To My Friends & Family

I am head-over-heels in love with this season. I enjoy dreary weather, I like the cold, and I live for the last three months of every year. I know there are plenty of people like me out there, but I also know there are not.

In addition to the daily chaos and hardships of life, the holidays add stress for people. Moms and dads feel pressure to make their homes magical for their kids. Bloggers see pictures of other bloggers’ decorated trees and hearths and homes. Instagram is filled with tightly wrapped presents and perfectly decorate cookies. I saw Bad Moms Christmas in theaters a few weeks ago and the premise- people (moms) are under a ton of stress to make the holidays perfect- is so true. Hell, people are under stress 365 days a year to make their lives (seem) perfect!

Right now I feel like a lot of my friends- real life and in the blog world- are fighting their way through tough ass seasons. Unfortunate health diagnoses or slow healing-injuries, parents pulling their hair out over rebellious toddlers or cranky babies, sick pets and struggling friendships or relationships and turmoil within the family… Everyone is going through something and it hurts my heart to see my loved ones plagued with these struggles.

I struggle with that fact that some people just aren’t happy. We only get one life to live and the idea of mucking our way through in a state of constant unhappiness makes me so upset. No one can be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but in general I want people to be joyful. I’m one of those people who feels like the weight of everyone’s happiness falls on my shoulders and, while I know that’s untrue and unhealthy, it affects me deeply when my friends are down and out.

I can’t control you or your life or the things that happen to you, but I do know that what you’re going through is a season and seasons pass. The Christmas season is a wonderful one for me, but it won’t stick around forever. The next season will be better or worse and have it’s own arsenal of curveballs, but it will arrive and I will deal with it and, eventually, it will pass. And with every season we learn something new.

So, my friends, don’t fret. This season will pass. Whether you wait it out or turn the page yourself, you will come out on the other side and things will be different. Perfect? No. But it’ll be different and you can look back (or not look back), and be grateful for where you are now. Love yourself and give yourself grace along the way. Practice kindness and accept help from others. I guarantee you are loved by someone (possibly me!) and that person is rooting for you- whether you know it or not.

If you’re reading this and you’re a close friend and you feel like you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out. I know the holidays can get dark and overwhelming but I promise I’m always free for a phone call or text exchange or mailed Christmas greeting. There’s always room around our holiday table and I definitely don’t mind a dinner date with a friend ❤︎

Try not to spend the holidays (or your life) faking a smile- find a way to crack a genuine one. You don’t have to have a perfect tree or a perfect home or a perfect Instagram. You’re loved just the way you are and you’re doing a great job. Life is difficult and you’re doing it- be proud of yourself.

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Currently…

Hello, November 🍂

My blog has been very surface level lately so I wanted to link-up with Kristen and Gretch today to go a little deeper with a currently/What’s New With You? post.

Right now I’m R E A D I N G so many books simultaneously. K got me a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday last month and I went a little crazy on NetGalley… Physical-book-wise, I’m finishing up The Moon-Spinners and Circling the Sun. I just finished Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Style. On Kindle I dove into Fairest of All. (K got me Kindle Unlimited and I found it on there.) After I finish some of those I’ll crack into my NetGalley reads! I didn’t end up finishing Erin’s book challenge but that’s ok.

We’re done moving and the old house is officially turned over to the new owners, but I’m still S T R E S S I N G – O U T – O V E R the settling part of new homeownership. I completely broke down to K a few weeks ago and told him that our constant chaos in the house is killing me on the inside and making my anxiety a raging beast. I feel like a failure in my home which makes me feel like a failure in all aspects of life (as a wife, as an employee, as a daughter, as a fall-lover, as a dog momma). I know that’s silly and unhealthy, but I crave balance and order. I promise I’m trying to slow down and focus and relax this month.

I’m also P R E P A R I N G for the holidays (i.e. Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations). I think getting some of that stuff done will reset my brain and give me peace.

The kitchen is finally in order so we will be E A T I N G some yummy home-cooked meals soon. FINALLY, guys. I think one of the worst parts of moving was all the takeout and fast food and sodium-filled dinners during the process. UGH. The last few nights we’ve been snacking on the dips we had at the party (spinach & artichoke, taco, etc.).

We moved all our furniture into the new house and don’t plan to change anything, but we’ve definitely had to add. We are B U Y I N G allll the things right now. Lol. We just got new bookshelves and reading chairs for my library area, I got a new hamper for my itty-bitty laundry room, and we’re currently trying to decide on some end tables and a coffee table… Home tour soon. Promise.

My brain is overwhelmed like an accountant in April, but I am very T H A N K F U L – F O R all our friends and family. Between helping us move, letting me vent on the phone/through text, and celebrating with us at birthday and Halloween parties, I just can’t get over the love and support we’ve been given. Thanks, everyone 🖤 I love going into the holiday season feeling so loved.

We have a business trip in Indianapolis coming up, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t P L A N N I N G a potential winter trip for K and myself. I’ve only mentioned it to him, but I feel like I need to mentally and physically get away for a long weekend. We’ll see if it happens. I’d settle for a girls’ trip instead, but my bff is laid up after knee surgery. We’ll see…

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been R A G I N G – A B O U T the state of our country. The current administration, the Hollywood assault stories, the preference of policy and politics over people. It’s embarrassing and heartbreaking.

Let’s end on a good note, yes?

I am P A R T I C I P A T I N G – I N Alexandra and Shea‘s Live Your Best (Holiday) Life or LYBHolidayL in November. I’m pretty excited about it, actually. Taking the time to be grateful and intentional without spending hundred of dollars 🙂

(I don’t care if Halloween is over.) L A U G H I N G – A B O U T :

This is us trying to get the dogs to adjust to the new neighborhood. LOL

So what’s new with you?

What's New With You

I am a strong independent female, but I don’t…

…mow the yard, whack the weeds, or edge the driveway.
I’ll admit that 95% of the housework falls on me. As such, I don’t know how to mow and I never want to learn. That way, I never get stuck with that chore, too. 😉

…change my oil.
Let me just say that I know how to change my oil, but my dad is a truck driver, my husband is a car guy, and we have two Valvoline places in town. I’d sooner pay someone.

…grill.
Nope- grill nights are mama’s night off from cookin’!

…drink beer.
Only because I don’t like beer. If nothing’s available I’ll down a Bud Light.

…mess with wiring or tech stuff.
I can absolutely hook up a DVD player or plug in a computer, but I typically just ask K to tackle it when he’s home.

…hunt.
Lots of “country girls” in my neck of the woods hunt. I do not. I haven’t a problem with the cold/forest and I’m a pretty good shot, but I don’t have any desire to snuff out a life. When my dad started taking my brother hunting he offered to bring me and I declined. Fortunately, neither one of them really hunts anymore.

…hang pictures or artwork or shelves on the wall.
I live with a visual perfectionist and I’m not willing to take the flak if I fail to hang a picture perfectly straight. I’ll hang stuff in my own office, but not around the house. I do direct and approve of all the stuff that goes up on the walls, though. I’m awesome at over-seeing.

…use power tools.
Technically I play around with drills and sanders when I’m waiting around the warehouse, but I don’t actually do any projects with them. I’ve never need to, so I don’t.

…have control of the TV remote.
If we’re watching TV together, K usually picks what we’re watching. If I’m not on board, I pick up a book or go watch one of my shows on hulu in a different room. Now that we have two cable boxes in the house, I can technically just go watch something else (or he can).

*This is all in fun. I don’t think strong independent fearless females need to do any of these things to keep their card. Or you can do all these things. Whatever floats your boat. 😉

Live Loudly.

I posted this on FB Monday but I wanted to share it here, too.

Monday morning I woke up to news of the tragedy in Las Vegas & all I could honestly think was, ‘Goddamn it.’ It’s the same reaction I had after the theater shooting during the Batman release in 2012. My brother was at the midnight premier in a different state, but he could’ve been at the target theater. I attend so many concerts- I could’ve been in that courtyard in Vegas. Any one could’ve been there- so many people were there. GODDAMN IT, why can’t we just live?

I get so mad when this stuff happens. Then I stumble across pictures and descriptions of those who lost their lives and my anger morphs to devastation. When I learned about the folks that died in the Pulse Night Club shooting I felt so broken. The stories of lost friends pushing their surviving friends into a safe closet or boyfriends pulling their girlfriends to safety while taking a fatal bullet to the back. It just sucks so so much. And there’s absolutely no explanation for our logic-seeking broken hearts.

What the hell can we do about it?

Without launching into a gun control debate or mental health talk or terrorist rant, I feel like the very best thing we can do is live. Go to the movies, rock out at the concerts, board the plane and travel the world. It’s all you can do.

At the risk of sounding morbid and unsympathetic (which I’m not ❤︎), we’re all going to die. It’s 100% guaranteed. And while it makes me so mad when someone’s life is snuffed out unexpectedly or violently, we’re all guaranteed to lose our lives one way or another. I’ll be damned if someone steals the joy of living away from me with fear and terror.

I’m a Christian and I honestly believe that once we’re done here, if we’ve lived a life of love and compassion and kindness, we go to Heaven. And Heaven doesn’t have mass shootings. I’m praying that my version of Heaven has a boat-load of dogs. But I can 100% guarantee that there are NO mass shootings in Heaven.

But I’m not there yet and, if you’re reading this, neither are you. We’re here and “here” could use a whole bunch of fearless, life-loving people to alter its current state. Be sad and grieve the loss of lives in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and Mexico and other sites of tragedy, but don’t be discouraged. Don’t give in to fear. Don’t let hate and violence and sadness corner you into a dark space. Grab your closest friend’s hand, tell them you love them, and turn on some music. Drop off some kibble at a local shelter or bake some cookies for your local police department. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or donate some coats and blankets to a shelter. We can’t always do anything about the bad, but we can ALWAYS add more good.

You are important and your life matters and you have the ability to affect many- don’t let anyone make you feel any differently. We’re all going to die; we don’t get a choice. You 100% get to choose how you live, though.

My heart is broken for the friends and family of those who were killed in Las Vegas. It’s really not fair and so frustrating. Please live loudly, friends. We only have one go at this ❤︎

School Days & Locker Talk

I’m a week and a half late to this link-up party but Nadine did this “Back to School” tag and introduced me to Andrea’s monthly questions. Since the link-up is still open I decided to play along.

Did you love school or hate it?
I loved school. I enjoyed seeing my friends, I loved having a routine, and I’m one of those weirdos that likes learning.

Start school before or after Labor Day?
I think we usually started the week before Labor Day. I never understood that.

Wake up: Eager Beaver or Slow Poke?
Mornings have never ever ever been my thing.

Favorite Breakfast?
My mom would make us Cream of Wheat on wintery weekend mornings (or snow days) and I loved it!

Favorite Cereal?
Life. (Sorry for even mentioning it, Rebecca Jo!!)

School uniform or no school uniform?
No, thank God. I was so into my style in high school.

New outfit for the first day of school or no?
Of course! Although, by high school I pretty much only wore band t-shirts, ripped jeans, vans, and a sideways belt. #emoForever

Walk to school or ride the bus?
I rode the bus until I got my license/car. Then I drove my brother and self every day.

Backpack, tote or messenger bag?
Messenger bag (in the pic). I had one from PacSun that was brown with pink embroidering and I LOVED it. I still have the bag even though it’s beat to crap…

Eat school lunch or pack lunch?
I think it was 50/50 in elementary and middle school- it depended on the lunch menu. I remember my brother bought more often than I did. In high school you could leave the school and get your lunch which I did 99% of the time.

Remember the little milk cartons? White or chocolate?
I don’t like white milk so chances are I was a chocolate drinker. #healthy

Paper bag or lunch box?
Didn’t we all pride ourselves on our lunch boxes? Especially if they had a matching thermos? (No? Just me?) I think I might have occasionally brown-bagged it in hs.

Favorite thing to do at recess?
We played American Girls and Disney Princesses in elementary school. Also, ‘big toy tag’ on the equipment. In middle school it was 4-Square.

Favorite back to school supply item?
Notebooks!

Chalkboard or dry erase board?
In 2nd grade I told my teacher I was allergic to chalk and asked to use the mini-dry erase boards when we were practicing our letters. I actually just hated how my hands felt covered in chalk. Hahaha. Other than that, I think all my classrooms had chalkboards.

Regular or mechanical pencil?
Mechanical- duh!

Homework as soon as you get home or after dinner?
I used to do it on the bus ride home… Nerd alert.

Favorite after school snack?
Ramon noodles or a sandwich.

Favorite after school show?
General Hospital. Hahahahahaha!

Favorite subject in school?
History.

Least favorite school subject?
Math; specifically algebra. 

Name of  your best friend in high school.
Sam.

SAT or ACT?
I never took the SAT. I got a 27 on my ACT the first time & told my mom I was done. Lol.

Favorite year in school.
I don’t know… Third grade was a fun year. Second grade I had my favorite teacher. High school had its highs and lows but it was fun. Probably my junior year was the best. I started dating K, I was so carefree, and I made a million reckless decisions but survived. I switched up my friends toward the end of hs because mine weren’t so nice, and I think I really figured out who I wanted to be at that point in my life.

I get anxious thinking about all the drama and emotions and trouble I went through in high school. Thank Jesus (and, honestly, Kyle) that I made it out alive. I hope I remember my teenage years when our kids go through them- I’d like to be an empathetic parent.

Class ring or no class ring?
I had a gorgeous one with a purple stone. I don’t know what happened to it…

Funny class ring story… One day I was wearing a male friend’s ring and we went to Burger King for lunch. I took the ring off because it was big and I didn’t want to get it messy or lose it. Well… I left it on the tray and threw it away. Later, when I realized it was gone, I called my grandma from the hs bathroom bawling because I’d lost my friend’s ring. She and my aunt went to BK, dug through the dumpster, and found the ring under a pickle. Best. relatives. ever.

Attend or not attend high school reunions?
My class didn’t have a 5-year and I doubt I’ll attend the 10-year in 2019. Maybe I’ll go to one later on in life. Who knows…

*sigh* I miss school. That said, I’d never go back or reverse time. Ha!

*Linking up with TBB for TBB Asks

Currently…

Reading… The Moon-Spinners for Erin’s Challenge. I’m having a hard time with this book even though I find the story interesting. Fortunately I’m also reading HP & the SS which is sucking me in just like it did nearly 20 years ago ❤︎

Eating… terribly. I haven’t wanted to dirty the kitchen because of all the showings/inspections happening so we’ve been doing a LOT of external dining (or take out). The few meals I have made at home were busts. I need to work on this.

Feeling… sick. My mother had a head cold (#FirstGradeTeacherProbz) and I think she passed it on to me last weekend. Grr.

Planning… a house warming / Halloween / fall party in the new crib 🙂

Pinning… alllll the home decor. When we moved into our current house we were newlyweds carting around everyone’s generous hand-me-downs. Since then we’ve been intentional about design and I’m excited to decorate the new space with pieces that are important and unique to us.

Recovering from… last weekend’s bachelorette party in Cleveland. We took a party bus to the city, dined at Margaritaville, & had some dessert at The Chocolate Bar. The bride was on antibiotics and crutches (different incidents) so it was a slightly tame evening, though still exhausting!

Looking forward to… a slower season at work, moving into a new neighborhood, cool temperatures.

Here are some pictures from the last month or so of life 🙂

Kyle and our PI banner on the field at DCI World Championships
Lylee channeling how I hope to be this fall…
A bridal shower I helped with… K and I are both in the wedding next month!

*To my blogger friends in the south/east: If you need anything please let me know! Stay safe this weekend ❤︎

So what’s new with you? (Linking up with Kristen & Gretch!)

What's New With You

Confessions

Don’t worry, nothing too deep here 😉

Apparently I’m a hypocrite. I word vomited about having a mental diet and avoiding dramatic/violent/etc. television… then I pushed The Tudors on people. It’s about Henry VIII who had 6 wives (of which he killed 2, possibly 3), and he completely flip-flopped on religion a million times (and killed heretics with each change), and it was on Showtime. Obviously it’s not G rated. Oh well. We like what we like, right?

A teeny tiny part of me is sad to see summer go. I felt like we had a pretty mild one in Ohio. Plenty of humidity, but the temperatures were fairly enjoyable. This doesn’t change my opinion on fall’s arrival, though.

I’ve mentioned our house selling woes here so I’ll confess that we’re seeing progress right now. I know we should/could be celebrating, but we got burned so hard last time so I’m waiting to pop the bubbly until we sign the closing papers. Ha.

I could drink the new Starbucks Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino all day, every day. I rarely get their blended drinks but holy cow, Batman. Cinnamon and caramel and pure deliciousness.

I go through waves of reading. I’ll finish 3 books within days (or hours) of each other, then start three more, then fall into a lull for a while. I’m in a lull right now but also in the middle of HP & the SS and The Moon-Spinners (and Coraline, which is less than 200 pages & I’ve been “reading” it for 3 months). I’m such a book loser. Hahaha.

I’ve been a crying mess lately over Texas. Every time I see someone carrying humans out of danger or boats filled with stray dogs I just 100% lose it. Sometimes humans are amazing. We do a lot of business in Texas and it just makes me so sad that we can’t be there physically to help (or take in a million dogs).

Sidenote: I’m a big believe in backing companies/people who do good. Pay attention to who does what in the wake of this tragedy and go forward spending your time, money, attention on those things. From what I’ve seen online, Anheuser-Busch canned and sent water for Texas victims, Chip and Joanna Gaines are selling shirts through the end of Sept. with 100% of their proceeds going to victims, and Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation took 72 displace dogs out of harms way. Sometimes humans are very, very good.

I believe that 2000s pop punk/alternative/rock is the best era of music. How’s that for a confession? My inner (former) emo kid enjoys listening to playlists on Spotify from my youth. And then I get the urge to put another layer of eyeliner on 😉

Every time we ship a product to a city where a blogger lives, I immediately want to reach out and tell them. Ha. But I know they wouldn’t actually care. Hahaha.

Alright. I’m done 🙂 Share a confession with me!

Have a happy weekend! We’re almost there!