Tuesday, January 14, 2020

looking back on the decade

At the start of 2010, I was 18 and a half years old, going into my second semester of college at the University of South Florida. I was living in a dorm room, about to rush a sorority (unbeknownst to me, truthfully), and working as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory. My hair was box-dyed dark, I was just a few months away from starting a health kick that would cause me to lose almost thirty pounds, and I hung out with a lot of people who weren't really my friends, while also maintaining a solid group of people who actually were

Losing all that weight left me in a complicated head space that I battled on and off for a couple of years. I became lactose intolerant(ish), which threw my body and my brain for a loop as I tried to re-learn what I could eat, while figuring out what was healthy for me to eat, and what that actually meant, period. I became obsessive about everything that went into my body, which was a fight that I thankfully overcame within a year or so.

I kissed a lot of frogs, and looking back, had questionable taste in men. I accepted far less than what I deserved, but I think most everyone does in their early 20s. At my worst, I was vindictive. I sought revenge. I let people walk all over me. I had a lot of fun, and I spent too much time with guys who would never matter. I had a few boyfriends, who taught me what I want and ultimately, what I didn't want out of a relationship. Early in the decade, I met a man at a bar who would, by the end of the decade, become my husband.

I went into the decade majoring in mass communication, with an idea that I wanted to work in magazines, or become an actress one day, while doing absolutely nothing productive toward either dream. Instead, I worked in restaurants and took on scattered types of internships with no real idea of how to become what I thought I wanted to be. I worked in sales until deciding to go back to school for speech-language pathology, got a master's degree, and started my dream job nearly right out of the grad program.

Having lived in a state where humidity is a continuous season for my entire life, I had dreams to move out of state. I thought about California, thought about Chicago, thought about literally any place that could give me something different than what I'd grown up around. I applied for graduate schools out of state, but remained in Tampa, just thirty minutes outside of my hometown, where we'll likely buy our first house.

Things happened a little differently than I envisioned, and like most, I'm so happy with the outcome. I'm a lot different at 29 than I was at 19, as I should be, and for that I am thankful. I work out to stay healthy and feel good in my clothing, not because I feel I need to look a certain way. I'm working a job that I had no idea about at the start of 2010, that I now love. I'm married to the love of my life; someone who makes me better just by being themselves. I've had plenty of difficult moments, weeks, and months. I've been stressed out and broken down and at my worst. But at the risk of sounding boastful, I closed the decade feeling ridiculously happy, fulfilled, and secure.

How did you feel about the last 10 years?


Saturday, January 4, 2020

going into 2020

As I get older, I've grown to love the start of a new year. Not in a "new year, new me" sense, but because I like the idea of a fresh start. New months to create new memories, to begin new journeys, to plan new adventures. I've had a pretty slow start to the year, and it has been so good for my soul.

We woke up late on New Year's Day after having a tad too much fun on New Year's Eve. I made pancakes and coffee, and Ryan made make-shift curtains out of blankets to block out the sun's glare while we binge-watched our remaining seven episodes of You on Netflix, taking a break only to pick up Thai food and take the dogs on a two mile walk around the neighborhood. It was quiet and lazy and perfect.

I haven't put a lot of thought into my New Year's Resolutions just yet. I like the idea of coming up with a word, but I'm having trouble committing. Right now, these words are floating around in my head:

- intentional
- confident
- adventure
- create
- habit
- grow

...or can my word just be "house," because that's our biggest goal of the year? 2020 is the year we finally hop out of this adorable shoebox of an apartment. It's been real and it's been nice, but having storage space and a bigger kitchen will be real nice. 

Goal wise, I have just a few:

- Read 12 books. My goal for the past two years (that I haven't hit for the past two years) has been 25 books, but truthfully, I didn't like the pressure of having to speed through a book just to get to the next one. I get using a number as a motivator to get yourself to read, but I want to thoroughly enjoy a story just for the sake of reading, so I changed it up a little this year.
- Attend one class at the gym per week. Because who doesn't love organized sweating? Just kidding. But it's nice to just be able to walk into the gym and not think about what to do, ya know?
- Be more intentional about what I put in my closet. This means not buying clothing on a whim just because I like it, but thinking about what actually looks good on me, what will hold up, and what I'll still like in the years to come.

Going into 2020 feels kind of strange, because 2019 was such a big year for us. It was the year we finally got married. I started working for a new organization, and learned more about my field and myself as a speech pathologist than I ever could have imagined. It was a year full of wedding planning, celebrating, and learning, and I think this year will look a lot different for the simple fact that we aren't planning a wedding anymore. I'm a bag of mixed emotions about that, although about 98% of that bag is filled with relief...ha!

How's your start to 2020? Have you chosen a word, or set any resolutions?


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

live from christmas eve

Coming at you live from my couch on this Christmas Eve morning. I worked a whopping one day of this holiday week yesterday, and I'm kicking off the rest of this six day holiday weekend while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (I finally caved and got Disney+) while sipping coffee with peppermint mocha creamer. Florida is uncharacteristically chilly for this time of year, hovering in the low 60s with gray skies, and because I relish in this weather, I am loving it.

It's easy to get sucked into a game of comparison this time of year. She's getting that for Christmas, they're going to a ski lodge for the week, how did he get that much time off work, we didn't go to any Christmas parties and they've been going to one every weekend. Even now, as I'm writing this post, I thought to myself, "did we even do a whole lot to celebrate this year?"

For us, this Christmas has been an accumulation of little moments.

- setting up the tree just before Thanksgiving while watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
- buying peppermint mocha creamer
- hanging up multicolor lights in our bedroom and flickering white lights in the kitchen
- breaking out the Christmas coffee mugs
- making Oreo truffles for a holiday cookie exchange
- decorating my office with wintery window decals
- holiday shopping with my best friend and her sweet little babe
- having an ornament exchange with the best coworkers
- taking pictures in front of a giant Christmas tree in Savannah with my husband
- eating alllll the Christmas cookies...all of them
- watching my favorite movies like The Family Stone, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Love Actually.

Gift wise, Ryan and I are keeping our exchange low-cost this year. Gift giving is kind of weird as a married couple - his money is my money, and vice versa. We both agreed that our honeymoon in Hawaii was the best gift we could have given each other. Our hope in the new year is to buy our first home, so our financial focus is geared more toward that than presents this season. Who knows, maybe we'll be hosting the holidays this time next year?

Alas, I'm talking about Christmas like it's already over, even though it's just getting started. We're heading down to Fort Myers to visit my in-laws today, where I plan to drink prosecco with rosemary garnish, whip up a fantastic Christmas breakfast, and enjoy our first Christmas as a married couple.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas (or a happy Hanukkah)! What are your plans for the holiday? Any last minute shopping to do?


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

our wedding day: getting ready

On October 12, 2019, I woke up thinking, "it's finally here - my wedding day." Nearly 500 days since Ryan proposed, we were about to get married on the six year anniversary of our first date, just steps away from the popular Italian restaurant where Ryan and I shared awkward but charming get-to-know-you banter while I had spinach in my teeth.

For getting ready, it was important to me for us to have enough natural light for photos. I'd looked into nearby AirBnBs, but I really wanted to be central to everything and everyone else in the hotel block, so I opted to book a suite at the hotel. With two beds, a couch, and a little balcony, we had plenty of room to spread out and get ready. Most importantly, we had a small kitchenette to suffice our snacking needs throughout the day.

One of my bridesmaids, Stephanie, stayed in the hotel room with me the night before, and it wasn't long before hair and makeup knocked on our door at 8:45 a.m. to start setting up. I began to set up plastic champagne flutes, Trader Joe's apple cider donuts, and pancake bread for my bridesmaids and family, though we didn't actually pop any bubbly until about 10ish (likely for the best!). My bridesmaid Jaime's husband scooped us up Starbucks + brought in our Publix lunch (popcorn fried chicken nuggets, sandwiches, and fruit)...talk about a life saver.

Before long, all six of my bridesmaids + my mom and mother-in-law were in the thick of getting ready. Robes and gifts had been distributed, and everyone was dressed in dusty green florals. The room smelled of hairspray, Lizzo blasted through a "beer can" speaker, and every five minutes someone mentioned "I can't believe it's finally here!"

I was so excited to get ready alongside my girlfriends - it's a big reason why I had a larger amount of bridesmaids. I couldn't imagine not getting ready with everybody, and I really wanted cute robe photos (because, duh). In truth, we were a little bit behind schedule. Everyone else's hair and makeup touchups went about an hour late, which cut into our "getting ready" photo time and made everything feel a little bit rushed at the time. By the time everyone was finished, I was already supposed to be at the venue doing my first look with Ryan. I tried not to let it stress me out, and ultimately, it didn't. I think that's what makes every wedding day unique - the unplanned twists and turns and mishaps always make for good stories.

Even so, we got a lot of great "getting ready" photos, thanks to our wonderful photographer, Emily Mathewson. If you're in Florida (or even if you're not!) I highly recommend her. She did an outstanding job, and I feel like I gained a friend in the wedding planning process!

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't share some "getting ready" photos from Ryan's side of the day. He looked so handsome! I felt like one lucky bride...and I suppose that now I'm one lucky wife!

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks! Be on the look out for our first look, the ceremony, and reception pictures. I can't believe this day has already come and gone, and I love revisiting it.


Friday, November 29, 2019

thanksgiving wrap up + my black friday buys

Happy Friday, guys! I hope you had a wonderful, fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday. We woke up at 5:45 a.m. to head over to our local Turkey Trot for a 5k (yes, we're that couple, but not in a competitive way...we just like the tradition!). We park at my best friend's house, walk over to the race, and then head back for cinnamon rolls afterward every year. Following the race, we posted up on the couch at my parents' house to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with a few mimosas + coffee before helping out with the holiday feast. I made ham and Trader Joe's cornbread stuffing, and drank some wine, of course. It was our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple, and we're hoping we'll get to host for the first time next year in our new house (that we don't own yet, but try not to think about it).

Now that the holiday is over, everyone's mind is on to the next...Christmas! And Black Friday shopping.

It's so easy to over-consume this time of year. In truth, all of these sales have beens stressing me out. I know Black Friday and the following weekend is a good time to stock up on gifts for other people, but there are actually a lot of things we've been needing to replace (e.g. our living room rug, things from our registry, a new couch), plus I'm working on adding more "quality" items to my wardrobe (and donating not-so-flattering items), so it is very overwhelming when "all the things!" go on sale at once.

Still, I've tried to be mindful about my purchases, and we did make a few. Here's what I've gotten my hands on thus far (note: these may contain affiliate links, which means I'd make a few cents or a few bucks if you choose to purchase through my links)...

What I've Purchased:

Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Moreaux Wash - marked down to $89 from $128. Not a "steal" by any means, but I've heard great things about these jeans and I'd love to see if they're actually worth it.

The Perfect Vintage Jean in Ainsworth Wash - same price as the curvy jeans. I don't have a pair of jeans in this wash/style so I was interested to see how I like them.

Samsung 65" Class RU7100 Smart 4K UHD TV - our television recently gave out on us, and we're borrowing one from Ryan's friend in the meantime. We were planning on waiting until we bought a house but figured there's no time like Black Friday, so may as well splurge! Samsung didn't link through ShopStyle, and Target has it at the same price we bought it for, but we used Rakuten and ended up getting $70 cash back after our welcome bonus.

Rib-Knit Cuff Chenille Open Cardigan (A New Day) - okay, I bought this earlier this week, but only after I spent a few days mulling it over and I love it so much. I already had it in black from last year, but I bought it in red (PS: it is absolutely not red - more like a dusty pink) and I got it for my sister in blue which is such a pretty color. For $20, this comfy little guy is well worth the buy.

Definitely recommend using Rakuten if you haven't tried it, especially if you're a big online shopper. I ended up getting an extra $5 back from buying those jeans at Madewell, too.

What I'm Thinking About Purchasing:

Furbo Dog Camera - It tosses treats to your pooch through an app when you're not home, and you can see all of their whereabouts! HOW FUN.

Marled Funnel Neck Coat - After all the deals, it's less than $70 which is a cheap thrill for a seemingly good coat! We're going to Savannah in two weeks and I don't have a cute "fashiony" coat...just an army green puffy one from Columbia. Debating on if I really need it, but it's tempting...

Have you bought anything this weekend? What's peaking your interest?

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