Saying Good-Bye to Perfectionism

A few nights ago, I curled up on the couch with my cat and my journal, determined to write out my 2018 new year’s resolutions. It was only three days into the New Year and I already felt like I was falling behind. I hadn’t written down my resolutions yet, I had two slices of pizza and a Dr. Pepper for dinner on New Year’s Day, and I hadn’t been to the gym once since the ball dropped in Times Square. How could I already be failing only three days into 2018?

I absentmindedly pet Belle while staring at the blank page in front of me. I had nothing to write down because I felt like I could never live up to whatever resolutions I came up with. I never had before, so why bother? Lose 30 pounds, read 100 books, overhaul my wardrobe, blog twice a week– these had been my resolutions for years, and I never fulfilled them. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like failure; the weight of it physically crushes me. And that’s how I felt as I sat on the couch staring at my empty journal.

So I picked up my phone and scrolled through instagram, my usual distraction. My feed is filled with dozens upon dozens of pretty girls living picture perfect lives. Every day is perfect hair day, there are never any dirty dishes in the sink, every outfit is perfectly coordinated, every room of their house is decorated Pinterest Perfect. And then it hit me: Why am I comparing myself to a perfectly staged photo of a stranger’s lifestyle? 

Maybe I haven’t been failing after all, maybe I was just setting the bar at an impossibly high standard. I don’t have to be as skinny as an instagram model, as skilled a blogger as these social influencers, or as artsy as the hand-letterers. I am tired of living up to somebody else’s standards. Quite frankly, I’d rather just be myself.

So instead of the usual new year’s resolutions, I wrote down a list of things that I want to do this year.  And I noticed that they all have a common theme: Practice grace instead of striving for perfection. My success will no longer be defined by numbers on a scale, the balance of my bank account, or likes, or followers. My success is defined by loving myself and being kind to myself, embracing who I am instead of trying to force myself into this perfect little box. I can’t be a better wife, sister, or friend until I learn to love myself.

We’re always so focus on being kind to others, but we can’t forget to be kind to ourselves as well.

Happy New Year. xx

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Fun Fact: This was my “yellow” picture for the “photo a day” challenge I’m doing this month. I almost didn’t post it because “omg, they can all see how fat my leg is!” But I gathered up the courage to press that “share” button. I think it’s important to put pictures out there that are relatable and honest. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, because none of us are.
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Learning How to Heal

This post is a hard one to write, because the last time I wrote about my parents, it set off an explosion within my family. The backlash was immediate and intense, yet here I am again, writing my way through the hardest parts of my life.

I got married to the love of my life almost six months ago. We have a cute little apartment with our cat on the east side of town. We make coffee and eat breakfast together every morning, kiss each other goodbye as we get into our cars and go to work, and we come home to each other at the end of each day. Life with Dan is every bit as beautiful as I hoped it would be.

This has been the happiest season of my life, but there’s been this underlying sadness that I haven’t been able to shake. Read More »

8 Things I’ve Learned After One Month of Marriage

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been married for one month now. I am somebody’s wife. It’s a little strange when I stop and think about it. But it’s a good strange. At the risk of offending my inner feminist, I’ll say that after being with the same incredible man for almost seven years, I feel like I was born to be his wife.

The first month of our marriage has flown by. The wedding, the honeymoon, moving into our first apartment– it’s been a busy month. I’m still in the “newlywed bliss” stage, but I’ve learned and grown a lot this past month. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past four weeks.Read More »

When Life Passes You By

When you lose focus, days have this tendency to slip. They get hurried, they get clumsy, and they just slip right on by. Awkward at first– like they know they’re doing something they’re not supposed to and they’re afraid of getting caught.

Then the days get sneaky. They know what they’re doing to you and they like it. And you’re so numb that you think you like it too. They just keep slipping by, putting you in a trance so that you don’t notice.

Then the days get bored. They’re so good at slipping by now that they have to think about it– and neither do you. It’s routine.

One after another, after another, after another. Faster and faster until you can’t even count how many have passed. A blur swooshing by. They aren’t slipping anymore, and they’re definitely not clumsy. They’re cunning and quick.

Then, one day decides to be rebellious; it slows down just for a second. Just long enough for the swirling fog in your head to begin to dissipate. You can see the day, but just for a moment. You reach out, but before you can grab hold of anything, the day speeds back into motion so fast that you can feel the wind blow across your face in its wake. You lose light of your clarity and let the days continue to slip by.

Then, in a moment of strength, you decide to stop the day. You grab it firmly in both hands and make everything stop. As you hold on tight, the fog clears and you can finally see all of the days you have lost. You scold the days for getting clumsy in the first place, and you groan at yourself for getting so complacent.

Taking a deep breath in, you set the day firmly on the ground and take a step.

Now you walk solidly through the days– they don’t get to run by you anymore.

A normal girl’s guide to bullet journaling

I heard about this thing called a “bullet journal” a few months ago and decided to start one. It was a little complicated and scary at first, but now that I’m used to bullet journaling, it’s the best thing ever. Everything I know about bullet journaling I learned from this Buzzfeed article. The article out lines all of the rules of bullet journaling, and it’s super in-depth and helpful. I’ve shared that article with a few friends in an attempt to spread the good news of bullet journaling, but some people find all of the information in there a little intimidating. A few days ago, a friend asked me to write out a simple guide to bullet journaling for her in a way that’s easier to understand, so, here you go!

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The Whole30 | Life Happens

So, my plan was to blog my way through the Whole30 journey and be happy, creative, and inspiring throughout the entire process. Everything was all planned out and just waiting to be typed up and posted.

However, life happens.

On Days 2 through 7 of the Whole30, I had the worst headache of my life. According to the Whole30 book, that was my body going through sugar withdrawal. They say that the severity of the “sugar hangover” is directly proportionate to how much junk a person eats before starting the Whole30. I didn’t realize how poorly I had been eating until I had to start saying “no” to so many things. So I trudged through those days maxing out on Ibuprofen, learning how to cook healthy meals, and staring longingly at cookies. And muffins.

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6 Reasons Why Working Out is Totally Worth It

I am not athletic. Okay, well I was a little athletic during high school, but that was ages ago. I go through spurts of time when I feel motivated and on fire and ready to work out and eat healthy everyday. Those spurts of motivation are usually followed by months of sitting on the couch eating cookies and binge-watching Grey’s for the hundredth time.

I lost twenty pounds over the summer by eating healthy and exercising a few times a week.   Now it’s October and I haven’t been to the gym in about two months. First my excuse was that I got transferred to a new store for work and now the drive to the gym was too far out of the way. Then my excuse was that I got my wisdom teeth out and couldn’t exercise. Now my excuse is that… I don’t feel like it?

Well, this morning I finally got off my lazy butt and took my puppy for a jog. And you know what? That’s all it took to break me out of my slump. When I got back from the jog I felt energized and i wasn’t ready to stop working out. So I did yoga outside in the sunshine. Then I made myself a healthy breakfast of eggs instead of chocolate chip pancakes. One little jog was able to spark my motivation to live a healthy lifestyle again.

So here’s a little list of motivation for those of us non-athletes who need it.

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Planning my wedding while my parents might be planning their divorce

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while now. Every time I’d sit down to write something, I was blocked by this massive brick wall. I couldn’t see past it, move beyond it, or ignore it. I couldn’t write about anything trivial, but I also couldn’t write about this brick wall because it would be “inappropriate” to do so. So I sat with my back against this brick wall, knees in my chest, just waiting for something to change. Months passed. Sometimes I’d stand up and fight against the wall, punching it over and over as though I could make it crumble and go away. All that did was leave me with bloody knuckles and a broken heart. So I continued to sit at the wall, waiting. One day I finally realized that the wall wasn’t going to change, I had to change. So now I’m going to sit and write about this brick wall in front of me, staring it down until it no longer has any power over me.

WARNING: Members of my family might find this post offensive. However, writing is the only way I know how to cope.

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Starting the Whole30 Journey

A couple weeks ago I was out for coffee with my best friend Mimi. Mid-conversation, she said, “Hey, let’s do the Whole30 program.” And I said, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” I’d heard of Whole30 before and I know some people who have done it and loved it. So I thought, how hard could it be? We decided to start after Memorial Day so that we could still enjoy our pie and alcohol and other bad yummy foods.

I didn’t give Whole30 too much thought again until Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Mimi and I were at the Market gathering produce for our new diet and we started talking more about this Whole30 thing that we were about to start. She said, “You know you can’t have dairy, right? No milk or cheese or anything. And no added sugars, no grains, no baked goods.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I love sugar, chocolate, carbs, milk, cheese, and wine. I love all the foods. “Maybe I should go read the Whole30 book and figure out what I’m getting myself into.”

So I ordered the book on Amazon and then I had four days to prepare myself for this Whole30 journey. I studied, I went grocery shopping, and I did a little meal-prep for the week. To be honest, this seems hard. Hard and not very fun. But I know it’s going to be worth it.

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So what is the Whole30?

Whole30 is not a diet, a weight-loss program, or a “get thin quick” fad. The book says, “Think of the Whole30 like pushing the reset button with your health, your habits, and your relationship with food.” We tell ourselves that we have to have certain foods. We have to have warm bread and butter while we wait for our food at the restaurant. We need to add sugar to those strawberries or they won’t taste as good. But the truth is that we don’t need any of those things. Whole30 is about giving your body only what it needs, not what it craves. The Whole30 makes you spend 30 days breaking your addictions to cookies, chips, grease, whatever it is, and redefine your relationship with food. Losing weight has nothing to do with it (the book even tells you to throw away your scale while on the program); It’s all about health.

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One Year Post-Grad

It’s been 365 days since I graduated from college. What do I have to show for it?

I have a piece of paper that says I have a Bachelor’s Degree.

I have student loans to pay for every month.

I don’t have a fancy job to brag about. But I do like my job.

I have a mind that is jam-packed with four years of knowledge about everything from Chemistry to the recurring motifs in the work of Hemingway (that’s what a Liberal Arts school will do to you).

I have an awareness of the world around me. I know about the desperate need for life-giving water wells across Africa, about the devastating monstrosity that is human trafficking, and about our responsibility for taking care of this earth that we live in. You can’t live the same way after you learn about these things.

I have character that has been shaped by four years of life experience in a diverse and vibrant community. I can’t turn a blind eye to injustice anymore. I stand up for the right of  all people to live their lives in freedom and peace, regardless of gender. I show compassion to people who are hurting. I care deeply, I live strongly, and I keep my spirit calm.

I have unforgettable memories from spending four years with close friends. Late nights in the dorms, library dates, and meaningful coffee shop conversations. Faces, adventures, smiles, and kind eyes– memories that will never leave.

So everyone asks this question: Was college worth it?

To be honest, I have struggled with this question. I’ve been living in the adult world for a year now, paying bills and going to work 40+ hours a week and fighting the monotony. Has my college education made an impact on how I navigate this world? Was all of the money, homework, and headache worth it? Do the benefits outweigh the cost?

The answer is yes. 

My college experience has enabled me to live in the real world while not falling victim to it. It has enabled me to thrive, to set myself apart from the machine of the working world. There is more to life than going to work, making money, and paying our bills. There is always something to learn, to try to see differently, or to explore. Life is vast and grand, if you let it be. Yes, college is expensive. And no, I don’t currently have a job in my field of study. But at the end of the day, my college education shaped me into a better person than I would have been without it. It’s worth it. And I’m thankful for it.