Deep in the heart…

If there has ever been a time to make sure my brave girl boots are on snuggly it’s today. Tomorrow, after five very eventful and colorful years in DC, I will be shipping out and putting down roots in Austin, TX! Those that know me best, know that this is something that I have been wanting to do for so very long, and about one month ago I made the executive decision that I would move to Austin with or without a job at the end of my lease in October. The good news? I’m gainfully employed in Texas, will have a roof over my head, and some truly motivating people by my side. It’s pretty spectacular what you can make happen when you give yourself no other option but to succeed. I’ve had my ups and downs with our Nation’s capital, but when you look past all the metro delays and $15 cocktails, I’ve had some unmatched experiences. 2 Presidential elections, 2 Inaugurations, 4th of Julys on the National Mall, midnight runs by the monuments, 1 snowpocalypse, 2 years of Mock Trial, 2 Cowboys at Redskins games, and 3 degrees from GW later it’s time to start a new chapter, and I’m so excited that the pen hits the paper tomorrow. Who knows how much I’ll be blogging about the journey. I’d like to, but I tend to let this guy fall to the side when things get stressful in my life and my word has this journey already proven to be stressful. Time will tell. Cheers, DC! Until next time.

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I’m baaaaack!

It’s been over 3 months since I posted on this bad boy, and I am thrilled to finally be back! The last several months were jam packed with school, work, and incredible experiences so much so that my dear old blog got left in the dust. By far the biggest intruder of blog life was grad school. But after many research papers, all-nighters, and one very stressful capstone defense, I am officially done with school forever! (Or at least for the next 10 years. As my mom told me, “never say never.”) Don’t believe me? Here is a little glance at my all-too-detailed planner from March and April.

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So. While I was gone, a few things happened. Here’s a quick recap.

  • I ran my very first half marathon, the Nike Women’s Half!

half marathon

  • I graduated.

graduated

  • I helped plan the GW Class of 2012 1st year reunion.

alumni

  • I saw so many of my favorite bands live and finally went to Bonnaroo!!
WB

Wheeler Brothers at the Hamilton

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He’s My Brother She’s My Sister at the Black Cat

roo

Roooooo! How I miss you!

Lucius

Lucius at Bonnaroo

He's My Brother She's My Sister, take 2 at Bonnaroo

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, take 2 at Bonnaroo

Sons of Fathers at Bonnaroo

Sons of Fathers at Bonnaroo

Needless to say, it’s been a busy few months. The one thing I haven’t done? Work on my apartment. But now that school is over and my responsibilities do not extend beyond my job, I am so ready to get back into the DIY swing of things. So cheers to real life and the many projects ahead! Let’s do this.

L-O-V-E

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! I just adore any day where we get to openly celebrate loving one another. My heart feels so very full. To celebrate, I made my annual Valentine’s Day heart shaped cookies. Unfortunately Wednesdays are class nights, so the cookie baking didn’t begin until about 10:30 pm and concluded around 1:30 am (there were some other chores thrown in there too).

ImageHere’s part of my batch that I brought for work (with an appropriately printed George Washington Valentine’s card to boot).

ImageCongrats to all the lucky recipients of these bad boys. Including the man at Whole Foods who gave me a free bag of flour last night. You’ve got some cookies headed your way!

Looking forward to continuing my Valentine’s Day celebration tonight with my dear friend from home. Dinner, wine, maybe a little high school throw back with the OC – true Galentine’s day festivities. Can’t wait! Until then, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite gushy love songs. Apologies for the hipster-y side of me. I try to hide it when I can.

“Somebody Loved” – The Weepies

 

“Darling Divine” – Wild Child

 

“Thinking, Drinking, Sinking, Feeling” – Slow Club

 

Go give someone special a hug. So much love to you all!

Finding Balance

With the start of my last full semester of grad school, I have found myself struggling to keep a healthy balance among all of my responsibilities and commitments. While I know that working full time while going to school full time is only temporary I find myself dreadfully overwhelmed and often end up doing nothing instead of trying to take the first bite out of the tower of things on my plate. This brilliant strategy ultimately leaves me in worse shape than I was in before and creates a nasty circle of no productivity. So, to help me stay focused I’ve decided to make one realistic promise to myself in every aspect of my life. And hopefully by sharing them here, I’ll force myself to stick to them.

 

Grad School:

    • Do not let a day go by without doing at least one school related task.

 

Work:

    • Spend at least one hour a day entirely in Final Cut with nothing else open. Because once I get in the zone, I stay in the zone. 

 

Half Marathon Training:

    • Keep a set of running clothes in the office so I never have the excuse that it’s too cold to run outside, and I don’t have clothes with me to go to the gym. 

 

Apartment Renovations:

    • Don’t update something just to update it. Take the time to really figure out what I want from my space and wait for the perfect items to come along. 

 

Personal Life: 

    • Continue to do what makes me happy but be more cognizant of budgets. Opt for nights in with friends instead of dropping $15 on one cocktail. 

 

And of course, to help keep me focused here are some wise words from my favorite ladies Kathy and Melody from Brave Girls Club:

Do you over commit and then beat yourself up when you under-deliver? 

Are there a million things on your list that were really really important that you didn’t even get to because you got caught up in doing things that weren’t nearly AS important?

Ok now. Take a deep breath. Now take another one. One more.

Remember that you are wonderful. You are loved. And, phenomenal friend, amazing woman, you are a human being. You DO have limitations.

When you don’t stop to rest, to think, to recharge, to remember, to restore, you end up grouchy, tired, uncreative, angry and numb to lots of life. You are a sparkling, beautiful girl and we need that sparkle. So STOP today and make a list. Prioritize it. Be realistic…

Say yes to yourself, to joy, to rest, to being 100% present to the things that matter most to you — instead of a tired and diluted version who has too much to do to ever do her best at ANYTHING. Don’t lose yourself while you are trying to be everything to everyone….

If at all possible, only have enough on your plate that you can do your best at everything you have to do. Your life will take on new meaning and happiness.

Just practice. This is a hard one, but so worth it. Hang in there. You are loved!

Xoxo

 

They always know exactly what to say. Here is to staying focused and refreshed!

ORB Family Fun

I’m back…. after much too long. This weekend I traveled far below the Mason-Dixon to my lovely hometown of Memphis, TN to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday! The weekend was filled with lots of laughs, cocktails, mustaches, and a few happy tears.

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"Yo Yo The Big 6-0"

Amazing carrot cake made by Marian. Decorated hastily by me.

Check out my awkward arm... meh.

With my daddy and pretty sisters. Check out my awkward arm… meh.

After the festivities concluded, I being the DIY/YHL-obsessed girl that I am, convinced my Dad and Stepmom to paint their old 90s brass shower frame Rustoleum Universal in Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB). My dad was clearly hesitant so we only tested the inside of two panels so he could see how it would look.

First we taped/papered off the glass and tile portion of the shower.

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Next, I carefully sprayed a thin coat of the ORB over the not-so-trendy brass frame. After testing a small section, my Dad seemed to totally be on board so I finished spraying the inside of the two glass panels we had taped off.

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After letting it sit for a few hours, we peeled back the paper and tape. Dad and Marian (my step-mom) seemed to be happy with the result (you know unless they just have really good poker faces and were humoring me, though I don’t think that was the case).

DSC_0238It looks black in the photos, but in real life it has this nice bronze-shimmery tone to it.

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I am just so in love with how it turned out. They’re hoping to finish the rest of it sometime in the coming weeks. I’m also planning on ORB-ing up my door knobs here pretty soon, and this project made me all the more excited to do so!

Words to Remember

DIY has slowed over the last couple days. So instead, I thought I’d share some words that have brought me much comfort, courtesy of Kathy and Melody.

Dear Goodhearted Girl,

A difficult fact of life that we must learn to accept is that not everyone has the best intentions. Some people make mistakes, but others act in flat-out intentionally terrible ways that hurt and threaten to destroy us.

Not everyone has your best interests in mind. It is sad but true. 

Brave Girls love everyone anyway, and forgive everyone anyway, but also protect themselves from destructive people and situations. Brave Girls stay in the light and make brave choices that keep them out of darkness. Brave Girls get back up when they have been hurt, and they move forward to help others who have been hurt, too.

And you are brave. You can do it.

XOXO

Hope these words too bring you some peace.

Young House Love Love!

My life is now complete. Yesterday I got to meet the one and only John and Sherry from Young House Love!

Two years ago, a dear friend shared with me a link to their blog and instantly I was hooked. I’ve been following them religiously ever since. So when their new book finally hit the shelves and they announced they would be stopping in DC for their nationwide book tour I jumped on that like a 13-year-old at a Justin Beiber concert. And if we’re keepin it real, there was probably the same amount of squealing involved.

Naturally I’ve had this event marked in my planner for weeks and have diligently been counting down the days 12 days of Christmas style (12 Days of YHL?). Yesterday, the day finally finally arrived!

After work I made my way over to Flor in Georgetown. Sidebar: maybe it’s the Cuban in me but it took me until yesterday to realize that Flor was a play on the word Floor and has nothing to do with the Spanish word for flower. Facepalm.

And after waiting in line TWO hours in a DC winter chill, I finally made it inside the store.

 

And before I knew it I was next in line. I had my friend from Young Scholar’s Life on Skype since she couldn’t be there and up to the table we went.

There was some nervous banter on my part while I introduced my digital friend. They loved that we were skyping and took a picture of us with their personal camera. They signed our books followed by a $herdog gangsta picture and I scurried off blinded by my star struck eyes.

Our $herdog gangsta face. And that’s my skyped in friend on the phone I’m holding. Technologyyy

It was certainly a night to remember. And I can’t wait to get elbow deep in some stellar DIY projects from their book. Thanks John, Sherry, Clara, and Burger for showing me that you can find beauty in even the ugliest of spaces!!

Cheers!

You’re Toxic, I’m Slippin’ Under

In kindergarten my PE teacher, the incredible Mr. Pitts, once gave a chapel talk that to this day I will never forget. He had a student come in front of everyone and asked her to squeeze the toothpaste out of a tube of toothpaste. After she had squeezed out the toothpaste he told her simply, “Now put the toothpaste back into the tube.” She of course couldn’t. This he taught us is how our words work. Once we’ve said something, there is no way to take it back.

It’s a simple concept really but one I feel we have quickly forgotten. This famous chapel talk of course happened in 1994? 1995? But today at work I found myself thinking how this lesson is even more relevant today. With the internet, particularly social media platforms (which I love don’t get me wrong, it is my job after all), today people are quick to spread hateful and hurtful words with increasing anonymity and little repercussion. Today I found myself reading so many nasty comments that clearly crossed a line of decency about an institution that has given me so much. I agree that every person is entitled to his or her opinion, but I urge people to express those opinions in a rational, respectful way.

I know I have spread my fair share of nastiness and it’s no secret that I have the mouth of a sailor, but I have discovered that as I grow older and (hopefully) wiser Mr. Pitts’ lesson continues to mean more and more to me. Why use hurtful words when you can share the same message in a different way.

I so want to dwell on this. I want to read all the hatefulness and let it take over my night, but I’m trying to remember that other people’s feelings and comments are out of my control. What is in my control? At least one of these bottles of wine, my Runner’s World December issue, and a night of relaxation and detox after what has proven to be quite the toxic day. Here’s to letting go.

Think on your words. I will continue to think on mine.

P.S. In the spirit of this post’s title. A little Britney to make this night a little better.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Yesterday was the definition of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The kind of day where you’re just so very tired of wearing your happy face for the rest of the world, and you just can’t take another second. And when these days creep up on me, I want nothing more than to be with my family, and suddenly I feel so very alone. My frustration with DC grows quickly, and I think of a million places I would rather be. And even though these days seem impossible to get through, I try to remember what my step-mom told me last night at the height of my frustration and panic – that the days that challenge you and push you the most are the days that you learn the most incredible things about yourself, and you are able to realize how strong you really are. And today, that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day seemed so far away, and I did in fact get to see how strong I can be.

This morning I rose at a horrifying 5:30 AM, laced up my running shoes, and headed to the National Mall for the National Guard’s Veteran’s Day 10K. I had trained for quite some time, but after having gotten off track I was starting to psych myself out and worried I wouldn’t finish or would have to walk the whole thing. I am so pleased and proud to report that I ran my very first 10K in 1:03:33! I know that might seem fairly modest to some but for me this was huge. Not only was it the farthest I’ve ever run, but it was also one of my best paces to date. And I can’t thank these two lovely ladies enough for being so supportive and understanding when I had to fall behind them and their powerhouse speed 🙂 I cannot begin to explain how satisfying it was to finish what I started, and it was exactly what this brave girl needed after such a lousy night.

And the day just continued to improve. After a well earned brunch and nap, the Comcast technician finally arrived! And yes, that’s right! After nearly two weeks of no internet, I am now basking in rays of wifi! ♫ And it feels so good ♫ The evening wrapped up with a Cowboys win and a Giants loss, followed by some homemade snickerdoodles and an episode of Nashville. Can’t think of a better way to end an evening than with my girl, Connie. And to top it off I unpacked one of my last two big boxes and got started on some bathroom renos.

It’s funny how quickly things can turn around. I’m a big believer in letting yourself have a bad moment every once in a while. It’s important to let out the negativity to make space for the sunshine. And boy did the sun shine in!

Loving today, welcoming tomorrow.