Monday, February 29, 2016

My Word for 2016: Flexibility.

I used to be able to do a split when I was little. It wasn't something that came naturally to me unlike many of my itty bitty gymnastics friends. I worked on it for years, and one day, just like that, I had it. At 12 years old, I quit gymnastics, and I quit working on my split. Without that continuous practice, my muscles eventually forgot what the hell a split even was, and I've never been able to achieve one again. First world problems.

I've seen a lot of bloggers give themselves a "word" for the year. A word to set the tone for the upcoming months, to help them keep a goal, etc. I've been thinking about this a lot, as of late. I've been doing some light soul searching as I think about where 2016 might take me, and so far, one word stands out among the rest:


Truth be told, the idea first came to me a couple weeks ago when I saw a girl in my apartment gym warming up before her workout. Homegirl was stretching it up, chest to her quads, splits all over the place, just moving and grooving to her music before getting started. In that moment (and to be fair, plenty of other moments in the last 10 years), I realized how flexible I'm not, and how flexible I want to be.

In the less literal sense, I consider my personality to be pretty flexible. While I like to make plans, I don't mind going with the flow and seeing where the day takes me. Having zero idea as to where we will be living in six months gives me no choice but to be flexible. Hmm, just thinking about that ties my stomach into knots. Oi vey.

Thus, 2016 has officially been inducted as the year of flexibility. I plan to make this goal a reality by stretching after every work out and right before bed, making it a point to complete at least one hour of yoga per week, and taking multiple chill pills throughout the day to keep myself in check.

Anyone else out there have a "word" for 2016? I know I'm a little late in the new year game, but hey, better late than never.


Monday, February 22, 2016

a new direction |

Okay, I know February is quite literally a short month, but we are just flying through it. Can you believe it's almost spring? Our cold weather spurts are becoming fewer and shorter. Target has their outdoor patio displays in full swing, and clothing racks are packed with light weight pastels and the promise of warmer (okay, much hotter) days.

While spring time brings me so much happiness, said happiness will soon be laced with a thread of anxiety. As March rolls around, so do graduate school acceptances (...and rejections). While I'm a firm believer in the law of attraction and keeping a positive, optimistic outlook, I am also a realist at my root.

I've worked my ass off since I quit my job last April, and in the next couple of months, I'll be finding out if it was really worth it all. Quitting a hefty salary and going back to serving, dropping hundreds of dollars on a standardized test, going back to school, spending late nights at the library, spending even more money on graduate school applications, burning through my savings - it all comes down to the next few months, and those next few months start in March.

That being said, regardless of any outcome, I'm proud of myself. I quit the job I didn't love for something that felt more fulfilling. I've worked so hard and come so far, and it's crazy for me to think it's been almost a year since I began the journey.

Whether I'm accepted to all the schools I applied to, or even if I'm not accepted to any at all, I know in my heart that it will have been worth the fight. It's something I truly didn't think I was strong enough (or, frankly, smart enough) to do, but I did, and I am.

So with the change of seasons will come a new direction. And by that I mean I'll finally have some direction. I'll know the next step in my path. What a wild ride it's been.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016.

This year marks me and Ryan's third Valentine's Day spent together. Where does the time go?! It's crazy to think that we have already been together for so long (long for me, anyway). We started dating just over two years ago, and while in some ways I feel like we've been together forever, I still feel like this is just the beginning of our journey.

When I look at Ryan, I see kindness. I see someone who is completely selfless in every sense of the word. He consistently puts others before himself. Whether it's a job promotion or taking turns with strangers for time on a machine at the gym, I have never once seen him put his needs before others. I see safety. I know that my world could come crashing down on a random Tuesday morning and he would never leave my side. I see comfortability. I can be my truest (and worst) self around him, and he just gets it.

What I've learned from loving Ryan is that being in love with somebody doesn't always mean thinking the sun shines out his ass. Trust me, it doesn't (and I am certainly no saint). But at the end of the day, he's my best friend, and I consider myself so lucky that I get to be the one to do life with him.

We spent the 13th walking around downtown Tampa's Riverwalk, taking pictures with my camera, and simply enjoying each other's company. We couldn't have hand picked a more beautiful day to celebrate. Valentine's Day or any other day, I'm a happy little camper.


Monday, February 8, 2016

In True Valentine's Spirit | How Ryan & I Met.

In the spirit of February and Valentine's Day coming up at the end of the week, I thought I'd share one of my favorite stories to date...the story of how Ryan and I met.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there stood an "Irish" drinking establishment on South Howard Avenue by the name of MacDinton's. That's right - I actually managed to pull a serious relationship out of a random night at a bar. I'm just as shocked as anyone.

It was shaping up to be a strange night, and some way or another, I ended up chatting with Ryan and his friend Rich. I don't recall too much of the conversation, seeing as how it happened more than two years ago, but I do remember telling Rich that he reminded me of Dexter because he was wearing a henley shirt. Vital information.

One thing you should know about Ryan is that he is very tall. Like 6'8 tall. I figured this out pretty quickly because I kept tripping over his feet throughout our entire conversation, which I guess you could say was how we started flirting (clearly I talk with my entire body, because I am unsure as to why I was tripping over him whilst standing). I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment that I thought to myself, "hey, this guy is cute/funny/nice/etc," but I truly cannot. After talking for awhile, I asked him again what his name was.

"Freddy," he said.

"That's not your real name. What's your real name?"

He laughed and said his first name was Ryan.

"Yeah, I'm gonna call you Ryan."

Rather than get his number right then and there, I knew I had to play it cool. I'll forever thank my lucky stars that for god knows what reason I downloaded Snapchat earlier that very day, and somehow or another we became Snapchat friends. A couple hours later he snapped a selfie and said "I never got your number." And then he snapped a picture of his toy poodle, and I knew I was in love.

Something you should know about me: prior to my rescued pup Einstein, I've had poodles my entire life. I've had Micki, my parents' toy poodle, for 11 years. Poodles are my thing. Needless to say, I knew I'd found the one.

Next thing you know, we're Facebook messaging, and then about 37 messages into our conversation, he finally asked me for my number on that following Saturday morning. That was 857 days ago, and not a day has gone by that was haven't spoken to each other. It's safe to say that "the rest is history."


Friday, February 5, 2016

High Five For Friday!

Praise the lawwwd, Friday has come. It's been a weird week, complete with a mini emotional breakdown (it happens to everyone, am I right?), my first exam of the semester, and the worst break out I've had in awhile. Despite the weirdness, it was a good week! I'm pumped to be linking up with a few bloggers for quite possibly the first time in all my years of sporadic blogging for my first "High Five for Friday."

Highlights from the week:

1. I celebrated Gasparilla! For all you non-Floridians out there, Gasparilla is Tampa's version of Mardi Gras. Essentially, the city of Tampa celebrates the apocryphal legend of Jose Gaspar, a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida (info taken from here). In a nutshell, roughly 300,000 people dressed as pirates wake up at 6 a.m. to start drinking and later flood the streets of south Tampa and Bayshore Boulevard gathering strings of beads from people on floats. Thousands of boats can be found "invading" Tampa Bay, and most people are drunk out of their minds. This past Saturday was spent with friends drinking beer (them) and champagne sangria (me), walking 15,000 steps, and spending $10 on a single chicken kabob.

2. I started seeing results. As I've mentioned before, I started Kayla Itsine's BBG workout program back in November. I'm just finishing up week 8 this week, and while I have yet to achieve abs (I can blame my eating habits for that...although they are improving!), I am starting to see some real progress. So exciting! All of my workout shorts are fitting a little larger than they did a few weeks back. It feels great to see hard work paying off.

3. I tried a new recipe! With school and working at night, I don't get to cook nearly as frequently as I used to. Wednesday night, I whipped us up a delicious (and healthy!) burrito bowl and I was really pleased with the results. You can find the recipe here.

4. I started watching Chelsea Does. I haven't always been a fan of Chelsea Handler. Based off her books and her television show, I've always felt she tries just a little too hard to be hard. But on a whim, I decided to watch the first episode of her four part documentary on Netflix called Chelsea Does, and I'm already hooked. In the series, she covers marriage, technology, racism, and drugs. I can't wait to watch the rest!

5. I created my new favorite study nook. I'm still trying to get into my groove this semester, and while society tells us it's best to complete work at a desk or in a productive environment, I can't help but disagree. I got a lot of productive reading done for class today, and I give all the credit to that gray blanket you see here. 

How has your week been? Any plans for the weekend? I'm planning on indulging in "all you can eat" sushi...YOLO, right?


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Monthly To-Do List: February 2016.

January felt like a slow month for me. Now that I have classes four days a week instead of two like last semester, I feel like the weeks drag on just a little longer than they did before. That being said, I think I put a lot of life into my days. I went to Busch Gardens for the first time in years, paid a visit to my very first doughnut factory (post will be up soon!), spent some time with my sister and brother-in-law while they were in town, and celebrated Tampa's pirate invasion at Gasparilla! Between all that and submitting my grad school applications, I think it is safe to say that January was a success.

Now, it's the month of luuuurrrve. I love love, and I couldn't care less about the inevitable eye roll that follows that statement. Maybe it's because I'm very lucky to be in love, to have two pups to love, to have a whole family and group of friends I get to love on, but I see no issue with February and Valentine's Day. So what if Hallmark wants to make a few extra bucks? Throw me a box of Godiva's and a romcom and I am set.

  • Start watching The Bachelor. There's still time to catch up! This is my first season ever watching and it's awful...but so good. Will Ben Higgins ever find luv?!?
  • Make Oreo truffles with Valentine's Day inspired sprinkles. Give them to a special someone. Give them to a homeless person. Give them to yourself. Whoever you give them to, just know they won't be around for long...this recipe is too good.
  • Make Movie Monday a thing. Watch one romantic comedy you've been meaning to watch forever every Monday in February. Tis the season! Silver Linings Playbook is an all-time favorite of mine, and it just so happens to be on Netflix. 10 Things I Hate About You is also on HBO're welcome.
  • Commit yourself to a new (or old) workout routine. Just because it isn't January doesn't mean your health and fitness goals should fall to the wayside.
  • Plan a Galentine's Day. Throw a whole party or dress up in pink and red and go to brunch with the whole motley crew. Love is love is love...February doesn't have to be all about having a significant other.
  • Make time for something you always say you should start making time for. Read a book, start a blog, exercise more, catch up on a show, learn a new craft. Life will never stop "passing you by," so make the time to live it the way you want.

What will you be up to this February?

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