Weekend review: Apartment update

This past weekend, Mom came up to visit. She hadn’t been to DC since early January, but she also came with the purpose of bringing lots of goodies I had stored at home (particularly kitchen goodies). I can now eat off plates and use real cutlery – fancy eh?

We also managed to knock out a few apartment updates that I thought I’d share. I’m really excited about sharing the ‘in progress’ moments so I can watch my first place evolve as I find my own home style. The big ticket items we scored this weekend were a couch (not yet delivered) and also updated bookshelves. I had these in my last place, but you might remember they were black. 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of Behr’s Parsnip later and ta -dah…

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This is technically the back-side, but I tried to make the shelves do double duty so it was appealing to the eye from both sides; however, the shelves were definitely decorated with the side facing the door in mind first.

You might also notice a little updated bedding. I went all white trying to use bedding I had, adding in necessities like a new duvet cover, and sourcing 2 accent pillows from Marshall’s. I actually despise pillows that have no function so wanted to keep the extra pillows to a minimum. And to satisfy my own habits/quirks, both of these pillows are used daily.

Just to give you an idea of the space from the entry way, here’s before:

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And after:

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I’m definitely still missing a few big ticket items, but hopefully the couch will be delivered this week and the rest will fall into place. Here’s an updated list of to-do’s/must buy for the entire apartment. I haven’t shown you the closets, bathroom, or the work/desk area, but I’ve included updates below where needed. The closet and bathroom are pretty much sorted.

Bedroom

  • Buy white duvet cover
  • Buy 4 standard, white pillow cases
  • Add 2 decorative pillows
  • Add decorative mirror or framed graphic over bed
  • Add small rugs next to bed (maybe)
  • Add picture frame shelving next to window (purchased, need to hang)
  • Add soft curtains

Living room

  • Buy couch/loveseat
  • Add slipper chair if room
  • Add graphic rug
  • Add something on back wall over couch
  • Frame out TV on long dresser and add picture wall
  • Add lighting

Work space

  • Update desk
  • Update work area to be functional for both work and crafts

Entry

  • Add graphics, small mirrors, etc to wall at entry

So yeah, still a fair way to go. I’ll keep you posted as I continue to update my space!

Life: Dirty 30 updates

This might be the first time I’ve had for almost 2 weeks to sit down, write, and update you on life as it currently stands.

photo 4(6)Two weekends ago, I traveled to Pittsburgh to celebrate Jenna and Sean as they tied the knot. I hitched a ride up to Pittsburgh with Kelly and her boo. To tie it all together so you get the connection – Kelly, Jenna, and I were roommates for 4 years. We had a lot of memories to share. We were there for each other’s ups, downs, and general WTF moments in life, so it was a really special weekend.

It was so nice to get away for the weekend; I, of course, had the best date at the wedding. All the ladies were totes jelly.

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Now before you judge, we brought Edward as a special guest since Jenna used to be (maybe still is?) obsessed with Twilight. She’s even met some of the cast members. He was, naturally, a hit! The evening itself was filled with love and laughter and I was pretty chuffed with myself for capturing this amazing moment…

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Just pure love. There were so many fun things about the wedding like the post-reception bowling, the tater-tot bar, and the cookie table; but the best was getting the mother of the bride drunk…a favorite past time of the roommates when we all lived together. Yes, that’s a flask. Get on board.

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It took at least a day to recover after all the shenanigans, but it was definitely worth it. I didn’t have long to rest until I was out celebrating my own birthday and moving into my very first place! I wasn’t feeling the over the top party this year, for whatever reason, so I just had a few girls together for happy hour on Wednesday and then a fun dinner/night out on Saturday around 14th/U street.

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But let’s rewind for a hot second, because I skipped right over moving into my very own place! It’s not much, but it’s mine…all mine! I’m still in my same neighborhood which I loved too much to leave and I’m now in a studio, but I don’t really need much more space. I did think about living in DC, but there were a few factors that kept me in VA and for now, I’m very happy with my decision. Maybe in a year, I’ll be ready to take that leap.

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Of course, it doesn’t look like this now, but there is definitely a long way to go before it feels like home. I’m trying to hone my inner John and Sherry of Young House Love and live happily in the in-between. Half the fun I get from reading their blog is seeing a space evolve over time, so I’m trying to relish that in my place. To get the fun started, I did manage to hang this fun octopus from the YHL collection they just launched at Target. Fancy, eh?!

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So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to. I just can’t wait to bring you even more apartment updates as I DIY the shit out of the studio! Wheeeeeee!

Life: Things are happening…

I think over the past few months, I’ve become a little superstitious. OK, maybe a lot. I even hesitated to draft this blog, let alone actually publish it. But I decided that there’s nothing wrong with sharing the definitive things that are happening in my life and maybe I’ll honor my superstitious feelings by keeping the not so definitive things secret…for now.

With that said, if you have any extra ju-ju, luck, or happy thoughts floating around…send them my way? But now, for the things that are definitely happening!

1. I’m moving into my very own place. My FIRST place that will be completely inhabited by just ME! Sure, it’s a studio and I don’t own things like a couch (yet!) but I’m really excited to set up my life again. To feel validated by stuff, crafts, and dinners for 1. Move-in date: April 11.

2. I started doing a bit of freelance writing for a travel company. A BIG travel company that shall remain nameless but likes to advise people on their trips. It’s not a lot right now, but it is a great opportunity to a.) set myself up as a freelance writer and b.) work towards those big dreams (that I never even dreamed out loud) of being a travel writer.

3. My knee is officially on the mend and I finally feel like I’m back to getting in shape. I did some jumping and lighter hops in PT this week. To celebrate, I did some research on joining a crew team here in VA. Crew sort of came about as an idea earlier this year to meet new people and get into great shape when I started doing it at the gym as an alternate workout to running. I contacted the team today and plan on starting their Novice Sweep program in June (the earliest available).

4. I’m planning my end of year trip to Ireland (for a wedding) and now hopefully somewhere new and fun in Europe. I have a few friends in Germany that I’d love to visit and I’ve never been to Prague. I plan on giving myself an extra week after my friend’s wedding. Ain’t no thang to travel by myself anymore. If anything, I enjoy it.

So yeah…things are happening. It’s funny…the fortune teller in Bangkok (and my horoscope) said that things would start to fall into place around my 30th birthday and that my luck would only build from this point on. I don’t know if I waited for this moment or if this moment was waiting for me, but I do feel things changing and there is definitely a level of excitement deep in my belly that sends all the good shivers up my spine. In the end, I suppose it really just came down to me realizing that this MY journey, is worth the effort.

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Life: Fighting resistance

On Sunday, I nearly slipped into what felt like a full blown panic attack. I was on the verge of tears and I felt shaky. Why? Look at that little counter to the right. In 15 days I’ll be 30 and nothing is how it should be I thought it would be.

2014 hasn’t had the most brilliant start. Yes, there have been some fun moments, but for the most part I feel like I’m floating along…waiting for my life to start. My 2014 goals loom over me and I feel like I’m failing every day that I can’t cross something off, but it’s certainly not for lack of trying! Last week alone I applied for 20 jobs. TWENTY JOBS! And nada.

I did have a phone interview on Friday which I flubbed and which I will call it a lesson learned. And I do have an interview with a marketing agency that places mid/senior level professionals – so it’s something, but I’m honestly exhausted. I’m tired of waiting for it to be my time.

My time. I use that phrase quite liberally when talking about my future as it keeps popping up for me. Friends, family, horoscopes, even palm readers have said – your time is coming. Yes, I’m silly and take those things to heart so maybe that’s why my level of frustration is through the roof. I’m riding on 6 months of being unsettled, which includes my 2 month hiatus to Asia. That’s a long time to be in fight/flight mode.

I was honestly going to make this entire blog a woe is me post and ask for advice, but yesterday, 2 things happened:

  1. A very good friend pointed out that I’m not very kind to myself. I place impossible standards and harsh restrictions on myself because I think I’m not good enough.
  2. I started reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and learned about “resistance”.

In both these moments, I learned a lot. First, I learned that I over-correct for past events and don’t trust myself to make good decisions anymore. I take full responsibility for things that happen, even when they aren’t my fault. I’m unable to see that sometimes things happen as a matter of circumstance and it’s NOT a reflection of who I am. I don’t extend the same courtesy and leniency to myself, that I extend to others. I’m simply not kind to my soul.

Because of all that, I’m constantly battling who I am and where I am in my life. Not that I compare myself to others, but rather I compare myself to my ideal. I know I’m an over-achiever. I’m a list maker at heart and a goal oriented person.

A friend recommended Pressfield’s book for the simple fact that maybe I was the one standing in the way of my own success. Perhaps it was my fear fueling the resistance. I finished the first 3rd of the book yesterday (it’s not very long) and here were the big takeaways:

Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.

We know what the clan is; we know how to fit into the band and the tribe. What we don’t know is how to be alone. We don’t know how to be free individuals.

So what does that have to do with me turning 30 and potential panic attacks? Just that I have to keep fighting the good fight. Fight resistance in thinking that my life won’t get better, that things won’t change. Things will change – there is no other option. I will be someone and I will be kinder to myself.

Weekend review: Dog love

Last September, one of my good friends moved to Boston. I was happy for her because she was starting a new chapter in her life, but also sad as she was my hiking buddy and she took her pup, Sophie with her. Rude.

But last weekend, I went to visit said friend, Sophie, and do a little Paddy’s Day celebrating in Southie like a local. This visit also meant I could cuddle with Sophie!

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I was actually really excited for the change in city and the change in pace as compared to my previous weekend shenanigans. Instead of being a lush, we were outdoorsy and did several hikes in the North Boston area.

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There was still plenty of snow on the ground, but it was manageable. It was also good training for my knee. I’m finally comfortable enough to get out there and do more rigorous activities…and not a moment too soon! But of course after every hike, there was always a bit of cuddle time. Sophie really has mastered the selfie…

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After 2 relaxed days of hiking, nomming, and catching up we headed to South Boston on Sunday for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and to hang out with some of her friends. Her friends had a townhouse right on the parade route – talk about an amazing view! Nothing beats a good Sunday session!

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It only took me 2 days into this week to feel rested and back to normal, but it was worth every minute. Tiny hats ftw!

Weekend review: Jenna Penna’s Last Fling

This past weekend I was fortunate to celebrate a friend in love. I know a lot of relationships out there seem perfect and a lot have their ups and downs; but some just teach you the true meaning of love, and that if it’s worth it…you fight for it. And that’s exactly what Jenna and her boo, have taught me through the years. Needless to say, I was more than excited to take part in her bachelorette and bridal shower weekend!

The bridal shower was the usual sort of affair – cheese, wine, crackers, gifts. The bachelorette party on the other hand, had a nice twist to the usual night out on the town. Her bridesmaids decided to take advantage of the wineries in Northern Virginia and a limo bus service that runs from the metro to really celebrate Jenna’s one last fling as a single lady.

We started at Hiddencroft Vineyards with a tasting, followed by a food spread in an upstairs room with a few bottles of the wine we had just tasted. Here’s myself and Jenna, before things got messy :)

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Next, we headed up the winding roads of Loudon County to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards. By this time, the sun was out and it actually felt like Spring so naturally, we were outdoorsy and drank our wine on the patio. Here’s the whole group:

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By this point, we were all a few bottles deep and having a fantastic time. A few of us even walked down to the lake (that was still frozen on top) and checked out the vineyards. By the end of that adventure, this was the current state of affairs for yours truly…

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I love this picture – is that vain to admit? I don’t love it because I love my Mindy Kaling inspired outfit, I love it because lately, I feel like I struggle with allowing people to see the real me. Mostly out of fear that they won’t like what they see, but you don’t have to look closely to see that I felt comfortable in my own skin again. This is me. This is who I am.

Congrats again, Jenna Penna and thanks for showing me that love is still alive and well in the DMV!

Weekend review: Wineries, breweries, and gal pals…oh my!

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday and I’m only now posting last weekend’s review. The week hasn’t even really been that terribly busy – where has the time gone? Either way, it was probably a good idea I waited as it allowed me to get my head right and as I finally came out of my “surgery sads.”

I don’t think the “surgery sads” are a unique phenomenon as anyone I’ve talked to recently (that has had surgery) knows exactly what I’m referring to. That general feeling that you’re either a.) no longer invincible or b.) everything feels so fucking hard, you wonder how you made it this far in the first place. I went through a big round of these with my first ACL surgery and it was not only emotionally draining, but also physically. I remember being tired all the time and not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully this time, the sads only lasted a week but it felt compounded by more than just my meniscus repair (feeling unsettled, unloved, and generally lost in life). But I clawed my way out of those sads, waking up every day determined to love myself more and to be better, to do better than the day before.

So what did I do to celebrate? I went on an adventure to Fredericksburg, VA with the best of friends. It was definitely last minute, but full of laughter and good memories. We started at Hartwood Winery where they just happened to be having a Mardi Gras party which also included a cellar tour and tastings from both Hartwood and Unicorn Winery.

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Can’t say it was the most exhilarating winery tour I’ve ever been on, but we made it fun – as we always do.

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And one of the guides was more than obliged to take a picture of our motley crew. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…2 browns and 2 lesbians walk into a winery in rural Virginia.

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Let’s just say turning heads is what we do and oh how we laughed. After the winery, we headed to Blue and Gray Brewery about 20 minutes away from the winery. We stopped in for their taster and some appetizers. We turned a few more heads there too, but definitely worth the stop as the beer is delicious!

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Even though we were a little full, we had promised ourselves we’d have a nice dinner at Capital Ale House in downtown Fredericksburg – the real draw being the hundreds of beers available and the fancy ice bar they have to keep your beer cool while chatting and having a good time. I think we all walked away stuffed, but happy.

More importantly, no more “surgery sads.”

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