Monday, March 30, 2015

My upcoming trip to L.A.!

No big deal or anything, but today marks my last "Case of the Mondays" for what will be a long, long time. In case you missed this last post here, I'm making a complete career change and transitioning out of media/sales/PR/mass communication and jumping into speech pathology. Working toward speech pathology, anyway. Between taking the GRE, a year of pre-requisites and crossing my fingers that I make it into at least one graduate school in Fall 2016, I have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be. There is so much to learn and so much I need to start doing, but I know it'll be worth it in the end!

With this being my last big girl work week, I have a feeling that the days are going to go by a lot faster, which means I really need to make them count. While most of my time between now and July will be spent training at my new job and studying nonstop for the GRE, I have a lot to look forward to, including two big trips in just one month!

A couple of weeks ago, around the time when I was getting ready to put in my two weeks, my sister randomly asked how I would feel about going on a trip to Los Angeles before she heads back to Bulgaria in late April. Ummmm, did she even have to ask? Yes yes yes yes yes. So I used up the rest of my credit card points which shaved $130 off the cheapest plane ticket we could find, and within 24 hours of her inquiry, our tickets were booked! We'll be staying with her best friend from high school, who is also a music producer and has been living in L.A. for quite awhile, so I'm excited to get a local's perspective of the area. I've never been to California, so I'm really pumped for this trip. Or should I say amped? Does that make me sound like I'm from Laguna Beach? (STEE-PHENNNNNNN)

I've been trying to research fun things to do around L.A., and I have to say that Pinterest has been a huge help (big surprise there). What Not to Do in Los Angeles has been my favorite article I've come across so far; it tells you what's best to skip out on, and then suggests what to do instead. For example, the author advises not to partake in the Santa Monica Pier hustle and bustle, but instead suggests biking the trail from Santa Monica to Venice Beach. Sounds like a way better plan to me! Top 10 Hikes in Los Angeles has also been an interesting read. With every hike listed, it lets you know the "sweat factor" and the "move time." The hike behind the Hollywood sign just might have to happen.

I'm crossing my fingers we make the trip over to Malibu for a beach day. And of course I'll have to take a stroll down Rodeo Drive, and maybe I'll even hop on a celebrity home tour. And by home tour I mean maybe I'll move in with a celebrity. Like Zac Efron.

Any suggestions for fun things to do in L.A./Malibu/wherever in that general area? Let me know! T-minus 9 days!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

An announcement to be made...

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been pretty vague with a lot of my posts lately. Talking about being stressed out without really mentioning why, saying I have a lot going on without any kind of context clue as to what. Well, there's a method to my madness. A lot of what's been going on in and out of my head, I haven't been able to put "out there" yet, mostly because of work. But now I can.

Such a dramatic intrigue, right?

After a year's worth of internal debate, I have decided to take the plunge and return to school to pursue speech language pathology!

It's been a decision I've been thinking about making for a long time, but I finally did it. Well, I haven't really done anything yet, but I've taken the necessary steps to get started, which began with putting in my two weeks at my current job.

For those of you who don't know, I've been working in a sales role at a fantastic, highly respected business news publication for a year and a half now. While I love the job, especially the people I work with, I knew in my heart that sales wasn't my passion. And as I started to research positions more closely related to my degree (mass communication with a specialty in public relations), I realized that that wasn't where I wanted to be, either. Trust me, there was a lot more to this decision than I'm relaying, but that's another blog post for another day.

I'm going to be honest, it was really difficult putting in my two weeks. Not because they didn't take it well; everyone has been beyond supportive, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little emotional. It was difficult because, although I may not have made a big impact on the job, the job at a big impact on me. A lot of that has to do with the people I've met and gotten to know over the last year and a half. The good, the bad, and the ugly - my job has left a great impression on me, and I couldn't be more thankful for my time there.

For now, I'll be going back to hospitality life. I start serving at a popular restaurant in south Tampa come mid-April. It's definitely going to be a culture shock going back to serving, but the job's flexibility and low stress level will allow me to put my whole heart into studying for GRE before I take it for the first time in July. After that, I'll be starting pre-requisites in the fall, and working my ass off to get into grad school. It'll be weird working nights and weekends again, but I know it's the first step of many to achieving my goals.

It's crazy to think that this time in two weeks, my life will be a helluva lot different than it is today. Life is about to change in a big way. While I'm sad to close this chapter, I couldn't be more excited to start a new one.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

4 Ways to Refresh & Recharge.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been having a weird couple of weeks. I've been somewhat balanced between being super stressed and stupid happy at the same time. When I'm teetering more on the stressful side of the spectrum, I make it a point to hit my mental 'refresh' button, and recharge my daily routine. This is especially necessary at the beginning of the week, i.e. Sunday night when I'm about start another crazy work week. When life gets hectic, these tips help me transition into another week with a clean slate:

  1. Take time to yourself - Sometimes to hit the refresh button on our minds, we need to completely unplug from the outside world. Turn your phone off. Drop a Lush sex bomb into your tub and take a hot bath. Make a cup of tea. Start a new book. Start a new television series. Take a nap in a sea of quilts. Meditate (and by that, for me, I mean lay motionless on your bed without falling asleep and just be). Take a walk. Run by the water. 
  2. Create - Turn any negative energy into positive energy by using your hands to make something new. Take photographs. Concoct a handmade cocktail. Paint a canvas. Work on a scrapbook page. Make a dream board. Write up a bucket list. Start a blog. Write in a journal. Whip up a fancy recipe from Pinterest. 
  3. Clear your space - A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, so clean it out. Go through your closet, remove every item you haven't worn more than once in the last six months, and donate it. Throw away old, crumpled receipts forgotten in your handbag. Delete duplicate photos from your camera roll. Go through your desk drawer and throw away dead pens. Recycle half full water bottles rolling around in your car. 
  4. Talk it out - Sometimes I just need to vent to the people who love me, or at least do a really great job at making me feel like they do. Set up a margarita date with your best friend. Or a coffee date. Or a tea date. Whatever strikes your fancy, really. Call up your family and have a rant sesh, or set up an appointment with a therapist. Trust me - been there, loved that. Sometimes talking to someone with a complete unbiased opinion about your life decisions can be truly eye opening.

What do you do to mentally refresh and recharge? 


Friday, March 20, 2015

So much to do, so much time to do it.

Things have been quiet around these parts lately, and in all honesty, you probably haven't even noticed...but I definitely have. I looked back at my posts from this last month and I am just not proud. I'm making a promise (mostly to myself) that this will change in the coming weeks. To say I have a lot going on right now would be the understatement of the year. Thankfully it's all good things, as I have so much to look forward to in the next couple of months! I just need my brain to catch up with real life, if you know what I mean.

I haven't been making time for a lot of things that should be important to me; that are important to me, and not to worry - I have a plethora of excuses. My sister's been in town, so I'm obviously trying to make the most out of her time here. Work has been killer lately, so when I come home I just want to veg out. I take Einstein for a mile walk every day, but I consider that my work out and then beach myself on the couch for the rest of the evening. I officially signed up for the GRE in July, yet I've only studied once since I submitted my $200 (!!!) payment two weeks ago. I bought a beautiful DSLR and I've taken maybe 100 pictures on it thus far. Not okay.

I've just been feeling so blah. I make all these plans to make plans to get my shit together for the day, the week, the month and as of late, it's just been really hard to actually put my mind to it. I'm sure this will pass, but it's just something that's been weighing heavily on my mind lately, and I kind of feel like professing it to the blogging world will force me to really get my shit together. Or at the very least, make me feel better about it.

Do you ever have weeks like that? Where you have so much to do, so much you want to accomplish, but it feels like you just can't? Tell me about it in the comments.

Happy Friday, babes!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Let's get real.

On this lovely Monday morning (said no one ever), I've decided that I feel like stealing a blog post idea from one of my favorite blogs, Oddly Lovely. I'm all about being honest - with my friends, my boyfriend, my family, myself. And now, I get to be honest with my [few] readers. Except I'll be renaming it Let's Get Real, because let's get real, how many times have you seen me use that phrase in a post?

Let's get real - I love looking at engagement rings. Mostly via Pinterest. I have a whole board, right here. Ryan and I aren't planning on getting engaged any time soon, so I really don't know why I'm all about them as of late. I don't like that I'm that type of girl that lusts over a diamond because again, "let's get real," that money going to a diamond could also go to a down payment on a house or it could take us on a trip to Europe. I've also been raised to think that way. At the end of the day, I know the significance of an engagement ring matters much more than the aesthetics. Having said that, I like to look at sparkly things, thus I will continue to pin sparkly things.

Let's get real - I have zero desire to read the 50 Shades of Grey books. I tried once. I really tried. I even tried to skip to the "good parts" to see what all the fuss was about. I just couldn't get past the atrocious writing style. I get why people read them, it just isn't for me. I just desperately hope no one who has read those books has ever referred to them as "good," as in good writing. You can say they're entertaining, but for the love of god, please do not say they're well written.

Let's get real - I am absolutely awful about setting budgets for myself. I'm great at putting away money. I make a point to do it every month. But setting a limit on how much to spend on clothes/going out to eat/makeup per month? Errrmmm, nerp. If I wants it, I'll haz it. I'm also trying to get better at figuring out whether something is an impulse buy. For example, there's a $13 necklace at Target that I almost bought one day. And then I told myself if I'm still thinking about it in three days, I'll go back and buy it. It's been three months; I still think about it, and I still haven't gotten it. And then yesterday I impulsively bought a $30 dress at Target, so it's clearly a work in progress.

Let's get real - I Instagram way too hard. I stalk everyone, and I do it often. I stalk my friends, I stalk friends of friends. I can't stand going more than a few hours without seeing what the world is doing without me in that little square box. I am also OCD about making sure my pictures are straight. The alignment tool has been my best friend for the last few months, and there's no turning back now. It's embarrassing. Much like my Target buys, it's a work in progress.

Side note...let's get real, Florida really has the best beaches. This was my view yesterday afternoon. No complaints here, friends.

Any confessions to start off your Monday morning?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Ramblings - Thinking vs. Creating.

If you've been reading for awhile, you'll notice one thing I say in at least three posts per month: "wow, time flies." I can imagine it gets boring to read, because it gets boring to type. But it's so unbearably relevant, isn't it? I mean, we're pretty much halfway through March! The first quarter of the year is almost done! AND I STILL DON'T HAVE ABS BECAUSE GIRL SCOUT COOKIES.

On a serious note, more often than not, life slips away from me faster than I can keep up. Remember how at the beginning of the year, I resolved to read one book per month? Yeah, I don't think I'm even halfway through my first book of the year. And as you probably noticed from this post, making working on my fitness has taken a back seat. It's like every night I go to sleep thinking "tomorrow I'll be better" or "starting next week, I'll start doing XYZ." Spoiler alert: I don't start doing anything.

As someone once said, "the trouble is, you think you have time." We all fall into this trap. Whether it's working out, or going back to school, or reading a book. We think we have time for some day...and maybe we do. But I know that I personally spend a lot of time thinking about the life I want to live, and not actually taking the steps to create that life.

I'd say I don't know why that is, but in all honesty, it's probably because I'm desperately afraid to take those steps. It could stem from laziness; I know it definitely stems from the fear of the unknown. But as Hannah Montana once told us: life's what you make it. And the time is going to pass anyway. I can either spend it wishing my circumstances were different, or I can actually work on making my circumstances different. I feel likeeee that isn't grammatically correct, but we're going to go with it because it's Friday. You're welcome.

Does this ring true for anyone else? Or am I just rambling? Happy weekend! XO


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Weekend Livin'

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of just straight crazy; for the most part, in the best of ways. My sister lives in Bulgaria, and only has a chance to visit home in Florida about once a year for an extended period of time. She flew in last Monday and will be staying with my parents (and me!) until April 20th. So much time for so many activities!

I made a point to claim her during her first weekend around these parts. I was craving adventure, so on Saturday, Ryan and I decided to take her to the Strawberry Festival, an annual fair in a small town about 45 minutes outside of Tampa called Plant City. It was the first time for all three of us, and it just might be the last. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time - I got my hands on a caramel apple, we almost died on a semi-kiddie roller coaster, and we walked out with more strawberries than any three people could possibly consume. However, big crowds make me nervous and it was a huge crowd. Not to mention I saw two people tongue twisting in ways that I wouldn't do behind a dead-bolted locked door...just sayin'. Definitely a prime spot for people watching, though.

Sunday brought warm, sunny weather, which was exactly what the doctor ordered. We ventured to this perfect little beach bar just 10 minutes away from my apartment. It was my first time there, but it definitely won't be my last! We snagged a table in the shade, but there were lawn chairs lined up along the seawall right on the water, tiki bars, and picnic tables on a mini beach. The drinks were a little expensive, as beach bar drinks have a tendency to be, but the atmosphere made it so worth it. Maybe it's because it was 85 degrees outside, but it felt like summer officially arrived! It was also a solid reminder that the gym is my friend, and I should really start going to it again. Okay, great.

I'm ready for about three more mimosas, how aboutchu? Bring it awwwwnnnn, Friday! XO


Monday, March 9, 2015

Small changes...

For the last five years, I like to think I've made a healthy lifestyle change. I'm pretty sure at eighteen years old, I had not a damn clue what a calorie was, or a serving size. I swam five times a week in high school, but ate Burger King after almost every practice. I didn't drink alcohol, but I ate two bowls of cereal for breakfast and dessert every single night. I'd work out, but you know what they say: abs are made in the kitchen. I wouldn't say I was fat, or even overweight, but I was missing one hell of an opportunity...and to be honest, I never thought much of it.

I'm not sure what happened halfway through my freshman year of college, but something shifted, and all of the sudden I was running every night and going to the gym five times a week. I swapped dining hall pizza and pasta for the salad bar and vegetarian chicken patties. Nine months after I stepped out onto the pavement for the first time with purpose, I was at my lowest weight of all time. And I stayed that way for the next few years.

Okay, I'm not going to jump into this sad sob story about how I lost control and gained it all back, because I haven't. But I have abandoned some of my healthy eating habits, and I think a lot of that started after I turned 21. Wine with dinner? Mimosas with breakfast? Margaritas because it's Monday? Yes, yes, and yes. I went from mindlessly ordering the vegetable of the day as a side to opting for potatoes au gratin because 'why the fuck not?' My waistline, that's why. 

So last night I stood in the mirror, pre-shower, post-day fair and thought 'ugh.' I felt round all over. I tensed up my muscles and felt more flab than strength. A margarita here, a slice of pizza there; it has finally all added up. Even though it was just a few pounds around my middle/lower section, standing there, I felt hopeless...mostly because I felt lazy. Eating whatever I want whenever I want is just easier. Margaritas are tasty, and so are Girl Scout cookies. Who wants to be fit, anyway? Who likes wearing bikinis to the beach? 

I decided then and there I could do one of two things:

  1. I could take the easy way out - eat all the things, drink all the alcohol, and continue to whine to my boyfriend about how I wish I could be fit and healthy again but it's just too hard (and count down the days until he's fed up with me because honestly, who would want to date someone like that?). 
  2. I could start making a change. Taking Einstein for runs instead of walks. Waking up earlier to go to the gym. Coming home for lunch instead of going out every damn day. I could make small changes that could eventually turn into one big change. A good change.
It's so easy (for me especially) to look at the big picture, or the optimal end result and think, "that's too hard, I can't do it, I don't have the discipline to do that." I do it often. My main goal for the next few months, especially as we make headway into the spring and summer months, is to shift my focus away from "getting fit ASAP" and into making healthier choices every single day. Easier said than done, right?


Have you every been in a similar situation? What did you do to stay on track?



Friday, March 6, 2015

Then I decided to become a brunette.

I've been a blonde pretty much my entire life...minus nine months back in 2009/2010 when I thought it was a good idea to box-dye my hair dark brown. We ran out of hair dye mid-project and my poor friend had to run to CVS while I still had dye all over my hair. It turned out almost jet black with yellow blonde spots. I know you don't even have to ask, but yes, it was indeed awful. Once I was officially back blonde eight long months later, I swore 'NEVER AGAIN' and let the brunette ship sail away.

Fast forward four and a half years, and I went from pinning away nothing but blonde hair inspiration to throwing in a few darker looks: dark blonde ombres, warm browns, caramel highlights. I started toying with the idea, never convinced that I would actually do it again. Not because I didn't want to, but because people knew me as a blonde. It was a travesty to my family when I dyed my hair dark (let's get real, it was a travesty to everyone who had to look at me). To them, I was their "golden girl" and "so many girls pay the big bucks to have hair like yours." 

While so many women I'm friends with change up their hair color up to three times a year, it felt like I couldn't touch my own in fear of disappointing people I love. Over hair. When I brought up giving brown hair a try, I heard "I think you'll regret it" from friends so many times that I started to believe it myself. Except Ryan, of course. 

"You don't tell me what to do with your hair, so why would I tell you what to do with yours?"
(That's why I pay him the big bucks to be my boyfriend, guys).

So with that bit of advice, I confirmed a hair appointment for this past Tuesday and took the plunge. After five hours in a chair, I went from bright blonde:

 to an ashy brunette:

And you wanna know what? The world did not end, I do not regret it, and the people who said I'd regret it actually like it. And so do I.

As I've mentioned plenty of times before, I have a tendency to rely heavily on outside opinions. Whether said opinions are warranted or even relevant, I take them into heavy consideration and have often questioned my own gut feelings. Slowly but surely, I'm spending less time worrying about what others (even those near and dear to my heart) will think of my life decisions and more time digging deep and figuring out what I think about my life decisions. From adopting Einstein to dying my hair, I'm making decisions for myself, and only myself. I'm adult-ing. I'm trying to, at least.

Have you made any big decisions lately? Did you take a lot of others' input into consideration first or did you make the decision all on your own?

Happy Friday! XO 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Why Floridians Hate Florida.

I think it's safe to say almost every native Floridian goes through a period of time where they hate living in Florida. I don't have the statistics to back me up on that, but I'm just going to go ahead and make that statement anyway.

For me, it happens around September. Ah, remember September? Feels like it was just a hot minute ago now, but would you believe that it was six months ago already? For most parts of the country, when fall rolls around, the leaves start to change color, the air turns crisp, and the 20 something's begin to Instagram their first PSL of the season. In Florida, the 20 something's still Instagram their lattes, but we're doing it in cut off shorts because it's still 90 some odd degrees outside.

It's around September that I think, "Ugh, I hate you, Florida. One day, I'll live some place where there's actual seasons, and I can experience fall in its entirety with bon fires and cozy knit blankets and scarves and I can finally drink a pumpkin spice whatever the hell with true purpose."

This feeling typically lasts through Thanksgiving and Christmas, because whaddaya know, IT STILL ISN'T COLD. Some Floridians may fool you with their fake displays of happiness, like building smiling snowmen made out of sand at the beach on Christmas Day. Those people are liars. 

It finally starts to get cold around January, with real "wintery" spurts that have a tendency to ruin our weekends. It even got down to the 20s in good ol' Tampa a couple of weekends ago, for about two days (RIP Florida Winter: 2/19/15 - 2/20/15). With all the bitching about the lack of cold weather I've done up until this point, one might assume I would be jumping for joy. I'm not. Christmas is over, and I'm tired of wondering if anyone will notice that I've worn the same pair of boots five days in a row. Floridians also don't invest in multiple pairs of boots because what's the point?

Then, out of nowhere, Florida redeems herself. After a rainy February 28th, I woke up on March 1st to sunshine and 78 degrees, and I went to the beach. I scrolled through my snow-infested Instagram feed from the comfort of my beach towel and thought to myself, "Maybe I'll never move out of Florida." Until August rolls around and the real feel is 105 degrees and my thighs are sticking together. Then the process repeats itself. 

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