Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Morning Ramblings.

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- I, like a lot of people watched BeyoncĂ©'s, ” Lemonade”. I’ve gone back and forth on loving Beyonce and then giving her the side eye. I feel that this time around she used her platform to share that she is also fighting her own battles. That this stronger than thou woman also has her insecurities, fear and uncertainness. She showed us raw. Real. Anger, frustration, vulnerability and forgiveness. And I have to say that it was refreshing to see.

- Guys, I’m soooo excited about this. For the first time in over 4 months (maybe longer) I have a brunch date with Cinthia! After brunch we're taking a little road trip to a farmers' & flea market. Cinthia will be closing on her first home in less than one month so we're going to see if anything "speaks" to her. After that we're going to check out another farmers' market closer to where we live as it is the grand re-opening for the season and those are always so much fun. Health is so not overrated! When you can’t do the simplest things it’s amazing how once you can you treasure it so much. I have this deeper appreciation for life than I have ever had.

EDITED TO ADD: Cinthia had to cancel. Some personal stuff and I'm so sad. This is what happens when you get excited over something, ha. Well, I have a free Saturday now. What's a gal to do?

- I have to get bloodwork and ultrasounds done on my left leg this coming Monday. Then I’ll have a follow up appointment with my vascular doctor on the 9th to discuss what the ultrasound and bloodwork revealed. I’m a little nervous but my leg does feel better so I know if anything progress has been made. I just want to get it over with that way I just know.

- Mother’s Day is coming. I’m feeling a lot of apprehension and sadness. I still have not come to terms that my mom is gone. And in just 3 months it will be a year. I miss her so, so much that it hurts me every single day. I'm still waiting for the day when instead of sadness being the first feeling I feel when I think of her, that the feeling of joy due to great memories will be first.

I hope that you all have fabulous weekends! ♥

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Music.

I'm not going to lie.

Some days it is really hard. Harder than I care to admit.
Some days I have to give myself a pep-talk to ensure that I don't go over the edge.
Some days I have to pray just a little bit harder.

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I was having one of those days so on went the music because it helps calm my mind. And Sia's "Alive" came on and the words hit me so hard and I pulled myself up and just started dancing all over the house. Arms in the air, waving side to side and body just swaying left to right as no one was watching (except for my fur-babies who I must admit think their human mama has gone absolutely nuts). And when this part of the song reached my ears,

"But I survived

I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive"

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I felt it. I felt it with every part of my being and I belted right along with her and all I could say after the song was over was, Sia, you get me. You really get me. And then I pressed repeat.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Working on our Home.

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- A tree in front of our house that I do not remember seeing last year. What a pleasant surprise.

Last weekend, we made it one of our goals to work on our front yard. Although it is not a fun project there's something really satisfying to me to work on our home. We bought the house in November 2014 and with all the stress of 2015 the upkeep of our house was not priority. Now that things have slowed down considerably we are making efforts to put time into the home we love.

For the past few weekends we've been working hard on both the back and front yard because it really, really needs the attention. We're not even close to done but it already looks so much better. I have plans to make the backyard a place that one wants to spend beautiful days in.

We put on our favorite tunes of all genres and just worked. I made sure to take frequent breaks (took pictures!) that way I could work longer. If I hadn't I wouldn't have been able to handle the work that it entailed. Granted, I didn't do nearly as much as Sean did but that was to be expected. I also made sure to pop some allergy medicine that way I didn't have the urge to pull my nose off or scratch my eyes out and it turned out to be a really productive weekend.

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It was also pretty neat to hear our neighbors all around us working hard on their homes too. It felt like a little community and I'm really enjoying it. If someone told me a few years ago that this is how I would enjoy a beautiful, sunny weekend I would have laughed. But here I am and I'm finding that I'm treasuring days like this so much more than before.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! ♥

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Morning Ramblings.

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- The pictures above are old pictures that I took almost three years ago but they get me excited for all the things I want to do that warm weather will allow. It’s like spring brings with it all new possibilities and I’m just feeling inspired to not just live but to thrive.

- When I was going through the experiences that the DVT & fibroids caused there was not much I could physically do, so I used my phone to write about how I was feeling. I'm going to make sure to jot them down on this blog that way I can have my thoughts and reflections on here as a reminder of how grateful I should be and how far I've already come.

- OK, something must have happened that I’m not aware of. Blog friends that I was able to directly respond to their comments on my blog are now no reply commenters. Did something happen? I’m reading all your comments and then when I go to reply I immediately see no reply commenter. So sad.

- I am basically back to full duty right now. I’ll wait until May to go back to my doctor for a full duty release just to be sure that I can actually handle it and it is not just my excitement getting the best of me.

- The first day I returned to the gym (April 1st to be exact) I forced myself to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It was not the best decision as I was still so weak. After discussing with Sean we decided that I’ll start at 15 minutes and move up a minute each day while keeping the incline and speed at a steady level until I could physically manage the activity. I’m now at 28 minutes on the treadmill and I feel pretty happy about it! Granted the incline is only 4 and speed at 2.7 but I’m just thinking about how far I’ve come vs. how much I use to be able to do prior to January 18th. Next week I'll be able to move up my incline, speed and time so progress all around!

- I found a Facebook message from 2006 by Colleen telling me that she was moving to Albany after college and that we needed to meet up. It is so funny to me that, that message is basically what began our 10 year friendship. Colleen said that she needs to frame the message and you know what? I kinda want to, too. June can’t get here soon enough because I need to squeeze her face. The last time she saw me I was in the hospital and she could not crack jokes because it hurt me to laugh and I could not walk so yeah, kinda want to show off my walking skills ;).

- So I usually make a shepherd’s pie with ground beef but this time I decided to do it with chicken and it was amazing. To be honest, I was a little nervous at first but wow it was good. I guess you can’t go wrong with chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and a little bit of gravy, at least that is what Sean said.

- I felt extreme sadness when I heard that Prince had passed away. I feel like all the greats I grew up with are no longer here and it just kinda gets to me. But I know that such is life. I'm just glad that he was able to share his love and talent for music with us while he was here.

- This weekend is a chill weekend and will be spent on our front yard because it is a hot mess. Granted my allergies are acting up so I don’t know how much work I’ll be able to do but I’ll be sure to offer support by opening trash bags for Sean to dump weeds, you know, all the outside stuff and also provide an endless amount of iced water to Sean.

Hope you all have fabulous weekends! ♥

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Magnolia Trees, Wine & Good Company

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Last weekend was truly what weekend dreams are made of. The weather was perfection and the day just flowed so nicely.

Saturday morning, I woke up to the sunlight pouring in our bedroom and I quickly got up to make our already cleaned home look even cleaner. The smell of fresh flowers filled the entire house and it just felt good. For the first time in months I woke up without any ache or pain and it was a completely welcomed feeling. I was surprised to find Sean sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and he simply said, I’m too excited to see Lucas that I could not sleep. Yes, Sean has corny in him too ;).

It wasn’t until Lucas, Danielle and Weston arrived that I realized that I was starving so we made quick lunches which consisted of turkey sandwiches, Doritos and pickles and then we were on our way.

Since the day was so gorgeous we knew we wanted to be outside but since Weston is only 1 years old we wanted to make it a time that he could enjoy as well. Sean reported that while driving around one day he happened upon an area with the trees I love and he thought it would be a nice place that I would enjoy taking pictures of.

He was right and it felt really nice that he actually thought of me when he drove by it.

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It was gorgeous. All the pink just gave me this cheery feeling and it was hard to beat. Weston we soon found out is obsessed with trains and wouldn’t you know it that where we were we could see trains. And he was stoked. Sean then had us all get back in the car that way Weston could get up close and personal with the trains and he was in awe. He was the happiest when his dad allowed him to get closer to the train and it was so awesome to watch.

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After that we went to the winery where we shared a bottle of red and then it was time for dinner. Unfortunately, we had not made any reservations as we wanted to play it by ear based on whether Weston could manage being out longer, etc. Well, Weston is such a trooper and he was still in the mood to go. After being told by several restaurants that we had to wait over an hour to eat or that a restaurant was fully booked we ended up being able to get a reservation at Logans Steakhouse which was a perfect choice since it is so family friendly.

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When we got home Dani, Weston and I got comfortable with a movie and Sean and Lucas went out for the night for some boy time.

The next morning I whipped up some breakfast sandwiches and then Dani and I got ready to go to the outlets and then get manicures. I found a really cute outfit for Weston and navy blue converses since I think little kids in converses are the cutest things ever. After shopping we picked up iced lattes and cronuts and headed to the nail salon to get our manicures. We both ended up with similar, springy colors and then it was time to head back for us to say our see you laters.

The last time I saw Weston he was not even crawling so it was amazing to see him walking. When he first walked into our house he was shy and hiding behind his mother's leg but within one day it was like he knew us forever and I felt so happy. When he left he was saying my name and even gave me a hug and kiss. It is a little weird how happy the little gesture made me. We’ve already made plans for us to visit them in Virginia by the end of the year and I cannot wait.

They say good friends are hard to find so Sean got lucky when he found Lucas in elementary school. It’s a nice feeling when your spouses’ friends also become your good friends and people you can rely on at any time. Lucas, Dani and Weston thank you for your amazing company! You have no idea how blessed we feel to have y’all in our lives.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The power of social media.

When I first started blogging it was so great. It seemed that everyone was doing it for themselves and not for the audience that happened upon their blog. I use to babble here and there and the pictures I posted were such poor quality that I laugh about how bad it was. Actually it is embarrassing, don't look at them. I mean it! ;)

I wasn't here to impress anyone but share my everyday life. I wanted to share my real thoughts. My real opinions. My mediocre-ness (not a real word? then I apologize). It was easy because no one was reading and I was literally blogging for myself.

In fact, I didn't even tell my sisters that I was blogging and then somehow my sister Emma found out (I still don't know how!) and I remember thinking, "Man, now I can't say anything I want". But what happened was that my sister actually told me that she learned a lot about me from reading my blog. Things she had never known. And when she told me that I stayed true to what I blogged about because even if we had a difference of opinion, it was still my opinion. I love nothing more than a debate but am usually the first person to admit that I'm wrong, when I'm wrong. But luckily, I still had no one to impress. And then when I picked up readers (loyal readers at that) along the way it made it a lot more fun because soon I was able to peek into other people's lives. I was able to read their thoughts, get their opinions and become friends with people I never would have met had it not been for blogging.

And then the term "blog famous" came about and it was like, "Woah!" I've been blogging for this many years and I'm not blog famous and you've been blogging for less than 6 months and you're famous!" Then I began to ask myself, do I want to be blog famous? And it's a struggle to decide whether you should make your blog one that makes you money or just sit in your corner and continue to babble about things the masses don't really care about. And then when the bloggers you love decide that they will like to make money off of their blogs, you begin to question their intentions. You begin to wonder, wait, is this person blogging to become "famous", to become "rich"? Do they really like what they're trying to sell me or are they just telling me they like it because they're being paid to say so. This blogging thing that we never questioned the integrity of an individual became far too easy to question.

And the "real" bloggers. The ones that actually had something worthwhile to share and nothing to sell began to stop blogging because their imperfect lives was not interesting enough. It was nothing to aspire to. Um, do you see those clothes in the background? She couldn't even be bothered to pick them up before taking the pictures, just awful! Why should I read a blog about a person who shops at Walmart if I could read the blog of someone who shops at Chanel. What do I want to aspire to?

I think we all know the answer. Shopping at Walmart is not inspiring but shopping at Chanel is. But the true secret, one that many fail to see, is that money will never buy style. Growing up, my dad would give us each $100 for school shopping and you best believe that we looked fly. When you know how to put an outfit together, you know how to put an outfit together. No amount of money can change that.

I've given myself an assignment because I've become aware that social media has made me look for perfection. If I look at a picture and I see that someone's hair is out of place, instead of automatically thinking, I can't believe she would post a picture of her hair looking like that, I'm going to stop myself and think. Does this happen in real life? Does wind sometimes blow hair? Does bad hair days happen? And if the answer is yes, I will look at the picture and appreciate the person who posted the picture, thank you for sharing a picture that is not posed and perfect. You'll be surprised how often you'll catch yourself wanting perfection too. I'm a culprit too but it's because we've been brainwashed to believe that "perfection" is attainable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely impressed with people that have made their blogs their full-time job. And there are many things that I never would have known about had I not learned about it from a blog. Blogging has changed many people's lives. Many have found something that they love and now are making money off of it. That's amazing! Anyone who can make money doing what they love deserves a pat on their back because it is becoming harder and harder to do. A lot of it stemming from money. If what you love to do, won't support your living needs, it makes it much easier to turn your back on what you love.

It took me looking at who I am and really remembering why I started blogging in the first place. Because blogging began to lose its appeal as it became harder to feel that I had anything to say, anything to share that others did not already know. I began to look at my first posts and there it was. My answer. I started blogging because I wanted to document my new life with my husband. I wanted to be able to go back years from now and read my thoughts and see how I had changed over the years. I was excited for my new journey with Sean. I didn't want to read posts about what I was selling other people to buy. Those were not my intentions. And I am aware that intentions change but for me it had not. It was why I struggled with abandoning my blog altogether. But I realized that for me, even if blogging was no longer the thing or if I lost every single reader, I would still continue to blog.

The thing was that I didn't fault others who had found their dream jobs as long as they also stayed true to themselves. It is so easy to see the word sell-out when people are describing bloggers. Yes, I understand it is difficult to see that your favorite blogger who use to talk solely about organization of her home is now telling you how to put on outfits. We didn't even know you liked fashion! I'm aware that I'm a blogger, many of you are bloggers and you're surely not sell-outs. To put me in that box with other bloggers who decided to do themselves kinda irks me. But I digress...

And then Instagram came along. Awesome, fun Instagram! But do you remember when we first started? All the awful borders and all those crazy filters?! Well that was what was fun about Instagram. Everything looked so out of whack. Nothing was perfect. We did our best to make great pictures look absolutely awful. And I loved it. But then too quickly bloggers began blogging about how to Instagram. Do this to make your picture perfect. Do this to appeal to the masses because if not why would anyone want to follow your Instagram. Forget that you have a great personality, no one can see that in your pictures! And then soon after Instagram became this place that you could make money, so goodbye went those borders and capuche went the filters. Instead of taking pictures with our phones which was the whole purpose of Instagram in the first place, we began to upload DSLR pictures into our feeds. Now don't get me wrong, I've done this a few times but soon it became the only way pictures were uploaded. Instagram soon became like blogging, there was no escaping it. You now could no longer post an imperfect picture, anywhere.

We've become so consumed with sharing this beautiful part of our lives (which many times IS true) but when your pictures look like you're living in a magazine what does that translate? How can anyone relate to you? I don't need you to share every horrible thing that has happened in your life because really it doesn't feel good when all you know is the bad in someone's life. That makes you feel pretty awful and truthfully no one has time to feel bad all the time. But what about sprinkling a little reality here and there. How about sharing that life is great but sometimes, just sometimes, it could also be shitty. Show us that yesterday I did get knocked down a few pegs but today I'm smiling and enjoying the life I've been blessed with.

It has become so much easier for us to compare our lives with others because of social media. Unfortunately, not everyone is wise enough to realize that life isn't always like that. Adults and teenagers alike. When you catch yourself saying, why can't I have that life, why can't I be like that, why can't I look like that, you've already fallen for the trap. And it isn't even that person's fault, it is yours. When great people begin to question what they are doing wrong when in fact they are not doing anything wrong, we've failed.

I sound preachy. I know I do. But I can't stop now, sorry.

You might look at my blog and see pretty pictures. I can explain that I love photography (which I do) and that I want to get a certain moment frozen in time (which I do). This means that I did not go out of my way to add this and that to make the picture standout. It was a real moment that I captured and snapped because to me it was beautiful; which is often why we take pictures in the first place. Something stands out to us which prompt us take the picture.

Now-a-days people are creating the moment to take a picture of. Why?

If we would spend less time trying to make our lives appear perfect and more time just living great, meaningful lives I really think we will all be the more better. There is a saying I love that I think needs repeating.

"If we saw inner beauty as the exterior, things would be ridiculously simple."

Please let me know your thoughts on this and what you think we can all do to combat it. If you do not think there's a problem, please feel free to tell me why. How has the "perfectness" of social media affected you? And if I've ever, ever made you think that my life is perfect and yours is not, please forgive me, because guess what? It most certainly is not.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Morning Ramblings.

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- I think I found a job that beats all jobs. Yup, that's right! I'm applying for a job at Snapchat as a filter creator.
Best job ever. I'm kidding. Maybe. ;)

- Sean and I are now budgeting our time. Last year we were on the go so much that it really took a lot out of us. Every weekend we were traveling to either see my mom or Sean's mom and since we don't live in the same state we were always on the road. I don't regret the time I was able to spend with my mom and if I had to do it all over again, I would. Hopefully we're given a little break for the rest of the year. I think it's only fair, right? A few weeks ago, we set up our calendar and made sure that each month we have at least one weekend that we have no plans but to stay in our area and do as we please. We have our calendars all set until mid July and it is really awesome. We've never done this before and I'm really loving it so far.

- There's this ice cream shop down the road from where we live that always has such a long line. A few weeks ago I was driving by with my girlfriend and noticed that there was no line so I made us go inside (it wasn't hard to convince her) and I found my most favorite ice cream flavor ever. If you know me you know I'm obsessed with anything smores related. I loved Ben and Jerry's Smores flavor but this ice cream shop beats their flavor 10 fold. The amount of graham crackers in it made we want to sing to the smores gods. It is taking everything in me not to get it daily and I'm having to repeat to myself, everything in moderation, moderation is key.

- I think I enjoy filling my gas tank more than the average person. I'm not exactly sure why. Even when it's raining I don't mind.

- When my limitations were pretty crazy and it was hard for me to do much, I decided that instead of having Sean do all the dishes because I couldn't bend, I would hand wash all the dishes instead. Oh this is when I learned what a busy body I am. I always, always want to be doing something and when your body is not cooperating it isn't easy but I think that's a blog post for another day. Well, wouldn't you know that I enjoyed it so much that I haven't used my dishwasher in weeks even though I can now. If someone told me that I would be hand washing my dishes with a working dishwasher I would have laughed. Something really relaxing about washing dishes with my hand. My mom was on to something because she never, ever used her dishwasher.

- This weekend Sean's best friend Luke will be coming to town with his wife Danielle and their son Weston. Sean is so excited because we've had to cancel several times. Last August when my mom passed away, in February (I made plans to surprise Sean for his birthday with Luke's visit) when I was finally home from the hospital but still in deep recovery and then they cancelled on us last month due to a snowstorm. Let's just say that the universe hasn't wanted this get together to happen. It's all Sean has been talking about and I'm really happy for him because he deserves some best friend time. It will be the first time they'll see our house too so making sure it looks its best.

- Guess what I did this morning? I took Sean's keys off the counter and headed to work. It wasn't until I got to the front door at my job, jiggled my keys and didn't hear a beep that I looked at the keys I was holding. I freaked and immediately went to my car and drove back home to drop off his keys. Mind you, I drive 17 miles one way to work and Sean was still sleeping when I got home (he works nights) and has no idea what happened. Instead of freaking out I should have stayed at work and worked until noon and then drive home since Sean won't leave the house until 1pm. Instead I'm now in a bit of pain because I rushed and sat for longer than I should have without a break. Lesson learn.

- Blogging this week has felt really good. Like old times which I'm absolutely loving! Hope it stays like this :).

Anything random you'll like to share? Share away & Happy Friday!
I hope you all have fabulous weekends! ♥