Friday, August 15, 2014

A Weird Place

I feel like I've been in a weird place lately. I can't pinpoint when exactly it happened or why, but I just have really been wanting to do my own thing. It's really strange to grow up and realize that I've kind of become an introvert in a lot of senses. I used to completely be that girl at every party who was desperately seeking the spotlight and constantly needed to be surrounded by a large group of people. The idea of that these days sounds like the most unappealing scenario of all time.

I've heard it said often that you really need to love yourself before you love others, and I do think that's true. However, I also think that in the process of falling in love with yourself, you fall out of love with a lot of other things. I don't really seek approval from others now because I'm more comfortable in my own skin than ever. I used to have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) about pretty much everything, and now I'm sometimes happier if I do my own thing instead. It's really weird and I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about this mental state change.When I really break it down, it seems like I should be sad about it, but if I'm doing what I want to do instead - why should it upset me? I think it's more of just a change for me, and sometimes change can be a little bit intimidating.

Another thing I've been noticing more and more these days is the fact that I am really particular about who I spend my time with. Even just a few years ago, I thought that I had really figured things out when it came to my friends. But since then, things have changed even more drastically. I just can't justify spending time with people who don't value spending time with me. I don't want to hang out with you based on the justification that we've hung out before. I find myself carefully budgeting my time and ensuring that the people I want to give my time to get it. Why would I spend those days with people who don't make me feel something or who I have to genuinely put effort into creating conversation with? It just seems so pointless to me at this stage of my life.

And I know I'm busy, but I do that on purpose. I'll admit that last year I slacked off a little bit in various aspects of my life (that happens when you buy a house), but I really just don't want to spend every night after work on the couch. I'm happiest when I'm moving, thinking, creating, doing. I get that this isn't for everyone, but it makes me value my time a lot more. The free time I do have is like gold, and I think that plays a huge role in why I'm so choosy with who I give it to. I'm sure this has painted me as a selfish and "boring" individual in the minds of many, but the truth is that I'm doing exactly what I want to do. And if you can't recognize and accept that, then you aren't that important to me anyways.

Overall, I'm getting good at letting criticism roll off my back. People don't understand how important it is to surround yourself with positivity in every aspect of life. From your friends to your choices to how you look at an hour, it all boils down to mindset. I realize that my journey moving forward doesn't include everyone I've met along the way, and I realize that I haven't always been this way. But I like where I'm headed, so I'm just going to continue with what I'm doing. Hopefully it won't feel so much like a conscious change one day, and I can enjoy this as the new norm. I'll get there.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trying Not to Wish Time Away

Lately, I have really been making an effort to truly enjoy things as they're happening. I'm not nearly as obsessed with documenting events anymore, and I surely don't feel the need to live tweet every event talking about "how much fun I'm having" like so many others in my generation. A really good example of these efforts in action was during the recital this year. I remember consciously thinking a few times, "You so look forward to this every single year & it's happening right now.. You're in it as we speak!" It's a nice way to remind yourself to just kind of be present and enjoy things.

But as we inch further into the summer & closer to what I refer to as "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - aka September through December - it has become increasingly harder for me to stop wishing time away. All I can think about is how fantastic and happy that time of year makes me. Even just getting a gust of a cool breeze early in the morning is enough to invoke the nostalgia.

I think part of this has to do with the fact that we didn't truly get to enjoy September & October last year. We were enjoying life in a different way (moving into our new home) & everything else kind of slipped onto the back burner. We didn't do nearly all of the fun fall things that we usually do & while I tried my best to be festive, other things took precedence. The house was our main priority, not celebrating the season.

But fortunately, now I have this view to enjoy for every Fall to come :)

So while I'm trying really hard to enjoy what's left of the summer and have a little bit of fun with it (which we certainly will), it's tough not to look forward to all of the great things that I know will come along with this fall. I'm thinking of making a little bucket list to ensure we get to pack everything in there, but I've gotta brainstorm on that a little more before I make it public.

I'm also looking forward to actually decorating for Halloween this year & not just haphazardly throwing some cornstalks on my front porch in the most uneven manner possible (notice how my supply gradually ran out from right to left)... Le sigh.

It also means little Italian Greyhounds will be able to wear their cozy sweaters again, which is obviously one of the highlights I look forward to most :)

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Monday, July 7, 2014

A Change of Pace for the 4th

Growing up, I always looked forward to the 4th of July so much. My family threw a gigantic (and when I say gigantic, I mean GIGANTIC) party & we'd have hundreds of people at the house. I would frequent the local festival with my friends and just soak up all of the summertime goodness. Looking back, most of the great summer memories I have involve the 4th of July in some way. I especially admired my dad during that time of year. He just had a way of making everything fun & festive, even if it was raining.

But obviously, times have changed. My parents are totally over throwing those big parties (and rightfully so) and most of us prefer to just spend the holiday relaxing. Jim & I were supposed to go camping, but we had a change of plans and ended up just spending the long weekend at home. And let me tell you, it was such a relaxing and much needed change of pace for this traditionally "go go go" holiday. Jim & I have realized recently how much we dislike spending holidays in a frantic rush of trying to see everyone and do everything. I get that sometimes that's necessary (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc...) - but the 4th of July just doesn't fall under that category. Instead of killing/exhausting ourselves, we prefer to just relax and actually enjoy things. I understand that some people might not like us for that, or classify us as antisocial, but I'm willing to accept that. It's what we like to do & I truly had a fantastic 4th of July weekend even if it wasn't as exciting as picnic hopping and drinking all day.

For starters, we spent a lot of time in the beach room which I just love so much. It was great weather all weekend & Luna was loving soaking up the sun. Our friend Lexi came in from Kentucky & our friend Matt was in from Hawaii, so we got to spend some extra time with them since we didn't go camping. 

I also finally replaced the lame bookshelf in our bedroom with this awesome cabinet that I found at Garden Ridge. I had gotten the bookshelf as a total filler when we first moved in, and it was just bugging me as the rest of the room started to come together. It was the worst dust collector & it was just a cheap piece of furniture ($13 from Target.... lol). This was a great find that perfectly coordinates with my teal accents & white bedding. I love it.

And when I have free time - glorious free time - I like to get my creative on. While the boys were watching some more of the World Cup on Saturday, I recreated a painting that I saw online ages ago & fell in love with. Don't know if/where I'll hang this up at the house, but I'm sure it will find a place eventually. I really love how it turned out.

We were a  bit bummed by the horrible view of the fireworks we had on Friday, but it wasn't the end of the world. We ended up having a good time anyways with Eric & Jenn who came along with us. Although, I think playing Heads Up with Jim & Eric was the real highlight of the night. 

I also started taking some classes this week at a local fitness place called Motion on Main which is owned by my mom & dad's neighbor. I'm absolutely loving it & I'm finally started to feel like I'm back in my workout routine. Now, if I can get back into the shape I was in 2 years ago at this time - I'll be thrilled :) I'm getting there!

In other news, my herbs are sprouting!

Whew, that was a big update post. But it was quite nice not picking up a laptop all weekend :) 

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some Kitchen DIY

So last week Jim was camping which left me with a whole bunch of nothing to do after work. I have a notoriously hard time sitting still, so I decided to redo this kitchen sink stand that "came with the house", so to say.

In its original form

It's not a huge element by any means, but I always felt like it was kind of a focal point just because it was right beneath the window and was over top of the most central part of the counter top. In and of itself, it's a really great, functional stand - but it doesn't match my current kitchen decor at all. 

My backsplash is gray stone, the walls are a bright avocado green and most of the accents are silver. Pair the fact that its light wood finish completely clashed with my dark cabinets and it was enough to drive anyone with decor OCD (like myself) insane. So when I had some time to kill last week, I decided to give the little bugger a makeover.

Luckily it was pretty easy to take apart and didn't require anything more than a screwdriver. Another fortunate event was the fact that  I had a small can of my green kitchen paint on hand in the closet, and I found a tube of silver acrylic lying around, as well. Really, I just wiped everything down and painted away. The silver turned out great over top of the black wrought iron & it has a little bit of an antique feel to it which I really like. 

And - the after result!

I think it turned out great, and it just looks like it belongs in there now! It's amazing what a little bit of elbow grease and some creativity can do for even the smallest items in our home. I even decided to finally plant some herbs (like I've been meaning to for months) in some mason jars that I just kind of "stained" silver with the same paint I used for the wrought iron legs.

Here's to not killing them :)

I'm really happy with everything overall & that's one more little project I can scratch off of my to-do list. Next endeavor is finding something to replace the bookshelf in the bedroom. It never ends, but that's exactly how I like it!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Grad Party Day

Evan's graduation party was over the weekend & everything went perfectly! I was really looking forward to this day just because I knew I would get to spend a lot of time with my family & I must admit, I do love planning for/setting up events like this. We got to the hall on Friday night to decorate and then we all went to Max & Erma's to eat. Evan's good friend Seth & his family came with us and it was a really awesome time. My dad and Seth's sister had everyone cracking up with their stories.

Evan kept saying how he only wanted a "small family party", but I think at the end of the day he was really happy with the way everything turned out. Between all of his friends being there and some family members that we hadn't seen in awhile, it was really great to see him just kind of in the spotlight for a day since he's not typically one to put himself center stage.

The giant 50 lb. cake! Thank God Jim & my dad went to get this thing and not me and my aunt like originally planned. We probably would have dropped it all over the sidewalk!

Being photo-bombed by himself waiting for the party to start.

Me, Evan & Mom

Jim & I hanging out during the party

There was one factor that emerged as extremely disappointing during the day, but I won't talk about that just because my goal is to focus on the positives. Mainly it stems from people just not making an effort, but that's no fault of anyone who was in attendance. Personally, I was honored to be able to play such a big role in the planning and preparation for Evan's party and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I've always viewed him as one of the most important people in my life & I'll always be willing to go out of my way for him when he needs it. I'm extremely proud of him and how level-headed he is, and I really hope that his ventures in welding school go exactly as planned. I want nothing more than for him to succeed & I look forward to celebrating his accomplishments down the road.

However, I really will miss watching him and his amazing marching band friends do their thing every Friday night in the Fall. It's been a fun ride, though.

Congratulations, Ev!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When Things are Different

One of the big reasons that I wanted to start a personal blog is because I feel like I have a lot of things on my mind these days that I just need to get down. I have friends that I can talk to, sure, but sometimes I really feel like I need to organize my thoughts.

This will be one of those posts if you haven't guessed by now.

When I was in my late teens, very early twenties - I really thought I had this whole life thing figured out. The idea of not being married by the age of 27 seemed insane to me back then. I was shooting more for the 24 mark on that event, and I wanted to start a family by 26. Back then, that seemed normal and do-able to me. Now - it is a downright laughable thought. I suppose it didn't help that most of my peers were 21 with an engagement ring on their finger and a kid on the way, but I was convinced that was how things would play out.

If you haven't guessed, that is not how things played out. I'm currently 27 years old and my left hand is not sparkly nor do I have a child on the way. However, I recently bought a home with the love of my life (6 years strong) and I could not be more content with where everything currently is. My dog means more to me than I think any child with the ability to speak ever could (sorry future children), I love my job(s), I have hobbies that have completely stolen my heart (hello, running) & I've accomplished things that I am so, so proud of.

But this does not stop the general public from commenting on my choices/where I currently stand in life. Attend ANY wedding with a family member or someone who has known you for more than a year and you will undoubtedly be harassed about "being next!" They'll ask "What is taking him so long?" and "Have you sat him down to talk about it?" Pretentious chicks in their early 20's will judge you for wanting to wait so long to have kids & criticize the fact that you're okay with having a dog instead of a baby at age 27. When any major event or vacation comes up, expect every single person to sulk away in disappointment when you inform them you did not get engaged during it. It could have been the best trip of your life, but apparently if you didn't get a ring - it was a waste.

Their opinion, not mine.

Do I want to get married? Yes, of course. Do I want to have kids? I'm sure I will one day. But why on Earth do people feel that it's okay to comment on MY LIFE and MY CHOICES? It infuriates me that Jim & I just spent our life savings on a house and everyone just CAN'T UNDERSTAND why we don't want to drop everything and plan a wedding. What's taking him so long? Maybe the fact that we don't want to spiral into debt over spending thousands of dollars back to back to back. That could have something to do with it. And why do I want to wait to have kids? I don't know, maybe because I'm not freaking ready to have a kid yet. I'm completely over people who think there's some set timeline you have to follow & if you don't - you're ruining your life. The same thing happened to me whenever I made the unpopular decision to stop going out to bars and getting hammered drunk around age 25. You get looked at like you have three heads and anyone who shares a different opinion will try and convince you that you're wrong. I'm fine with being "wrong" if that's the case, but please don't criticize me just because I want to do something different. I really love my life and that's because of the choices I've made. Being happy apparently isn't good enough for people anymore.

I've also had to cut some people out of my life recently, as well. That's never an easy decision, but it mainly just stems from lifestyle differences and criticisms as mentioned above. A big problem of mine was that I had a lot of friends who were younger than me, and I never expected my opinions and interests to change as much as they did when I hit 25-26ish. It kind of put a rift between me and some of those people, but at the same time it brought me closer to people I had drifted away from. The friends that I have right now are so incredibly loving & supportive, and they just understand me. If building stronger relationships with them means paying less attention to those who bring a bit of drama and negativity into things, then I am okay with making that change. I understand I might be criticized by some for doing so, but letting others' opinions weigh heavily on my choices is something I have also been working on letting go of. Things are much different than they were just a year ago, and I'm doing my best to look out for myself. I was never one to put my happiness first, but I'm starting to see how important that is.

I'm grateful for a lot of things - Jim, Luna, my family, my friends, my dancers, my jobs, my hobbies... Things might be different than I pictured, but in my opinion - they're better. I wouldn't trade who or where I am for anything, and I'm happy just seeing where the road takes me. Sometimes, it's best not to plan.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Finishing Up the Season

I've been teaching dance at my current studio for 4 years now. In the past, when the annual madness of recital week ended - I felt somewhat of a sigh of relief. For the next 2 months, I didn't have to stress about what the dances looked like or work 14 straight hours on Wednesdays or spend all my time after work making props/head pieces/costume accessories/etc. I could just kind of relax and enjoy my time off until classes started back up in the Fall.

But this year I did not feel the same way at all. I looked forward to the recital like it was Christmas morning, which I'm sure made me the minority among the studio staff. I woke up at 7:30am on Saturday with butterflies in my stomach. I was so excited to watch my girls perform and bring my visions to life for their friends and family and MY friends and family. We had poured so much into these routines this year & they truly went above and beyond for me on both a personal and dance level. I had thought that I was close with that group before, but I truly had no idea what we were capable of. It feels like a family.

Everything went perfectly. I couldn't have been happier or prouder of them. I got such a rush during the Michael Jackson routine that we were all so excited for that my face was tomato red after they were done. If I could have run on stage and hugged every single one of them during the blackout, I would have. And my younger girls proved that they're ready to fill the big shoes of my older girls when their time comes. For that, I am really grateful, because I would have a super hard time letting this group go in a couple years if it weren't for those little peanuts having the same enthusiasm and energy that I saw in my older group so many years ago. I'm just so thankful to have a group of kids to work with that love coming to my class as much as I love teaching it.

When the show ended I just felt a void. I drove home after grabbing some dinner and drinks with the rest of the staff just kind of in a haze. It didn't really feel real that I had closed a chapter with the group I had spent the past 9 months with. They worked so hard this year. It was so much different than any other season. I woke up yesterday and just thought, "How the HELL am I going to get through the next 2 and a half months without seeing these girls every week?" But I should be thankful that I feel that way, because not many dance teachers get to work with kids that mean that much to them and work as hard as they do.

Congratulations on another great year, girls. Can't wait to see what next year brings.

Some of my peanuts in their ballet costumes waiting to go on stage

The Fab 5 & myself

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

My Little Surf's Up Peanuts

ALL HAIL THE KING! This number will live in my heart & mind forever.
Thank you for the memories, ladies.

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