next red-blooded Texas girl, but the thought of actually personally hunting freaks me out down to my potentially-closet-Yankee bones. So understand I have no earthly idea, then, what compelled me to become nothing short of obsessed with real antler jewelry trees last summer.

I guess my general hate of knock-offs extends to deer? Who knew.

We’ll put this one on record as a bad case of Pinterest Fever.

Except instead of Pinterest-ing the probably literal thousands of how-to’s, I went totally rogue in the least Southern Living Clean & Classy Crafts fashion possible. But since I’m not anticipating a visit from Martha Stewart anytime soon, I ain’t even mad about how crazy it looks in the back because it gets the job done.

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Except that it didn’t. Not at first. These babies took a nose-dive to end all terrifying thumps in the night that landed them hard in the Pinterest Fail column and a backseat to my closet for a solid six month time-out so they could think about what they’d done.

Unable to hide for long in the zero-storage situation that is my apartment, my bruised ego eventually pulled them back out and now it’s Antlers 1 : Robin 1, and I can live with that score.

I went as cheap as possible with this project, which was only ultimately bad in one regard: glue.

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The antlers themselves came from the Sweat-A-Thon that was our trip to Canton Trade Days last Fourth of July weekend; fifteen thousand (slight hyperbole) acres of flea market and an experience I highly recommend in any month that isn’t the month we went.

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The hanger is unscrewed from an unusual collection of unused picture frames I’ve somehow managed to collect and had lying around. If you *don’t* stockpile useless crap, Google will help you find something of the kind.

The original glue was an off-brand Kroger *Super* aka Super Bad At Gluing Things Glue. Glue that wont make you jump out of your skin as fifteen thousand pounds of necklaces come crashing down on top of your dresser: Gorilla Glue, of course.

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I just eyeballed where the hanger fit best on the back, glued, sat to try for 24ish+ hours, and hung on the wall on two nails. I wish I had more detailed images to show you the process, but those were deleted in the flurry of a tantrum I threw at Antlers 1 : Robin 0 and never retaken. Whoops.

I enjoy having my options visible rather than stored away because Hi Reader, meet High Maintenance, but I also love that it frees up space on my dresser from the table-top jewelry trees these were on originally to make room for the rest of my jewelry stash.

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So there you have it. The story you’ve been craving on how I came to hang my necklaces on the wall. Riveting.

Office Outfitting: week one edition

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I unsubscribed from job alerts this week. It was the most freeing click of a button I’ve maybe ever experienced.

Being the Robin that I am, a small (large) part of me was particularly excited by this turn of employment events because it meant dusting off my pumps and slacks from their 4 month hiatus from circulation. Hello again, trusty Business Caj!

(I realize I’m a freak. A freak who feels safer in her skin while donning a blazer than a T, and being in an environment which requires it. To each their wardrobe-ing own. Starched Collars, I just can’t quit you.)

I gram’d earlier this week about my first day, so this development is likely old news, but that’s never stopped me before.

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Workaholic from birth, I’ve been on the BusCaj scene *roughly* seven years. Dressing for work isn’t quite as anxiety-inducing for me as I’ve come to realize it is for some friends and clients I serve at Loft.

I have a handful of trusty “formulas” or “when in doubts, reach for _____” –ifyouwill– when it comes to putting together work outfits. Through this series on workwear (a request that’s popped up a few times), I’ll probably unpackage them for you, although it’s more of a feeling than a science. Am I an expert? Not likely. Do I own more suit jackets than you? There’s a chance. A pretty solid chance.

Formula 1: When in doubt, reach for a shirtdress. Top with jewelry. Done.

The structure of a shirt. The comfort of a dress. Who loses? Not me, I’m wearing a shirtdress.

The first two days in the new digs I’ve worn black. Day 3, I decided I better prove to them I’m not in mourning for joining their company, as if anyone has even really noticed my ensemble, but let’s pretend today. I’ve been head-over-wedges for a rose gold/purple combo lately, so decided to bust that out for this.

Facetune

(Who has a purple dress and needs her ends trimmed? Haircut on the calendar, worry not.)

Dress: Loft, spring collection, aka old.
Shoes: Franco Sarto, last fall, aka old.
Earrings/Necklace: Kendra Scott
Bracelet: Fossil Outlet, aka, old.
Bag: Louis Vuitton.

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

PB Cookies-1Few linguistic pairings catch the eye of a sugar-holic on a shoestring budget quicker than  4-Ingredient + Cookie.

No sooner was I on my 249-thousandth mindless Facebook thumb-scroll of the weekend than Southern Living’s 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie video caught my cookie-craving eye, and my apron strings were tied.

“4? That’s it? We’ll see.” My ever-the-inner-skeptic questioned. “To waste or not to waste the cup of peanut butter on this experiment, though?” My more recent proclivity for penny-pinching battled.

My curiosity (sweet tooth) won out, and judging by the three cookies left in <12 hours, we kind of liked them in my house.

Well duh, I hear you thinking. Like who am I, Robin Karber, to question Southern Living?PB Cookies-3

Not-So-Pro-Tip: praise the Lord for the mother of invention, or in this case, peanuts. Wedded to a devote Team Crunchy disciple, crunchy peanut butter is all I had on hand, but otherwise would have probably opted Team Creamy. Because I’m extra boring like that sometimes.

However, IMHO, the extra peanuts may have kicked these babies up from “a pretty good experiment” to “on the regular baking rotation.” PB Cookies-2

Rolling dough balls approximately yay-big and fork criss-crossing like my southern mama taught me:

From approximately yay-amount of dough:  I baked approximately a baker’s dozen in the end? I forgot to count before my husband began to vacuum-inhale these heavenly morsels down. Not enough to host an all out bash, but just the right amount for a small family of two to stuff themselves shamelessly onto the brink of a sugar coma.

A successful experiment from the Karber Kitchen, in my cookbook.

RECIPE-1 copy

 

Bitter blessings as of late! Mostly one. And it’s a doozy.

I’ve been in the funkiest of limbos having serious work done on my heart -which is/should be every day-but between you and me, this one has been a real up-and-down-roller-coaster- of a season.

There’s a post in the wasteland of forgotten daily sprinkles drafts titled Resolutions, with a particularly hilarious opening quip:

 Haha, no change. Right. Writing like I know anything about what’s good for me.

The last time I’ve posted in these parts was ironically -or not so ironically- the day I found out my position at work had been eliminated. The position I accepted only in November. I wasn’t *fired* so much as they just didn’t see the position they had created, that I accepted three months prior, to be the most necessary to the company. So off with my teeny-tiny severance I was sent packing that afternoon.

I’ll be honest, as this was explained to me out of the clear-blue nowhere, the conversation was mostly white noise in my ears, so the specifics of why float around my brain a bit fuzzy. I’ve replayed the moment often, piecing it all together with the 20/20 clarity hindsight provides.

I hadn’t been with the company long enough to get necessarily *comfortable* or make unbreakable, unforgettable emotional ties. None of that was particularly difficult, and there had *obviously* been some communication issues that needed to be worked through (or not, ha ha. ha.)

Immediately, it was simply a major blow to an ego so big and fat and cloaked in denial that I wasn’t even aware it still existed. But oh, it exists. And it is grimy, and embarrassing, and after years in the making, maybe finally being chiseled away by the pruning of my savior.

When anyone posts #blessed, 9/10 there is a corresponding photo of a house, or a baby, or a car, or a really fancy looking steak. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except not all blessings are as shiny and gram-worthy.

I would love to be posting that I have been #blessed with a new, sexy and better job and to the depths of h-e-double-whatever with the lot of them who caused me this pain(!!), because that would be oh-so-much easier. But I can’t. And it’s taken a couple of months, but I’m in a place where I am sincerely emotionally pretty fine. This has been a blessing of the most bitter kind.

If anyone but my mother is still reading beyond this point, you’ve probably already audibly asked why the heck I’m penning this maybe embarrassing open-diary entry:

  1. I’m writing in the interest of transparency and honesty in light of the work I feel God doing in my heart. I’m been convicted and terrified to write about this, or have any number of people “find out” before I really “got it together.” In the interest of said transparency, you should know a few tears have splashed out in the process of the last few paragraphs. This kind of sucks.
  2. I’m writing in the interest of, I don’t know, comforting or warning new-graduate-job-hunters that job-hunting is no joke. And it takes time. And it kind of sucks. This isn’t the first season of job-hunting I’ve had, but definitely the most unexpected and sanctifying in the best and worst way.

To the end of my second point, I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had with recent college graduates struggling to find their footing in the job market. Can. Not. Count. (And if that isn’t you, I’m sincerely happy! If it is you, you aren’t alone.)

Reiterating: it is no joke.

I don’t feel like anyone did –or maybe could have –prepared us for this battle. I was one of the lucky ones who found employment merely four months post-graduation. It was a terrifying four months brimming with anxiety and self-doubt… mirrored if not magnified in this season, two+ years later as I am here again.

The people who can’t get hired didn’t work hard enough. Their resumes are no good, or bare, or riddled with typos. Their portfolio is garbage. They’re being too choosy. Be the model student. Be the model employee. Network. Earn your degree. Get hired, and make *a really good amount of money when you do*.

Unfortunately, that’s the mindset I had post-graduation, and wasn’t the only one based on said conversations.

I absolutely worked my. tail. off. through college. It’s easy to say I made a lot of decisions I would take back if I could. If you knew me in that season, Current Robin could speak to College Robin, and you know College Robin wouldn’t have listened. Bit of a workaholic, consumed with being elite, a total perfectionist, and I made sure that reflected on my resume. I was sure to get a great job after graduation. The possibility of *not* never entered my mind until I was filling out applications for retail jobs because my savings was depleting, no “big girl job” in sight, while it was already midterm season for the graduating class behind me. Talk about humbling.

I don’t think I realized how great I thought I was until no one would hire me. I definitely didn’t realize how much my self-worth relied on my professional title until I didn’t have one.

With every part-time application came a flood of shame, and the reality of my sin reared its ugly head. I thought so highly of myself and had so much faith in a piece of paper that said I was worth one degree’s worth of something to the world.

I shouldn’t be vacuuming dressing rooms. I shouldn’t be folding clothes that didn’t come from my own laundry basket. I worked my butt off. This shouldn’t be me. This wasn’t my plan.

That was the disgusting truth I felt about my situation.

Truth: a college degree does not mean you’re too good for minimum wage.

And here I am again! I don’t know that I had ever made it facebook-official, but I picked up a part-time retail gig last July for fun money + discounts + the fact I actually enjoy the retail environment. I never pictured it being where the lump sum of my income would come from, but it is right now. And that’s okay. I’m realizing: who the heck cares how any person ever anywhere makes their money, including myself? What an absolutely silly waste of time and energy.

 (Life at Loft, aka the front for my REAL new secret business “adventures in ghost-busting.”)

I’ve had many a-back-and-forth day going from shame, to shame for feeling shame, back to shame, to depression, to really being okay. Really. I’m okay with the fact I’m a sales associate at Loft. I’m okay with the fact I enjoy getting up and going to work every day in this capacity. I’m okay with the fact that these 35 hour weeks with *incredible* coworkers and relationships has felt like the sweetest vacation (with the most rad discount) from the draining 60-70 hour weeks I’d been clocking for nearly half a year between two jobs. The value of the time it has given me for community, reflection, prayer, and time with my husband is immeasurable.

Some of you might be reading and not understanding why this has been so hard on my heart, apart from the stability of our financial situation and the grand mystique of the unknown (always a little unnerving.) Honestly, losing my job shouldn’t break a person the way it has broken me.

Truth: I have a difficult time not placing my identity in my reputation/achievements instead of rightfully in Christ. My worth so often has come from what others think of me. This is a struggle I have battled, real-talk, for like a decade. But as a daughter of Christ, I am so much more than my business card, or lack-thereof.

Truth: I am not the point. Christ is the point. He is the only point. Whatever my circumstance, that is the most solid truth of all.

Christ is better than any comfort of the world. Christ is better than any amount of acceptance of my peers. Christ is better than living up to expectation I’ve felt anxiety over for years. Christ is better than the pain of this season.

I’ve reached a place -not concretely, that definitely takes much reminding on the daily- where I don’t know where I’ll end up, and I’m okay. Sitting here, clacking this out on the laptop, I really don’t have a clue. What do I know is that God knows, and I’m going to go where I’m needed, because His picture is so much greater than my comfort. (These are truths as a Christian I know are supposed to come much more naturally to me, but I’m definitely working on growing them beyond just head-knowledge, and just knowing the truth, into heart-knowledge and actually feeling the comfort from that faith.)

PLUS! I have a husband who is the bomb-diggity, and supportive beyond words. And friends/family who have done nothing but pray for and love on me during this time. Praise be to God.

Very last transparent thought: No, I’m not okay everyday, that would be a lie. Which defeats the whole point of *this.* But I’m working on it and it’s mostly true. For me, part of that was writing this..confession? Whatever this was. And sharing it with you. In some crazy way, it helps.

Very very last transparent thought: if nothing that I wrote makes sense to you, or you have any questions, especially in regards what what “point” Christ is exactly, I’d love to have a conversation about it. I’ll even buy your coffee. (Cheap, black coffee, probably, right now because I am half-unemployed after all. Ha. haha. ha.)

Casual Friday 02

Somewhere around the time a tearful Kelly Clarkson belted and melted Americas’ hearts through a downpour of confetti rain for the first time was about the last time I rocked a true denim flare.

CasualFriday_02_Flares_Blanket-11CasualFriday_02_Flares_Blanket-3CasualFriday_02_Flares_Blanket-8I haven’t NOT been silently rooting for their comeback since they started popping back up on the regular the past few years! I’m just one of a million teen girls of the 00’s fondly addicted to the skinnies of her punk-rock years. (Versatile! Flattering! Boot friendly! Heel friendly! Sneaker friendly! So friendly!)

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Not to mention (a happily awkward way of highlighting that I would like to especially mention), I’ve discovered finding the right fit in a flare vs. skinny –with a skinny budget– to be challenging. I’ve had a nice little order-try-return cycle happening with nearly every decent denim sale I’ve seen since about October.

While I’m not abandoning my skinnies anytime soon, finally finding a solid pair of flares has been fun for the sake of variety.

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The number of days I can accurately label “moderately chilly” this winter appear to be dwindling, so I’ve also been attempting to take full advantage with some of my favorite winter-esque pieces as well. Featured: the most cozy blanket-scarf of a leopard-loving, neutral-junkie’s dreams.

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Not that the office isn’t cold enough for me to look like I’m ready for a holly jolly toboggan ride nearly each and every one of the 365.

If you missed the first installment of Casual Friday and this hasn’t been painfully enough for you, you can check it out here!

If you’re looking for outfit deets, feel free to comment, shoot a message, send a carrier pigeon, or whatever you feel most comfortable reaching out to me with. I promise to fill you in. I’ve been debating leaving details on this sort of thing. Helpful or obnoxious? Let me know!

Jarod + Tiffany Engagement Shoot

If you’re one of those “can’t stand to see two people head-over-heels shooting tangible beams of love from their eye sockets” type of cynics, turn away. Turn away fast.

Austin and I have been slowly creeping back into the game of photoshoots with people who aren’t myself or tubes of lipstick. (Worry not, those shoots are still on the books aplenty as I’m entering a season where I *think* more Sprinkles will start flowing around here again. Albeit, probably still not Daily. Ha. )

From behind the camera, this photoshoot gave me the energy of three-hundred marathon runners because for one –I’ve never seen my sister at this level of pure elation maybe ever ever in the 23 years we’ve been personally acquainted and it simply warmed my heart like caffeine, and for two –having the privilege to photograph two people so naturally in love with one another in such a fun city reminded me why I really dig this job/amateur profession/hobby I’ve had hung up for a while. However chilly and breezy the great City of Austin, Texas was to us.

(I considered interjecting with an especially cheesy quip about how *their love warmed us all through the bitter wind* but that would be plain false –it was very cold, actually– and also that’d be gross. I’ll save an especially sappy flowing fountain of cheese for the wedding day, probably.)

Because these two.

Let me tell you. Better yet, show you via a sample of shots I’m particularly fond of. It helps that Jarod and Tiffany (Rapunzel for short) look completely amazing together. That always simplifies our job.

I can’t be more excited they found each other, and I’m selfishly excited Austin and I are getting a brother in law we are totally jazzed about. He already feels like one of the clan.

Even if he’s a TU guy -we knew perfect was a long shot, so we’ll take it.

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Giveaway Winners!

Due to major lack of foresight in the planning process (coupled with the nuttiness characteristic of this season in general), this is coming out a little late! I’m sorry to have left you in suspense! 

I guess a little less like the gift you get before Christmas, more like the Christmas that just keeps giving! (Okay, I’ll quit trying to spin this.) 

 

Jennifer! Meredith! Katelyn! Kambri! Jasanna! You are the lucky bunch who will own one of these pretties pretty soon of your very own. You’ll hear from me by end of day to coordinate all the good stuff. 

I appreciate everyone who reads, and even more the ones who entered and shared! Striking up fun chats with you girls about this stuff is like 90% of why I do this. 

XOXO (because I’m feeling particularly basic or sentimental or whatever.)