Thursday, December 29, 2011

Try This Thursday

ove out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new." --Brian Tracy

I have to be honest. The lack of a new 'try this thursday' is due to my lack of anything to recommend you try. I'm sure I could tell you about a restaurant or bar I frequent, a movie to see or album to listen to, but frankly I wanted to discuss something different for my next Thursday discussion. And lucky you, I have decided on such a topic. The dreaded comfort zone. Yes, we all have them and I'm sure we all love them, but let's be real. A comfort zone is just a way to rest on your laurels.

As any reader of this blog will know, I'm not a fan of change. Mainly because I hate not being in control of everything in my life but also because I, much like everyone else, hates not knowing. However, as I look back on my short life, I realize that my best and most memorable, not to say most beneficial, moments come from those times when I was
extremely uncomfortable. Living in Paris for a semester, barely speaking the language when I got there, and coming back to America an incredibly independent woman is something for which I will be forever grateful. Knowing that, with the help of a handy map and my two girlfriends, we could navigate cities across the continent that spoke German or Czech and still find our hostel was pretty incredible.

That's not to say it wasn't filled with anxiety. I got my first stress rash post spring break, after constantly worrying that we wouldn't find where we needed to go. But it was one hell of an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. Moving to a new-ish city to start my working, adult life was another one of those times that I left the comfort zone. It would have been easy to stay in Houston, live at home and save money while working in the city I grew up in. But I knew I wanted a challenge and a change so I knew but had never lived in. It's definitely been interesting and has made me transition to adulthood that much faster.

Too often I see people sticking inside the safe, secure walls of their box. Get out of it and do something that you've never done before. You can start off easy - talk to a stranger the next time you're out or go see a movie alone, and soon enough you'll be pushing the boundaries of your box farther than you ever thought you could. Not all experiences might be pleasant, but you don't learn from comfortable situations. It's the other ones that stick out and stick in your brain.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." --Betty Friedan

I've been 24 for 10 days now, which has allowed me time to reflect on the past year. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be change. Now, I'll be the first to admit that word has made more appearances in this blog than any other, but that's just the point. In the past year, I've graduated college, fallen in love, moved to a new city and started a new job, made new friends and lost others, had crushes and been crushed.

There were some days this past year that I never thought would end. I experienced some incredibly low lows and can only hope the highs are on their way. It was a year of learning, necessary if only to mark my real entrance into adulthood. I paid my first electric bill and signed my first lease, sans co-signer. These past few years, I've hated the idea of getting older. 23 would lead to 27 which would soon become 35 and before you know it, you're over the hill. But now, I think I'm much more able to embrace it. It's not like I'm counting down until the days I'm 65 but I know now that each year will bring more experiences, opportunities and life lessons.

Looking back on the past year, there were a lot of things I enjoyed, some I didn't and a few I wish I could change. But I think part of aging is knowing that, even the hardships and unpleasant experiences will lead to something better. That every low point will end soon enough and, while you might have a mountain to climb, looking down from the top will be worth the struggle.

So, with a fresh, new year ahead of me, it seems only fitting to come up with a list of to-do's (and maybe a few to-don'ts).

1) Run the OKC Memorial Half in April
2) Edit my novel and try to get it published
3) Spend 365 days with my dog
4) Be in Houston for my nephew's first birthday
5) Don't live according to my (or someone else's) timeline
6) Spread happiness

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Record Review

I've done reviews of shows you need to be watching (have you started watching them yet?) and will do more of those in the near future. I have also reviewed artists and singles I really think everyone should have in their life (no bias, of course). But today, I bring you something a little different. A music review of someone I actually know.

Being the band nerd that I was, I was lucky enough to meet a lot of incredibly talented people. I think that's one of the coolest things about band - you may do one thing inside the halls of the school but outside, in the comfort of your own home or in front of your friends, many do something in addition to the trumpet, flute or oboe they play. Music seeps into your life and leaves you constantly wanting to learn more, to do more with it, which I think it's one of the coolest things about it. Now, onto the review!

His name is Preston Leatherman, the EP is titled Live from the Basement: Volume 1 and basically, it's awesome. For me, the coolest part when listening to the songs were the fact that he wrote, recorded and produced everything on this EP. To me, he's a mix of Gavin DeGraw and Hanson, or another eclectic singer/group who writes their own music, which I really believe to be my favorite part. Knowing he sat down and wrote the words and music, scratched out a certain line or changed a chord. He put the various layers together and made the songs what they are. Knowing that he did all of it and put out a great album is pretty inspiring; I'm sure it will do the same for you.

He's a hilariously awesome musician and dancer in public and I cannot encourage you enough to go check out his website, and start following him on twitter @prestonstweetin for updates on his shows, music and hilarious youtube videos. He's on facebook too, so give the name Preston Leatherman a search and get used to hearing it, I'm positive it's not the last you'll hear of him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Try This Thursday

A few weeks ago before work, I found myself drawn to an article on MSN regarding Sagittarius and how the sun was going to be shooting through the moon...or something. As a Sagittarius, I felt obligated to read on and see what was in store for me. Let me be the first to say that I have never put much weight on star signs or astrology, I have found them to be cool coincidences when it tells me I'm bluntly honest or a creative person. However, this article described me to a T, so much so that I still remember it weeks later.

At first, the fact that it told me I hated routine felt a little weird. Sure, I hate monotony at work but at the same time, knowing as soon as I get home there's a dog walk and a workout session followed by a shower and dinner waiting for me, is kind of comforting. I then proceeded to the next tidbit, something about finding my passion in writing and letting my "creative spirit" reign that I related to. It wasn't until the end, when it told me that the most compatible friends are fellow Sags and Gemini's that I gave the article any real weight. My best friends are those and the more I thought about what I had just read, the more I realized it was true.

Long story short, the article mentioned something about a 'try this Thursday' with the idea being that you try something new and different every Thursday. Well, I have decided to share that idea with you, my readers, and do my best to write about something new for you to try every Thursday. This week, it's NaNoWriMo. What is that, you ask? What a great question!

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, takes place every year during the month of November. It's "30 days and nights of literary abandon" in which participants write their own 50,000 word novel. I fell into it last year after a friend tweeted about doing it (thanks Amanda!) and loved the challenge of it. However, I was unable to finish and only got about 20,000 words in before finals and presentations took over my time. So, around August of this year, I begin to realize NaNoWriMo is soon approaching and I will be able to participate. My anticipation builds until November 1st arrives when I realize I had put very little thought into my novel. I started to write one and decided to scrap it; it was too similar to other stories I had started and abandoned. Instead, I went with an idea that I had had for over a year and thought was fresh and original, at least to me.

So the writing began, feverish and excited at first before falling victim to weekends. I found myself spending the first part of the weeks catching up on writing I fell behind on the weekends and congratulated myself when I caught up (only to fall behind again). As a writer, I went into NaNoWriMo thinking, 50,000 words in 30 days? Easy peesy mac 'n cheesy. Boy was I wrong. I didn't realize just how time consuming it would be to make sure I wrote the minimum of 1,667 words a day while still doing things I needed to and maintain a social life. But, if writing a novel in 30 days weren't a challenge, no one would do it.

I spent last night catching up on the 4,000 words I was behind and I realized the best part of National Novel Writing Month. You have a goal, you have a plan for your book and you embark on this journey, but the days speed by faster than you expect and before you know it, you are writing a book from instinct, first thought. I threw away the idea that everything needed to sound perfect and fit just right, and instead, I wrote. I wrote the first thing that came to mind and the first thing that made sense for the characters I created and because of that, I'd like to think the story is more realistic and relatable. I wrote the last words of my novel, ending at 50,175 and knowing I would have to edit and add in the coming months, last night at 10 and felt euphoric. I honestly could not believe I had finished my novel in a mere 30 days.

If you're a writer, I would absolutely recommend and encourage you to particpate in NaNoWriMo next year. They have local hangouts for you to go and write in and come spring they even do a screenplay writing month! If you're not a writer, I say why not go for it? Try and write a 50,000 word novel or heck, even half of that is one hell of an accomplishment. It's one of the most rewarding experiences I've had that has allowed me to not only learn about myself, but escape to a place where I control what happens (a little bit of a God complex, huh?). If this incredibly long entry has left you intrigued, I highly recommend you check out for more information.

So get ready, no more novel to write (on a deadline, that is) means the blog posts will be back with a vengeance. I know you all have missed me ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Habit is a man's sole comfort. We dislike doing without even unpleasant things to which we have become accustomed." --Goethe

We all have bad habits and heck, we all know we should drop them so the questions is, why don't we? Why do we keep going back to someone we know will hurt us or doing something that we know isn't good? Why are bad habits so damn addictive?

I guess it's the same reason some of the yummiest tasting food is so bad for you. If the food reflected how bad it was for you, no one would eat it. So it's masked with who knows what and suddenly, it tastes great. Does that comparison even make sense? If we realized how bad that habit really was, surely we wouldn't continually do it. Right?

I think Goethe is definitely on to something - we continue to do something, regardless of whether or not it's pleasant or enjoyable solely because we got used to it. It's like working out; they say you have to give it two weeks to fall into the pattern of it because that's how long it takes for your body to become used to it. So my thought process then is, to kick a bad habit, give it a good two weeks. Although, I'm sure we all know it takes a lot more than that. It's interesting that bad habits take longer to learn to live without while a good habit or routine can settle in pretty quickly. I only wish that people could see just how bad their bad habit(s) is(are) and just how much it affects them.

Then again, I know I've got my fair share of bad habits (and if you're reading this and know some, please feel free to not post them!) that I just can't quit. Some worse than others, I sit here and think 'It'd be easy to do without it, but I just don't want to.' So kudos to you Goethe, you've wrapped up my entire sentiment about bad habits in one simple, easy to understand statement. Enjoy my fluff around it on your lazy Sunday :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in." --Robert Brault

Everyone can attest to being a child, a teen and wishing you were older. Wishing you could drive, wishing you could live on your own. And then, the time comes when you can do all of that and more, and you suddenly realize it's not what you thought it'd be. Or maybe it is. But regardless, you are left with the realization that the grown up life you always dreamt of and looked forward to is here, and you're suddenly looking back on the past wondering where it all went.

I went to Fright Fest last night with the most amazing friends who put up with my intense anxiety ("Why is there traffic?! We have to get there now!") and let my inner 8 year old come out once we got inside the park. There was definitely skipping. I hadn't been to this amusement park since I lived ten minutes away from it fifteen years ago. To say it was strange to be back would be an understatement. To say it was strange to be back AND drinking a beer would be an incredible understatement.

I promptly beelined for the rollercoaster in the back, the one I affectionately remember riding three times in a row and thinking the drop never ended, and hopped up and down until we loaded into the seats. My excitement was palpable and I felt like a kid again. But then the ride ended, so much faster than I remember, and I couldn't help wonder if I made a mistake going back. It wasn't the same. I wasn't eight and my dad wasn't sitting next to me.

I hope I'm still allowed to be in this transition phase. I am loving living on my own, making the dinner I want and being the sole provider for my darling pup. But, the fact that Christmas this year will be spent in a brand new state sans a family member and her family won't stop blowing my mind. The fact that my time with family and friends outside of this state is dependent on how many vacation and personal days I have left is crazy.

They always told us when we were kids that it goes so fast. All I could ever say to that is, "Fast?! You call this fast?!"

Yes Kaitlyn, that was fast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Well everybody hurts,
That’s where we’re all the same
We drive on through the worst
And push on through the pain
-Gavin Degraw

Gavin Degraw recently released his latest album, Sweeter, and let me tell you, it's phenomenal. I loved his first album, enjoyed the second and have yet to listen to his third but this one is on par. I can't decide which song is my favorite because they change every other day and because they relate to some aspect of my life.

My sister used to ask me what I heard first in songs, the lyrics or the melody and to be frank, I still don't know. The melody will get stuck in my head for hours when I don't know the words and after I've memorized the words, I'll listen to a song on repeat because it "speaks" to me. And yes, I know that sounds so incredibly lame but isn't that the entire point of music? To reach an audience who relates completely to your words and can say, 'Hey, I've been there'? To write a piece of music that is so entrancing and memorable that, no matter what you do, you can't get it out of your head? I think so...or that's why I listen to most of the music I do.

It's incredible to me just how much songs can change your outlook on things. I think that's why Gavin DeGraw's latest release is so exciting. Every song fits a different situation and even though some are sad songs at their core, they can still make you smile. That's the brilliance of music. It listens when you don't know what to say, it's there when you're friends are busy. It can make you smile or encourage that flood of tears that you've been dying to get out but just couldn't...until now.

If I didn't convey my feelings enough by now, I highly highly recommend purchasing the newest release from Gavin DeGraw, Sweeter, or at least giving it a fair listen to on Spotify. And if you're not a fan of pop music, at least listen to it and give the guy some respect for writing and playing his own music.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places." --Ernest Hemingway

Please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the entire process of working out, lifting weights, getting swole, based on the process of tearing your muscles so they mend themselves bigger? Granted, some of that terminology is probably wrong and it might be a bit more complicated than that but the idea is the same. Break it down, build it back stronger. So why is it then, that when we're confronted with situations that could lead to incredible growth, we run?

We're told all the time to exercise and work out to stay healthy and lead longer, better lives but I think we should also be encouraged and reminded to keep our lives filled with challenges. When a relationship suddenly requires more effort or communication, don't run scared. Stay and fight. When a job has you working 60+ hours a week and all you want to do is lock yourself in a closet, don't. Know that the busy will fade and you'll be a better worker, able to handle the thousand assignments in 40 hours easy.

I don't think people see challenges in their lives as that. They see them as complications, something to be wiped from the slate before moving onto the next easy activity. But be honest, where's the fun in easy? I didn't sign up for a half-marathon because I thought it'd be easy. I wanted a chance to push myself harder and farther than I had before. I wanted the experience, the goals, the satisfaction at the end. I'm not saying all quitting is bad. Some relationships aren't meant to last, some jobs are simply stepping stones, but don't be so quick to push the eject button. You never know what you're going to learn about yourself if you try a little harder, push a little farther.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

“I’m 30, and I’m Catholic and I’mma die alone in a light-up Christmas sweater talking to a menagerie of parrots” -Happy Endings

TV shows came back with a vengeance last week but there was one crucial comedy missing from my line up. Happy Endings. It's first season, all 13 episodes, premiered as a mid-season replacement last spring and was criticized to be a poor replacement of Friends. I wasn't expecting too much, the commercials made me laugh enough to tune in. The first episode made me laugh enough to forego my bedtime and watch the second. After that, I was hooked.

The show follows the friendship of Alex, Dave, Penny, Max, Jane and Brad. In a very broad sense, it's like Friends. The trials and tribulations of these 30-somethings in Chicago, but when you get down to it, this show is nothing like its much loved predecessor. In the first episode, Alex leaves Dave at the altar and everyone is left to wonder what will become of their group. Jane and Brad are married, Max is a homosexual and Penny is...Penny.

What makes this show so uh-mahzing is the fact that in every episode, a discussion will be had that you've had with your friends. A character will go through something that you went through just the other week. The show is the opposite of Friends because it's so relatable. I have never dated the same guy multiple times, nor do I plan to, but I have absolutely had a conversation with my friends about Z-day or being in a dark place, "like going back to grad school dark."

Season 2 premieres this Wednesday at 8:30 central, after Modern Family. And if you can't fall asleep tonight, go ahead and watch some of the first season. I guarantee you will get hooked after the first I've said that before! moment.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And for once it might be grand
to have someone understand,
I want so much more then they've got planned
-Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast. A classic and, in my mind, the best Disney film. Maybe I took to it because she was the first brunette "princess" so I could obviously relate to her so much more than the previous princesses. Plus, she loves to read so basically, she's me in cartoon form.

I have to admit, watching this movie again now is a little...upsetting. Firstly, the Beast's rose is set to bloom until his 21st birthday at which point, if he doesn't find love *spoilers* he's stuck as a beast forever. 21?? Twenty one? As in the year Americans become old enough to legally purchase alcohol? Granted, some people have been fortunate enough to find their true love before or by that age but goodness, I can't imagine it. Not because here I am, 23 and single but because I have grown and changed so much in the past six months, not to mention the past two years.

Then again, at the same time, 21 was quite old to my ten year old self and I had always imagined being married and starting a family pretty quickly. That I blame on my mother and all the other Disney movies. I also blame Disney for setting unrealistic expectations. Why does there seem to be a Prince on every corner who's ready to build their Princess a library or travel through town putting a shoe on every girl he sees? Oh Disney, you kill me but you know what? I wouldn't trade those unrealistic expectations for anything. That's how you'll know that guy's someone special.

Secondly, it's upsetting only because I really am an adult now and this movie only reminds me of simpler times. Was it really 15 years ago that I was pretending to be Belle in my gold ball gown at halloween? My how time has flown. Now, my life didn't turn out the way I had imagined it would when I was ten but then again I had wanted to be the next Lindsay Lohan. Frankly, I think I got the better end of the deal.

So, for the next 90 minutes I will escape into the France on my screen while remembering my youth, still wishing I had the blue jumper dress to wear everyday to work. Looks like someone just found her halloween costume!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"No more poison, killing my emotions
I will not be frozen
dancing is my remedy"
Little Boots

I have been obsessed with the above song since June. It's upbeat, happy and tends to encompass a lot of what I'm feeling most of the time. It wasn't until my "long" run Sunday that I decided to replace dancing with running and really appreciated it.

It's amazing how one little thing can change your entire outlook on life. Listening to that song on loud towards the end of mile 4 I feel like I truly grasped my life and all of the events that got me here. My parents moving and me suddenly, finally, feeling like I was on my own. My nephew being born and me suddenly, finally, coming to grips with the fact that we were in fact, adults.

I still find it interesting and slightly ironic how and when these emotions and realizations hit you. I'm sure I'll have slip ups and days when I wonder and regret my choice of not moving to Never Never Land, but I'm pretty sure for each of those days, I'll have at least twice as many days filled with excitement and happiness. I have truly made a life up here for me and I couldn't be happier.

It also seems my dog couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out. It's been 10 and a half weeks since he lost his abdominal fluid on his own and he has energy to boot.
Exhibit A

And now, one of my dearest friends will be living up here soon enough and I can already tell we're going to stir up some trouble. It's taken a few left turns, but I've finally got things situated and I couldn't be happier, although I partly blame the extensive training program for that. Damn endorphins...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Mice Saga : Part VIII

For the readers that don't know, I have been having visitors to my apartment for a few weeks now. At first, I liked my new house guest. I affectionately named him Todd and had visions of making a home for him with Teddy and I. Unfortunately, Todd took advantage of the hospitality and I had to end things right there.

And yes, Todd is a mouse...

Well, Todd "left" and I thought everything was back to normal. Until I saw Todd's confused mate, Thick Kevin (please refer to the film Pirate Radio to understand the full awesomeness of his name). Todd must have told Thick Kevin about how amazing things were in Apartment D because he just had to join. I thought Todd was bad, TK proved me otherwise. Needless to say, he had to go.

Now, in the time it took to go from loving to hating Todd, he must have been busy because since then, all of his children have come to mourn him and yell at me. They don't even try to be sneaky anymore, running around in the daylight looking for more food. It all came to a head last Thursday. I heard rustling in my room (again) and had it. I wasn't going to sleep with earplugs if I didn't have to, so I scoured my room to find what the mouse could be eating. There was a stack of solo cups on my desk with a package of 6 Oreo's in them. I thought the aluminum foil wrapping the oreo's would deter the mice but apparently not. I went to throw them away and when I turned the cups upside down over the trash can, yep, out tumbles a mouse.

I haven't heard or seen any since then but I'm sure there still here, waiting. I cleaned up more mice droppings today than I ever thought possible. If I didn't have an intense fear of snakes, I would buy one just so it could take care of the mice. Needless to say, I think I've become pretty hardened to taking care of messy situations. No longer will I have to call my friend at 11 o'clock at night to have him kill some cockroaches (thanks again for the Barret!) or wait and hope the bugs get tired of my place.

I can only hope this is the final chapter to the Mice Saga but fear not, I will keep you updated if it is not.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Love yourself for who and what you are; protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent." --Joan Benoit Samuelson

My half-marathon training began today, a week ahead of schedule. I just couldn't put it off anymore! My workout routine for the month of August was challenging enough and I definitely enjoyed watching my muscles grow and body change, but I missed running. So today I thought, what the hell and went for it. I can add mileage one week or fall back a week if I need it and having cushion makes the process a little less daunting.

I've been running for ages, yet it wasn't until college when I fell in love with the activity. Having thirty, sixty, ninety minutes to filter through your thoughts and collect yourself is incredibly therapeutic. Pushing yourself harder, faster, longer and finding that you're capable of it is eye opening. Suddenly, you realize the punches the world throws you won't knock you down. If you're capable of a long run in the heat of summer, anything is possible.

There is nothing more soothing to me than the feel of my feet hitting the pavement or more exciting than having that song come on, the one you've been waiting to hear and finding some hidden store of energy to keep going. To look down at your watch and see that you'd been running longer than you realized, to feel shock when you're not as tired as you expected to be. Finishing a run, collapsing on the hardwood floor while your dog licks the sweat off your legs has got to be one of the best feelings I know.

So here I go. I'll write posts pertaining to my training just to make sure I stay motivated and on top of it. Just over three months until the big run and as excited I as am for race day, I'm more excited for the challenge facing me between then and now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less...than butterflies."
--Carrie Bradshaw

Well, it's that time again. Sunday night always rolls around and I always feel like I did in primary school - bummed. Not necessarily bummed to go to work but sad that another weekend has come to an end.

I was remembering a conversation had between friends last weekend earlier today. Somehow we got onto the topic of relationships and settling and ever since then I've wondered, is settling worse than ending up alone? I'm not sure. Part of me says yes, absolutely. How can you be happy if the whole time you're wondering what else is out there? But when you're alone, you can't help wonder if you gave up on the one you were supposed to end up with. Or when you're going to meet the one you will end up with.

Which raised another point, if everyone has their one that got away, what is it that prevents us from trying to win them back? Is it pride? Or is it the fear that they got away for a reason? Too many times we over think things. Emotions, relationships, actions. My first instinct is to overanalyze everything when it comes to interactions with the opposite sex which tends to make things, or really just me, crazy. But now, I have decided to think less and just got for it. Go with your gut and don't look back. That's what my professors always told me on tests and it looks like it's pretty applicable to life.

So the question remains: would you rather settle or be alone? Would you risk losing a good relationship because you believe a better one must out there? Or would you hold out in the hope that that good relationship turns into the one that gives you butterflies? Would you stay in a relationship because you're scared to be alone, even if it you know you're only in it to maintain the status quo? Or would you go for it, try to find the right person for you knowing full well that you might not? It's taken me a couple hundred words plus a quote from a wise woman to realize, I won't settle for anything less than butterflies. And if he doesn't show up, at least I have my dog...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour." --Walt Whitman

We all know the grass is always greener and we always want more, but are we ever happy with what we have? We always want the bigger house, the better job, the nicer car but when you think about it, there was a time when you wanted the car you have now or when that apartment you got was too big for you.

It's weird to think about, the fact that all too often after working so hard to get something, turning around and wanting something else. We all do it, don't try to pretend you don't, even if it's something small. We're constantly wanting something different, something supposedly better. So when do we get to the top of that totem pole and realize how amazing things are?

One of the best examples that comes to mind is losing weight. You set a goal, maybe you accomplish it, maybe you don't, but those first few weeks after losing weight are amazing. You can see the changes and feel the difference. But then, after you reach a plateau or perhaps decide to stop actively losing weight, you get used to what you've got and suddenly, it's not good enough. And hey, maybe that's just me but I have a sneaking suspicion it's not.

I have to remind myself, when my mood sours and my outlook darkens, that there were times when I dreamt about the life I'm leading now. And even though I might want something different, something "better", I need to take the time to think about how good those things are now. I know I'm blessed but I could do to remember it more often. We don't know when happiness will come and we don't know how long it will stay, but like Walt Whitman says above, enjoy it now, while you have it. Enjoy and be thankful for what is in your life.

Well, that got a little preachy...oops!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
-- Walt Disney

Not surprisingly, Mr. Disney makes a great point and it's something I've written plenty about. That being said, I won't touch on it much more than to offer a great quote and hope that you will keep it in mind next time you're reeling from the blow that just hit or the hand you were unexpectedly dealt because for every crummy day you have, two perfectly fine days will follow until eventually, the crummy days are gone. Take my word for it.

I have a puppy. In all honesty, I found it easy to forget the fact that Ted was only eight, nine, ten
months old until now. His illness had plagued him
with the body of a fifteen year old dog, preventing him from walking around the block in even the
coolest of weather. Well, he is most certainly not suffering from that anymore. He got three walks today with sporadic running thrown in the mix and he still had energy to burn. He has to walk on his leash now because if he even sees another person, much less another dog, he will bolt to make a new friend. I watched him play with my neighbors dog this weekend and had to pinch myself to make sure it was real.

Due to this, I had to buckle down and do the things I had been putting off. I finally caved and gave him a good haircut, trimming down the spots my dad had missed and getting his hair down to a more manageable length. Little does he know he'll probably be getting another
grooming session this weekend. He did surprisingly well with the trimmers, sitting for me and not making any kind of fuss. As you can tell (I hope?) left is the before and right is the after (although I cut the hair on his face a bit later). He looks like a whole new dog!

I feel like I have finally truly adjusted to the working world and the life that comes with it. Soaking up the weekends as much as possible and still being incredibly productive on the weekdays. I have a schedule I prefer to follow and rather enjoy having everything mapped out. In fact, deviations leave me slightly uncomfortable. Yay for the early signs of some kind of compulsive disorder.

It's finally the weekend and I'm ecstatic. What are your plans?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When does caring become overbearing?

We all have friends and family that love us and will tell us the absolute truth with no hesitations. But it begs the question, where is the line between caring and overbearing? At times I have felt that any relaying of thoughts, opinions or emotions have been a good thing but as of late, I have gone the other route. Realizing that sometimes, what people think and say might push you towards the very thing they are trying to prevent. So where is the line?

You would think we would take all thoughts and words into consideration. Everyone counts on their friends to have their backs, be the shoulder to cry on and tell them the facts up front without sugar coating it. So why do we get upset when our friends are brutally honest with us? Isn’t that what we claim to always expect from them? And why is it, that when some people tell us the truth, we choose to ignore it?

Brutal honesty is my forte. I hate sugar coating because well, how is someone going to learn if you try to make it seem like less than it is? They won’t. But here’s my question. If we turn to our friends for advice and their outside opinion, why is it so easy to become annoyed with them when we get it? Is it because we don’t like what we hear? Or is it because we know they’re right?

I count on my friends for a number of things and I hate the fact that sometimes I doubt their valuable and irreplaceable opinions. But when I've heard the same thing from multiple people, sometimes I just want to throw it back in their face and say, sorry 'bout ya. And I can only imagine friends of mine saying the same thing about "advice" I have given them. So the question remains, when does caring become overbearing? Where is the line that, once crossed, pushes people closer to the outcome you want them to avoid? And why isn't it clearly marked so that all friends can stop before they get too close?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it." -- Victor Hugo

It has been exactly one month since Teddy lost the fluid in his abdomen. For a while, I expected it to come back and I still fear it will but his behavior this morning makes me think he's feeling better than ever. Nothing beats being woken up by a whining dog, jumping to try and get on your bed and lick you until you wake up. Or taking said dog for a walk around the block and having to speed up your pace to keep up with him. Ironically, I had a dream last night that contained several scenarios of my dog dying and yet here he is, happy, energetic, and hopefully healthy.

I took a much needed break last night and stayed in. I read, wrote, pondered, remembered. And then, this morning, I understood. It truly was an aha moment, the realization of why things had to happen. Take Teddy for example. When we found out he had his liver problems, I had two options. To distance myself from my amazing puppy or bond with him like no other and make sure he had the best last weeks of his life. I went for option B and here we are, 6 months later and still going. That bond is something I wouldn't trade for the world.

Victor Hugo is right- The Lord doesn't put us through trials and tribulations if we can't handle it. Of course, that knowledge and outlook is hardest to grasp when you're in the thick of it all. And I'll admit, I knew things would get better with time and that there was a reason for everything but constantly telling yourself that doesn't make it any easier to believe. No, it's not until you reach the other side of the mountain that you become capable of looking back and appreciating the journey. Appreciating the hardships and burdens you have overcome. And looking back at where you were and seeing where you are now, that's got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

So those troubling times you're going through now? Just remember, they don't last forever and honestly, the view's much better from the other side of the mountain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How long do we have to wait for everyone to grow up?

What is it that keeps people, even adults, from growing up? Sure, we all know that women mature faster than men and that you have to date older to find a guy on your maturity level, but I've now experienced first hand that older does not necessarily mean more mature. And it's not an attempt to hold onto youth; that's just a lie someone told to feel better about their behaviors. So what is it that prevents people from maturing?

Is it some kind of twist in their childhood, making them think the carefree ways of the immature were better than the ways of the wise? I find that I'm almost more carefree than I used to be. Not having to worry about what other people think or if you were wearing the right outfit. Not fighting to be in the popular crowd or crying because you aren't. Life now is pretty good. Sure there are bills to pay and you work 40 hours a week, but I'm much more content with that than attending school for 7 odd hours.

The thing I hate the most is when people think they are the most mature, sophisticated people around but they're worse than a 13 year old. We all have our flaws and by this point in life, you would think we'd all be aware of them. I became highly aware of my stubbornness in high school and have since learned to pick my battles very carefully because, well, when you challenge me you better be ready to fight to the death. So when does everyone else catch up? When does the rest of the world realize their flaws, work on them and become the adult they're supposed to be? We can't stay young for everyone and hell, I don't want to. So why would anyone willingly choose to continue a behavior they've been doing since junior high?

How long do we have to wait for everyone to grow up??

Monday, July 4, 2011

"Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be." --Carrie Bradshaw

I think the most interesting thing to have come from the past two+ weeks is discovering I'm not who I thought I was. I'm not that shy girl I was back in primary school or even during college, I'm not the girl who was scared of risk or adventure and I'm not ready to be tied down to a place like I thought I was.

There were so many times in my past when I would be the quiet one, unable to introduce myself to my peers and in turn, be the odd one out. That wasn't a constant but it was more often then not. And now, here I am, going out and making friends on the weekends, meeting new people and honestly, living for me. I'm doing things because I want to and because of that, I'm enjoying all of the experiences so much more. I'm no longer the homebody who stays in on a Friday night, not because I don't still enjoy that but because I want to go out and meet people, maybe go a little crazy.

I was thinking today, especially with my job, that I can go anywhere. I can live anywhere and still get my job done. Which has made me want to compile a list of the places I want to stay and figure out when I'm moving. Go for 6 months to a year and then move on to the next place. Of course, it's easy to say now when I don't have something/someone tying me to one spot but it's still fun to think of being in California for a while, living in Hawaii and working on the beach, stopping in Houston and watching my precious nephew.

I'm realizing at this point in my life, the options are endless. The opportunities are never-ending and, for now, I have no one to worry about except myself, which is so incredibly freeing (albeit a little little sad, again, for now). It's interesting that people say your past shapes who you become, which can be true. But at the same time, if you hold onto your past for too long, it really can become an anchor that weighs you down and keeps you from growing, changing, improving. Sometimes though, it's easier to hold onto your past. It's what you know since you've experienced it. But take the risk, let it go and figure out first hand who you're supposed to be without the past keeping you from doing so.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul." --Ludwig Von Beethoven

Music has always been an integral part of my life. I remember road trips in which my family would chastise me for "singing" (alright, yelling) along with my Mary-Kate and Ashley cassette tapes, protesting that I was, indeed, the cute one. I remember my mother dragging me to piano lessons, all the while hating them because my fingers could barely reach past a third while my sister did so with ease. And I remember finding my niche with song writing and percussion. Over the years, my passion for music has grown and the need for it in my life has become apparent.

I find it interesting how we come back to what we know and enjoy when things aren't going our way, and even when they are. I had the most amazing vacation last week, spending time with my family who loves me and will always be there. Who gave me the most wonderful hugs and shared a thousand laughs with me. And even in those moments, when jokes and laughter were shared, I realized how important music is for me. To express how I'm feeling, to get certain thoughts out in the open or to even just celebrate and bask in the moment.

My darling cousin Madison and amazing Aunt Liz shared the song of my life right now, Bring Night by Sia. It's another perfect pop anthem to add to your summer playlist and for all those pop fans out there, I would be doing an injustice by not sharing it with you.

It's so simple and yet so entrancing. I can put it on and instantly get the biggest smile on my face. You should have seen me dancing around the condo like a eight year old, singing into my hair brush. But that's the amazing thing about music. It can make you forget all of your problems and take you to a completely different world where, for three minutes, you forget that bills are due on a Tuesday and you are suddenly single. It reminds you that anything is possible and that you still, very much, are capable of smiling like before.

And maybe it's not music for you, maybe it's playing basketball or reading a book, but I've found in those moments when it's just you, you really can find yourself. And music is what allows me to do that. I can only hope you know (or find) what it is that allows you to get to that same point.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

It's been a week of trials and changes but it could not have ended with a better change. Once again, the light of my life, my sweet Teddy has absorbed the fluid in his abdomen. He looks like the 9 month puppy he should and I can't help smile when I look at him. Watching him prance down the sidewalk or go up the stairs is just what I needed.

I realized earlier, on our first walk of the day, that a person who always liked dogs but never had that kind of a connection with a dog, had found her doggie soulmate with Ted. I always knew it but today, walking in step with him, it was an aha moment. He knows my emotions and doesn't ask questions. He truly has made the transition and changes in my life these past few months easier and I cannot imagine what it would have been like had he not been there.

I can only hope the lack of fluid in his abdomen can give his liver what it needs to regenerate and help it become fully functional, though I know it is unwise. I will instead enjoy the time that I have my energetic puppy back and keep doing everything I can to keep him that way.

the love of my life

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” --Albert Camus

Obstacles, challenges, problems, they're all put in front of us to make us grow. To make us stronger. They break us down to make us come back as better people. And in the times of those crisis and challenges, all you can do is know that eventually, it will get better. Time truly heals everything, makes the bones mend in their special way and makes a seemingly broken person whole in a way they never were before.

But knowing you will come out the other end better than before doesn't make the journey any easier. There are too many roadblocks that threaten to trip you up and push you back down the path you just came from. You just have to remember that there is a purpose and an end to it all. You only learn about yourself when life is not going like you wanted. It's in those moments that you are challenged to find your way through the mess and come out the other end. To find the invincible summer inside yourself and know that you can get through anything.

My friends have been incredible these past few days, especially those I hadn't realized were there. Another blessing in those times of pain, discovering who is there to hold your hand and shoulder some of the pain. While they know I will always be there for them should they need me, I can only hope I will never have to be. To expect a friend to go through this would be too much for me.

This "winter" has provided me with the drive and motivation to accomplish some very tangible goals and do them according to a timeframe. I think that's all you can do when life isn't going your way, focus on things you can control and do everything to accomplish those goals. So until then, I'll keep Adele on repeat and keep in mind that everyone faces their own personal challenges in life. That some good can come from even our darkest moments and in the end, we're always better off.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beat of My Drum

Nicola Roberts - Beat of My Drum

Above is my current song for summer, an awesome track recorded by Nicola Roberts (of Girls Aloud fame) and produced by Diplo (worked with Chris Brown, MIA, etc). It is the perfect song for summer, with its infectious beat and chant-like chorus. The perfect song to blast while driving with your windows down or laying by the pool.

Nicola comes from being the shy, "outcast" of Girls Aloud and has truly stepped into her own. She chose to not follow in bandmates Cheryl Cole and Nadine Coyle's footsteps of the R&B route and instead chose to make this little diddy, perfect for dance parties and lazy days alike. There's something about it; it gets in my head and leaves me singing "L.O.VE. Dance to the beat of my drum!" while sweeping the floors or walking to my car. I can already see myself getting ready with my girlfriends with Nicola's album, Cinderella's Eyes (out October 3rd) blaring.

If you haven't gone out and bought this lovely single, you need to do so. There's also an incredible b-side, Porcelain Heart, that is just as good if not better then the piece of pop perfection found above. So go check it out and thank me later.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The best show you're not watching

I have decided to do installments of what will be referred to as "The Best Show You're Not Watching." In each, I will review, that's right, the best shows you're not watching. And what makes them the best? Obviously the fact that I enjoy them to no end. So let's begin, shall we?

For this first installment I give you, Doctor Who. What's that? You've never heard of it? That sounds about right, most haven't. In fact, I wouldn't know of this little gem if it hadn't been for that wonderful gossip blog I read religiously, OhNoTheyDidn't (check it out if you're bored). After all the hooplah last year about a new "doctor", I was intrigued. What kind of show could generate this kind of discussion across the board? I learned the basics and sat down to watch the first episode of series (season in America) five.

Here's what you need to know. The Doctor is a Time Lord, an alien from another planet who is all alone. He travels through space and time in the Tardis, which looks like a Police Box on the outside. His tool of choice? A screwdriver. But not just any screwdriver, no, a sonic screwdriver. What exactly this means, I'm still not sure, but I will tell you the screwdriver seems capable of doing just about anything. So there you have it, the basics to Doctor Who.

Now, what makes this show so great isn't the fact that it's the longest running television show in the world (it's been going since the 60's!) but that fact that while it's technically a children's show, it's smart, witty and fun. It's quirky, comical and keeps you on edge, waiting and wanting more. Be prepared, the first episode you watch of this brilliant show will be a bit odd. You'll think, what exactly am I watching? But I guarantee that the end of that episode will do just enough to make you wonder what happens next for the Doctor and his companion and you'll tune into the next episode.

I highly recommend this show. The 6th series is currently showing on BBCAmerica, Saturdays at 9/8central. If you have netflix and the time, I would suggest going back and watching the 13 episodes of series 5. That's when the Doctor "regenerated" (a term they use to allow a new actor to come in and play the same character) and essentially a whole new show was born. If you already watch it, I would love to hear your thoughts/comments on the newest season!

Show: Doctor Who
Where: BBCAmerica
When: Saturdays 9/8central

Those Winter Sundays
By Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

A dear family friend sent me that poem after my last post (see here: and I'm so glad he did. So many times it's the unseen, thankless acts that love is found in and so many times those go overlooked. Of course, once mentioned you think back and review/realize the little things in your life that were done out of love. Dinner on the table by 6, dishwasher unloaded, a dog taken out in the morning. He raises a good point, the unprovoked gestures and acts are most often the sweetest and most love-filled gestures out there. Those acts can be the simplest gesture, making the coffee in the morning or staying in on a Friday night, or the things that are larger in scale but slightly convoluted.

So the next time your sheets are washed or your car is full of gas, remember the love inside those gestures. It makes the little things so much more, and that much more special. And the next time you're wondering if the love is really there, just look back on those gestures to find your answer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"All it takes is Faith and Trust." --Peter Pan

It's been a while since a post and I'm going to blame it on my recent lack of anything post-worthy. That's not to say that exciting and good things haven't been happening, but I won't bore you with those thoughts and details. What is post-worthy? That's right, the Royal Wedding. Are you sick of hearing about it and seeing it all over the internet? Well, here's one more page that will bing when 'Royal Wedding' is searched.

Catherine Middleton and William of Wales have finally tied the knot. I remember being younger and having such a crush on Wills. He was so handsome even when he was young. And I remember when I learned about Kate Middleton. I expected them to break up and that I would eventually wind up in William's life. Well, that plan is obviously kaput and I am quite alright with that. I have found my new girl crush in Miss Middleton. She is both classy and trendy while being incredible traditional and has yet to do something that puts her in a negative light.

After watching the wedding, it was obvious that these two are absolutely in love and adore each other. Reading various articles and reports only confirm that notion, telling of how he was doting on her at the reception or how she never left his side. It's all terribly romantic but like most, I am curious to watch their relationship unfold. When polled, 9 out of 10 British women said they did not envy Kate, due to her inability to lead a normal life now. But when we're kids and even as we grow up, who thinks "I want a normal life" and who thinks "I want an exciting future"? Yes, Kate Middleton can no longer take a walk in the park or run to the grocery in busy London, but really, who wants to run errands?

That being said, Catherine did sacrifice everything for William. She essentially left the life she knew behind, although she had grown accustomed to the public eye since they have been dating for 8 years. But, as a royal, she can no longer vote or hold a job...well, she can but it's apparently frowned upon by the monarchy. Yes, she left normalcy behind but she did it for love. Men find marriage and commitment terrifying but it seems common that women will do what ever they have to for love. I'm not saying men won't go above and beyond but at the same time I wonder, would they? Maybe it's something that's hardwired into the female brain, maybe it's something we're surrounded with in culture and media, I have no idea but it raises the question, what would you do for the person you love?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you; you have to go to them sometimes." --Winnie the Pooh

Oh Pooh, you are so intelligent and so simplistic, which is honestly the best kind of intelligence. There are a lot of going ons in the family right now and it's made me stop and remember what it felt like when I decided to accept my current position in Oklahoma City and move to a whole new place. Not come here for a semester, or 8, but actually pick up and move here. Establish my life here. It still gets to me.

What is it that suddenly gives us the courage to embark on a new adventure? And maybe not even suddenly, maybe it's something you've wanted your whole life, but at the same time, that moment you realize that everything is going to was one of the scariest of my life. But Pooh is right. You can't just stay where you are and expect things to happen, or change. They say you can't rest on your laurels and they're right. If you become complacent with "the norm" it can't get better. It was always only ever be the same. And, coming from a person who has hated change these past few weeks, I think I would hate a stagnant life even more.

I wanted to write a post about the things in my new life that I love and couldn't live without, as it seems most of my posts of late have consisted of my whining (sorry about that, but what is a blog really for?!). So here we go.

1) Income. Having a way to pay for the things I need and not have to pull it from my savings.

2) Having my own place. I am loving coming home to my place and doing whatever I want to do. Eating whatever I want for dinner. Knowing I can laze on the couch and answer to no one.

3) The boyfriend. Let's be honest, it's been great being able to see him more than once or twice a month. I'll leave it at that ;-)

4) The weather. Oh my do I love Oklahoma weather, especially considering the fact that back in Texas I'd probably be swimming everytime I walked outside.

5) A cold beer on a ________ night. This is similar to #2 but I can't help giving bud light it's own spot on my list. Coming home and knowing I can sip a brewski after a rather hard day (or even an easy one).

Granted there are more, but these are the top (okay, first) five that came to mind when writing. I'm sure more will come as my time here continues.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hair dye gone awry

Well, it's happened and this is my story of the hair dye gone awry. I am lucky to be able to say that up to this point, I have never had a truly horrendous hair dye mishap but honestly, tonight's takes the cake.

Let's be honest. I bought the dye because A) I have wanted red hair since, oh the first episode of Alias back in 8th grade and B) the ends of my hair had lost the color I put it them two months ago. So my thought process was, why not? I did the ends per usual, making sure it wasn't just two separate shades of brown then this red. After I washed that out and blow-dried it, I realized I loved the color and wanted to go for it, use the rest on the rest of my hair and try to get a BOOM red.

Well, apparently BOOM red literally means BOOM THIS PART IS RED. That's right, the top of my head has two very distinct sections of red against the brown. It's my own fault for not applying it evenly. I was trying to be "creative" and "weave" the color in like highlights but now I just feel like a 6th grade girl who had chunks of highlights.

I love Revlon Colorsilk. For someone who loves to dye her hair, the $2.99 price tag is awesome. The Luminista pictured above, the color I used, was about a dollar more expensive and in all honesty, I didn't read the box. Had I, I would have know that the Luminista brand is intended to color darker shades of hair i.e. me. But again, who really thinks that all hair dye is not created equal? Apparently, they aren't.

Let me just say that I will absolutely be using this brand again, probably Sunday when I pick out a brown to try and cover up the mess I made tonight. Unless it fades and looks blended at which point I'll probably keep it. So, to any ladies (or gents) out there thinking about this hair dye, be wary! This stuff delivers regardless of the darkness of your hair! With that in mind, I definitely recommend it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

(One of) My Best Friend's Wedding

I will be the first to admit that I am so incredibly lucky to have to distinguish between "one of" and "my" best friend's wedding. On top of that, I'm so lucky and blessed to be able to be apart from my best friends for days, weeks, months at a time and have it feel like no time has passed when we come together again. That's what I got to experience this weekend.

My dear friend Kristen finally married her long time beau and honorary member of our club, Brady. It was a beautiful wedding, she was a beautiful bride and I know all in attendance had a wonderful time. The weirdest part? Watching one of my best friends, whom I have grown and shared so much with since high school, marry her soulmate and truly take that step from youth to adult. I knew we were "adults" now, but it's the wedding and marriage that makes it all real, makes it official to me. Not the working an 8-5 job or having a college degree, but knowing she's got that ring on her finger and has found the man she's going to spend the rest of her life with. When did this happen?!

There was a plethora of emotions floating around this weekend. Excitement, happiness, relief, sadness, but not all were due to the wedding. Going home, back to the place I grew up and finding my room essentially gutted was an intense onslaught of feelings. I knew it would happen but I don't think there's anyway to prepare for it. That room was my sanctuary for so long, that game room filled with memories, those stairs run down from the laps I made everyday. It was weird being back and knowing, even though it will always be a home, the place I grew up, it wasn't the same. It wasn't even the same as it was in college, when I would venture home for Christmas and Summer break. Of course, even then it took a lot of time to get used to the change. I remember crying every time I drove back to school freshman year, back when I would make the 800 mile trek one way every month. I would cry as my parents waved goodbye when I pulled out of the driveway and be on my way. Then, as school went on, I went home less frequently and found myself being more excited and ready to get back to school. Back to where my life was happening. It's the time thing that I need and we all know, you can't rush time when you want to.

I'll say it time and time again, knowing full well that saying and believing are two very different things, time fixes things, heals all wounds and generally makes things better. But there's that double edged sword again because time changes things.

I never had an idea for what this blog would end up being. It was only ever intended to be an outlet for me to get thoughts off my chest and possibly provide a different view to the life after college. To vent about the frustrations of being unable to secure a job after graduating and now, the frustrations of that first, full-time position. But today, I realized the only thing I want people to get out of this is to enjoy where you are or what you're doing.