Thirty Years Old

Hello, again. Saturday is my 30th birthday. Tomorrow is my last day “in my twenties.” I don’t think I’ll wake up feeling any differently on Saturday, but it’s a strange transition nonetheless.

I loved my twenties. I went to India, graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house, adopted several puppers, married K, had my little Moo, bought and sold a few houses, traveled, found my (fingers crossed) forever job… It was a decade of discovery and growth and freedom. I squeezed a lot into those ten years. K was with me for all of it, too ❤️

I momentarily freaked out when I hit 25 but I have no qualms about 30. I truly have everything I want and I’m excited to live my life in that mindset. We’re comfortable, we’re in love, we’re happy. Is 2020 a weird sh*t show? For sure. But personally I’m entering my 30s with confidence.

As such, I thought I’d share 30 thoughts/tips/pieces of advice that I live by…

  1. Look up.
  2. People, animals, and experiences will make you rich. Things will not.
  3. Speak clearly and learn to communicate well. It will alleviate so much heartache.
  4. Spending money to get your dog(s) groomed is worth it.
  5. When you can help someone, help them. When you need help, ask for it.
  6. Pay attention to what and who bring you joy- then invest your time & energy there.
  7. Find your people and show up for them. Quality over quantity.
  8. Know how to calm your mind: pray, read, meditate, write. I prefer sitting in the dark.
  9. Clean your dishwasher & washing machines. I guarantee they’re gross.
  10. Same with fan blades.
  11. The miracle of aging is a gift. Accept your mortality & appreciate your longevity.
  12. “No” is a complete sentence.
  13. Eating chocolate before bed makes for some really weird dreams.
  14. You’re not for everyone. Everyone’s not for you. See #23.
  15. The most rewarding things are often the hardest things.
  16. You can do hard things.
  17. Less really is more.
  18. Order a side of gravy for dipping when you get fries at Dairy Queen. Trust me.
  19. Eat your veggies. And if you don’t like veggies, change how you cook them. They’re delish.
  20. Honesty is the best policy but sometimes silence is the best option.
  21. Respect your sig. other & give him or her the benefit of the doubt. They are on your side.
  22. Drink more water.
  23. It takes all kinds of kinds.
  24. Wild animals are meant to be wild.
  25. The grass is greener where you water it. (K says this a lot actually.)
  26. Adopt don’t shop.
  27. Always try to be kind. You don’t always need to be nice, though.
  28. Absolutely positively NOTHING is guaranteed. And no one owes you a damn thing.
  29. It’s not a good deal if you can’t afford it.
  30. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours brighter.

Just call me the Audi Lama. I kid, I kid. Sometimes (often) I fail to take my own advice, but over the past three decades these are the things I’ve learned bring me the most joy and serenity.

What am I doing for my birthday, you ask? Getting a professional manicure (FINALLY! I’ll be masked up, obvi), going on a family hike, and playing a board game at home. Coming into my 30s like a mad woman! 😉

I More Than Love You

Last week we kicked off our trade show/travel season at work. It’s a six month chunk with roughly nine potential shows or competitions spread throughout. (We also do a trip in August.) I spend a great deal of time with my husband regardless, but traveling together pushes us physically closer for longer stretches of time in higher stress situations.

So natural I got to thinking about our marriage.

I really enjoy my husband. I think he’s funny and witty and smarter than even he knows (and, trust me, he thinks plenty highly of himself). He’s sarcastic and not romantic (in the traditional sense) and not nearly as sentimental as me, though, so I don’t always tell him how gosh damn wonderful I think he is.

But I realized this weekend- five years post wedding & 11 years after agreeing that we should, in fact, date- that I ought to tell him sometimes.

I drank a few adult beverages one night on our recent business trip and *accidentally* gushed to a mutual friend about how our business’ success is 50% luck and 50% my husband (plus all the people we’ve had cycle in and out over the last 6 years, self included). I told them that K has a large ego so I’d never tell him this, but he’s so damn smart- socially & logically. He has no business or engineering education but he’s really done something incredible with the company.

The applicable part of this story is that I have these thoughts about K but I don’t ever tell him. Maybe our marriage is rare, but I doubt it. Chances are there are some “obvious” things you admire about your spouse (or grandma or brother or best friend) that you don’t tell them because… well… why would or should you?

So I’m encouraging you to tell them. It makes your marriage or relationship or work experience or neighborhood that much better. People like being told that the things they’re doing and saying every single day are being noticed and admired and appreciated.

They say to tell loved ones that you love them. Or to say thank you more often. Or to spend quality time with people. But I also encourage you to notice what you admire or appreciate about someone & tell them.

28 Things (because I’m turning 28)

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s weird to be turning 28 because I feel like I was 18 or 22 or even 25 just last week. It’s weird to say I’m 28. I’m not bothered by it, I’m just confused about how I banked 28 years of life and where the past decade went…

But anyway, here are 28 things I know:

  1. Avocados are delicious. It took a while for me to acquire the taste, but YUM.
  2. You need to be passionate about something, even if it’s not what the cool kids are passionate about.
  3. There are no “cool kids.”
  4. Be friends with people you trust and love and want to succeed. It’s ok to not like or not get along with everyone, but when you find your people hold on to them tightly and lift them up and cherish those relationships.
  5. Horses are still terrifying.
  6. Sometimes it’s about who you know, but it’s always about how you treat them. Always.
  7. Kindness costs nothing but you’ll pay dearly for anger or hatred.
  8. No means no, silence means no, and walking away/resisting means no. And you are allowed to say no whenever the hell you want.
  9. Kids do not equal success. Owning a home does not equal success. Traveling all over does not equal success. YOU get to define your own success. Don’t hand that power over to society.
  10. Facebook sucks. If you have the willpower to quit it, you should. I don’t yet.
  11. Read more. Learn more. Talk with people from different walks of life. Educate yourself about what’s going on around you.
  12. Practice empathy, but don’t internalize all the world’s drama. It will 100% destroy you.
  13. Find role models. And change role models if you need to. Inspirational quotes actually go a long way.
  14. Meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, gratitude journals… they all work. Get in the habit of doing something that works for you.
  15. Don’t let your fears control you. I’m still working on this one.
  16. Pay attention to who is excited to see you and to see you succeed and to share in your special days. Return the favor and love them completely. (This includes pets.)
  17. If you’ve ever thought about getting a dog, DO IT. And adopt from your local shelter.
  18. Pay attention to what you put in your body and on your body.
  19. But also, eat dessert whenever you gosh darn please.
  20. Cake and pizza are suitable breakfast foods. I don’t like pizza or (most) cake, but I’m giving you the go ahead to eat it for breakfast.
  21. Spend your money responsibly. I don’t mean save it- I mean research where your money goes when you make purchases and know who or what you’re supporting with the swipe of a credit card.
  22. LaCroix is gross. Sorry, but it is. (Hahaha. If you like it that’s ok, too.)
  23. You don’t need to find a life partner, but if you happen to meet “the one” make sure that person fully respects you & encourages you.
  24. I know it’s a popular phrase right now, but “self-care” is a real thing. It’s as easy as taking a bath, sleeping in on the weekends, or pouring yourself a cuppa tea and reading a few chapters.
  25. Go freakin’ vote. And don’t ignore politics. These things are happening in your world and they will eventually effect you. Stay on top of them.
  26. Learn the difference between effect and affect, who and whom, then and than, their they’re and there, etc. I’m still working on that first one.
  27. If you partake in the drink, know what cocktails you love and learn how to mix them correctly.
  28. Be unapologetically yourself. If you love Harry Potter or Disney or superheroes or fantasy or baseball or the beach or whatever. There is NO normal. There really aren’t any rules when it comes to being you. Identify what colors or things or people or places make you happy, and then invest in them wholeheartedly.

And that’s all I’ve got. Off to eat ice cream & donuts because I really don’t like cake that much.

Date Ideas for Couples Who Don’t “Date”

I’m going to make a confession that will shock and horrifying marriage bloggers.

We don’t go on scheduled weekly or bi-weekly or monthly date nights.

Don’t get me wrong- we go on dates. They’re just not regular or scheduled. Our relationship doesn’t work that like. We’re both workaholics (who work with each other) and it’s healthier for us to veg at home (sometimes together and sometimes apart) instead of heading out on the town. I’m an introvert and K is an introverted extrovert so we alter our life and relationship to make ourselves happiest.

Ok, enough explaining. When we DO go out on dates, they tend to be a little bigger and/or planned out than what a weekly date night might entail. If your “dating style” is similar to ours, here are a few of our favorite things to do together:

An evening concert.
We love going to concerts together. We’ve been doing it since the very first month we started dating. When we were younger we’d show up to the concert venue, rock out, and then pig out on fast food or gas station food on our drive home. Now we like to go out to dinner first, then attend the concert (and then come home and crash like old people, lol).

A trip to the local creamery.
We live about 0.25 miles from the town’s BEST creamery. In addition to yummy ice cream, we both love their homemade coney sauce. On beautiful evenings when we don’t feel like cooking we climb into the convertible and cruise over there for dinner together.

Early morning breakfast dates.
I think one of my hands down favorite things to do with K is to wake up semi-early on a Saturday or Sunday and get breakfast at a local diner while the world is still waking up. There are lots of places near us but our favorite is a cute one a few towns over. With maybe 12 tables inside, everyone knows everyone. We’re strangers in that town, but they’re so friendly and it’s fun to watch them greet one another and catch up as they come inside for breakfast.

Walking around car shows.
I married a car enthusiast. We’ve spent many afternoons slowly walking through car shows, admiring the vintage rides of yesteryear. Truth be told, I’ve actually learned a lot about cars from K while walking around these shows. My dad, brother, and grandfathers are all car lovers, too. I guess it’s in my blood 😉 Perusing car lots and open houses are also a fun way to spend the afternoon. For us anyway.

A festival lunch date.
We don’t really care for crowds. Additionally, in a small town like ours, when you immerse yourself in a crowd you’re bound to know a handful of people- some you like and some you don’t. We’ve found that by going on weekday lunch dates to street fests and fairs, we avoid crowds and lines and small talk with people we haven’t seen since high school. AND we get the benefit of fresh lemonade and vinegar-soaked fries 😀

I think it’s adorable and cute and #relationshipgoals when couples plan out weekly quality time. I really do. It’s just not how we operate 🙂 All kinds of kinds. These occasional outings work well for us and keep us happy and connected. Next time you’re looking for something to do with you s/o, try one of these!

What kind of date activities do you and yours like to do?

How To: Host a Garage Sale

I live in a small Midwest town where garage sales are still a pretty big staple of summer. My mom used to host them, I’ve hosted them, and street corners are decorated with neon SALE signs in every part of town all summer long. Is that typical across the country? (I’m honestly not sure…)

Anyway, tomorrow and Saturday I’m having a garage sale in conjunction with the neighborhood garage sale. (Our new house is in a development and I’m so excited to participate in the neighborhood sale!)

I won’t lie… I really like garage sales. I enjoy pricing things, arranging things, and selling things to others (a.k.a. checking them off my list). I’ve even been known to tell people to “just take it.” I’m 100% committed to getting rid of stuff. Since I’ve done this a few times, I figured I’d offer some friendly and totally unsolicited advice to anyone thinking about hosting their own yard/garage sale!

  1. Certain items draw people in. People like furniture, gently used kids’ toys and clothes, and jewelry. Once they’re in your driveway they browse through the adult clothes, kitchenware, and other miscellaneous things you have. People like winter coats, too!
  2. Keep your prices low. I might be guilty of under-pricing things, but they sell so I don’t care. And don’t be afraid to drop prices mid-sale.
  3. Friday is typically a better sale days than Saturday. Drop your prices overnight. Don’t be afraid to haggle on Friday (but maybe take someone’s best offer on Saturday). In my experience, Fridays are great and profitable while Saturdays are more of a freebie.
  4. Have refreshments! I’m not necessarily talking about a kid-run, bee-swarmed lemonade stand. Some cold $1 bottles of water will draw people your direction.
  5. Pay attention to when other around you are having sales. If you can get in on a neighborhood on that’s even better! People flock to multiple sales. Also, if people show up early and want to buy stuff before you’re 100% ready, let them 😉
  6. Advertise in the newspaper/on Facebook/in the classified. Mention the *good* stuff you’re selling (see advice #1).
  7. Don’t burn yourself out. Only go from 8am to 2 or 3pm. After that it’s not worth it. Also, if you have friends or family who want in on the sale you can take shifts!
  8. Speaking of which, share your garage with friends/family. I don’t have kids but my bff does and she’s bringing their old toys to our sale this weekend to draw people in. My mom is also contributing items. You can use different colored stickers to keep track of how much money each person makes, then divide it all at the end.

Honestly, there are no solid rules to garage sale-ing, but these tips have worked for me. I don’t like cluttered tables or mismatched items so I tend to stage and categorize. I think it’s proven successful in most cases. I usually mark the sizes on clothing, too. That way people aren’t tearing through my piles 😉

Just a reminder:

  • obtain a garage sale permit (even if your neighborhood is having a sale)
  • check with people before you stick a sign in their yard (advertising your sale)
  • have change ready for people paying with large bills

I know some people find garage sales to be stressful and way too much work. I am not that person. Haha. Have you ever had a garage sale? Do you enjoy them?