Tag Archives: life

sometimes life sucks, and that’s okay

Happy Friday, folks. Things have been crazy busy around here as I get ready to head off to Palm Beach next week. (I am so excited for some vitamin D.) We have a big gala down there on Thursday so I’ve been running around like crazy prepping registration lists, seating charts, gift bags, you name it. Before I head to Florida however, I get to head to PA for the holiday weekend & spend some much needed time with family and friends.

Anyways, onto the inspiration for today’s little blip of a post.

Last night I spoke with someone who’s having a really tough time with all of the things life has thrown at them. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own daily struggles that we may sometimes forget there are others who are fighting battles much bigger than we realize. Reach out to those people & remind them they are not alone and that they are loved.

It’s easy to let those crappy moments, the I’d rather-stay-in-bed-than-face-life days get the better of us. And sometimes, it’s okay to stay in bed a little later, or not feel like tackling the world – because we all have those days & those moments. It’s what makes us human. We can’t always be happy, or see the bright side of things. Sometimes life just sucks. You just can’t let those feelings consume you. You have to accept them, deal with them, and let them pass. I know, easier said than done, right?

Sometimes, when I’m having one of those days, I remind myself how lucky I am to be alive. How so many moving parts had to come together perfectly, just at the right time, to make up what and who I am. That if one teeny tiny piece of the puzzle hadn’t fallen into it’s proper place – I wouldn’t exist. And I wouldn’t be able to sit here and admire the miracles and complexities of life. So if you find yourself having a rough day, remember how the entire universe had to come together just for you to be alive.

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TGIF everyone. Hope you all have wonderful weekends.

live with intention.

Welcome to the New Year everyone – and to my new followers – welcome to my blog. I hope I can keep you interested!

Many of you have found me thanks to my most recent post: Young, Married & Pissed Off. When I set out to write it, I had no idea it would spark such a fantastic conversation – with friends, with family and with complete strangers – all who have taken the time to read and share their own experiences and stories.

As someone pointed out, views on marriage are incredibly personal, and I am so grateful for those who have shared theirs – whether we agree or disagree. That’s what makes the world so great… a myriad of opinions with no true “right” answer, but instead just thousands of different ways to look at something. I have especially loved reading all of your stories about your own relationship and marriage experiences and I am touched that you shared them with me!

Now, to catch everyone up…

Last year I set out to do something crazy. I made a list of 213 things I wanted to accomplish in the year 2013. I was feeling stuck, depressed and unmotivated. I hit the post-grad slump hard as I went from being at the top of my circles in college to starting all over again in a new city and at a new job. I didn’t like who I was becoming, so I decided to do something about it.

That one time I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet.

That one time I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet.

I sat down and curated a list of 213 things I have always wanted to do, but never did thanks to a book of excuses. Some as small as taking a painting class, others quite outrageous like jumping out of an airplane. No – I didn’t get all 213 things crossed off my list. (Probably not the smartest decision to attempt this crazy feat while saving for and planning a wedding…) But what I did accomplish was even better: I regained my confidence and my thirst for life. So ultimately, the list achieved exactly what it was meant for.

This year I’m doing something a bit different. New Year’s resolutions seem to catch quite a bit of flak because they are rarely maintained throughout the year. Others like Jess Lawlor choose to instead pick words to live by as a way of guidance for the year ahead (which I love!). Some treat the New Year no differently than they treated the last. To me… there’s just something so exciting about a brand new year and the possibilities it holds.

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Taking a page from Jess’ book…instead of making a list of resolutions, I decided that this year I want to be more strategic and focus on a theme. A guiding principle, I guess you can say that carries over from last year, just without a giant bucket list to accompany it.

This year I hope to:

Live with intention.

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What does living with intention mean exactly?

To me, living with intention is to live with purpose. To create the life you want to live, and become the person you want to be. By making every moment and each opportunity count.

I can’t tell you how many times I find myself guilty of drifting in and out of my day-to-day routine. Thanks to Netflix marathons, drifting has become EXPONENTIALLY easier. (Seriously though… getting Netflix was a terrible, terrible idea).

At the end of the day, I sometimes find myself asking what I actually accomplished. Sure, I may have knocked a few more things off of my to-do list. But did I get any closer to becoming the best version of myself? Or make any strides in reaching those pie-in-the-sky dreams of mine?

It’s easy to fall into the “routine trap.” Life has a funny little way of throwing distractions and detractors at you, from household chores to bills and debt to going through the motions at your 9-5 job.

But it’s important to continually ask yourself: what’s the bigger picture? What do you always dream of doing?

Do you want to travel more? Do you want to pursue your passions and write a book, start a blog, or take up photography? Maybe creating a big family is what you want out of life, or quitting your day job to open up that little café on the corner you’ve always dreamed of.

Living with intention is about taking the proper steps to make those dreams a reality.  It’s about loving and respecting yourself enough to dare, to try, to fail, to succeed… despite of the fear.

So, picking up from where I left off last year, it’s time I stop drifting, and start doing. I’ve got some big things I want to accomplish, and I’m excited to share them with you as I go and take those first wobbly baby steps towards them.

I’ll let this quote sum it up:

Live with intention, walk to the edge, listen hard, practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

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What about you? How goals do you have for the year ahead?

Guest Post: An Ode to To-Do Lists and the Governor’s Ball Music Festival

Long time no post – sorry kiddies, I’ve been busy doing this thing called ‘planning a wedding’ and ‘having and job’ and between the two, I’m left with little free time. But, I am very excited to welcome today’s guest post from Kurie Fitzgerald. Kurie and I went to Temple together and met our freshman year. We’ve been friends ever since. Check out her awesome post about crossing off one of the big items from her 2013 ‘to-do’ list.

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To-do lists are essential to my existence.

I’m pretty sure this is one of the reasons Niki and I have extended our friendship beyond college, we know, and love, “to-do” things.

This year, I decided, with a bit of inspiration from this blog’s 213 and 2013 Project, to make a yearlong to do list of my own. Some highlights include taking the GRE’s (wish me luck, I’m taking them this weekend!), taking a trip to visit my college roommate in South Korea, running a 5k and attending a music festival.

I got some of the less colorful activities (like going to a financial advisor) checked off the list first so I could get out and make some memories. This past weekend I was able to make some great memories and check attending a music festival off of list. It was a weekend full of mischief, laughter and an overall unforgettable time.

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The Governor’s Ball NYC is an annual three-day music festival that hosts some big-name artists and a slew of smaller acts. I loved their lineup this year, and wanted to share some of my favorite performances.

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So, here goes my Governor’s Ball best of list:

Local Natives—were phenomenal. I’m like the Broken Social Scene, and Local Natives remind me of them (I implore you to listen to Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot it in the People for reference).  Breakers is my favorite song that they played:

The Best Coast—played such feel-good, chill music, despite the hellacious rain engulfing the crowd. They put on a fantastic show. Many of their lyrics are angsty, and I am not ashamed to say I relate to nearly eveyr word. Check out their song Girlfriend, and you’ll see what I mean:

Kendrick Lamar—is one my favorite artist right now. I saw him in Baltimore last year, and could not have asked for a better show, although he definitely out did himself at the Gov Ball. Some of his best music is from his older stuff, so check out Overly Dedicated first if you’re interested.

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Finally, The xx. If you can, see them live. They are phenomenal, and I am sure most of the crowd felt the same way. Not much more I can say here except to listen to their music. One of my favorites is Angels:

#34. grab drinks with old friends

You will often hear people talk about high school being some of the best days of their lives. And that makes sense with all the hub bub over prom, and homecoming and “senior week” and house parties full of cheap booze.

Not for me.

Unlike 99.9% of the population, some of my best days were lived in middle school. Those three awkward years where you’re still growing into your body, sleepovers with your girlfriends are a mandatory weekend ritual and you get in trouble for things like stuffing kids into lockers, putting your friends in trashcans and flinging mashed potatoes on to the cafeteria ceiling. (Okay, maybe that was just at my middle school.)

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

I went to Godwin, a not-so-fantastic place that was rife with all sorts of problems. My middle school made it “cool” for 13-year-olds to get pregnant before any other school and there were usually 10 fights…a day. Nonetheless, in the middle of all the craziness, there was a group of nerds, (I use that term in a fond way), part of a “super smart advanced IB program.”

And in that group I found a family.

A completely dysfunctional family that laughed together, cried together and dated each other to the point where it was hard to keep track of who was dating who.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

Some of my favorite memories are around that old worn gym track, where I’d have heart to hearts with my girlfriends or sneak a kiss in with my boyfriend. Or in Mr. Stoebe’s science class where I got in trouble more times than I’d like to admit for attacking him with silly string or ruining his pants because I soaked his seat with water. Or at lunchtime where my friends and I would have impromptu food fights and get banished to the cafeteria stage.

Middle school may have ended ten years ago, but thanks to the powers of Facebook I’m still able to see how everyone’s doing and what everyone’s up to. This past December, we decided we wanted to have a reunion and it was incredible. Nearly 30 people showed up, who I hadn’t seen for a decade, and we spent the night reminiscing and laughing, just like old times.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

A smaller group of us got together again this past weekend and caught up over food and drinks, sharing stories about the “golden days of Godwin” and where life had taken all of us. From job offers at architecture firms, to people earning their master’s degrees, to others pursuing a career in politics and doing life-saving research for HIV. It was amazing to spend a few hours reliving the glory years of gold and blue and hearing about the exciting paths everyone was taking from moving to marriage.

We toasted to our dear friend Brian, who would have just turned 23. (Happy birthday again, Gomez.)

We drank and laughed until our bar tabs were outrageous (ok, maybe just mine…) and then we hugged each other goodbye until the next time.

Last weekend's get together.

Last weekend’s get together. Governors for life.

It’s crazy how there are just some people in your life, no matter the time or distance that comes between you, who will always have a special place in your heart.  A place that’s painted gold and blue, all wrapped up in silly string, gym uniforms and detention.

Cheers to all my Godwin Governors and all the wonderful things life has brought you.

#26. celebrate my half birthday

One of my goals for the 213 in 2013 Project was to learn to embrace life better. To find more pleasure in the day-to-day. To celebrate the little things.

Which is why I celebrated my 23 ½ birthday yesterday.

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It was silly. And it was fun.

Because sometimes you just want an excuse to indulge in a little bit of cake. Or an extra glass of champagne on a weeknight. And sometimes you just want to feel special and celebrate yourself and how awesome you are.

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And I’m here to tell you that it’s totally ok to do that. And that you should.

All too often we get caught up in the mundane routine of our daily tasks. We stress ourselves out about work, about money, about relationships.

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But I’m teaching myself every day to find the good. And to celebrate it.

(With cake, whenever possible.)

April showers bring May flowers – and life updates!

It’s crazy that today marks the end of April and tomorrow May will take its place. I feel like it was just yesterday that I rang in the new year and decided I was going to make 2013 my best year yet. I must say, four months in, I love the way 2013 feels. I thought I’d give everyone a brief update on what’s been going on in my life.

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In these past few months, I’ve checked twenty-five things off my 213 in 2013 list. Some of them have been small but meaningful – like spending a perfect sunny afternoon at a farmers market, buying up local art. Others were a bit intimidating, like skiing down a mountain for the first time. And some were absolutely life-changing, like finally go skydiving after years of only daydreaming about it.

Free-falling.

In just two weeks, Mike and I will be boarding a plane to Houston, Texas to visit his family. He hasn’t seen his dad, his stepmom and his adorable brothers and sisters in years, which is why I knew two plane tickets would be the perfect Christmas gift. I’m excited for my first official “vacation” since I joined the working world and look forward to stuffing myself full of authentic Texas barbeque. And to celebrate Mike’s 26th birthday in a big way. Because everything in Texas is bigger, right?

Mike's big Christmas gift this year - two tickets to Texas to see his family.

Mike’s big Christmas gift this year – two tickets to Texas to see his family.

Also – somehow over the past few months, I went from having a year until the wedding to only 142 days! That’s less than five months. Mike and I have been busy locking down hotel rooms, rehearsal dinner, guest transportation, suits for the groomsmen and a dress for my mom, you name it. In between all of the big stuff though we’ve been having a really great time working on the fun little details – like table numbers and invitations and centerpieces.

Cute little touches like this make me happy. Here is our "seating chart" sign.

Cute little touches like this make me happy. Here is our “seating chart” sign.

I think we’re now a couple thousand over budget, even with all of my DIY projects and bargain hunting. It’s crazy to me how expensive weddings can be, but I keep reminding myself it will all be worth it in the end. We have a meeting with our caterer in the coming weeks to nail down floor layouts, linen colors and dinnerware. If planning this wedding has taught me anything – it’s how to be more decisive. I’ve never had to make so many decisions in my life!

Only 143 days to go. Not like I'm counting.

Only 143 days to go. Not like I’m counting.

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard – Mike and I booked our dream honeymoon. We’re going to Paris! And we leave the morning after the wedding. As in our flight leaves at 9:15am. And then we get to spend the next seven days in the city of love, canoodling over croissants and Chardonnay and everything magical that Paris has to offer. Thank you, tax return.

Awesome piece that appeared in USA Today on our Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

Awesome piece that appeared in USA Today on our Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

My one year moveiversary (May 12) and workiversary are also quickly approaching (May 21). It’s crazy how much can change in just a year. I’ve kind of fallen in love with my new home and the people I’ve met, although it has been a long, a bumpy road. My job continues to challenge me every day (in a good way!) and I’m unbelievably proud of myself for everything I’ve accomplished – from coverage in the biggest media outlets to growing as a professional.

New dining room paint job - still a work in progress.

New dining room paint job – still a work in progress.

Updated coffee table centerpiece - sans flowers. Can't you tell I love pink?

Updated coffee table centerpiece – sans flowers. Can’t you tell I love pink?

As for the day-to-day, Mike and I are working to make our apartment feel more like a home, between more Pinspiration and a few fresh coats of paint. We’re also putting down the takeout and opting for cooking healthier, fresher meals, which is making both our wallets and our waistline happier.

I made a homemade flatbread with low-fat/skim mozzarella, skim ricotta and some sundried tomatoes and basil. YUM.

I made a homemade flatbread with low-fat/skim mozzarella, skim ricotta and some sundried tomatoes and basil. YUM.

Which brings me to my point. I’ve been living by a mantra so far this year. And it’s working.

“You are the creator of your own happiness.”

After I graduated I fell into a slump. I was lonely. I felt disconnected. I wasn’t myself. I was unhappy.

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It’s amazing that the second you make the decision that all of those negative feelings stop, that pessimism won’t win, you regain your balance. And ultimately your happiness.

I’m loving life right now.

Because I choose to.

What exciting things do you guys have to look forward to in the coming months? Any big life changes you want to share? I’d love to hear!

even if you’re broken, you can pick up the pieces

If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know I have a bit of a crush on Kid President. And not in the weird, creepy – he’s only 9 kind of way, but in the “damn, I really wish I was that awesome” way.

By now, I’m sure most of you have seen his pep talk that went viral and if you haven’t, then you NEED to check it out. It’s the perfect remedy for those days that feel a little gray.

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Kid President has just released his latest video – a look at the behind-the-scenes story of how the awesome, do-gooder, danceaholic became a sweeping inspiration across the country.

If you’ve ever watched any of his videos, you’d never guess that he lives with a disorder. It’s called Osteogenesis Imperfecta — better know as the “brittle bones disease” which makes it very easy for him to break or fracture bones. You’d think with a problem like that it could really hold someone back from living life to the fullest, but it has never kept him from shaking his tailfeather and being an inspiration to everyone that watches him.

As he’s demonstrated time and time again, even if you’re broken, you can always put the pieces back together. A lesson all of us should remember on our roughest days.

Check out Kid President’s latest video and share it with your friends and family.