Must Be Mo

Arizona Lifestyle Blog

The Good, The Bad, and The Kodak Moments

Mo CalderonComment
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A lot has happened since I was here last. It seems like lately the bad has been outweighing the good, but life goes on. When receiving good and bad news, most people like to start with the bad right? I guess that’s where I’ll begin.

The Bad

I am getting a new boss at work, which is interesting. No one at work is talking about it, but it’s obvious everyone knows how awkward the situation is. Facts are facts — it’s awkward. There is no getting around it. No one knows what happened, but it is what it is. 🤷I’m sad because I had a truly amazing boss (at least I thought so) and now I’m nervous about who will come next. I’ve learned the hard way just how much having the right boss can make or break you when it comes to loving or hating your job.

Naturally this change has caused a lot of work to pile up. Here I thought things were finally about to calm down. Just when you think you are being given a chance to catch your breath, something happens to get you running again. I’ve become mildly overwhelmed at work trying to keep up with everything.

Some moments feel like I am drowning, and some moments I stop and think, “oh, okay this isn’t as bad as I thought. I’ll be fine.”

In other bad news, someone close and dear to me has lost someone who meant the world to her. It is a hurt I cannot even begin to understand. Her pain is not something that can ever be taken away, and I would be doing her a huge injustice by trying to. I know all I can do is be here while she lives through it.

There’s also a lot of other general stresses and mood killers going on in life but nothing too important to go into detail about. Just the usual — bills, car troubles, worrying about my credit, self-doubt, anxiety, and being paranoid about bed bugs. No actual bed bugs so far but I keep having dreams that make me paranoid.

Some photos of life lately…

The Good

I am going to California for my girls’ trip soon! I will be going to Disneyland and Universal Studios and I will get to see AJ for the first time since her wedding! It has been over a year now — it’s crazy how quickly time flies. I don’t want to dwell too much on the up-coming trip because I’m hoping to talk more about it once it happens.

I am also getting more into the habit of doing things I used to love doing. I am decorating my planner again, reading a tiny bit again. I’m here — I’m blogging again — and in the healthy way, not the toxic way!

I picked up another new hobby and have been continuing one I’ve talked about on here before.

You guys know about my Polaroid Project, which is all about taking photos for the purpose of memories, not for the purpose of curating a perfect social media feed. My fridge is mostly covered in polaroids now, and I’ve also started a photo album to keep the overflow in. I love all the photos I have now and I treasure them not for aesthetic reasons but for the nights and the moments they represent.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m so appreciative of the solid friend group that we have here and I never want to take them for granted. I want memorialize our friendships in a true and authentic way and I get to do so through these photos.

Well, I’ve also added an addition to the project — I’ve started using old-school disposable cameras as well. I know it’s how I grew up taking photos but it was such a foreign feeling at first taking a photo and having no knowledge of how it’s turned out. It’s exciting waiting for the photos I don’t know I’ve taken.

This photo thing is, I think, going to be my best life decision. I know years from now I will be cherishing these so much.

As of Lately

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This year has been flying by. I can’t believe it’s already September.

I’m going on a girls’ trip soon to California, and I’m so excited! I’ll be seeing AJ again so soon! Plus, this will be my first girls’ trip with Stormie and Amy. :)

I thought for this post I’d do some quiz-style updates of what I’ve been up to and some goals I’ve been thinking about setting moving forward.

What I’ve been up to lately. . .

CURRENTLY WATCHING — I just finished binge watching ALL of Boy Meets World, and now I’m bing watching Full House. I love that all the old shows are on Hulu and Netflix now!

CURRENTLY LISTENING — I’ve been listening to a lot of Waterparks, that one new song from Katy Perry, plus some new Taylor Swift.

CURRENTLY PLAYING — A LOT of Sims 4, Mario Kart 8, and this game called UnCooked.

CURRENTLY LOVING — Le Tote boxes! I’ve subscribed for the Le Tote clothing box to change up my wardrobe a little. I’ve been so lazy about shopping lately and my outfits have become so repetitive, but Le Tote has been honestly so awesome. It’s a little expensive, but totally worth it for me right now.

EXCITED FOR — Our girls’ road trip to California this month!

Goals & Plans. . .

READ 4 BOOKS IN SEPTEMBER — Reading is something I truly love doing. But I also, struggle with staying consistent. I get so exhausted from work and watching T.V. or playing the switch is sometimes easier to do than picking up a book. So the books I plan on reading this month are To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, I Love You So Mochi, Ender’s Game, and Five Feet Apart.

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BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY — I’ve been doing this by trying to use reusable bags exclusively, bringing my own dishes and utensils to use at work instead of using the paper and plastic ones in the kitchen, being more adamant about recycling, and bringing my reusable straws and cups with me.

That’s all I can think of for now. Chat soon.

I Got My Hair Colored!

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I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing a ton of “mini” posts to keep up with all the happenings in my life. Weell…I’m going to try. We all know that my commitment to all of this fluctuates, haha.

Back in January I decided I wanted to do something new with my hair and I dyed it. I went into a salon and got some baby highlights, which is not something I usually do. I’ve colored my hair before but I’ve always just done something simple like box dye. Even when I had crayon red hair, I went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and did it myself. It just goes to show how big of thing it was for me to actually go into a salon and get my hair done.

I was nervous at first about going too light so it was a very subtle change (see below), but this time I went back and I told them I want it way lighter!

Gallery above: 1) My hair before I colored it. Naturally black. 2) After the first color back in January. Super subtle highlights. 3) My hair right after I colored it the second time, adding more. 4) It looks lighter from some angles and in certain lighting. The underneath is way lighter than the top/back.

I’m already itching to go back and get it lightened some more, but I’m going to California and Disneyland in two months so I need to save more!

Annual Family Vegas Trip

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Every year my family and I take a trip to Vegas for my mom’s birthday weekend. I’m about a month late on this post, but here it is finally!


Brandon and I both took Friday off so that we could try to get on the road early., We had scheduled to have a rental car ready for us at 8:30/9:00 am, but we found ourselves waiting around until 10:30 before we finally pitched a little bit of a fit, and we finally got our car at 11:30 am.

After a long process trying to get the stupid car, and a long, long drive from Tucson to Las Vegas, we finally made it to our hotel —- only to find out that we weren’t allowed to check in. -___-

It turns out because my parents had booked the room and hadn’t added me to the reservation, we couldn’t check in. My sister arrived around the same time and she couldn’t check into their room either. We were all so exhausted and were expecting to be able to check into our rooms and rest, but we couldn’t

By then it was past 6:00 pm and we knew our parent’s flight wouldn’t be getting in for another 5 hours so we were dreading it. We ended up walking around Fremont a little, had a couple of drinks and one of the bars, went back to our hotel to gamble a little, hung out and talked in one of the lounges, and tried our best to pass the time without spending too much money.

We look happy but in actuality we are exhausted.

We look happy but in actuality we are exhausted.

They finally got in at 11:30 pm, and by the time we got the whole hotel situation sorted out and in our names it was past midnight. We all just went up to our rooms, rested for a bit before going back down to spend time with our parents for a super late dinner

They usually sleep the whole flight over so they arrive excited and ready to go. But Brandon, my sister, her boyfriend, and I were all so exhausted. Usually when my parents get there we have a late-night dinner because the hotel has a great Ox Tail Soup that they only serve after 11 pm.

By the time we got done with “dinner” it was 2 am and we were exhausted so we went up to the room.



On Saturday we slept in a little bit (at least me, Brandon, my sister and her boyfriend did) to catch up on how exhausted we were previously. My parents were up early because they don’t really sleep much, especially when they’re in Vegas, but we had all planned to go to lunch at the Boiling Crab and to be there right when they open at 11 am. We had dinner plans at 5 pm for a buffet at Caesar’s Palace so we didn’t want to be too full for the buffet. My family doesn’t really do “light meals” so we knew we would be full for a long while after Boiling Crab.


At lunch we ordered some oysters, everyone pretty much got a pound of crab legs to themselves, and me and Brandon shared a pound of shrimp. Not a ton of pictures of Boiling Crab because it’s so messy but before we started eating my dad pulled out this nifty little tool below. LOL Still dying about it.

If you know anything about my dad you know that his catch phrase is practically, “I can make that! I can make that out of stainless steel!” So of course, one of the things my dad pulled out of his own homemade, stainless steel crab tool. It pretty much looks just like the blue one that the restaurant gave us. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing.

After dinner we went to the Premium Outlets because my mom wanted to do some shopping. I ended up getting a new purse and wallet from Kate Spade — my favorite 😍— and my family did some light shopping but it got so hot we just had to get back to the hotel.

By that point I had a pounding headache and wasn’t feeling great. Once we got back to the hotel I took a short rest in bed but after a couple of hours we had to get up to get going for our dinner buffet plans.

At that point I realized that I was definitely sick — or at least something was wrong. I think it was mixture of me getting sick with being in the 100+ degree heat then immediately coming back to an icy-cold hotel room but I felt sick to my stomach. At dinner I couldn’t even really eat all that much which sucked because it was such a nice dinner!

After dinner we went to a comedy show in the Miracle Mile shops. The comedian was Filipino so my parents thought he was hilarious since they related so much. After the show we kind of just walked around the Miracle Mile Shops a little and shopped. I ended up buying some sunglasses from Quay that I am so in love with! They are my babies and I am so careful with them.

Pretty much after that we just went back to the hotel and hung out in the casino before going to bed.



The next morning I woke up and I immediately knew I was sick. I had a slight fever and my throat was killing me. I tried to tough it out so that we could have breakfast with my parents and spend some time with them before we left since we were leaving at noon.


Sunday was pretty uneventful. We just hung at the casino at our hotel until it was time to go, trying to get in some last bit of family time. Once we hit the road, I pretty much immediately fell asleep. I slept the entire drive from Vegas to Tucson, waking up on and off only for a few minutes at a time. By the time we got back to Tucson my throat was so sore I was convinced I had strep throat.

I ended up calling in sick the next day — I’m sure all my coworkers thought I was hungover — and went to Urgent Care. They swabbed me and I tested negative for strep throat but they said my throat was so inflamed they could see why I thought I might be getting it. They ended up prescribing me some antibiotics and I called out again on Tuesday. Great way to end a vacation right? LOL.

Hopefully my next one ends much better.


Memorial Day Weekend

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I have been doing a poor job at updating my blog, but I want to get better. I’m making it a goal of mine to post more while also still challenging myself to stay true to my values and not revert back to the “influencer” mindset.

Regardless, here is how my Memorial Day Weekend went. :)

Mount Lemmon Adventures


I am not a morning person whatsoever. I wake up early only to go to work and I am notorious for lying in my sleep to convince people to let me keep sleeping. I once told Brandon that my morning plans got cancelled so he would stop trying to wake me up.

This weekend though I was actually up early for once and Stormie, Roman, and I went to Mount Lemmon with the dogs to a) get to better, cooler weather and b) take the dogs out on a hike.

Spoiler: Solo had a blast. I’m pretty sure that was the best day of his life. We took pretty good hike and even though it tired me out, Solo kept looking back at me as if he were telling me to pick up the pace. Then, we went to the Cookie Cabin at Summerhaven (the little town at the top of Mount Lemmon) and all had pizza. Harley and Solo even shared a slice of pizza. :)

I ended up being dead tired after that hike, and so was Brandon after working on his feet all day so when he got off work we just stayed home for the night, ordered Chinese food, and played video games. Best night ever, to be honest. I’ve never had a more relaxing night.

Dim Sum

Stormie and I were supposed to go to the hair salon on Sunday because we both had appointments to get our hair dyed, but our stylist ended up getting sick so she cancelled the day before. We had planned to go to Dim Sum if we got out of our hair appointment in time so since our appointment was cancelled we just ended up going to Dim Sum.

Amy texted us when we were leaving and she ended up coming along as well, so this weekend I introduced Stormie and Amy to dim sum for the first time! ^_^

Memorial Day Monday

On Monday, we were supposed to get our friend group together for brunch, but everyone ended up dropping out last minute so it ended up just being me, Brandon, Steven, and his daughter Alice (our goddaughter).

We had tacos and Sonoran hot dogs for lunch at BK’s, and just caught up. Since Steven and Amy moved up north, they’re no longer two minutes down the road meaning it takes planning to see them. Alice had a blast at lunch eating her favorite— French fries!


Later that afternoon, we celebrated Memorial Day with a BBQ at Brandon’s parents’ house and since everyone was getting together we figured we would bring our Switch with us and try to get the family to play Mario Party.

We ate, played some games, then just went home to prep for the work week.

I had a great three day weekend and I wish all weekends were three day weekends.

Candid Polaroid Project -- My Anti-Curated-Moments Movement

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Some backstory….

Last year, I spent about 6 months shooting, and posting to Instagram at the quality level and consistency of a professional, full-time “influencer.” While I’m proud of how great my content was, and while posing for dozens of photos constantly gave me incredible self-confidence, those 6 months just about ruined my mental health.

I started in December of 2017 and by June of 2018 I was completely spent. I can pinpoint the exact photo that marks the burnout. I posted it on June 8th of 2018. Up until this day I had been posting once a day, every day, like clockwork. I was spending hours on social media, commenting, liking, interacting to get organic likes on my photos up, and man were they up. I got 800-900 likes on a photo. Getting likes was like some sort of cerebral high for me.

Then, all of a sudden, I couldn’t take it anymore. The next photo I posted came a month later. And after that, three months. I dropped off the face of the Internet in the blink of an eye. I went through such a ridiculous internal struggle with myself — wanting to keep up the beautiful feed and facade I had built for myself. My perfectly curated life online. But, I also wished it away. I also wished I had never “gotten a taste” so to speak.

It took me a long time to work through my issues with this. I know it seems superficial. It is superficial. They say that there are studies out there proving that high social media usage is linked to higher levels of loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. As someone who spent half a year living like an influencer, I can understand why.

The polaroid project…

When my sister came to visit for Thanksgiving last November, she told me about a friend of hers who had a polaroid camera. All their friend group knew that anytime they came over, the polaroid was free-for-all. The only rule was that it was to be used to capture real moments — nothing curated. No selfies. Candids.

He kept all polaroids, good or bad, and kept them in an album. Because of this, their friend group had documentation of their greatest, realest moments. Watching the sunrise at 5 a.m. after an all-nighter, staying in to drink on the couch and watch movies under tons of blankets.

They sounded like the kind of pictures I wanted.

I had an old Instax Mini camera from my college days still, so I started documenting. I adopted the same rules. My friend group quickly jumped on board. I ended up asking for a new instant camera for my birthday — the Instax Square — and I’ve been snapping as many photos as I can remember to take ever since.

I ecstatic that my photo collection is growing and our friends love coming over and looking back on our memories. Even though it’s only been 5 months’ worth.

Before and After…

There is such a stark contrast between my life and my photos during those 6 months I spent carefully curating everything and the photos I have from these past 5 months of trying to be as true-to-the-moment as possible. It’s not just about the way the photos look, but the feelings that they invoke.

These polaroids are the pictures I’ve been wanting. These polaroids make me feel some type of way. I hope that in the future I don’t ever abandon this hobby. I hope when I am old and gray I am drowning in polaroids, in total bliss.

I think I am going to start sharing some of them soon, with their back stories.