Archive for choose joy
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.
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.
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!
Just wanted to say Happy New Year from myself and Anaconda.
We kept it pretty low key last night. I think I actually really like (and appreciate) a chill New Year’s Eve. I opened a nice bottle of wine and treated myself. Anaconda was super supportive and insisted I have a few glasses to ring in 2015!
A cat that can support my life choices…now that’s a cat I can love!
Happy 2015 blog peeps – I’m looking forward to everything the new year has in store for me (and Anaconda)!
It is with a smile on my face (and a cat in my lap) that I excitedly tell you that I’ve crossed off a big goal already on my 2015 list. Just 2 weeks ago, I adopted a kitteh from the Animal Welfare League in Alexandria. I randomly went one day to just “look around” and as it happened, I fell in love. It was pretty much love at first sight, but I’d be lying to you if I said the whole process was a piece of cake.
There was a lot of frustration on my part from previously visiting a dedicated cat shelter and then told I wasn’t a suitable kitteh parent because I wouldn’t be home 24/7. All nonsense and I was offended; if anything, I’m an over qualified kitteh keeper. So it was with a heavy heart that I left one kitteh behind, but little did I know that it would open the door for Anaconda to come into my life.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…Anaconda? Well, it just so happens that my kitteh is a lover of 90’s music just like her mama. More importantly, she loves the butt scratches. Her name just kind of happened and I actually really love it. I wanted a name that was slightly awkward, to the point that you couldn’t help but laugh or smile when anyone asked. So there you have it; plus, it helps that she’s a little bit awkward herself.
Sometimes I wonder how I ever waited this long to adopt a kitteh. I know for a long time I wanted a pup, but with my busy schedule and serious lack of a yard – it just didn’t seem fair. I did kind of struggle with the “cat lady” persona, given that I’m 30 and single…but I’ve had more smiles in the last 2 weeks than I can even count. Her ability to cuddle makes me forget how lonely the world can feel sometimes.
But enough of that, how could I not love someone who already loves me so unconditionally?
Sometimes I think she must be so grateful to be out of that shelter, but I really just think 2 lost souls finally found each other. Together in cuddle harmony. I’ve always known the love of an animal is an amazing feeling, so I’m glad little Miss Anaconda has already wormed her way into my heart.
I love everything from her purr-meow to the way I wake up to find her sitting on my bladder in the middle of the night. When it comes to this kitteh, I definitely chose joy!
She is indeed, purrrrrr-fect.
ps. in related news, I’m really happy to let you guys know that I have also successfully removed the couple of negative people I had in my life. I fulfilled the last of my obligations and have cut communication. It honestly felt like there had been a weight lifted off my shoulders. I really love that 2015 is off to a good start and it’s still 2014 🙂
I know, I know – I’m early. I’ve also been a little absent as of late. I hate that I keep promising I’ll be more active and yet can’t find the time – so I decided to kick off my 2015 goals a little early to help me really define what was important and what needed to be cut. Spoiler alert: the blog made the ‘important’ list. Woot.
I think I struggled a lot in 2014 because my goals weren’t measurable and while that was definitely a conscious decision, it was one that left me frustrated. So this year, I’m going back to my measurable goals and I’m excited to admit, I’m ready for that accountability again. I’m going to wait until January to review my 2014 goals as I’ll be knocking off a few things very soon, but I know I fell short in some areas. Instead of beating myself up, I’ve just decided to look ahead. So here’s 2015, admittedly, I’m starting in 2014.
- Reach goal weight (165) – that is and isn’t an arbitrary number. It’s there to give me a number to work towards, but it’s also there as motivation.
- Run a 10-miler. I’m starting training now with the plan that I’ll make it into the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in March/April time frame.
- Remove negative people from my life (this one is very specific, but I know better than to talk shit about crazy people on the interwebs).
- Adopt/Rescue 1 animal (cat? dog?).
- Blog 4 times per month (my goal is to make that Mondays, FYI).
- Travel to 4 new places, domestic or international (basically, 1 per quarter).
- Read 20 books
- Year 3 of the happiness project
- Pay off extraneous credit cards and close as soon as possible
- Reduce number of jobs to 1.5 (instead of 3)
- Take a new class (possibly design)
- Try Gaelic sports again (all depending on how my knee feels)
I think most of those are pretty self explanatory, except maybe #10. In case you didn’t know, when it rains it pours and while there was a time when I had barely half a job, I now have 3 (full time regular, dog daycare/pet sitting, and then the Mary Kay business I attempted this summer).
Pretty much effective immediately I’ll cease my MK biz. While I struggled with a little guilt at first because I felt like a failure, I don’t feel guilty anymore. Simply put, I didn’t enjoy it. Sales is not my forte; however, I am very pleased that I tried it, met new women, and learned some new skills. I even attribute the confidence I gained in those first few months to finally landing my job that I have now (and love!). No regrets, not a one.
As for the dog daycare/pet sitting – my goal is to reduce that to 2-3 shifts a month total (either at the daycare or pet sitting). While I do like it, I find that I hate how busy I feel and quite frankly, I feel exhausted and worn down. I’m also likely to stop my dog training observation. I don’t have the time to fully commit to attending every Monday night and I don’t feel as though I’m learning anything new. I keep repeating the same classes for observation. I want progression and movement and it’s just not happening. I do still plan to continue to learn and see what other opportunities are in the area – but I just don’t think the observations I’ve been doing this summer/fall suit me or my schedule. When I’m not learning, I get frustrated.
Speaking of learning, I really hope to take a class next year. Possibly design and see how much I love it again – see if I want to go for a certificate or maybe even explore Masters options. Getting a masters might be way beyond what I really want, but I like the thought of exploring what’s out there.
So there you have it – I’m ready for 2015 and I’m already knocking some of the more pressing goals off my list. I think it’s important to focus on the things that make me happy instead of the things that stress me out. I want to have time to relax, an opportunity to feel bored (so I can then sit down to read or think up an adventure), time to hang out with my friends and not have to consult my calendar every time, etc. What I don’t want is how I’ve felt the past few months – overwhelmed. While I’ve had tons of fun, it’s just almost been too much.
To 2015, the year I’m going to focus on ME and the year I’m going to choose joy above all else.