One Day at a Time

journey

“Fall is a season for change”…so cliché. But also true. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole “living-in-a-new-place-and-doing-everything-on-my-own” thing. It’s quite the change. It’s funny because I remember this time last year I was so damn anxious to get on with the rest of my life. I was having a blast being in school, not working (for once), going out with my friends 24/7, and actually enjoying my classes because I had time to study. But I was so ready to see where the next chapter of my life would take me. I wanted to know where I would end up living after graduation, which company I’d be working for, what my job would be like…if my degree that I worked my ass off for would end up being worthwhile.

And here I am. Approximately 1 year later and wishing more than anything that I could go back to my college days. I know, everyone says that. Everyone says “your college years will be the best years of your life”. I get it. But it’s so, SO true. At least compared to your first year working in the “real world”. And looking into the future only looks more stressful. Enjoyable and wonderful, yes. But stressful and expensive.

Don’t get me wrong, being in the working world isn’t all that bad. You make way more money than you did at your part-time college job. You (hopefully) get to do something that interests you every day. And…yeah that’s about it. Just kidding, it’s not that bad. Kind of.

I mean, let’s face it. 22 is such an awkward age. Half of the people I know from school are getting married and/or having kids at this point. And the other half are either still in school or focusing on readjusting to working in the real world….and some people have absolutely no idea what they’re doing with their lives. There comes a point in life where you have to stop looking back on the past and stop trying to plan for the future. There is so much beauty in focusing on the present…if only we were all a little better at that.

Speaking of he present, there are like a million and a half things I told myself I would have accomplished or started working on by now. I told myself that after college I would do some soul searching and “really find out what life is all about”. Yet we’re all always doing that and probably will be until the day we die. Let’s face it, no one really knows what the hell they’re actually supposed to be doing with their life.

Like, for example, I told myself that I would have taken up yoga by now and would go to 2-3 classes every single week – partly for the physical aspect of it and partly for the spiritual reflection. Nope, still haven’t done that, and actually stopped going to the gym every day like I used to because the real world gets stressful and sometimes a girl just needs to sit on the couch and not do a damn thing. I need to remember the sometimes part. J I also wanted to start playing piano regularly again. Problem is, I have my keyboard and no power cord or stand because it got lost during my move out here. So there’s that.

I guess I’m starting to realize that maybe putting a million things on my plate in addition to starting a new job and moving to a completely new place might have been a bit of a stretch for my personal psyche to handle. For now, I’ll just stick to getting through the workweeks and starting to work out again. There is a time for everything – we’ve got to give ourselves a chance to enjoy our time in the now.

Traits of a “He’s a Keeper” Kind of Guy (In my book)

I don’t think I’ve ever written something as personal (or as sappy…sorry…) as this post. I have no real reason for writing it other than the fact that I am so happy and so in love – and after going through lots of experiences in the last 5 years, I think I’ve finally nailed down what I want (and need) in a relationship. Lucky for me, my man has all of these traits.

1. He supports you. In your personal life goals, your professional experiences, and throughout all of life’s highs and lows. He is there to tell you he supports your decisions and your actions whether or not he 100% agrees with them. Why? Because he loves you and wants you to be happy. He also knows how to respectfully tell you when you’re wrong or out of line – just as important in my book.

2. He intrigues you. It’s more than just a physical attraction or emotional satisfaction. You can have interesting conversations with him about intellectual concepts and ideas in addition to talking about experiences you’ve had together or day-to-day ramblings. There is something about the two of you that connects on a further level that makes your physical and emotional connection that much better.

3. He makes you happy. As in the kind of happy that makes you giggly and embarrassed because you laugh so hard you can’t breathe. Or the kind of happy that you forget everything else when you’re in his arms (especially on tough days). Or the kind of happy that makes you break down your guards and really get to know one another.

4. He respects you. He respects your decisions, your actions, and your words as long as they aren’t outrageous (which is never, right? :P). He wants to see you grow and succeed in any- and everything that you do; and he’s there to support you through that 100% of the way.

5. He loves you. He loves you in the way that he does things for you that he’s never done for anyone else before. He shows that loves you in the way that you need him to, even if it’s not his usual way of approaching things. He shows you he loves you by doing sweet and romantic things for you – not because that’s his natural personality but because he wants to show you in every way possible that he is committed. And (maybe most importantly) he shows you he loves you even when you’re at your worst. No explanation needed. That’s a big one.

I think I’ve found this guy. He knows he means everything to me and I’ve told him a million times before, but I love and appreciate him more than I could possibly put into words. Thanks for being a perfect example of the guy I’ve been hoping and waiting for, Kyle. There ain’t nothin better than what we’ve got when we’re together. :)

Somewhere In Between

IMG_3529

Start dating someone new. Graduate college. Adopt a puppy. Watch my friends move away to their new-job locations. Grow closer to God. Pick up a laid-back babysitting job for the summer. Lose friends “due to distance”. Make new friends based solely on a common denominator: moving to Denver soon. Work toward a real estate license. Receive a hateful “love” letter from a long-ago ex in the mail…yeah, that one’s a long story. Grow further from God. Meet up with old friends. Go on a week-long “vacation” and end up buying $1,000s worth of furniture for my new Denver apartment (ouch to my I-haven’t-started-my-big-girl-job budget). Meet someone from New Zealand and reflect on the most beautiful trip I’ve ever taken in my life – see pic above. :) Reconnect with good friends. Pack my life up into boxes. Take time to reflect. Grow closer to God.

The last few months have been full of…well…^^ that. And many other little things not mentioned. In today’s modern society, I think a lot of us tend to rush through life without taking the opportunity to sit back and reflect. Reflect on our relationships with others, our accomplishments and our failures, and how we’ve grown and changed as people from the things we have gone through. We spend too much time stressing out about whatever situation we’re currently facing. Too much time planning for whatever future event is coming up next. Too much time focusing on the problems we run into instead of just focusing on the present.

I can’t say that this summer has been good or bad overall (thus far), but I can say that I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself in the past few months. I’ve learned to love deeper than I ever have before – that includes myself, my friends, my family, and even strangers (thanks to an angel that’s been watching over me since April and has forever changed my outlook on life). I’ve learned to take other people’s hateful or insulting words with a grain of salt. That one’s a big one for most people, I think, whether or not we’re all willing to admit it. And I’ve learned that this beautiful little life we live here on earth is much too short to take for granted. Time to stop and smell the roses, just as the saying goes.

Have a good weekend, everyone! Take time to be in the “now” and spend time with those you love! 

Summer Reading List (thanks to Lauren Conrad)

Lauren Conrad posted an awesome summer reading list on her blog a few days ago. I just started reading #GIRLBOSS and I love it already! As a recent college graduate and a soon-to-be newbie in the workforce, it’s so refreshing to read about a real woman’s ambitions and accomplishments. Especially when it doesn’t involve a bunch of freebies and money being handed to her from Day 1. Sophia Amoruso is fearless, quirky, determined, and outrageous wrapped in one…and I’m loving every second of it!

“A #GIRLBOSS is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it…You’re a fighter –you know when to throw punches and when to roll with them. Sometimes you break the rules, sometimes you follow them, but always on your own terms…You take your life seriously, but you don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re going to take over the world, and change it in the process.” – from page 1 of the first chapter in Sophia Amoruso’s book, #GIRLBOSS. If that doesn’t inspire you to keep reading, I’m not sure what will.

Big Changes Ahead

The last couple weeks have been a roller coaster of feelings ranging from excitement and joy to stress and exhaustion. Funny thing is that all of these emotions come from the same two occurrences: getting a puppy and graduating college. Yikes. Not to complain…I mean, I knew the whole puppy thing would be a bit of a stresser, which is why I decided to get her now so that I have the summer to train her before I start my full time job in September. I won’t get into it any further than that (I’m sure you can imagine all of the fun and not-so-fun things I’m experiencing with Miss Riley). I’ll keep my head up and post an update on our progress at some point.

Image

As for this whole graduating college thing, however, it isn’t as easy to just push aside the bad stuff and move on with the challenges. I honestly don’t think that it has actually “hit me” yet that I’m done with school, but I’ve already started to see changes taking place. It’s particularly noticeable since I’m still in my college town for the summer. Since graduation a little over a week ago, I’ve watched the majority of my friends move away – some have moved on to their new life with their new big kid jobs and others went back home until they are able to figure out what comes next. I’ve also had to start dealing with things that my parents always took care of for me during college, like figuring out how to move all my crap across the country to Colorado and buying new furniture on a new budget. But more important than figuring out the intricacies of coordinating a new “grown-up” lifestyle after college is the realization that my life, as a whole, is about to change. Big time.

Yes, gone are the days of drinking our faces off until the sunrise on a Wednesday night and sleeping off the hangover until 2pm the following day. Gone are the days of skipping a class just because I didn’t feel like going and choosing to take a nap in the student center instead. I can no longer show up to my morning classes in yoga pants and my boyfriend’s sweatshirt with my hair on top of my head and sit in the back row so I don’t have to deal with answering questions in class if I don’t feel like it. And at some point, I’ve got to admit that gone, too, are the days of eating El Rancho after bars on a Thursday night with the intentions of having a kick-ass workout on Friday since I don’t have classes to deal with. No more awesome student discounts, choosing a laid back class schedule, workouts at 10am, or study sessions at Pershing until 7 in the morning.

More than all of these things, though, is the essence of who I am and what my purpose is in the world. No longer under the guidance of teachers and classmates, organizations and tons of close friends, I want to find what I really want to do with my life. Yes, I have an awesome job starting in a couple of months and it happens to be in one of my dream locations. That itself is an accomplishment on its own. I realize that. But what about the changes I want to make in the world and the things I want to see happening 10, 20, 50 years from now?

Image

I want to find a way to make a difference in the world. I want to be passionate about what I end up doing with my life, and I want it to make a difference. Whether that comes through my career, volunteer opportunities, or simply sharing my thoughts on my silly little blog, I want to live my life with a specific purpose in mind. I’ve been praying that I might discover that purpose someday soon. Until then, I guess I’ll continue to focus on being a puppy momma and preparing for my big move to CO. The rest will fall into place. It has to, right?

Miss Riley Mae <3

My apologies for being MIA for the last couple weeks. I’ve been wrapping up the end of my senior year in college and it’s been a little crazy! I officially finished my last college project on Tuesday and it’s been a wonderful two days of watching Netflix and relaxing since then. Well…relaxing besides this new little cutie that I adopted last Thursday. I present to you my new sweet (but sassy) puppy friend, miss Riley Mae.

Image

I know. She’s probably the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. At least that’s how I feel about her. Riley was at the mall a couple weeks ago with an organization called Second Chance, a pet adoption organization that uses what they call foster homes for cats and dogs until they find their “forever home”. Second Chance was at the mall with a bunch of dogs and cats and, after months of looking online for a puppy to adopt or rescue, I saw little miss Riley. She was the only pup of the bunch and was only 8 weeks old when I met her. Three hours later I found myself rolling around on the floor with her and rubbing her belly, only to be told that she had to leave to go back to her foster home. Something drew me to her immediately, so I filled out the adoption paperwork. Two weeks later, I picked her up from her adorable foster mommy’s home and she’s been with me since! :) I quickly realized that having a puppy is a LOT like having a little toddler but I couldn’t be happier with her. I’m interested to see how she interacts with my pup that lives back home with my parents, Mr. Nugget.

Besides introducing Riley into my life, everything else is on the verge of change as well. Graduation is this weekend and I move across the country to Denver in less than three months to start my big girl job. AH! It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years already, but I’m just as excited to see what the future holds as I am scared of leaving all that I know behind. More on that when I’ve had a chance to wrap my head around it :)

In other news, I’ve posted a new stuffed chicken recipe on my recipe page – basil pesto & mozzarella stuffed chicken. It was delicious!