Last you read about life (and love), I was pretty down in the dumps. Not by choice, but more by circumstance. Circumstances haven’t really changed, but then I remembered my Great Aunt Alberta and what she told me when she was about 80.
Be with the ones you love & that love you. And if they don’t love you, then FUCK ‘EM!
I’ll never forget the moment she told me that. I think my eyes popped out of my head, but I also remember that whatever I did, I needed to write that down so I wouldn’t forget it. I knew it would come in handy, like it did recently. So while I still find myself frustrated with dating and lonely at times (on a grander scheme), I also know that I have to be patient and I need to put myself first 100% of the time.
So what changed? I let go, as much as I could. I may not be able to ever let go of insecurities until I’m in a relationship where there is no reason to feel insecure, but I let go of people not loving me and people not wanting to make time for me. Right before my mom came, I felt calm. I haven’t felt that calm in a very long time (or at least since I’ve been single).
With my 31st birthday in 2 days, I’m really focused on doing more for me instead of trying to fix me for someone else. Do the things that I love more. Pay less attention to the things I loathe. It’s a struggle for sure, but at least I feel like I’m on a better path.
I’m more focused on things like planning a vacation with my mom (just us!) or traveling again with friends and by myself. Pinching pennies but still planning great adventures (you can do both, right?). There are definitely times I feel inadequate, but it’s my life. I’m going to live it how I want. Spending my time with the ones I love and those that love me back.
Fuck the rest. (Thanks Great Aunt Alberta)
This past weekend, Mom came to visit. Like other times she’s visited, I try to take her somewhere special in DC. This trip we went to Hillwood Estate, a great recommendation from my colleague Elizabeth. Mom loved it and raved about how perfect the day was. :)
We got there around 10 AM when they first opened and it was great to explore the grounds while no one else was there. We even stopped into the little cafe and had Afternoon Tea. It was true afternoon tea with a small selection plate and a pot of brew. Mom and I felt the tiniest bit fancy and we both had an amazing day.
I don’t want to bore you with the back story, because the pictures are so fun, but I feel like I have to give you some info to go off of here. The Hillwood Estate was owned by Majorie Merriweather Post. If you live in the area, that’s the same Merriweather Post as the Pavilion. For everyone else, that’s the same Post as in Post cereal. YUP! Cereal tycoon in the hizzous. Over her lifetime, not only did she participate in being independently stinkin’ rich, but she also had a taste for art. After a stint in Russia with her 3rd hubby, she started collecting a lot of Russian artifacts. And that’s how Hillwood was born. First as her own private museum and later public after she passed away. And now… PICTURES!
There was much much more of the insides, but I think there’s enough there to entertain you. The gardens were amazing too, but my favorite was the Japanese Garden. I couldn’t help but play and I loved these pictures Mom took of me!
Enjoy, I tried to make the captions as descriptive as possible.
I spent a good portion of this past weekend by myself. Yep.
Me. Myself. And I.
While I can’t really admit that it was entirely by choice, I tried to make the most of it and accept it for what it was. For the most part, when I stopped worrying about being alone, I had a great time.
On Saturday, I went to a show at The Fillmore in Silver Spring. I saw Mat Kearney there, who I had actually only discovered on Pandora about 5 months ago. Something about his music pulled me in and if you’re ever looking for a new artist to check out – he gets my top marks. In fact, it was easily one of the very best shows I’ve seen in the last 2 years.
He’s innovative, his music is upbeat, and he knows how to work a disco ball! I was so impressed, I went home and downloaded 3 of his albums. I love his old stuff, just as much as I dig his new album JUST KIDS. To me, his style is this fun mix of 2000’s pop rock with Michael Franti vibes with a little bit of Eminem white guy style rapping if Eminem was super relaxed and inspirational. I don’t know, listen for yourself…it honestly puts me in a better mood every time I plug in.
In fact, when I set out for my run on Sunday, I put on Mat Kearney and I crushed 8 miles!
I know that might not sound like a big deal to all my running buddies, but I haven’t run 8 miles since before my knee surgery nearly 3 years ago. I’d only run 6 and that was with significant knee pain. I’ve been working up to 6 miles the past 3 months and Sunday, I decided that if I could run 6, I could run 8! So I did. I’d really like to go back to my orthopedic surgeon and tell him to suck it, since he very clearly told me I was no spring chicken and wouldn’t likely be running distance again. Not only did I run 8 miles, but I did it in under a 10 minute mile!
After all that fun, I felt on top of the world. I felt like me. I felt healthy. I felt strong. So what did I do? I booked a fun vacation with my best friend, Sandra. We’re headed to Cancun for 4 days in June! I absolutely can’t wait to lay on a beach and sip on all the free drinks in the land :)
So yeah – this weekend, I did exactly what I wanted to do. Even though I still 100% struggle with being alone, I guess the best any of us can do is make the best of it all. I just wish I didn’t care and I knew how to really let go.
At the recommendation of a friend, I’ve been reading Tiny Beautiful Things, the Dear Sugar compilation, by Cheryl Strayed (the same author as Wild).
While all the letters and responses she shares are vastly different, there is one underlying theme (at least in my opinion)…loving yourself. Whether you’re learning to appreciate who you are, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, believing you’re worth it, etc. – the single message that shines through is that we’re all somebody.
In one letter, a man who is disfigured from a disease, writes that he feels ugly and worries he’ll never experience true love. He even asks Sugar if he should give up. She writes to him that we are all here to do the best we can “and every last one of us can do better than give up.”
I loved these words especially since the man described his outward appearance as I sometimes feel about my insides: ugly and scarred. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got about my dating experiences, those in the far distant past and even those more recent. I’ve learned in the past 2 years that I struggle with trust, immensely. I still default to trusting people implicitly, but now instead of being potentially blindsided, I move quickly from trust to distrust.
And to be honest, it really pisses me off. I hate that I don’t trust people anymore because it’s so cliche. Women being distrustful of men. It’s every Lifetime movie. It’s every advice column topic. It’s just terribly cliche. The more I think about my actions and the crazy I feel deep inside boils my blood. Primarily, because I didn’t get here by myself. I didn’t wake up one day and say to myself, men are lying pigs. No. I had a lot of help.
And I hate it. I hate that I’m that stereotypical crazy woman at times, even if I’ve successfully hidden it from a guy, I feel it on the inside. I hate how it tears me up. How I feed into and sacrifice who I am. I hate even more that I seem to be the one who feels it all, when I wasn’t the one who misstepped. It feels like I’m punished for my trust and for opening myself up; whereas, counterparts have been rewarded for their indiscretions. I know many people probably feel that way, but a lot of my friends are quick to admit that I’ve had a rough go at dating and at finding love. But it seems there is no solution or real advice other than don’t give up. Take my time in between the pain, but don’t give up.
And so I don’t. But I’m tired and I want to trust all people again. I want that crazy, stupid love where you’re caught smiling for no reason. I want butterflies. I want to trust, truly. To share who I am at the deepest level and for that other person to really care. I want my heart to burn like a wildfire and I want to be wanted.
But a lot of days, it feels so impossibly hard. To trust. To love. To even believe it’s out there, just waiting for me. </3
Um, my bad. It’s been almost 2 months since I posted. I don’t even know where the time has gone or why I didn’t post. No excuses, so let’s just get back on track and do a little rewind of the past 2 months while I’m enjoying a snow day here in Virginia. You know I love a countdown!
4 Must-Know Updates
4. BUCKET LIST CONCERT
Just this week, I went to see Bush in concert. A band I’ve wanted to see since 1996. Only took 19 years! I missed them when they toured in 2010 and I told myself if they ever came around again, I’d be there.
They didn’t disappoint, but like a lot of older bands, I wanted them nix the new stuff and play my classic favorites.
That fat puss is alive and well and still makes me smile every single day. Seriously, why did I wait so long to have a furry friend?
2. LOCAL CELEBRITIES
No bigs or anything, but I met Sarah Fraser from 107.3. I’ve been a fan of hers since she was on that other radio station. She also told me she loved my outfit. It was a jumpsuit, so of course she did!
1. AUSTIN, TX
I knocked off one of four travel destinations in February when I visited Austin, TX. While I had originally planned to go by myself, true to form, friends came out of the woodwork – 1 old travel buddy and 1 colleague. I had an OK time – 6 out of 10. I give it that rating mostly because I was pretty sick and just didn’t have the energy to do all I wanted. I was also surprised by the lack of activities you could do without a car. But here were some of my favorite snaps from the trip. I think I’d definitely go back, but I’d like to go for ACL or SXSW – obvs.
I realize we are officially one week into 2015, but I never actually shared a review of 2014. I think that was mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t wholly impressed with 2014. Yes, lots of great things happened (like my new job!), but I didn’t feel like I had moved forward a lot. I realize now that’s simply untrue. I just didn’t move at the pace I wanted, which made me eager to start 2015 and my 2015 goals (as you already know!).
But, I should never wish away time. So here’s a very quick look back at 2014.
WordPress had this to say about my 2014. Looks like everyone was super keen to learn about my Grumpy Cat painted pumpkin. In fairness, it was pretty rad.
I did knock a lot of my 2014 goals, such as:
- Completing year 2 of The Happiness Project
- Improving my career (yay!)
- Repairing my right knee…again
- Traveling to 3 international destinations!
- And knocking out the remaining items on my DC bucket list
But there were also a few things that either didn’t happen or just fell short:
- Running that elusive 10-miler
- Saying yes to everything (because I learned that saying NO, is just as important)
- And I only made it to 17 books, not the full 25 I had hoped.
Truthfully, I’m not disappointed at all. Mainly because I’m still actively working on being a better version of myself. I’ll always have goals in motion. Plus, I did manage to read some really amazing books – both for my book club, but also for myself and my career. Here’s a little visual display from Goodreads.
If you get a chance to pick up a spare book, here are my top 3 of 2014:
3. Walkable City
2. The Night Circus OR What Alice Forgot
1. Who Moved My Cheese?
Ok, so that’s technically 4, but you know what…it’s my blog :) Anyways, I’m really excited to keep on reading. Mostly because I’m really driven this year to read industry books as well as fiction/non-fiction. My work has a great little library going and I’m currently working my way through an entire stack. Plus, I’m always creepin’ Cranky’s Goodreads; so if you have any must-read suggestions, leave me a comment!
There were definitely times this past year where I was just over it. 100%, without a doubt, done. And I just couldn’t wait to move past where I was. In fact, I was giddy with excitement for 2015, but I saw this the other week as everyone made their resolutions to make 2015 better than the last and when I read it – I felt thankful. Truly, for where I’m at. I’ll get to where I’m going, one day. Happy 2015!
It’s been about 3 months since we last had a look at the state of my apartment. We’re in a similar holding pattern as last time: saving money, waiting to find items that won’t break the bank, etc. I did add a few new pieces (to be revealed later in this post), but I guess what I really wanted to share was the panoramic pictures I just took.
I don’t know why I haven’t done it before, but this really gives you a sense of my space. I’m still in love with it as always. It feels clean (as opposed to cluttered) and I feel like it really does reflect who I am with all my trinkets from my travels.
First up, the bedroom and half of the living room. This is the side you’ve probably seen the most of in previous posts. To capture this view, I was standing in front of the bar/kitchen counter, which also leads into my work space. You may need to click to enlarge.
Looking at my list from last time, nothing really new has been added here. I think it’s safe to say curtains probably aren’t happening and I just haven’t really been actively looking for small rugs to add.
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 Add soft curtains(idea nixed)
Here’s where we left off in the living room and this is definitely one of the areas where I’ve made a decent amount of progress, particularly with my gallery wall. It’s still not complete which is why it hasn’t been crossed out. I’m also on the fence of buying a storage ottoman as I have the basket that sits next to my couch, but I’ve left it there for now. If anything, I’d rather have a small side table (I’ve added and updated the list below). I’ve also officially added a bar car to my wish list, but that definitely won’t happen for another month or so!
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 (in progress)
Add lighting(just updated lamp shade on existing lamp instead!)
- Add small storage ottoman OR small side table
- Add fun bar cart – NEW item added
Again, click to enlarge. This angle was captured standing in the entry area in front of my door. For a close up of that gallery wall, see below. Lamp shade was updated in my last round of updates and the long mirror has been there for several months, but since then I’ve added the following:
- A new planted pot (1 of many I’ve added throughout the past few months)
- 3 framed postcards from San Francisco
- An antique tin (far top right) I just bought in Charleston
- Framed my artwork from Vietnam (long center piece in the middle)
- 3 funky little illustrated pieces I found in Boston in October
As for my work space, there haven’t really been any updates other than me organizing it a bit. I technically made one update by making it functional for work and crafts by adding the white cabinet on the far wall, but that’s proven more handy for storage than for crafting. Since my new job, I don’t really need to work here anymore, but I do strive to keep it organized. Here’s how the space looks now:
- Update desk
Update work area to be functional for both work and crafts
- Update desk chair
Other minor updates include the metal magazine rack I found in the dumpster at my apartment building (resourceful!) and I had another piece of art framed from Vietnam (floating red piece). I’d say I’ll likely buy an updated chair before I make any changes to the desk. While it doesn’t match the white shelves, the wood coloring isn’t far off from my other furniture.
And last up, the entry. This didn’t need much updating, but I did add a coat rack and a mirror. The mirror was harder to find than you’d think, maybe just because I didn’t want something huge and didn’t want to pay a fortune. I found this mirror at Kirklands and got it for less than $20 on a Black Friday Sale – WIN!
The other decorations there are from the Young House Love Target collection. (RIP YHL blog) Love my little octopus key holder and my DIY coat rack with geometrical knobs. I painted it the same color as my bookshelves.
Add graphics, small mirrors, etc to wall at entry
And that’s all I have for you! As I find a few more things to add to my space, you know I’ll be sure to take a picture and share with you at some point!
I’m just really proud to call it my own :) Ah, the simple joys of being an adult!