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A Seemingly Insurmountable Five Minutes

January 29, 2019

Hey There Friend!

How are you doing? Gosh it’s been a long time since I’ve stopped by this neck of the woods. I really miss being here, and always have these great plans to get back on my schedule. And then you know what happens? I have a paper to write. Or I run out of clean underwear and I so desperately need to do laundry that I put the blog on the back burner.

I have been learning a lot about myself lately, and not gonna lie, I have really had to take a deep look at the way I view time.

Those of you who know me in real life, know that I live by my planner. If the appointment/chore/coffee date/ homework assignment/ [insert any number of items here] is not on one of those clean lines in my planner, it may as well not exist at all. You may also know that I have ADHD and that my planner is my main coping mechanism, that has long helped me to be successful in keeping on task.

These things aren’t so bad in and of itself. I have really learned how to manage my time and plan carefully to get everything done. With a major caveat- I severely overestimate how long it will take me to do something. To the point that I won’t take the trash out because for whatever reason I think it is going to take me 25 minutes to do that. Logically I know that this isn’t the case. But small tasks sometimes seem insurmountable to me when they pop up and aren’t in my carefully planned day.

I am currently working on this mental hiccup in a really big way. With baby girl set to arrive in 14 weeks, I know I need to learn how to just take care of things as they come up, because she is not going to fit into a schedule. She is going to BE the schedule. Whatever she needs, she is going to get. And taking out the trash, or sweeping the floor, or putting away my coat are things that will take 10 seconds out of my day, and should be completed as they come up, rather than letting them sit for days or weeks just looming in the background.

But can I also be honest with you? Winter makes all these tasks seem even worse! You mean I have to go out in the cold to take out the trash?! Can’t I just drink a bottomless cup of coffee and read and watch LIVE with Kelly and Ryan? And as I sit there accomplishing some tasks (hey! I did my homework, I wrote those letters, I emailed these people, I took care of those bills) I continuously put off the small chores (emptying the trash, clearing the table, putting away dishes, wiping down counters) that will make my life feel more calm and peaceful because “they can wait till tomorrow”.

The first month of 2019 is coming to a close. I stuck to some of my resolutions. I have completely abandoned others (as is always the case). But as we enter deep into winter and the cold and snow loom heavy in the forecast, I am trying to recommit to self care in the things that aren’t a ton of fun, but bring me deep inner peace.

And I think that I will be having to recommit to these things every day in the hopes that these small tasks will become strong habits in my life. I am going to keep trying to remind myself that 5 minutes now, equals a more peaceful rest of the day.

Cheers to continuing personal growth, to surviving the cold grey winter, and to becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be!

Dear Twenty-Something

You Are Not Alone

January 12, 2019

11 January 2019

Dear Twenty-Something,

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. But remember this, you have friends here. You are not alone.” -Albus Dumbledore

These are strange times we live in. Like sheep heading to the slaughter, we blindly absorb news, often forgetting to question what the full story is, and failing to see the person behind the headline.

We live in a society where it is permitted to fire first and aim later, not even stopping to make sure that what we are saying is true. This in turn leads to a vicious cycle of reading things that may or may not be true, and forming an opinion on this weird maybe truth and then firing off our own responses. Down the rabbit hole we go, through many degrees of separation until this game of telephone we are playing is so utterly nonsensical that we have lost sight of the basic art of fact checking.

It is easy to shy away from the difficult topics. It is easy to find an opinion that seems okay enough and latch on to it without giving it much thought.

Behind the safety of a screen, we become the greatest of warriors, somehow ready to demolish anything in our paths. When someone does not agree with us, we are quick to tear them down. With spiteful words spewing from fingertips, Twitter becomes a war zone, and emails become verifiable howlers.

Where is the logic? Where is the intellect? How, Dear Twenty-Something, have we let it come this far?

Have your opinion. Build a store of facts that back up that opinion. Listen to someone who has an opposing opinion. Argue for the sake of truth, not the sake of your ego. And if someone comes to you with a fuller version of the truth, reevaluate where you stand and embrace the truth. After all, thats what you were arguing for, right?

Now is the time to do what is right. Have a real, intellectual conversation, and question everything until you know for certain that you have the fullness of truth. Don’t stop at one article, and please, vet your sources.

I believe in you. You will change the world. And I will be right here to cheer you on, have the conversations, and seek truth with you. You are not alone.

-S

Lifestyle

Hello, Dreary Winter. Nice To See You Again.

January 7, 2019

It’s officially winter, my least favorite time of year. Hours of sunlight dwindle and temperatures drop to levels that people like me with circulation issues do not tolerate very well. The air smells cold, and my eyes tear up when I step out my front door.

The fun parts of winter are over. Gone are the twinkly lights and cheery music. No one is handing me cookies and theres no glitter to be found anywhere. No, this part of winter is stark and sometimes seems endless.

This is not to say that this period of the year does not have it’s own beauty, but that in my experience, this is the longest and sometimes bleakest part of my year.

This is when self care becomes one of the most important things I have ever done for ME. And no, I’m not talking about fancy bath bombs and facials (though those things are certainly fun!). No this is when I have to really look deep into my soul and check myself. Am I really caring for myself? Am I giving myself space to breathe when I need it? Am I making sure that I am nourishing my mind, body and soul?

During this season self care truly looks like making a manageable to do list, and actually getting out to do it. That library book isn’t going to return itself, after all. It’s scheduling an hour of my morning to tidy my kitchen, and throw on the two loads of laundry that need to be done so that I have clean underwear for the week. It’s sitting down on a Sunday night to talk to my husband and see what his schedule is for the upcoming week and scratching out a quick meal plan and matching grocery list, and then planning a part of my day to stop by the grocery store on my way home from work. It’s waking up a few minutes earlier to read the bible, and staying up a few minutes later to journal before turning in for the night. It’s eating three square meals a day, and making sure there are vegetables in at least one of those meals.

And what I have really come to realize is that self care is ultimately saying NO to certain things in order to say yes to the things that I need for my mental sanity. I kind of glossed over this fact when listening to my favorite podcast the other day thinking yeah, yeah thats something alright. But the more I think about it, the more it haunts me.

I am not Wonder Woman (no matter how much I would like to be). I am not capable of being all things to all people, and that my friends is okay. I do not need to be all things to all people. I merely need to be the best version of me, for myself. Because if I am taking care of myself, I am better able to take care of my family. And if my family is more peaceful, there is more space to be a better friend. But none of these things can be done if I don’t start saying no to the things I just cannot be right now.

And honestly? That’s okay. It is not out of malice or anger. It is out of a deep and profoundly needed self care that I am practicing my NO to say YES to the things that make me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.

I’m also planning to fix the no cookie thing by picking up the ingredients to make cookies for myself because, honestly? I just want warm buttery chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven and I am totally okay with letting myself have that one thing on this cold day 😉

As we come into the second week of January and already can see our resolutions slipping away from us, let’s dive back in and really try to take care of our selves for the year ahead.

Lifestyle

2019: The Year of the Simple Resolution

December 31, 2018

Today is the day! The day that the new calendars are busted open, empty pages just waiting to be filled with all of the new dreams, plans and adventures ahead. Today is the day we scribble down lists of our hopes and dreams, things we want to eliminate and things we want to be better about. Frantically we wonder- is there something else I should be doing? Is there something out there that will make me better?

For a long time I railed against resolutions. No one ever seems to keep them, and they always seem to center around losing weight, eating differently, or forcing oneself to become something completely different. These are not intrinsically bad things to do- but those things always put a lot of pressure on me, and when I couldn’t keep up made me feel like a failure.

2018 was a crazy year. I nearly finished my Masters Degree (just three more months to go… hollah at ya girl!). I spent time with family in Texas during Fiesta, soaking in the beautiful culture and eating the best bean and cheese tacos I have ever experienced. I spent time with family on a boat, celebrating 30 years of marriage with crazy awesome food and wine, and some of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen. I successfully threw a surprise 30th birthday party… and a few days later received the greatest gift of my life- the news that I would be having a baby in May of 2019. I celebrated weddings. I spent time with my grandparents. I found a community in a cherished podcast. I took up spin class. I dealt with morning sickness and extreme fatigue. I finished my fall semester with a 4.0. I got an internship with a local non-profit organization.

But by far the biggest news of all was learning I was having a daughter. I know that if I was having a baby boy, my life would have been utterly changed for the better as well, but knowing I will be bringing a girl into this world shook me to my core. I have so many dreams for her- dreams of a world where she is treated equally to her male counterparts, dreams of a world where she is loved and cherished just the way she is, dreams of a world where the comparison and shaming stop, and dreams of a world where she makes a difference.

Two weeks ago I learned I would be having a daughter, and I realized that all those dreams, start with me. In order to make those dreams a reality, I need to start seeing them to fruition in my own life. I don’t need to compare myself to others, because where I am right now is the best place I have ever been. I don’t need to be ashamed of my body because it is healthy, and works the way it should, and even if I never did get rid of my love handles before I got pregnant, and the stretch marks would indicate they are only getting larger, my body is perfect because it is giving my beautiful little girl the nourishment she needs, and a safe place to call home until I welcome her into my home on this side of the universe. I can make a difference by sharing joy, opening my heart and home to foster community, and trying to make the world a little better each day that I get to exist in it. I can embrace the quirks that make me, me and stop apologizing for being exactly who I am.

As 2019 rolls around, I am making a resolution this year, that I truly hope to stick to. I am going to embrace the things that make me unapologetically me, and make sure I am making time to foster those things. I want my daughter to know that she is loved and supported, and that even just 10 minutes out of her day spent for her is well worth it. This year, I am going to make sure I make time every morning for my morning meditation- carving out the time to read the daily readings, and to thank God for another day to do good in this world. I am going to spend a few minutes each night reflecting on the day, and recording it in the beautiful journal my sister bought me for Christmas, so that I can start and end my day with gratitude. And finally, I am going to come back to the blog for real. I have made so many excuses of late- oh but school, work, the pregnancy… but I miss this space and this community more than I realized. And it is important to me that I can be here to share in your lives and your experiences because they make me a better person.

Cheers to 2019 sweet friends! I want to hear all of your goals, hopes and dreams for this new year, and I want to know what your game plan is for accomplishing it.

Dear Twenty-Something

Hope is Rising

November 10, 2018

9 November 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“Dare to have faith that man is capable of humanity.”- taken from the prayers said during the Seder Meal

Again you turned on the news this week to a startling feeling of equal parts outrage and heart break. Memories came flooding back and you started to feel that maybe hoping just isn’t worth it after all.

Will things ever change? Could things even get better? How did this become the new normal? How can you turn on the television, or open your instagram account and see this day in and day out? What has happened to our world?

Nobody listens to each other, constantly trying to scream over the other, eliminating peace and forcing more turmoil.

And then you turn on the news again and are faced with that pit in your stomach, the overwhelming dread.

But there are quiet rumblings. People younger than you saying: enough is enough. You may feel that your voice can’t be heard over the cacophony,but one day soon, those quiet rumblings will not only become louder, but will drown out the current fighting.

Do you feel it? Hope is rising. Keep doing your part. Keep raising your voice. But most importantly do not lose sight of that hope that is rising from the ashes.

Dare to have faith that man is capable of humanity.

-S

 

Lifestyle

Don’t Wait to Love Yourself

November 6, 2018

This one goes out to all my girlfriends out there. In the spirit of keeping it real I want to dive right into a sensitive subject. Let’s talk about body image. Gosh even just typing those words sent a shiver down my spine.

You know, most women that I know could instantly point out the things about their body that they don’t like. My hair is too stratight. My hair is too curly. My teeth are not white enough. My face is covered in acne. My butt is too flat. What abs? If I work out a little extra, if I go on this special diet… the list goes on and on.

I was not immune to these lines of thought. As I started learning how to have a better relationship with food- viewing it as fuel for my body, and not something to just munch on when I was bored, or something to avoid to lose weight, I began to appreciate my body a little more. Then I started to work out, and I began to appreciate how strong my body actually was- I was capable of so much more than I thought I was! I was spinning three days a week, I was eating a mostly Paleo diet and I was feeling strong, confident and beautiful.

Right around this time I started gaining this confidence, my husband and I started talking about what it would be like to have a baby (SPOILER: I am writing this post nearly 14 weeks pregnant =p ). I have always known I was made to be a mother. I have known since I was a little girl, pushing bitty twins in a double jogging stroller that I wanted to be just like my mom, raising strong and good people to make this world a better place. So after nearly three years of marriage, this conversation seemed only natural.

But as we started having that conversation, those thoughts that I just had overcome started to come back. What if I gain too much weight? What if all the weight goes to my love handles? What if I get stretch marks? What if I get grey hairs? What if my hair texture changes completely? What if I get acne? OMG what if I get stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck?

Then we got pregnant. And the first three months were no walk in the park. I was sick every night. I had dark circles under my eyes. I couldn’t use face wash because it turned my face as red as a tomato. I was now going to be doomed to acne (insert major dread here). I was bloated and none of pants fit. I found three grey hairs. AND there definitely are stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck (LOL). WHAT IF I GET STRETCHMARKS?!

As we’ve gotten further along in the pregnancy, I am carrying all my weight in my love handles and backside. I stopped wearing pants because I couldn’t bear to keep buying bigger sizes. I had to buy all new undergarments because my body is growing in ways I didn’t know it could. I just recently had to take a break from the workout I love so much because the muscles that hold everything together are stretching so much and so rapidly that they hurt when I stand up too quickly.

And you know what the most surprising thing is to me? I am the happiest I have ever been. I could absolutely care less about gaining weight, unruly pimples on my upper lip and the side of my nose or those stray hairs I have to pluck. I haven’t found any stretchmarks yet, but I am sure they are coming, and I am ready to welcome them with open arms.

My body is physically housing another human right now. It not only created a human from scratch, but is now letting it have the space for the next 5 months to grow and get stronger and come into this world as a little human that we can hold and love.

My body is now the body of a superhero. Seriously. It is ridiculously awesome that I am actually growing another person inside of me right now. And if it takes gaining weight, and earning some tiger stripes along the way, I am happy to do that.

I am in awe of my body and all of the ways it is growing and changing. It’s amazing that it took me all these years and a completely life altering event to finally truly appreciate this body that I have been given. I only wish I could have loved and appreciated my body sooner.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the phase of wanting to change something about your body, I want to encourage you to look in the mirror and find one thing about your amazing body that you can love right now. Loving yourself is a life long process, but start today! Don’t wait.

You are amazing. If I am the only person to tell you that today, I hope it sinks in. You are truly, utterly, amazing.

Dear Twenty-Something

That’s What This Storm’s All About

November 2, 2018

2 November 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”- Haruki Murakami

Do you remember yourself in middle school? There were braces, bangs, and glasses and oh so much Limited Too and Abercombie. You barely had friends, participated in a hobby that no one else liked, and couldn’t really play sports because you were so awkward and gangly and had no control of your body. Remember when you thought that if you could just have the right clothes, or that iPod mini, or a Facebook account things would be better?

Do you remember yourself in high school? There were still braces, but you painstakingly grew out your bangs. You stopped shopping at Limited Too and switched to Hot Topic, Zumiez and Pac Sun (which was an emo kid store at the time, promise).You finally had a couple friends- and you all awkwardly sat at the table near the trash can in the front of the cafeteria, and stayed long hours practicing for the musical. You weren’t what anyone would call popular, and you still wondered- if you could have been an athlete would life have been better? If you could have been friends with the popular group, would you have been happier?

Do you remember yourself in college? You slowly started to shed your tough kid style and look a little more like an adult. You made friends. You lost friends. You picked a major that would pretty much set your course for life. You lived in another country. You dated and broke up. You thought if you could get a job and move to a big city and make a name for yourself your life would be better. If you had a legacy and changed the world everything would be great. You just knew you were made for more.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that it does get better? That Facebook wasn’t really the most important thing after all, and that in the end, having different clothes really doesn’t make your life all that much better? That having a few good friends is far more important than having a great multitude of friends, and that being popular really isn’t going to be the summit of your life. That finding the dream job and moving to the big city actually isn’t the answer to your dreams.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that even though none of the things you planned for and thought would make your life better happened, that your life would be the best its ever been and you just had to wait for it because it actually DOES get better if you just let things happen the way they are supposed to happen instead of trying to force your plans on your life.

I would so tell my awkward self that it gets better if I could. Because it does. And you know what? I bet in 4 years when I hit 30 I will look back and tell myself that it gets even better. Because if my current life is any indication, it can only go up from here!

Whatever stage you are in- keep at it. It totally does get better. In fact, before you know it, you will be living your best life. And that is an awesome place to be.

-S

Lifestyle

Happy Halloween! We are Having a Baby!

October 31, 2018

Wow! I cannot believe today is finally here. I feel like I have been waiting for this day for ages.

In August, I threw Sean a surprise 30th birthday party. If you know me in real life, you know that secrets are NOT my forte. I can’t even keep a Christmas present a surprise for very long. But I planned a big ole party and people flew in from across the country, all to celebrate and love Sean! It was a great success, and that love is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Not long after his party, we found out we were going to have a baby! I wish I could tell you that this was all romantic and involved us sitting together waiting for the countdown to end like you see in all those commercials. But actually, I really didn’t think I was pregnant, and the Frontier guy was at my house fixing something for my TV when I took the test (I can see the story now- Once Upon a Time, while a nice stranger was making sure I could watch Grey’s Anatomy, I found out you existed… you know, maybe I’ll actually write that story some day =p). Imagine my surprise when It came up with that tiny life changing word: pregnant. That ain’t no etcha sketch…That’s one doodle that can’t be undid home slice! A side note- due to the fact that I have been charting my cycle for 4.5 years, we knew about this little babe 2-4 weeks sooner than most people even find out they’re pregnant. If you want to know more about this really cool process, message me, and I can put you in touch with some incredible people who really know what they are talking about!

Sean had coincidentally forgotten something he needed at work, so I ran to TJ Maxx and got the cutest little honest company diapers, and the most hipster onesie I could find and I drove down to where he works and told him I had one last birthday gift for him. The look on his face when he saw the diapers is not one I will soon forget.

Every moment has just been such a beautiful blessing so far. Now look, don’t get me wrong- I have been feeling awful. I easily sleep 10-12 hours a night. I was having pretty rough “morning sickness” (ummm hello that’s a really awful misnomer because I didn’t get sick until the late night which made sleeping really hard lol). But thank God for modern medicine, and for the very kind nursing staff at Candlewoood Medical Group. I swear I call them at least once a week with the dumbest questions ever and they do not ever miss a beat and even thank me for calling them. Makes me feel awesome rather than stupid for calling.

As we’ve told family and friends our wonderful news, I have been incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of LOVE that already exists for this tiny peanut that is growing inside of me. My mind is blown. We have had nothing but hugs and tears and big cheers of congrats. Everyone deserves this kind of love every single day.

We were so excited when we found out that we were going to be pregnant during Halloween season because it was on my bucket list to dress up as Juno while being pregnant. Imagine my surprise when Sean actually suggested we announce like that! I was thrilled!

This baby is everthing we have hoped for, dreamed for, worked for and prayed for. Three years ago when we said I do, we knew that this is where our life was heading, and I could not be more honored or excited to start this journey.

Quick stats:

  • Baby has already been to TWO concerts: Sir Elton John and the amazing Joe Pug.
  • Starting at around 5Pm the baby gets all jumpy and when I lay down I swear I can feel he or she moving because something is definitely tickling my completely empty bladder.
  • I have completely given up on pants. They just aren’t worth it. Leggings are my absolute best friend, and thank God it’s fall and I get to wear them with tunics and swearters and scarves and boots. It’s glorious.
  • My first craving was for egg rolls. My second craving was cinnamon dolce coffee. I am currently drinking peppermint mocha coffee and it’s honestly delicious. This is a far departure from my usual dark coffee with plain half and half in it lol.

I am so looking forward to this advent season- to share with Mary the quiet excitement of being pregnant and having a tiny soul to cherish.

If you read all of this, thank you for walking this journey with me. I have missed writing, and now that the secret is out, I can’t wait to start again. And I can’t wait to see how becoming a mom helps me to grow and change into the person I was always meant to be.

 

(Still looking normal)

 

(YES! I still spin- leaving for morning workout here)

 

(Grow baby Grow! I can’t believe I have changed even since this picture just one week ago!)

 

 

 

Lifestyle

A Broken Yet Beautiful World

October 9, 2018

Man. What a time to be alive. I have recently taken to watching Good Morning America every morning as I drink my coffee and do my morning meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, I may fold a basket of laundry while watching live with Kelly and Ryan afterwards.

This new routine helps me to start my day on a little bit of a slower pace, and often points be toward the one or two hopeful news stories that are floating around in the world. Boy do I feel like I need that right now.

All day, every day, my newsfeed is full of people battling each other over incredibly important issues. There is a deep, dark beauty in these feuds as I watch people stand up for what they believe in at all costs. I think there is something really beautiful about seeing the need for change, and the raw, unbridled power that it unleashes in people’s hearts. The storm of change is brewing, and ready or not, this world we live in is going to undergo a radical reconstruction.

But so often in the heated discussions and one terrible headline after another, I begin to lose sight of the fact that this world, though broken and desolate, is still beautiful.

I find it so easy to forget that this world, though scary and imbalanced at times also breeds goodness and hope. I can focus on the negative. It would be easy. Or I can dig my heels in a little deeper and look for the goodness, beauty and truth that lies there just below the surface.

I choose to see the people in my newsfeed as warriors against injustice; injustice that runs ramapant in our society. I choose only to engage when it is something that I truly have taken the time to research and have an educated opinion about. I try always to use kind and non attacking language.

I take heated conversations out of the ring of the newsfeed and in to a real life conversation- over coffee, or dinner or in a private message if only a virtual friend. I keep an open mind, and an open heart, listening for the full story when talking. I am always searching for the truth and when someone has clear eveidence towards the truth that contradicts what I know, I thank them for opening my eyes. It is only in being willing to learn that any change actually happens.

And in each of these encounters, I have become a better person. I have seen the light, beauty and goodness that my friends have to offer. I have grown into a person that I am proud to be. Open, willing to change, willing to learn and constantly striving for a better baseline.

And this, sweet friends is a beautiful thing. Even the darkness and destruction of our current society can give birth to something good. I just need to remember not to forget it.

Keep on fighting the good fight. The world needs more people like you.

Dear Twenty-Something

A Built in Season of Change

September 28, 2018

29 September 2018

Dear Twenty-Something,

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

I want you to stop, for just a moment. Stop to breathe in the crisp, chilly air that so rapidly descended upon you.

As the days grow shorter, and the leaves begin to change, take a second to embrace all of the ways your life is changing in this season.

Go back to the things that make you happy. I know your time is precious and you feel like you have to schedule every hour of your day to make sure you get everything done, but make time for those things anyways. It is worth it. YOU are worth it.

Take at least one day a week to move a little slower. Don’t think of the 100 things you have to get done. Choose three things, and complete these tasks deliberately.

Get out the Halloween decorations. I know you haven’t seen them in a while, and it seems like a silly thing to do on a Friday evening, but do it. Your soul will thank you for the small addition of beauty to your routine.

Light the candle. Make the soup. Wear the slippers. Drink the hot cocoa. Embrace every stereotype even if it makes you #basic.

How lucky are we, that a season that revolves around change comes built into the calendar year. If the world around you can embrace these lovely moments, then you, sweet friend, can too.

Adventure awaits in this season of changes if only you are brave enough to look for it.

-S

PS- go get your flu shot. It takes two seconds and is probably worth it.