Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ready?



In just a few days, it will be exactly one month since my last day at my first ever "big girl job." In some ways it feels like it's been forever. In others, it feels like I've simply been on a little hiatus and I'll be waltzing up those elevators and heading back to my cubicle any day now.

Alas, I won't be. And my "new life" has been quite the adjustment. For the most part, it's been a positive adjustment. In other ways, it wasn't. I say 'wasn't' because now I have adjusted to said adjustment. Let's see how many times I can say the word 'adjustment' before things get weird.

When I quit my job in pursue of a new career path, I felt a sense of freedom that I'd been craving the whopping two years since I graduated from college. I felt in charge and courageous and motivated. "I'm quitting my job to go back to school for speech pathology. I'm taking the GRE in a few months so studying needs to be my full time job. In the meantime, I'll be going back to serving for awhile." That's been my mantra for the last month, and to be honest, I'm just as thrilled about it now as I was on the very first (err, very last) day.

As excited as I am to be smack dab in the middle of this brand new chapter of my life, it's really starting to hit me how scared I really am. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified to be working in a restaurant again. I'd certainly be lying if I said I wasn't terrified of the quantitative section of the GRE. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared of this next step; the next step that I'm very much invested in.

It's in these fleeting moments that I have to remind myself that this is what life is all about. Change. Going after what you want. Giving yourself a shot. Instead of overthinking the next step, just going for it with all your might. If I waited until I was "ready for this," I'd still be sitting in my cubicle wondering "what if" and kicking myself for years to come. The truth is, we'll never be ready for anything. But in my humble opinion, that's what turns life into an adventure.

XO





Monday, April 27, 2015

California Adventures, Day 3: Hollywood.

Prior to visiting California, I was so sure that Hollywood was located in downtown L.A. Good lawwwd, I could not have been more wrong. Am I the only one who believed this to be true?! Someone please tell me no, because I feel stupid even admitting it. Let's just blame in on the fact that I'd never been before. Right? Right.

After about two seconds of internal debate, I made the executive decision to leave my DSLR camera at home for our Hollywood excursion. I just didn't feel like dealing with all the crazy people. On top of that, the strap around my neck gets super hot and uncomfortable. No thank you! So iPhone pictures had to suffice on this particular adventure.

We started off our afternoon at Loteria Grill, a little Mexican food joint right on Hollywood Boulevard on top of the Walk of Fame. I ordered a few tacos and obviously I had to try their jalapeƱo margarita.



Unfortunately, I didn't think the marg lived up to its $13 price tag. I'm all about spicy, but it was a little bit overkill. However, those corn tortillas were easily the best I've ever had (and I hate corn tortillas), so I wasn't too upset about it.

After lunch, we took to Hollywood Boulevard and all of its touristy glory. Because this trip was so last minute, I didn't even think to try and attend a taping of Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O'Brien, etc. until it was way too late to even try and get tickets. Womp womp. So instead, we decided to do our own bit of wandering to see where we ended up. I ended up posing with a wax version of Shrek, so no surprise there. We also took an obligatory picture in front of the Chinese Theater, and I snapped a picture with Godzilla's Star of Fame. 





In all honesty, I felt like I was going into Hollywood pretty blind, so after making an obligatory trip to the Chinese Theater, Rose and I decided to plop our happy butts on a tour guide bus and let someone else do the exploring for us. Because that's what we do when we're overwhelmed with options. And I am perfectly okay with that.

We settled on a celebrity home tour which took us all around Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive. I caught a glimpse of Jennifer Lawrence's house (pictured below...BRB fan girling), the Playboy Mansion, and the home that a good chunk of the Big Lebowski was filmed in, so it was definitely worth the $25 price of admission for me. Our tour guide was from South Carolina, and he was hilarious. It was only about 10 of us on the bus, so we became a close group of buds in just two hours.

[Jennifer Lawrence's house!]

At the end of our tour, we were taken to an overlook that gave us an unforgettable view of the entire city. Let's just say, we don't have those types of views in Florida. Not a chance.






And just in case a day like this wasn't enough, I sat two tables away from Maggie Gyllenhaal and her family at a hotel restaurant in Santa Monica later on that evening. Jake was allegedly supposed to come down from his hotel room but never did. My husband can be so moody sometimes. Ugh.

XO



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm thankful for my ugly, chubby years.

I was stalking myself on my good ol' Tumblr page which, once I got relatively serious about this blog, fell to the wayside. I came across this little tid bit of writing, and almost three years later, I still feel that it is unbearably accurate, so I thought I'd share:




I think that everyone during their adolescence should have an ‘awkward looking’ phase, no matter how awful. It builds character. It creates personality. Awkward looking people are required to develop other personality traits to make up for their lack of what society considers “good looks.” These awkward people learn to be funny, compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent, curious; these things make them beautiful on the inside as they grow out of their awkward phase and become the beautiful people they are destined to be.

People who have always been considered handsome or beautiful don’t need to bother with such things. It’s not that they can help it; they’re just nice to look at and they have a tendency to get what they want without trying very hard. They don’t need to have a sense of humor, they don’t need to be able to carry on a deep conversation, they don’t need to be compassionate or intellectual or anything because more often than not, people already like them. But while they may be gorgeous, they're not interesting. At all.

Okay, maybe this isn’t always the case. It’s hardly even a 'typical’ case, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do only with looks. It’s just that, from my personal experience, people who have struggled at some point in their childhood/teen years are the most interesting, wonderful people I know. People who were picked on and made fun of are the people that end up having the most amazing lives while the people who were “cool” at 13 ended up not graduating, getting fat, doing drugs, getting pregnant way too young or all of the above. Or none of the above. The point is that struggle is good...in fact, it's necessary. Embrace your inner 13-year-old with braces, baby fat and that god awful hair cut. Oh wait…that’s just me.


Did you have any "awkward" tween/teen years? Personally, I like to pretend 2002-2005 didn't actually happen.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

California Adventures, Day 2: Santa Monica Pier.

So once I got past my 12 hour stomach bug/food poisoning/brush with death, I was beyond pumped to get up and out and explore California further than the Trader Joe's parking lot. So Thursday, our second night, we trekked down (or up? Over?) to the Santa Monica Pier.


If we're being honest, I had no intention of walking the Santa Monica Pier. I read here to skip the touristy walk, and that was my plan. But Kris insisted, and I'm glad he did. It was definitely a tourist fest with unsupervised tweenagers and tat shops scattered along the rails, but as a first-timer, I think it's kind of a rite of passage. Needless to say, after the night I had before, I was in no shape to ride any of the rides. Although looking at this picture again, I wish I had sucked it up and hopped on the ferris wheel! 




[My sister and I at the end of the pier! Can you tell I'm freezing? Sorry, it's just my Floridian showing.]



Side note: my palm tree obsession in California was just too real. We have palm trees on palm trees on palm trees everywhere in Florida, but they just felt different out there. Much like the rest of the population in California, Cali palms were taller and leaner than Florida palms. They just photograph so well, don't they? 

Shortly after this little excursion, we had a glass of wine at a fancy hotel down the road, followed by homemade seafood risotto made by Kris's extremely Italian roommate and said roommate's extremely Italian girlfriend. And I managed to keep it all down, so I marked that in the books as a win! 

Next up: our day in Hollywood! XO



Friday, April 17, 2015

California Adventures, Day 1: Venice Beach.

I literally have no idea what day of the week it is.

Okay, maybe now I do. But my mind has been in a jumble since arriving back in good ol' Florida at 6:05 a.m. on Tuesday morning. As expected, I already miss California, but I'm so happy to be back in the arms and paws of Ryan and Einstein.

Now...on to the nitty gritty details of the trip!

Day One

We landed at LAX around 10ish a.m. California time. We were greeted by Rose's (my sister) long time high school best friend turned forever family friend Kris, and we were taken down to Venice Beach in his new Mercedes (I'm not brand dropping here...you'll see why this is prevalent in just a few paragraphs). While I had never actually been to Venice Beach, I felt an immediate connection, as that's where Mary-Kate & Ashley lived in their classic hit Billboard Dad.

Shortly after, we stopped at a cute little brunch spot Sunny Spot. I threw back a couple mimosas as it finally started to sink in that I was in California for the first time. How cute is this place?








Kris just opened up his own music recording studio in Venice. Half the reason we planned the trip was so my sister could help him decorate the new digs with some of her artwork she sent over from the homeland. At the studio, I met a perfect poodle pooch and an older, hipster couple from Manhattan. They offered us a few vegan treats. I ate a small white cookie, and one could argue that it was pretty tasy. And then I tried an orange hunk of something (MADE WITH CHICK PEA FLOUR!!!) and it was repulsive. I didn't want to be rude, so I manned up and ate the rest. Mistake #1 in California. This is where all the fun ended.

I'm not kidding.

A few hours later, I started to feel queasy. For anyone who knows me, this isn't really out of the ordinary. I have to sit in the passenger seat almost every time I'm in a moving vehicle, I react strangely to a lot of foods (that I continue to eat anyway), etc. So when the corporate decision was made to trek to Trader Joe's for a few thaaangs, I decided to tag along, thinking that the nausea would pass.

I've never been more wrong in my entire life. And I am wrong a lot.

"You know, maybe I'll just hang out in the car," I said, holding my stomach. "I'm still not feeling great..."

"Are you sure?" asked my concerned comrades.

"Totally...um...on second thought..." Fearing what might happen next (to both me and Kris's poor new Benz), I hopped about three steps out of the car before puking all over a median. Twice. And then crying out of embarrassment and covering it up with mulch. Yes. That happened.

And then it happened in a Panera bag on the way home.

And then it happened when my sister asked me if I wanted the liquid or pill version of Pepto.

And then for three more hours in the one and only bathroom of Kris's apartment.

And that's how I spent my first night in California.

I'm really such a delight to travel with, aren't I? Forreal, though. It could have been a stomach bug, but judging from the churning I felt in my stomach any time I thought of that horrendous orange square, I'm almost positive it was food poisoning. Since then, I have sworn off any and all things vegan. Except my chocolate almond milk. That can stay.

Better California stories are to come, friends :)

XO



Monday, April 13, 2015

California, Californiaaaaa

It's been pretty quiet around these parts lately. That's because I've been in Los Angeles since Wednesday...ah! I can't believe it's already time to head home late tonight. It feels like someone hit "turbo speed" on my internal clock. This trip has just gone by way too quickly!

In just five days, I managed to see celebrities in Santa Monica, take pictures of whales in Malibu, travel through Hollywood and all of its glory via bus tour, and hike to the Hollywood sign. On top of that, I made new friends that I know will welcome me with open arms should I choose to return to California again. Which, let's get real, I will. Maybe one day I'll even move here. Who knows?

Until then, real life resumes come Tuesday morning. Okay, Tuesday afternoon, after A LOT of sleep. It's been an amazing experience out here on the West Coast, but I'm so excited to come home to Ryan and Einstein! I also start my new job on Wednesday, so there's that. As mom would tell me, "ain't no rest for the wicked, baby."

I have so many pictures to upload later this week. SO MANY. I can't wait to share them all with you! Enjoy the rest of your Monday, friends :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What I've Tried Lately:


Spin class
It's been about five years since I took my last spin class, so on a whim (and with my new flexible day schedule) I decided to give it a try again yesterday morning. Let's just say that it wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but it also wasn't a great idea. I went to a 9:15 a.m. class on a Monday morning, so the class was made up of older people. Who cares, right? My ears, that's who. The only song I knew throughout the entire hour was 'Blame' by Calvin Harris. The rest of the playlist could only be described as 80s dance meets Enya meets Lion King. In addition, I thought it was a good idea to wear yoga pants. Note to self: if it's been five years since my last class, staying for the entire hour probably isn't recommended. OUCH, if you know what I mean.

Muffins 
Back in college, I used to bake quite a bit. Slutty brownies, Funfetti cookies, and mini chocolate chip cheesecakes galore. Then life got busy, and I got lazy, and I stopped. I've been trying to get back into the swing of things lately, so I've started to bake again. My current obsession? Muffins. I love making eggs and turkey bacon in the morning, but most mornings I wake up unbearably starving, and I need something to hold me over for the next 30 minutes or so. I've been looking up healthy muffin recipes, and made two over the last two weeks! Progress, people. These zucchini carrot apple muffins were a big hit in my book. They're not pretty (Ryan said, "what kind of muffins are these? They smell amazing but look like shit.") but they're delish. I also just made banana oat greek yogurt muffins on Easter, and I've been eating them as a mid-morning snack. 

Forever 21
No, guys, I haven't been living under a stupid rock. I've shopped at Forever 21 since I was, ya know, 16 but I abandoned it for awhile. To be honest, that store exhausts me. But I decided to give it another shot when I went shopping for L.A. with my sister...and it still exhausts me. And I didn't find anything. Okay, I lied. I bought an uber cute pajama set and a nude camisole. Maybe it's just the particular store I went to, but I had zero luck.

Try anything new lately? New store? New food? New way of life? Let me know about it!









Friday, April 3, 2015

My official last day.


It's crazy for me to think that today is my last day of my current job. This was my first job outside of serving, my first job right out of college, my first real professional experience. It feels like just yesterday I went shopping for my first suit with my mom before my interview, and now it's all coming to a close. I don't think it's really hit me yet, and I don't think it will until I wake up Monday morning with nothing to do and no where to go.

Except not really, because contrary to popular belief, I will indeed have a full time job while studying for the GRE. After all, I still have bills to pay and a dog to feed!

Although I'm excited about this next chapter, it's always sad to say goodbye to an old way of life. There's a lot this position taught me about the professional world, and about myself, and there are a lot of things (and people) I'm going to miss. To start...
  • Weekends off. I know I griped quite a bit about my love/hate relationship with weekends here, but let's get real: they're pretty great. You never have to worry about "asking off" for a friend's birthday dinner, wedding, etc. and every Sunday is a Sunday Funday. Plus, I always have a guaranteed two days off to spend with my boyfriend if we're both too busy during the work week. I will definitely miss that.
  • Extravagant events and dinners. The publication I work for hosts quite a few events per year, most of which are held at awesome venues with open bar (AYYO!). I'll definitely miss the parties, private events, and free meals. And, you know, the high profile people I get to meet. That's pretty cool, too.
  • My coworkers. I've worked side by side with my best friend from college for two years now (internship included). We've done quite literally everything together since I started here officially in October 2013. We spend copious amounts of money going out to lunch almost every day, we hop into Francesca's in the mall across the street during said lunches, we deliver Meals on Wheels, we text each other from bed about how it's 8:30 a.m. and we still have yet to start getting ready for work. We laugh together, complain together, sometimes even cry together (okay, that's pretty much just me). I think not seeing her every day will be the biggest adjustment. I've also gotten close with our new director, and of course a few of my other coworkers and managers, so this will probably be the hardest thing for me.
Having said all that, there is a lot I'm looking forward to having a job with more flexibility, less stress, and overall less responsibility:
  • Impromptu beach trips. Okay, this won't happen all the time, obviously. But if it's a Tuesday and I'm off work and I've completed my studying for the day, then why not?
  • Time to dedicate to GRE prep. In all honesty, this is the main reason I needed to quit my job long before starting up school again in August. The program I want to eventually start is extremely difficult to get into, so I want to really dedicate myself to studying for this test before I take it for the first time in July. 
  • Less stress. As much as I'll miss my job, I will not miss the stress that came with it. I know that work is work and it will always be stressful in one way or another, but I'm excited to have a job where I can walk out the door at the end of the night knowing that whatever happened at work today will not affect my work tomorrow. Does that make sense? We'll go with it.
  • Time to myself. While I'll still be working 30-40 hours a week, I'm looking forward to establishing a routine with myself. Whether it's actually making hot tea first thing in the morning, a two mile walk down Bayshore with my dog, or catching up on a TV show, it'll be nice to have a flexible routine.
Needless to say, today is a weird day. And the new couple of weeks might be weird as I start to adjust. But as sad as I am to leave this part of my life behind, I'm thrilled to take myself in a new direction. How's that for a happy Friday?











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