Monday, January 30, 2012

Date a Girl...

So several months ago, my momma stumbled across a blog post called Date A Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico. Knowing we share an intense love for books and writing, she shared it with me and I'm so glad she did. It immediately became one of the best posts I've ever read. As a reader, I related to the post but as a writer, I absolutely appreciate her writing skills. I've posted about this blog before, but if you haven't read it, I suggest you check it out.

Well...I loved the post and the "Date a girl..." theme so much that it inspired me to come up with my own version. Enjoy :)

Date a Girl...

Date a girl. Date a girl who dances. Date a girl who dances not because she is good at it, but because it makes her laugh and smile…because it relieves stress and makes her feel good. Find a girl who dances and dance with her whenever she wants. You might not like dancing, you might hate it. You might be in the middle of the street or getting ready for bed and she'll want you to dance with her, spin her, dip her. Do it. Her great big smile will make it all worth your while.

Date a girl who bakes. Find a girl who has so many recipes she wants to try that she can’t decide which to make first. When she is baking, she is happy and at peace. She loves giving her creations away more than she loves enjoying them for herself. You’ll know she cares when she bakes you Red Velvet Cupcakes on Valentine’s Day and makes your favorite cookies when you feel blue.

Find a girl who accepts you. You aren't perfect and neither is she. She knows this. You aren't going to be like her in every way and she appreciates that. She may not agree with everything you do and you'll hear about it. She may not like your favorite shirt or the way you snore at night. She will make sure you know this, but she will also make sure you know she loves you for all of these things. Your imperfections and differences make you who you are and she'll accept you. She'll love all of you and hopes you'll love all of her, too.

Date a girl who loves the little things in life. She’ll find joy in everything life brings. You don’t need to give her the world to make her happy. Things like rainbows, kisses on the forehead and picnics will do. You might laugh at her love of rainbows, but you’ve never met anyone like her before. She doesn’t need extravagant gifts, just to know you care. A simple card or love note will let her know you do. That’s all she wants. That’s all she needs.

Date a girl who cries. Instead of getting angry, she gets sad. When she is absolutely overjoyed, she'll cry happy tears. Her crying isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength and passion. You’ll laugh when she cries during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or when she cries at the end of a good book. You’ll hold her when she cries after a bad day at work and be understanding when she cries for no good reason at all. You’ll love her for her passion, but you’ll never want to be the reason for her tears.

Date a girl who laughs. She’ll laugh at all your stupid jokes and even at her own. When life isn’t perfect and you think she might cry, she’ll find a reason to laugh and she’ll make you smile, too. You’ll be able to laugh at each other and cheer each other up when life is no fair. She’ll love making you laugh just as much as you would do anything to hear hers.

Find a girl who sees the world through optimistic eyes. You might roll your eyes when she quotes Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln to you, but her optimism is contagious. She’s the girl reminding you there is always a reason to smile. She is one of those reasons. Tell her that and don’t ever try to bring her down.

Date a girl who reads and writes. Date a girl who reads and writes and loves to tell you about it. She might be up all night, too enthralled in her book to put it down. She might spend hours at Starbucks on Saturday writing about her family, her thoughts and her favorite songs. She gets a rush out of finding a grammatical error in her book and gets so wrapped up in a story that she cries out in shock when something unexpected happens. These things will happen and she’ll want to tell you all about it. Let her tell you all about it…and really listen to her because she’ll love telling you.

Date a girl who speaks up. You’ll always know what’s on her mind, good or bad. She doesn’t play mind games and you don’t need to figure her out. If she feels something, she’ll say it. If she wants something, she’ll tell you. You’ll be able to talk with her for hours. You can debate with her, daydream with her and talk things out when you don’t see eye to eye. She’ll never keep her thoughts from you and her feelings, too. But if you find a girl like this, please realize she’ll expect the same from you.

Find a girl who loves you. Find a girl who gives you more than she gets. She’ll listen to your stories and appreciate your quirks. For all the things you love about her, she’ll love more things about you. She’ll be your biggest fan, your best friend, your one and only. For everything you are to her, she’ll be for you.

Date a girl like this. If you are lucky enough to find her, you’ll want to date her and love her. And when you do, please don’t ever let her go. Date a girl like this.

Date a girl like this. Date a girl like me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to Think Like an Optimist

"I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else." Winston Churchill

One thing I’ve really come to understand over the past few years is how very important it is to have an optimistic attitude no matter the situation. Everyone is fighting their own battles and I’ve had my fair share of them in recent history. While everyone needs to fall apart sometimes and cry, looking at everything with an optimistic attitude makes such a difference. It’s the difference between saying “Poor me” and “Well, that is unfortunate.” It’s the difference between waiting for the next thing to go wrong and knowing everything will be okay. It's the difference between being Debbie Downer and Positive Paula.

Is it always easy to be optimistic? No. I think for a lot of people, it’s easier to assume the worst, to complain, to have a negative outlook. It may take some self motivation, but we all have the ability to snap out of a pessimistic attitude and think like an optimist. I’ve found a few simple strategies for helping me maintain a positive outlook. They work for me, so they may work for you, too.

Here they are:

Listen to Colbie Caillat
I call this my happy music. Her music sends a positive message and has a way of giving you a sunny, upbeat, positive attitude. I recommend, "Think Good Thoughts," “Dream Life, Life,” and “Bubbly.” If those don’t put you in a happy mood, you are a lost cause.

"Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms."
This is one of my very favorite quotes, but it's something I really do when it seems like everything is going wrong. Once you start naming the wonderful things in your life, you’re problems won’t seem so big anymore.

Surround yourself with positive people
My father always used to tell us, “You are the company you keep.” While he was usually saying that so we didn’t hang with the wrong crowd in high school, it rings true here. Nothing brings you down more than having negative people around you. Try to surround yourself with friends and family who lift you up, not bring you down.

Get some distance
They say you shouldn’t run away from your problems, but I really think taking a step back from whatever issues you are dealing with helps. Every problem seems a lot worse when it feels like you are facing it day in and day out. Taking some time away, physically or mentally can help you regroup and get a new perspective. You’ll probably even realize things aren’t as bad as you thought they were once you take a step back.

You are probably wondering why dancing is my solution to everything, but just listen for a minute, okay? When you let loose and dance, you can’t help but feel free and happy…even if you aren’t good at it. And if you can feel that happy and free by simply cutting a rug, you can definitely change your attitude and find happiness in any challenging situation.

Take it one day at a time
When you are feeling sad or stressed out, it can feel as though you’ll never be okay again. It’s hard to imagine days, weeks, months down the road where everything is better. Try thinking on a smaller scale. Focus on getting through and making the best of each individual day, rather than how you are going to feel a month from now. Without realizing it, you’ll start to feel more optimistic and in control.

Get it out of your system
Sometimes it takes a particular activity to shake off the negativity. Whether it is exercise, writing, screaming, meditating or less healthy options such as drinking or breaking things, something is bound to help you release that negative energy. Find what works for you and do that when you feel like negativity is taking over.

Enjoy the simple things
There are a million little things in each day that we often completely overlook because we are so wrapped up in the big things. It is these things that if you slow down and appreciate, your whole attitude will improve. Personally, I absolutely love how I feel after a really good workout, when I’m driving by myself and burst out laughing at something that happened yesterday, talking to my older sister on the phone and hearing my niece and nephew playing in the background and the moment my puppy finally cuddles up in my lap and falls asleep after acting like a maniac for three hours. When the big things don’t seem to be going your way, slow down and soak up the simple pleasures that make up your day.

There you have it. It isn’t what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you deal with it. Everyone falls apart sometimes, but being able to pull yourself back together and move forward with an optimistic attitude can only get you back on the right track faster.

Do you have any tips you would add?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can't Stop Listening

I can't stop listening to Kelly Clarkson's new album, Stronger. I've liked a lot of Kelly's music in the past, but I am completely obsessed with this whole album. For someone dealing with a broken heart and feeling pretty angry about it, this album is absolute perfection. It's the perfect girly, powerful full-of-attitude music to help me remember that it is his loss and he doesn't deserve me. In fact, one of my favorite songs on the album called 'You Love Me' is about just that...

I can really relate to this song right now and try to listen to this instead of feeling sorry for myself. It reminds me that I am better off without someone who doesn't see how great I am. Favorite lyrics...

Thick skin, soft touch, heart of gold...but it's suddenly not enough. Forgiving arms, the higher road, working hard...but it's suddenly not enough. You said I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough. But what you really mean is you're not good enough, you're not good enough. 

Anyway, I'm currently obsessed and just had to tell you about it. What are you listening to right now?

Monday, January 16, 2012

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

It's been a while since I've shared a great Internet find. A friend posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago and I really love the list. It's 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. Check it out.

photo source
I can admit to being guilty of most of these, but here are the ones that stood out the most to me...

11. Stop being idle

I'm always at my best when I am keeping busy. Whether I am going through a stressful or sad time, or all is well in my world, I am happiest when I am keeping busy, being social and getting things done. Being idle only causes me to over think and analyze things, which doesn't get me anywhere.

21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break

I get easily frustrated when things aren't working out. Blame it on my lack of patience, but I truly need to learn to take a step back from an issue, to take a break and regroup. I'm trying to do this with my dating life right now...taking a step back and regrouping before I jump into anything else. I don't know when I'll be ready to go back, but I need to follow this step and take a break.

25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t

I'm a positive, optimistic person, but I need to learn that it is still okay to fall apart sometimes. Admitting that everything isn't okay doesn't make me any less of a happy and positive person. I try to practice the optimism that I preach and end up not being true to how I really feel sometimes. Being sad doesn't mean you are a Debbie Downer, it simply means you are going through a tough time and it too, will pass. 

Which ones are you guilty of? Any others you'd add to the list?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Puppy Love

Last weekend I fled to my parents’ house. I tend to do this when life gets to be too much for me. After Gary basically told me he was leaving me for someone else, I had to get out of town and find some peace. Sometimes you just need your parents to talk to, cry to or to simply remind you that everything is going to be okay. Mine are great for that. My father is less vocal in his support and advice, as I’m sure he’d rather just snap Gary’s neck, but he has a way of being there for me without really saying anything. My mother is more like me, she vocalizes her anger and disgust over the situation and listens and commiserates with me, but she is quick to remind me he isn’t worth another thought, telling me not to waste another moment wondering, caring, analyzing or feeling sorry for myself…that I am more than enough and if someone can’t see that, it’s their problem, not mine.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I knew getting away to mom and dad’s last weekend was more than necessary. I’ve mentioned before that my parents live in the country, so there aren’t a whole lot of crazy things to do, but that’s why it’s nice to get away to. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to head to the flee market and grab lunch somewhere later on. Now, I’m not a huge fan of flee markets. There is something about seeing rednecks drinking beer and shopping for fishing gear at 9 a.m. that just doesn’t sit well with me. This particular flee market really isn’t too bad though and I love going there with my parents because there are ALWAYS puppies for sale and they are just so fun to look at! There is one breeder there every weekend who just has so much passion for animals that you can’t help but love her. We visited her first thing and that is where I first laid eyes on this guy…
How could I resist?
Now, I’ve wanted to get a dog for a while now. There have always been a million reasons not to get one: I don’t have time for a puppy, I want to wait until I’m settled down and married so there is someone else to help, I don’t know what kind I want…the list goes on.
When I saw this little guy, I knew this was what I wanted. He’s a dwarf lab, which means he’ll only grow to be 20-25 pounds, a very manageable size for me. He looked up at me with those beautiful green eyes and I was hooked. We said our goodbyes and left the puppies, walked around for a while and on our way out, stopped by to see him again. Next thing I knew he was cuddled up on my lap in the car heading home.

Was this all a little impulsive? Obviously. But when it comes down to it, there are always going to be reasons not to do something. I am a strong, independent, smart woman. I can make this work. I am lucky to have a fairly flexible job that is going to help getting through these first few weeks with a new puppy especially.

My silver lining, Blake
I was just thinking sometimes you just need to take the plunge and things will work out. I knew this puppy would bring lots of joy into my life and even better, I can count on him to not leave me for someone else. My wonderfully supportive parents must have seen the joy on my face when I was holding him and wanted to do whatever they could to keep that happiness going. They also knew I would need to focus all of my attention on taking care of my new baby that I wouldn’t be focused on getting my heart broken so much.

So here we are, a week later. You all already know I am still recovering from the break up, but lucky for me, I have Blake (named after country music artist Blake Shelton) as my sweet silver lining. If I hadn’t run off to my parents’ I wouldn’t have this little guy brightening my days. Life is funny like that. My parents are amazing.

End of story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Gary told me tonight that he has feelings for someone else. We broke up. I really thought we had something here. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Other News...

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe and fun NYE.

I promised some updates so here they are!

I had a beautiful and relaxing Christmas with my family. As I told you, Gary joined me at my parents' house for the weekend. I really wasn't too worried about how it would go. He's outgoing, fun and loves me so I went into it without any concerns. Needless to say, I was one happy girl. Christmas with my family is always so nice and having Gary there simply put it over the top for me.

I've been reading so much lately! I got a Kindle for Christmas and absolutely love it. I've always been a big reader, but lately, I haven't been able to sit down and read without getting distracted with Pinterest, blogging, TV or the hundreds of other reasons not to read. I was resistant to eReaders for a while, but recently decided that I absolutely had to have one. I'm reading The Hunger Games right now and I've already finished the first two books in the series. I haven't been so enthralled in a story since I read The Help so I am obviously loving it.
Just a few days before NYE, I went to the doctor to follow up on the procedure I had to get rid of my kidney stones. Those darn things keep coming back so I was really hoping that after a very uncomfortable week of recovering, I would be stone-free. I got the good news I was hoping for. The stones were gone. I just have to go back in 6-8 weeks to make sure it stays that way. Unfortunately, it looks like this may always be an issue for me. All I can do is check in with the doctor regularly to make sure if I have stones again, we can take care of them right away. Anyway, I was super relieved to get back to normal in time for our New Year's Eve celebration and loved going into the new year with that weight off my shoulders.

Speaking of New Year's Eve, I had a wonderful time ringing in the new year with Gary and many of his friends. We went to a formal party at his boss' house and had an absolute blast! I have been such a hot mess lately with health issues that it was really nice to get all dressed up and celebrate together. The night was full of dancing, lots of amazing wine and great conversation.

The holidays were a delightful time in my world and I hope they were the same for you. Right now, I'm focusing on getting back to the daily grind at work and trying to get back to my gym routine. I feel like with everything going on at the end of the year, I wasn't as "present" at work as I need to be, not to mention that I haven't been on my normal workout schedule since Thanksgiving. It's time to get focused again and head into the new year with enthusiasm and health!