Friday, March 28, 2014

"Happy Habits" I Need to Pick Back Up

In this post a few weeks ago, I talked about losing my spunk…and how I’m working to get it back. An important part of this has been looking back on the little things I was doing before that contributed to my overall happiness. As simple or silly as these may seem, I know picking back up some of these “happy habits” of mine will help get me back to who I really am.

 Listening to Taylor Swift – Say what you want about her, but I will always enjoy her music. For everyone that can’t stand her, there are just as many people who love her and that’s just the way the world works. I don’t know why, but I haven’t found myself choosing my Taylor Swift playlist on Spotify lately and I think that needs to change.

Daily Gratitude Journal -  For about a year, I kept a notebook on my nightstand and each night before I crawled into bed, I made a short list of the things I was thankful for each day. Some days the list was long and other days not so much, but it helped me end the day on a peaceful and happy note, no matter what other things had happened that day. I need to start doing this again.

Running – I’ve never been much of a long distance runner, but for a while I was really into it and enjoyed the challenge, not to mention the physical benefits. I never ran more than 3-4 miles or so, but running was great for someone like me who tends to let my thoughts get the best of me. I always felt better after a run just to clear my head and focus only on the run.

Random Acts of Kindness – I went through a phase for a while where my daily focus was trying to find something kind to do for a stranger. Whether it was handing out balloons to strangers on my birthday or as simple as buying coffee for the car behind me at Starbucks, nothing compares to the satisfaction that brought me. It was kind of addicting doing things like this for other people and the more I did it, the more I wanted to keep it up. It’s a great habit to get into and I absolutely need to pick this one up again!

Working out in the morning – I have to admit, I have yet to be able to keep this up for more than a few weeks in a row, but when I have done it, I absolutely loved it. Getting up at 5 a.m. is obviously not the easiest, which is why I can’t seem to get back in the habit again, but it is so worth it. After a few days of it, it’s a piece of cake and I loved starting my day with a good workout. I also loved that I had the time after work to cook dinner, blog, read, take a bike ride, whatever I wanted to do since I had already gotten my workout out of the way. I know I just need one good week of this to get back in the habit. It’ll be so worth it!

What “happy habits” do you have? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just Write

I'm sitting on our back porch this evening and it's a glorious 73 degrees outside. I'm enjoying the most beautiful breeze and the sun is shining so bright through the trees it is nearly blinding but it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm also sipping a glass of red wine and even though Jonathan just asked me if I want to go to the gym, I'm not giving up on this glass of wine.

See, I have the urge to write and as strong as it is, I just don't know what to say. I have so many blog ideas that pop into my head throughout the day and it seems as soon as I sit down to get it out, I have nothing interesting to say. The ideas are there, but the words...they either aren't there or they feel forced.

There is no better feeling to me than sitting down to write and watching the words just flow right out. It still happens to me quite often and it's the reason I still have this's the reason I can say with certainty that I will always write. It's also the reason I sometimes have a difficult time blogging.

See, I want to write random posts that don't say anything particularly important about myself, I want to link up for Wedding Wednesday and share our beautiful day, but I don't enjoy those posts nearly as much as I enjoy sharing my honest thoughts on what's going on in my life. The only problem is, I don't want to be constantly pouring my heart out here for the world to see. Don't get me wrong, I don't just mean the not so happy stuff, but the good things, too...the absolutely wonderful things. Even as a blogger, I still worry about sharing too much. I love the thought of writing about and documenting my marriage, where I stand on having children and how I feel about my career, but I also know that some things aren't meant to be shared with the world.

I don't worry about being criticized for anything I say. As a matter of fact, I know that the great thing about blogging is that no matter what you  have to say, there are others out there who will relate to it, learn from it, connect with you because of it. I guess I struggle because as much as I love the idea of sharing these things, I also value the importance of keeping certain things private.

I also think blog posts sharing what we did over the weekend, wedding details, my views on BuzzFeed quizzes and other light-hearted topics are absolutely necessary as well. Nobody wants to read a deep, thought-provoking and honest post day in and day out. There's gotta be a little bit of both.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm struggling as a blogger lately. I want to find that balance where I'm still getting the joy and fulfillment I need out of writing all while maintaining some level of privacy in my life.

I know it's easy to wonder why it matters, why I should obviously keep all details of my life to myself rather than posting it for the world to see, even why anyone blogs at all. But it matters to me. I love writing and sharing, even if it with the small following I have here. I don't claim to be a big deal blogger or even a legendary writer. What I write on here may not matter to anyone other than me and that's okay. I just need to make sure I'm doing it in a way that satisfies me and my passion. Maybe I just need to say what I want to say, share what I want to share and not worry about sharing too much. I don't know.

Does anyone else struggle with this sometimes? How do you find a balance with your blog topics?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Family & Wedding Party Photos

Between my new job and other life things, it seems I got a little off track here with my Wedding Wednesday posts. When we left off, I'd just shared my favorite shots from our couple portraits and today, I want to share my favorite family and bridal party shots.

The special moments I shared with my dad on our wedding day are ones I will forever hold close to my heart. There is absolutely no feeling in the world quite like standing there arm in arm with your dad as you wait to walk down the aisle together.

Mother and blessed to have this woman by my side.

My older sister and Matron of Honor...her positivity and support light up my life.

This shot of Jonathan and Dean (his our nephew and ring bearer) absolutely melts my heart.

My favorite girl. I thank God daily for my relationship with my niece.

This one I like to call Jonathan's Men's Warehouse advertisement.

I couldn't have been any happier with the way my bouquet turned out! 

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easter Brunch Inspiration

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Last week, Jonathan and I made the decision to host our first big holiday as a married couple at our house. We're going to host a big Easter brunch and it's already looking like we'll have close to 20 people joining us. I am so flipping excited about this. Lately, I've really started to enjoy cooking for and hosting people at our home and this is going to be our biggest undertaking yet! I'm already thinking of menu ideas and looking for decorating inspiration. Here are a few ideas that have caught my eye so far:

*I don't even like the taste of peeps but my goodness, this peep garland is going to be hanging in our house somewhere.

*This Easter egg garland looks like a craft project I can totally handle.

*Tulips are a must. I love all the bright colors and it's a perfect Easter flower. So bright and cheerful!

These little carrot cakes are too cute...

*I looooove this idea for utensils. I'm not a huge fan of orange napkins and green silverware, but together they look like a carrot and I just love it.

*It's looking like we may have somewhere around 20 people in our home, so I want to serve as many make ahead meals as possible. This French toast casserole is definitely on the list.

*Another make ahead idea...these Crustless Zucchini & Basil Mini-Quiches would be just perfect.

I don't know about you, but I'm suddenly really hungry. I can't tell you how excited I am to get all the details planned out. The thought of having our families together on Easter in our little home makes me oh so happy. I can't wait to see how it all comes together!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Losing my Spunk....and Getting it Back

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for about a week and after debating whether to post it or not, it's time to just put it out there. Writing has always been a way for me to sort out my feelings and reflect and this post is just that...a stream of thoughts as I took some time to really reflect on what I've been feeling.

I'm going to get real honest and open here and I hope you can bear with me. I guess you could say I recently had a bit of an epiphany and this is my way of working through it all.

I’ve felt for some time now the nagging feeling that I am not who I used to be. Most of who I am hasn't changed at all, but I was feeling like lost a bit of myself. I couldn’t explain in detail what that even meant, but I’ve been in a long-term funk and I’m just now coming out of it and making sense of it all.

Meeting Jonathan just over a year ago was the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I love this man so much it hurts and I honestly still can’t believe we found each other. After meeting him, my life changed dramatically at a pretty fast pace. It’s no secret that things moved super fast for us and I’m so glad it did. When you know, you know and this was absolutely true for us.

This meant big life changes came at warped speed to my life and while they were changes for the better, it was a lot at one time. I quickly began spending more of my time at Jonathan’s instead of my house resulting in tension with friends and roommates, getting used to a new town and new friends and family and settling into our life together. A marriage proposal wasn’t too far behind which led to wedding planning stress, selling and moving out of my home into our home, saying goodbye to my puppy as we needed to find a new home for him then getting married just a few months later. I deal with change pretty well but when you go through so many life changes in a short time, no matter how amazing it all is, it still takes a toll on you.

Until I met Jonathan, I held onto the hope that my story would unfold this way but when it actually happened, I was (and sometimes still am) in absolute disbelief. All this excitement and joy in my life over the last year or so has been such a blessing, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t allow it to have its not-so-positive effects on me.

Just over a year ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was at my ideal weight (although I wouldn’t have minded losing a little) and I was working out just about every day. It happens to a lot of us when we fall in love and our priorities change a little, but my healthy habits soon started to disappear. I went from being independent and heading to the gym straight from work, then coming home and eating oatmeal for dinner to wanting to go home and cook dinner for us, to spend quality time together and cuddle, to watch How I Met Your Mother while enjoying a few glasses of wine and staring into each others’ eyes. I’m just kidding on that last one…we aren’t quite that cheesy, I promise. Needless to say, I stopped taking good care of myself and I am the only one to blame. Health is a priority and I had all the support in the world to continue healthy habits, but I am the one who let myself down. 

Not only did I stop taking care of myself physically, but I let stress and other negative things change my attitude. I used to be so…sunshiney. My sister used to tease me for making small talk with the Target cashier because I was just overly friendly. I used to say ‘Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms’ at least once a day, but somehow over time, I’ve allowed my thunderstorms to take up too much space in my head…in my heart. I used to do what I wanted without worrying how others would react. I was spontaneous and silly. I would dance, blast Taylor Swift, twirl, laugh…all things that made me absolutely giddy. I don’t feel like I’ve lost it completely, but I've definitely lost touch with certain qualities that make me who I am.

It took me a while to even notice the changes in my appearance, my attitude, my confidence. I’ve slowly, little by little lost control over these things. It’s taken me even longer to really think about what happened here and how I can come out of this even better than I was before. I can take responsibility for letting life get the best of me. It’s me who stopped taking care of myself and making fitness and health a priority. It’s me who let stress, drama with friends and unhappiness at work impact my attitude and the way I live my life.

After thinking about this a lot lately, I keep coming back to the whole concept of confidence. Confidence for me isn’t just about my looks. It’s about my attitude, my energy level, my state of mind, my health in general, my friendships, it’s about what I invest in making myself the best me I can be. These things are all related to each other for me. It’s certainly true that I’ve become less spontaneous and silly because I don’t love the way I look. I’m not happy with my body, so my confidence is down. My confidence is down, so unintentionally, I stay under the radar and don’t put myself in the spotlight. I end up criticizing myself and letting the negative thoughts win, so I end up taking myself too seriously and unable to loosen up and twirl around the house like I used to. One small thing impacts everything else in my life.

For example, I had so much drama with my friends/roommates when Jonathan and I first starting seeing each other and even until we got engaged. It got really bad and I feel like even that trickled down to my attitude and my confidence level. I let the negativity affect me in even more ways than making me a little stressed and ended up changing how I acted and how I approached friendships because of what happened with a few individuals. 

The funny thing about all of this is that I've found someone to spend my life with who does nothing but build me up. I spend my days with someone who loves all of me, every day. He celebrates me while supporting me and inspiring me to be better. He sees in me what I don't see in myself and I'm so thankful for his constant love and support. While it's such a blessing to have this support, I need to be sure I am viewing myself in the same light and making it a a priority to do what I need to do to be the kind of person I want to be.

If I want to feel more confident, I need to invest the time and work into improving myself. I know feeling confident in who I am and how I present myself will help me get my groove back, so to speak. I’ll be confident enough again to tell the biggest Debbie Downer I know to count their rainbows, to be myself and not be afraid of what will be said when I leave the room, to dance and laugh and be the positive, energetic, outgoing person I know am.

For some reason, rather than committing to taking control of the situation, I’ve let it get so big that I didn’t even know where to start to get back where I was. This blog post has been a long time coming and truth be told, it just took some time for me to really reflect on things and figure out what is actually wrong. Being completely honest with myself in this situation has taken time and bravery, not to mention posting it on the Internet for all to see. The funny thing is I am and have been so absolutely happy with my life. I haven't been depressed or unhappy and I have never had a doubt in my mind that I am right where I need to be in life...with the right person, in the right place and in the right time. I've just let a little part of me go...a part of me that I miss and a part of me that will help me leave the world a better and happier place. I need my spunk back, that's for sure.

The good news is that it’s still me. I’m still here, I’m in complete control of how I feel and I have the best support system I could ask for…an endlessly supportive husband who disagrees with every negative thing I might think about myself, a loving family and God who gives me strength and love no matter what the situation.

The Internet is a funny place, especially the blog world. Whether it’s a blog post or a Facebook post, it’s only a glimpse into someone’s life. Most of the time, we only share the good stuff because it is much prettier and easy to look at but life isn’t perfect all the time and there are some parts of life that aren't as shiny even though the shiny stuff is what most of us choose to put out there on the Internet. It scares me to share my personal thoughts and challenges like this, but writing…it’s therapeutic to me and maybe someone will read this and be able to relate to it, or  maybe they won’t. Either way, it’s out there and I feel better already. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Things I Just Won't Do

I like to think I am a pretty easy-going lady for the most part. I'm usually up for trying new things and I typically don't mind doing things a little out of my comfort zone. Camping? I'm not super outdoorsy, but sure, if others want to go, it'll be fun. Gun range? I'm still pretty intimidated by the thought of holding a gun, but sure, let's do it!

I think we all aim to be a YES person, but I will admit there are a few things I absolutely won't do.

Buzzfeed Quizzes. Don't get me wrong...I don't mind seeing the results my Facebook friends get when they take these quizzes. I don't mind seeing what state my friends belong in or what alcoholic beverage they are, I just don't have any interest in finding out for myself. Buzzfeed articles, though? Love these and will never get tired of them, specifically the ones about Friends.

Tattoos. I don't have anything against tattoos or people who have them. Nearly every member of my immediate family has at least one and I love them and their tattoos. I decided a long time ago that I am simply too indecisive to ever choose something to permanently display on my body. Not to mention the fact that I have a pretty low tolerance for pain. If there was something I just knew without a doubt would be worth the pain of getting tattooed on my body, things might be different, but I know tattoos are just not for me.

Motorcycles. I don't even feel the need to explain this one. I don't think they are cool, I don't think they are safe and I know without a doubt I will never change my opinion on this.

Skydiving. Call me crazy, but nothing appeals to me about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

Rompers. Even when I've been in great shape and happy with  my weight, rompers have never been flattering on my body type. I think they look great on some shapes and sizes, but I've accepted I'm just not one of them.

Spreading hate/negativity on the Internet. You can bet there are plenty of things I see on the Internet that I don't like or agree with.Whether it's a Facebook post about politics or a blogger's controversial blog post, there have been plenty of instances where I didn't like what I saw and could have easily given them a piece of my mind. But you know what? It's unproductive and quite frankly, it's just not nice. Just because someone on the Internet has chosen to post negative, hateful things or thoughts I disagree with, it doesn't mean I have to join them. When I see something I don't like, don't agree with, feel offended by or am just plain annoyed by, I hide the post or the particular individuals posts, delete the connection if I'm continuously feeling this way or I simply exit out of the window. It all goes back to what we all heard thousands of times growing up: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

These are just a few things I just won't do. What things do you say NO to?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life Right Now

Why hello there. Things have been a little busy in my world since I started my new job this week. Let’s just say if my biggest issue with my previous job was that I was bored to death, I am not the least bit worried about that happening in my new position. So far, it’s going well. I’ve got a lot to learn about the company and I really can’t wait until I’m more settled, but I’m really enjoying it so far! In other news-

Jonathan and I are completely and utterly addicted to House of Cards on Netflix. We just started the second season and I can’t believe all the shit that is going down. Kevin Spacey is amazing as Frank Underwood and every episode blows my mind. I’d like to say I’ll feel lost when we finish this season since we have to wait a while for season 3 to be released, but from how things are going, I’m sure we’ll replace it with a new Netflix addiction in no time.

I’ve been struggling to decide on what I’m giving up for Lent this year and I finally decided to give up sweets. I’m trying really hard to stick to a healthier diet and I know giving up the occasional indulgence will help me stay focused, so it’s a win/win. What did you decide to give up?

My 10 year high school reunion is coming up in June…so there’s that. I’ll probably go since I live in town still and it could be fun, but you can bet I’ll be bringing my handsome husband along with me. I guess I’m feeling kind of indifferent about the whole thing. I guess the appeal of reunions isn’t the same as it used to be. We know (in some cases more than we ever wanted to know) about what everyone is up to thanks to good old Facebook. It could still be fun though…we’ll see!

It's already March and the next few months are packed with weddings, trips, events and celebrations! Life is's really good.