Sunday, January 29, 2012

Secrets of Life

So I have so many awesome friends who have been so supportive in my decision to buy a place! One of these friends, I will call her "M," sent me a great link to a blog that talks about making your space your own and what that means and just about enjoying life in general. It is such a nice post, that I am copying and sharing it with you all.

1. wherever you're living, make it your space. before i married ryan, i lived in d.c. in this amazing little studio apartment in georgetown. as i've been thinking about this post, i keep picturing that apartment. i moved to d.c. after the most painful season in my life so far, and so that space became a sanctuary for me. after looking at 40+ apartments, i finally found the perfect one for me. nestled at the corner of 32nd and r, across the street from the amazing dumbarton oaks gardens, and a short walk to the wonders of M street and wisconsin (not to mention whole foods, glover park, etc....) my little studio had just been redone -- fresh paint on the walls, a newly renovated bathroom with a skylight, an amazing little galley kitchen with new appliances, and french doors to give the bedroom a bit of privacy, but keep all the light coming in the windows bouncing around the place. i could clean the whole thing top to bottom in an hour, parking was right outside, i had amazing running routes in every direction & i made the space into my own.

 i had ikea furniture -- billy bookcases (which we still have & love) & my desk was two ikea file cabinets with a top (still is, love it). but i also made investments -- i bought a GOOD bed (we humans spend a lot of time sleeping!); and though 99% of my kitchen was from target, i bought two sets of anthropologie dishes in a pattern i adored when they went on sale. i found an antique nightstand i loved. i had nice towels. i balanced being newly out of college, in a big city, on a budget, with not wanting to feel like everything i was buying was a starter kit to tide me over until i "grew up." all those things i invested in are things ryan & i still have. i still love them.

so, my first bit of advice is to invest in the place you call home. have the people you love over to visit. make it a space that warms your heart to look back on. and for pete's sake take photos of it because holy moly writing this post made me realize i don't have any photos of that wonder of an apartment i lived in for two years!!

 2. do what is possible & that you love in this season of life. whether that's taking a trip to italy with your best friend; going kayaking in british columbia with your dad; taking that assignment with work out of the country for a few months; have a west wing or downton abby marathon weekend; eating apples with peanut butter, wheat thins, hummus, and ben & jerry's s'mores ice cream most nights for dinner; going to yoga three times a week; taking that painting class; switching jobs, again; splurging on those j.crew flats; leaving on a spontaneous road trip with five minutes notice; staying up all night ... there will be something you love right now or something you've always wanted to do that your life currently has the time & space for, that in that life you're hoping will start any minute (dating someone, marrying someone, starting a family, a new job, a new city), won't be possible or nearlyas easy. we miss so much by constantly anticipating the next season in life, instead of soaking up what is possible right now. 

in a nut shell, if you're bummed the life you want hasn't started yet, find one thing you can do right now that may not be possible in that next season of life & do it. at the very least, you'll be more interesting when you do meet "the one," get that job, move to that city.

3. be very, very choosy of whom you go through life with. i do happen to think ryan is handsome, chivalrous, funny & a family man :), but he's certainly not the only one out there. they may be few and far between, and certainly hard to find, but they're more than worth the wait. i realize this is very easy for me to say when i found mine at 26, but i don't think it makes it any less true. the reason why has little to do with the good ones, or the search to find them, and much to do with what happens when you choose the wrong one.

just as marriage has the power to be an incredible bond, a friendship beyond what you knew possible, and a comfort in all seasons, a bad marriage can hurt you in ways you didn't know possible, make you lonelier than you ever thought possible & darken your world. the reality is tough times are going to come -- you're going to lose a parent or a job or a child, you're going to confront an unexpected illness, you're going to feel despair, you're going to need to have someone you know won't give up on you. the right spouse is never going to be perfect, or know all the right things to say or meet all your needs, but they're going to be there, try really hard, & quite often be the only one who can comfort you quite like that.

when you're thinking about your life's partner, think about who you want sitting next to you at a funeral; who you want to stand beside in the hallway of a hospital as you get the worse of news; who you wouldn't be bored of after 27 years of dinners at the same table; find someone who you want to do 3 a.m. diaper changes with. it's easy to find someone to go on vacation with, or be your date to a wedding or graduation, or who you can have semi-interesting conversations with on a regular basis, it's harder to find someone for all seasons.

tim keller is one of my favorite thinkers on marriage, and i've always loved this quote of his: "if the purpose of marriage, if the thing that is really essential, is companionship, then you need to find somebody who understands you, who looks in the center of your life and doesn't yawn or laugh, but says wow."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When you know, you know.

I did it. I bought a place! It's a lot like finding "the one" (I assume). This email I sent to friends two days ago will fill you in on everything (excuse my grammar- I was in a rush!).

Hello, friends!

So for those of you who don't know...I BOUGHT A CONDO! If you have spoken with me the past 8 months, you know that I have been looking and going back and forth on if I should/shouldn't. I moved to the fan in Richmond (downtown, hip/young area for those of you who don't know the area) in June as a step towards buying, because I wanted to get more of an idea on where I wanted to live. Well, I LOVE living in the city and decided I definitely want to live in this area. Then it was- do I buy a house or condo, and, frankly, I always wanted a turn key condo because when have I ever done yard work or fixed anything around the house? Ummm, never, so that was a pretty easy decision. Let's not kid ourselves in thinking I will give up my TV time to do yard work. Not gonna happen. Where's the neighborhood kid to mow my lawn?

Luckily, the market has been very slow, so many places I have liked since I started looking in July have not sold. I initially wanted to live in the heart of the fan, but as time went on, I found I could get more for my money and could be in a quieter area (and could see myself more long-term) if I went slightly outside of it. Then around Christmas I decided I did not want to buy because I just didn't LOVE any one place. I LIKED a lot, but you have to LOVE your place to put that freakin' much money down (and people were scaring me- "What will you do if you get married?" (ummmm, move? or, crazy thought- he can live with me!), "What if you need to move?" (Ummm, I'll sell?), "This market is awful- buying a house is not what it used to be!" (neither are interest rates or prices!) Ect, ect, ect....(I've learned to not talk about big life choices with many other can ruin your plans because EVERYONE has an opinion and theirs is RIGHT).

Then 3 weeks ago on a whim, I found my treasure while seaching on zillow (love it love it)! I LOVED this condo- it is smaller than what I was looking for (1 bedroom as opposed to two, but only slightly smaller square footage) but comes with so much more. It has a pool (crucial for my summers off and RARE in the city), a gym, courtyards, ample free parking (odd in the city), shared grills/patio space, doggie stands (if I ever decide to not be a cat lady anymore), 1 ½ baths, HUGE CLOSETS (omg it's insane), great washer dryer, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, wood flooring and is the 2nd floor of 2 floors with NO SHARED WALLS (check plus+)! It also is in walking distance of two great shopping streets- Carytown and the Shoppes at Libby/Grove. I can still walk to bars and restaurants and the fan/museum district is only a mile away (so I am the perfect distance outside of it but close enough to it to have all the conveniences of it).

So I brought my parents back last weekend and they loved it. I loved it. It was set. But I needed to get the price down substantially, because I wanted to put 20% down. I put my first bid in on Sunday knowing they wouldn't accept it, they countered Monday, I recountered yesterday morning and they countered with their final offer yesterday afternoon (TOTALLY like House Hunters!). I accepted- their minimum was my maximum for the property, so it worked out perfectly!

I don't close for 60 days and still have to get the loan set up, but barring any crazy unforeseen circumstance, it's official (I signed my life away). 

Here is a link to the place- it doesn't show the half bath, washer/dryer or master bathroom but you get the gist. Also, the asking price is not what I got it for:)

Yay! I may be crazy...but it's only money, right?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Musings of a Single Gal

It seems the mid-twenties are a time for engagements. I know I have said before that everyone is starting to get married, but I was lying. Now really EVERYONE is starting to get married. I am up to counting on three hands the numbers of friends that are engaged. It literally is someone new almost every week, and I know it is only going to keep going up because I have even more friends in very serious relationships. I think I have too many friends.

The thing is, I am genuinely happy for my friends. They all deserve happiness and companionship and someone to share their life with. I genuinely like all of their fianc├ęs. Truly, no one is marrying someone evil or crazy. They are all good, solid people. I genuinely am not even jealous because I am not ready to be married. So on the surface there is nothing bad about any of these engagements.

But then there is this hole. There is this knot in the pit of my stomach that grows every time I learn someone new is engaged. There is this underlying sadness I feel amongst the happiness. There are always tears that I have to fight from surfacing when I find out someone new will walk down the aisle.

You know when you’re a kid, and everyone gets picked before you for a team on the playground? Or everyone gets invited to a party that you don’t get invited to? That feeling of being left behind you get when someone is experiencing something you aren’t? That is a feeling I can’t shake.

When you think about it, most of your childhood is on par with all of your friends. For the most part (in regards to all my close friends), you all move from grade to grade together. You get your drivers license together, go to dances together, graduate together, go to college together and get jobs together. Everyone completes the same steps around the same time but in their own, individual way. No one is left behind.

Relationships are not set up for everyone to be on the same step all the time. I get that. Some people have more friends than others; have more boyfriends/girlfriends than others. Some date for a long time before they get married while others are quickly moving to the next step. Some are serial monogamists while others only date someone serious every few years. Everyone is different. I know.

Still, even though I understand it and don’t question it or judge those or even compare myself to others, I can’t help but wonder: Will I ever get that? Is everyone else experiencing this wonderful thing that I will never get to experience? What am I missing out on? And more importantly…will I ever catch up?

I have had long conversations with my mother about the uncertainties of her mid-twenties and having to be ok with who you are and what your life will be. She, in the mid-1970’s, was considered “old” for not being married until she was 27, so what I am experiencing now is similar to her experiences. It has been nice that she relates to me so well in how I am feeling. And from my life experiences and talking with her, I know that not everyone’s life is the same. Everyone gets to each step differently. Happiness is the most important (and being married does not guarantee happiness). Your life is in your control for YOU to make the best of it. I know. I get it.

I also know that I have many years of weddings left. And they will be wonderful and fun and exciting. I will go to them all with a smile on my face and love in my heart for my amazing friends. But this knot. After the weddings fade and excitement dies down, will it ever dissipate?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I woke up with 20/450 vision (meaning I would run into things without glasses or contacts on) and went to bed on my way to 20/15.

Happy Anniversary, New Eyes!

It amazes me to think it has been a year. I vividly remember the annoyances of glasses and contacts, but my eye site is so good now that I don't even think about how FABULOUS it is that I don't need either anymore. It will pay off for me everyday for the rest of my life, even though the initial monetary payment is done. I know I may eventually need reading glasses, but I am covered for any other eye adjustments until I die. Woooo! So for those of you thinking about Lasik....DO IT!

Also, this anniversary got me to thinking about something that I do that not a lot of other people do. I have all of my daily planners with homework assignments and what I have done on afternoons, evenings and weekends since I was fourteen. So I am able, on any given day, to flip open my planners and know exactly what I did each day. I am glad I started this, because I think is it nice to go back and remember where I went, who I was with, if I worked or volunteered or what kind of test I had the next day in school. It's fun to occasionally take a trip down memory lane, and it is a very cool way to remember even the smallest things (because those are what make up the bulk of our lives) or how you were feeling (since events are tied to feelings). I've come far since fourteen... and even since last year, not just thanks to my new eyes, but for positive changes all around!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Little January Inspiration

"For what it's worth, it's never too late or in my case too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." 
~Benjamin Button

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I am usually ready for the holidays to end but this year I wasn't...they were so relaxing and it was nice to recharge with friends and family. I loved my 2 week break from work, but I wasn't dreading going back either. Here are some chronicles of the FUN. (also, awesome band name with a sweet song that you can find here) that was had over the last few weeks in the form of videos because they're fun and I don't post them often!

A little Christmas Texas Hold 'Em

Nothing like a New Years Eve dance party!!

Pretty friends:)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Day, New Month, New Year, New Life

It's always good to know that even when life is changing and you are adjusting and dealing with what you want from it, or even when you have a bad day or week or month, that the sun does always come up; you do go about doing things you love...spending time with friends, writing, exercising, reading...and you find that each day is a day to start over and make a change or adjust your way of thinking. I like that even though you may have been some way your whole life or even part of your life, each day is a chance to begin anew again. We can constantly reinvent ourselves. And for that I am grateful.

I wrote this back in June and was reminded of this thought the other night. When I started out on this blog, it was more of a joke- a funny thing I did in college that my roommates often pushed me to do. Then I decided I wanted to make it something more, like a journal of my life in grad school and in pursuit of a job. More and more it really has become a great reflection of my thoughts, my ups and downs, and simply what my life is like at each stage. It is becoming a great personal diary and place where I can compose my thoughts. I am getting comfortable sharing things I probably wouldn't have wanted to share even a year ago, and I am finding people saying more and more to me that they appreciate the honesty and can relate to what I post.

Where am I going with all this (this seems to be a question I often post on here along with my thoughts)? Well, there is a topic that is a bit taboo for me to speak about, simply because for years it was uncomfortable for me to bring up because I didn't want people to judge me, look at me or think of me a certain way. Only close friends and family know and as I become more distant from it, I am more and more comfortable talking about it. The bottom line is I suffered from an eating disorder the end of high school into the very beginning of college. I am not bringing this up to go into details of what it was like or how I recovered or to get sympathy, but part of the reason the beginning statement on this post is so powerful to me is because that is how I have (and had to) look(ed) at life for a long time. Each day was a new day to make it better (or make it worse) and it was with each waking sun that I moved closer and closer to who I am now. I was in control and it was up to me to make my life what I wanted it to be. Now this doesn't have to just relate to what I was struggling with, and as I have gotten older it has different meaning, but I find it is still a powerful message and thought process to have going through my head each day.

Life is hard. Harder than I think anyone ever expects it to be. You have internal struggles no one knows about and external failures that everyone sees. No one is perfect and everyone is constantly changing. I will never be 100% over my eating disorder just as someone is never 100% over the death of a loved one or a tragedy that changed their life. But we adapt, learn, grow and recharge. We make do and move on. We're all quirky and that's ok (hey, it's what makes us who we are)! We're weird. But we find passions to keep us going and avenues that allow us to reevaluate and make changes in ourselves. We become this person that may be far from where we started but closer to our true selves than we thought. We become comfortable in our own skin. We are always learning. I think the secret to life is resiliency and what better way to be resilient than to approach each day fresh and motivated to make it a good one? To take control every waking morning of your life?

So as you go into the new year, think less about a single resolution, but work with yourself every day to change your struggles or bad habits. Today is your day to be your best and to do what you set out to do. You can change everything about your life starting right now. Isn't that fabulous to hear?

Happy 2012:)