The Week of January 1st - January 6th


Words according to Brooke, Co-Founder and Boss Lady of Raven Vanguard

I stare at my computer screen for what seems like an eternity with a blank Word document page open wondering WTF to write about on this first day of 2019. Is it possible that 2018 took all of my brain power? Perhaps it did, or maybe there is just a residual cloud hanging over me from the last few hours of 2018? After all, Husband did wake me up this morning by yelling out of pure concern: Brooke! Brooke! Are you alive?! I did contemplate my answer for a minute or two- before I finally jolted out of bed at 10 am to attack this year like the pig that it is.

2018 was a funny year, that’s if you have a twisted sense of humor of course. And chances are you do if you are a returning reader of our colorful Weekly Once-over. What a weirdo you are, welcome back my friend.

Now back to last year: there were many amazing things that this past year did bless upon me- I married my best friend, soulmate, and business partner, which all happen to be the same amazing man. We welcomed Dakota to our wild team of Ravens, got to spend some quality time with family and friends during all of the wedding festivities, further developed Raven Vanguard, met some dope people (I never say dope- must be a 2019 thing?), and I learned a bit about myself.

As I get older (and hopefully- wiser), I try to start the first day of each ever so quickly passing year’s New Years Day by reflecting on what came my way- grateful for the good and looking for the lessons in the crap. Today is that day, and also happens to be the same day I set aside to write my Once-over- so you do the math.

As I sat down today with one of our previous Once-over contributors, Bhakti Sharma, (better known to some as Brown Sugar, Lady India, or as she politely informed me today: Professor Hot), we reflected upon WTF was up with 2018 anyway. Over mezcal, we logically discussed like the two mature, completely reasonable, adult women that we are-  what 2018 was for each of us. She thought it was just a placeholder year, nothing great, nothing terrible. A year that is getting us to the crucial one: 2020. Why 2020? “Because that’s the year that everyone has been waiting for.” We will leave that up to her to logically explain in another Once-over at another time. It was really a long fifteen-minute conversation- but again, that cloud today. Maybe all she really said was that it was a bullshit year, I forgot to take notes. I’m sure she will kindly remind me of each and every word that she spoke and I will certainly apologize for being so cloudy.

For me- 2018 felt like it was a woman on a mission...AKA me when I get the urge to clean out the closet... RIGHT NOW! You know, when the moment is the least convenient time to do so, when you have plenty of other important things to get done. Things that weren't meant to stick around for the long haul got swept up and hauled out in a big black contractor bag, pretty damn hard and fast. Keyword: hard. The funny thing is (again, twisted humor check) it seemed like a lot of people were dealing with the same hard stuff at the same time, almost like the universe was on one big PMS closet-cleaning-rampage to show us a lesson or two. Lessons learned, thank you, moving on.

2019, it feels like such a blank page, for more reasons than one- word count only at 603 words here, Husband says I need at least 2,500, or it doesn’t count. I’ll remind him of that the next time I ever so gently offer him my wise and righteous unsolicited advice whenever my sweet mood strikes me. At those moments, 2,500 words feel as limiting to me as Twitter’s 280 character-limit does to Tom. In fact, I argued with him- that 2,500 words are a challenge for me. “I’m a person of little words,” “I don’t say unnecessary things,” “I don’t have thoughts, I just see pictures,” oh how the excuses were flying out of my mouth with every conceivable reason why I shouldn’t have to write another Once-over.

Back to the blank page - what if I told you that you could acquire or receive some accurate foresight and insight on these next year’s pages and days of your life? You can have a clear forecast of the year- what challenges you will have, what days your relationships will be tested, what days romance will be filling the air, what day to take risks, how to steer through it all, and what days are better off spent in a mysterious cloud; how, A navigation tool- the GPS of life. It’s completely possible. I got all the answers and guidance I was looking for about 2019 by investing in a one-time record low rate of $39.95. Astonishing. Sign me up, I did. In fact, I paid just $10 more for the two year extended “business” astrology report. It seems like a legitimate business expense, don’t you think? The Internal Revenue Service has a special box for that one right?

I’m sure Husband is shaking his head at this point, having no prior knowledge of our newest “business” investment. Husband, didn’t you wonder why I asked you if you knew your birth location and EXACT time of your birth today? Hmm...the differences. Maybe Women really are from Mars and Men are from Venus? I’ll check the chart. The thing here is- if he were to ask ME if I knew what my exact birth location and time of day was- I would not only be able to answer him with the proper information, but I would immediately wonder what the heck he was up to, and I would be fixated on it until I got an answer. Husband is surely shaking his head now, him being all too familiar with my inner absurdity.

Or the other likely scenario is- my mind might gradually wander from it’s usual resting place in the land of rainbows and unicorns to where I would assume he found a hell of a one day only deal on my birth chart OR maybe he was planning something- something exotic, yes that’s it. He’s such a thoughtful romantic like that, knowing I’m a sucker for a good surprise. You need your birth times and locations to do that, right? I wonder if he wonders what the HELL I’m up to half of the time. In fact- I wonder what the hell I’m up to half the time for Christ’s sake, a few more of those ads and I would have bought the next ten years worth of forecasts. I mean this is valuable stuff, and specific stuff too. It even offers precise information that can be imperative to my career here at Raven Vanguard Design Studio LLC. Apparently on February 24th, 2019, I “should not be too arrogant when dealing with a client.” Does that mean I can be arrogant the rest of the year? Insert emoji wearing spectacle here. Arrogant I’m not, at least, I don’t think so; Husband, on the other hand? But optimistic, - I am. I have high hopes for this year that it will lead us bursting at the seams with abundance as we dash headlong into 2020.

I’m hopeful for 2019. I cleared clutter in 2018 and have been holding a place in that closet for some good happenings — one of my most significant cluttered pieces that needed clearing was worrying too much. I ultimately learned that worrying is absolutely a big FUCKING waste of my time. I know, it all sounds so simple. But when you have a major shift inside, things start feeling different. I realized I spent a lot of time worrying about things that never happened — the what if’s.

Not going to say I’m all entirely rainbows and unicorns in the worrying-department just yet. I mean my God, just last week Tom had a blister, and I was worried sick it was shingles. Yes, it had to have been shingles. Shit, what do we do now if Tom has shingles? I suddenly think I’m feeling itchy, crap- he’s contagious! Dakota probably has it too! Without Husband, who would post those tweets from the lands of the nuns and vinyl? Who will edit my grammatical mistakes on this Once-over? Ok, so I can sometimes still let my mind run stark raving mad like a wild nun chasing after delinquent schoolboys, with my legitimate, but overblown concerns, nevertheless it’s been a significant shift and a shift that I’m quite grateful for. It’s having more of trust that things will ultimately work out. Things don’t always go as planned, but they get you to where you are supposed to go.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (Tom’s, not mine) – this single blister of which Brooke speaks was located on the back of my knee, not anywhere near my mouth, genitals, or any other area that certain cultures, to this very day, still consider unholy. My blister was treated only with frankincense and other essential oils, and not with any member of Big Pharma’s family tree of cyclovir-type drugs. And for the record, the blister itself healed quickly and never multiplied. Thanks for sharing, Wife.

The second thing I learned about myself in 2018 is that I sincerely love luxurious things. I’m not talking about that yellow Lamborghini, or an arm full of Patek Philippe or Rolex watches here, not my jam (I’m more of a vintage Porsche girl anyway). I mean, I fully realized I have such a genuine appreciation for unique quality, beautiful, unusual, and extraordinary things, and I love being entirely surrounded by them. Fabrics that have the most amazing patterns and colors, furnishings that are rare and luxurious, wallpapers that are art in themselves, the appreciation of the design of couture fashion.

Now, this might sound quite silly coming from an Interior Designer, and a Raven one at that; but, when you realize yes- it’s OK for me to like what I like and I don’t have to feel bad about it, it’s a good feeling. I carried a sense of guilt about it before. Even though I greatly appreciated all those design things I did, I still had that nagging guilty voice of- there are much bigger issues in the world to be tended to before I could allow myself to embrace and care about material things. So what shifted? Did I all at once become materialistic? No. I intentionally changed and shifted my thinking. Caring about these things doesn’t make me unaware, unsympathetic, uncompassionate, or non-empathic (it’s quite the contrary actually), I started to see it as these items are what people made to add beauty to the world in the ways that their talents allowed. This world can be an ugly and scary place at times, but when we have spaces to escape to, spaces that speak to us, spaces that are filled with quality things,  they allow us to see beauty for a minute to experience it and to pass it along to others in a different form. Luxurious things are Ok. And creating beautiful, luxurious spaces is how I can contribute my talents to bringing the world better things to enjoy.

I’ve always been fascinated by astrology. Never really got into studying it much, I hope to one day. But the whole concept is intriguing to me and is something I do believe in. It seems to have profound hidden truths which I find appealing. I’m a seeker, always seeking to find the deeper meaning in things, the answers, the truths that we aren’t being told. In fact, my astrology chart even says so. Tom says so too (maybe he’s an astrologer?!)- like when I keep digging deeper and probing him with my questions, questions that bring him from his mind’s euphoric resting place in the lands of his influential catholic school day, nuns and vinyl (not that kind of plastic you twisted freaks!), to the blissful, peaceful, thought-provoking moments of my completely necessary, but agitating interrogations.

Alright, so maybe we don’t have all the answers. Perhaps I should have purchased the upgrade to the “full” report for an extra ten bucks to get ALL of the truths of 2019. But if we had the real forecast what would we really do? We can’t run away from it. What if we were handed the entire year’s script on the first day of each new year? How the fuck would we deal with that? What would you do? The thing is- we pass through everything we are meant to, we are dealt everything we can get through, and we’re taught everything we need to learn. If we really knew what every single step-by-step was going to be- we wouldn’t take them. We would stay in our lands of rainbows and unicorns (or for you more twisted folks- lands of nuns and vinyl), we wouldn’t learn, we wouldn’t grow, we wouldn't seek those truths. So what do we do? We suck it up, and we plow through it, and we tiptoe through those days that we are supposed to be cautious and not overly arrogant as our charts recommend. We enjoy the good and show the bad who’s truly bad. After all, no need to worry-It’s just a matter of days until it’s the big 2020, that’s the one everyone’s been waiting for anyways!

May 2019 bring you all the lovely things your astrological chart says it will.

Your’s truly,

Mrs. B (“B” is for Boss Lady BTW, and is also sometimes interchangeable as Brooke and very rarely interchangeable with any other “B” words.)

Below is a photo of that lucky man I married, who also happens to be my business partner, soul mate, and best friend - wearing a dashing suit from our good friends at Bureau.

Photo credit:  Max Schneider

Photo credit: Max Schneider