Holly Springs Farmer’s Market

On Saturdays when my sister Emily and I are both in town, we like to wake up early-ish, make coffee, and go walk the lake trail by our apartments. Since the weather has been cooling down a little, it has been so nice to start off the day with a brisk walk!

A couple Saturdays ago, we were driving back home and passed by a tiny farmer’s market on the way. We didn’t have our wallets with us, but we pulled over and walked through, vowing to return the next week more prepared! There were so many local businesses represented by food, drink, produce, body products, etc. Last Saturday, we got up and went on our walk and then swung by the Holly Springs farmer’s market a second time. This time, I had cash and was ready to buy a few things (particularly some swanky dog treats I had seen the week before).

We got a delicious iced coffee from Five Star Coffee Roasters while we browsed the rest of the tents. I picked up a birthday gift for my friend Jordan from a tent full of bath bombs, soy candles, lip balms, soaps, lotions, and more! The lady who owns it also has an Etsy shop. I also picked up some fresh baked bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. (I got the extreme cinnamon swirl!). There was a tent from Paradox Farms, and if anyone knows how much I love goat cheese, you know I had to pick some up! I got the pumpkin goat cheese spread and it DID NOT disappoint.

I mentioned the swanky dog treats earlier – you know I love spoiling the dogs! This company, Good Grace’s Dog Treats, sells handmade specialty dog treats. I picked up a variety pack for Bruno, Oliver, and Nala to share. The flavors include sweet potato fries, P, B, and YAY, Eat your Carrots, Piggly Wigglies, and more! I love that the ingredients are listed on the back and that they put sticker pictures of their doggie customers on the front of the bags ūüôā ¬†I’ll have to send in a picture of my three hooligans! They go CRAZY for the treats.

It was a really fun Saturday morning activity and I can’t wait to keep going back to see new vendors! I love supporting local businesses and if you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend it! We are lucky enough to have the NC State Farmer’s Market close by, but each little area also has their own smaller versions, and I think you can find some real treasures sprinkled among those! Lots of free samples, doggies walking around, and local goods to peruse.

Mental health & trying to keep it together

photo by j parker photography

This post is for when you feel like life is getting the best of you.

I ran into a colleague of mine recently while I was working at a coffee shop, and he encouraged me to write this post on mental health – how to keep it together when it feels like you have too many things going on (he’s getting his doctoral degree). I’ve written about that sort of thing before, but I’ve never really written a “how to” post.¬†I certainly don’t have a magic recipe or a button to push to make all of life’s hard things disappear. ¬†But I’m always happy to share my own experiences and give advice, so this post is about what always works for me when I’m feeling way too overloaded. These tips have gotten me through graduate school, juggling several jobs, heartache, loss, and more.

This new school year is already proving to be a challenge for me. I can’t seem to keep my head above water and every day is a constant to-do list that doesn’t even get halfway accomplished. Clubs, department chair, budget, committees, lesson plans and grading – I have never been this behind on grading so early on.¬†On top of that, add a second job, keeping up with this blog, trying to exercise, 2 dogs, friends, family, etc‚Ķyou get the picture. I’m sure you also have your own list! I really started to feel overwhelmed this week and even as I sit here, I’m trying to squeeze in writing a blog post after school before leaving for my second job at the pub. SO. I am also writing this post as a reminder to myself of the steps I need to take so I can keep my sanity and not completely fall apart.

People frequently ask me how I’m always so positive, happy, upbeat, etc. or tell me that I always seem “put together.” I’ve gotten that comment (compliment!) a lot in my life, and I can guarantee you that I do not always have it together – I’m just really good at faking it ’til I make it! But I do tend to stay pretty positive and I try to look at life’s hardships as a growing process and as problems with solutions, rather than letting them ruin my life. Here are the steps I take when life is really sticking it to me and I feel like I’m about to explode:

1. Take a breath.¬†The cheesiest, most overused cure on the planet – but if people would just take a second and actually breathe in and out a few times, the world would probably¬†definitely be a much better place. Breathing does a few things, and there is a lot of science behind it, but I’ll save that for another time because I know I can get long-winded (see what I did there?). Breathing gives you a few moments between stimulus and response: ¬†The moment something “happens to you” and however you decide to react to it. If you’re taking a few moments to just breathe in and out, you are saving yourself from overreacting, saying something you’ll regret later, breaking something, etc. You have a few seconds to think about how you want to respond. Doing this simple task – breathing – and being aware of it, has literally changed my life and my whole outlook on it.

2. Allow yourself to wallow – but not for long. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and upset. It is okay to feel like life isn’t fair sometimes, or like you don’t deserve “all of this,” whatever “this” is for you. I get it. So take that time to really get a good “Dang, this sucks”¬†moment in for yourself, and then remind yourself that you are done feeling sorry for yourself because you have mountains to move. At some point you have to dust yourself off and start making a plan. You just have to. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in the dark place, and that is a hard place to pull yourself out of.

3. Distance yourself from whatever you need to.¬†Give yourself space. Remember up there in #1, where I talked about stimulus and response? We often respond too quickly to a situation, a conversation, or a moment of frustration without giving it some time and space for thinking about it. If it’s school, work, social problems, whatever it might be, give yourself some distance. Physically walk away from whatever it is and take a break. Get some air, think about your feelings, all that good stuff. Weigh your options and then respond/act once you’ve been able to process everything. I wrote more about that here.

4. Vent to a non-judgmental ear.¬†Sometimes we just need to get it out. Find that person that can listen to you without reminding you later what you said when you were stressed out. A sounding board that can understand you’re just having a moment and need someone to say, “I hear you,” and not, “I told you so.” Typically in these moments we aren’t looking for advice – we just need to be heard and validated. There is value in that. I believe there is true healing in just getting bad things out of your brain and into the open, whether that’s in writing, talking to friends or family, or even talking to a trained professional.

5. Prioritize.¬†Make lists! Even if making lists isn’t your thing and it doesn’t bring you satisfaction like it does to me (which I can’t even begin to understand), making lists is the number one way to make sure you can accomplish all you need to accomplish – and in the order that it all needs to get done! So you’ve had your time to feel sorry for yourself, and now you have to make a plan on how you’re going to make it through. I usually keep several lists – for to-dos at home/errands, things I need to do at school, a list for the blog, a list for pictures I need to take for the blog, a list of workouts and groceries for the week, etc. You can do this easily on your phone, too. I set a million reminders a day and Siri always comes through for me if I don’t come through for myself. There are tasks that have to get done RIGHT NOW, and things that can always get done later, so put dates or times next to your items. Prioritize and then get to work. Focus on one thing at a time. Then the next thing. Then the next. And let me tell you, life doesn’t stop, so your lists will keep getting longer, but as you start crossing things off, it balances out. Even people who fly by the seat of their pants have to have a plan of attack if things are ever going to get accomplished.

6. ¬†Do not be too proud to ask for help.¬†I cannot stress enough that we are only human. We are not magical superheroes with more than 24 hours in a day or limitless energy and peppiness.¬†If someone asks if you want help with something, or if you want to split something up, and you’re about to seriously go off the deep end,¬†let. Them. Help. You.¬†Give up the control and let someone know you are overloaded. There is no shame in admitting that you have a lot going on and could really use a little help. Then, the next time you’re feeling more on top of things, maybe you can pay it forward and help someone else who’s fighting to keep their head above water. It feels good to know we are needed, so let someone know you need them!

7. Be physically active.¬†This is so key¬†to keeping it together, and it is usually where I fall short, so I get it. You’ve heard the saying, “A tired dog is a good dog?” The same applies for humans! You may not be chewing up your favorite pair of shoes, but without releasing your negative energy, tension, and stress from your day-to-day life, you are going to be bottling up some pretty serious stuff, and when it has no outlet, it starts to leak like poison. No matter what you believe, you can’t deny the scientific proof that exercises releases endorphins. It also helps give you some head space and clear your thoughts. I know – you’re busy. You don’t have time to exercise, you’re too tired to exercise, you’ve got a million other things to do. But I promise you the payoff is so worth it. You can read all about how yoga changed my life here, but I also love to walk my dogs, do tabata circuits, and lift weights! Anything that gets you moving is better than sitting around feeling too overwhelmed to be productive. You will never regret it afterwards.

8. Check in with yourself throughout the day.¬†Something that makes a huge difference for me is being mindful and aware of how I am feeling. That sounds so obvious, but a lot of us don’t stop to think about the¬†why.¬†We just go through the motions without thinking about what’s going on in our bodies or minds. Am I tired? Cranky? Does something just not feel right? Did something happen that made me feel this way? Am I clenching my teeth or wrinkling my forehead or tensing up my shoulders? Throughout the day I have to constantly remind myself to breathe deeply, unclench my teeth, and relax my shoulders. Those are the three biggest ways I can quickly just feel calmer. Make sure you’re checking in on yourself and taking care of your needs.

9.¬†Fake it ’til you make it. My high school students can’t believe that I am “always in such a good mood.” What’s my secret? The secret is I’m not always in a good mood! But I DO believe that moods are contagious, and if you can fake it and put on a good face – even if it’s just to yourself – you can really help frame your mood, your day, and the moods of those around you. I’m not saying you have to act like Little Miss Sunshine, but even little things like not complaining when someone asks how your day is going can make a huge difference. Smile and tell yourself that you can handle this and have this covered, and then remind yourself of that as you start to take one thing at a time.

10. Celebrate. Life is short, and adulting is hard, and if we don’t give ourselves things to look forward to or celebrate our accomplishments, then what’s the point? When you cross a big thing off your list, or when you complete something you’ve been working on for a long time, do something that you enjoy, buy yourself a new something, treat yoself. Make plans with people you love and just go celebrate the fact that we are all making it through somehow. I think that’s something we deserve to celebrate, don’t you?!

Finally, and I think maybe most importantly, is to just be realistic with yourself and know when too much is really too much. Everyone has a different threshold level for how much they can pile on their plate. You have to be able to admit to yourself when your metaphorical food is about to splatter all over the floor. If you are focusing on too many things at once, you can’t do everything well. Sometimes you have to look at what’s really important and let go of one or two other things – even if it is only for now, until you can clear some space in your life. I continue to re-learn this every so often, but at least I’m really good at telling other people what to do ūüėČ

 

I really hope this helps even one person out there who may be feeling overwhelmed like I am right now. We are going to be okay – we have to be! The world keeps on turning and life keeps on going. The sun will rise tomorrow and it is up to us to choose the tone of our days. Today, let’s choose joy.

Oh, and if you’re wondering‚ĶI didn’t get the post finished before my shift. That’s life! ūüôā¬†

FriYAY feels + intro part 2!

old shot by whitney from back when i was using my passion planner ūüôā

The first week of school is DONE!!! I am so pooped from 5 days back in the classroom, learning names, getting technology to work, and standing on my feet all day! My to-do lists keep getting longer and longer, but I’m starting to see my students’ personalities and figure out the vibes of my three different class periods and that’s always the fun part. Thank goodness we have a day off next week for ¬†Labor Day!

I’ve been a long-time follower of Kate and her sister Lauren, and I’ve linked jewelry items I’ve purchased from Lauren’s shop Elisabeth Ashlie before. She took a summer break and I have been dying for Elisabeth Ashlie to re-open and TODAY IS THE DAY! Perfect for jewelry, gift items, and pretty little things.

Teachers got our first paycheck since MAY 31ST this week, so I feel like I can finally breathe a little! (And buy groceries!) I have to get a few necessities like, you know, dog food and new flea/tick medicine for Bruno & Oliver, but I also have had my eye on a few goodies that I might scoop up (this, these, & this!).

I had a lot of people respond to my last Friyay introduction, so here are a few more little things about me to finish out my Friyay introduction mini-series(for now!):

-Mascara: ¬†Probably the number one beauty topic I get asked about is my eyelashes. People ask if my eyelashes are real, and then they always ask what mascara I use. I’ve covered this topic before, but in case you didn’t know – yes, they’re real! And these are my favorite mascaras in life: ¬†Covergirl full lash bloom, and if I’m splurging I love this and this!

-When I was little I really had a lot of dreams and aspirations. I wanted to be a teacher, singer, actress, writer, waitress, but I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be a news anchor. I love to read, and I just always liked words. (And, if I’m being honest here, when I was a kid I loved being in front of the camera. My family jokes that I got all my practice for the blog back then!) I used to record myself on my Walkman giving news reports and reading from my children’s Bible. My old Walkman is still in my old closet at home in Asheville, with me reading about Cain and Abel and giving a child’s interpretation of a news story about the O.J. Simpson trial! Kids are so weird.

-Now that I’m an adult, I still have a lot of dreams and aspirations! I truly love teaching, but there are so many other things I’d love to do – own a cute little coffee shop, write a novel, have a boutique, start up a yoga studio‚Ķand winning the lottery wouldn’t be so bad, either.

-Speaking of winning the lottery, one of my favorite games is deciding what I’d do with all my winnings if I ever actually did win the lottery. No matter how much the lottery is for, I always have basically the same plan, but I still like to play the game and ask Andrew and other friends and family what they’d do if they won. Would you keep your job? Would you move or stay where you are? Would you give money to good causes? Have several homes? Travel? It’s just something I started back in college with Whitney. But then again, you have to play to win, right? I CANNOT believe some woman in NC just won like $355 million in take home winnings. Could have been me!

-My family and I are kind of obsessed with 90s classic movies.¬†Heavyweights,¬†The Mighty Ducks¬†series,¬†3 Ninjas¬†series,¬†Surf Ninjas, Big Business,¬†etc. They never get old. My brother sends random movies to us in the mail from time to time, and it’s always such a fun throw back. I’ve probably seen¬†Heavyweights about a hundred times and can quote it word for word really obnoxiously (but I try not to while watching it, duh).

-I’ve never broken a bone, but I am incredibly clumsy. I hurt myself all the time – trip over things, run into things, knock my knee into a corner. I am perpetually bruised and scratched.

– I always keep my nails painted and you’re not likely to ever see me without color on them. Toenails, too. I just can’t stand it on myself and love a fun pop of color. I can’t remember the last time I had bare nails.

-I can touch my tongue to my nose and can keep one eye crossed while the other stays straight! But I can’t whistle. I have never been able to and have tried countless times to be taught. I just straight up can not do it. It’s a reality I’ve had to face in my (almost) 30 years.

Let me know if you have more questions!

I’ll try to be back next week with a normal Tuesday/Thursday/sometimes Friday schedule. The first week of school hit me hard! I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend! Andrew and I are going to a cookout, I’m having coffee with an old student, and I have a ton of cleaning to do around the apartment!

Hustlin’

working at the mill, one of my new favorite places!

Yesterday was officially day one of teacher work days. A day full of meetings and emails with questions that I don’t know the answer to yet, and a classroom that still needs lots of unpacking, organizing, and decorating. I did get to borrow another teacher’s solar eclipse glasses and watch everything outside with Andrew and some other teacher friends, so that was an exciting part of the day!

I feel lucky in that I almost feel like I get two new starts to every year – school starts up in August, which comes with a whole set of “new,” and then again in January I get to experience the real new year with everyone else. It should really be no surprise to you by now that I have a lot of goals and love to run myself into the ground stay busy all the time ūüôā I mentioned that I am taking on some new roles at school this year, but in addition to that, my best friend is getting married in April, I’m staying on one night a week at the pub, I have the blog, and I’m making a promise to myself to commit to a very regular workout routine and really focus on my Weight Watchers tracking. I just need that physical exercise as an outlet for the stress in life! Plus, I’m going to be THIRTY in September and I need to feel thirty, flirty, & thriving!

Every new school year, I set new goals for myself, and this year isn’t any different. I feel like I have so many fun and important things that I want to focus on, and I love the challenge of working hard for something that I can be proud of. Another BIG goal I am setting for myself is to make some really serious financial changes. Pay off my car, some of my debt, save more each month, and track expenses more carefully. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be something I needed to worry about, but the world isn’t perfect yet! Money is a huge source of stress for me because I don’t care much about it, but you need it, and life is expensive, but you can’t live lavishly if you don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot but I love what I do, but you have to live a little, and you want to do nice things for people, but you can’t if you don’t budget your money‚Ķ‚Ķsee what I mean?! So I have to care about it! My new planner has a monthly bill and budget tracker at the end of each month, so I’m going to use it diligently and use my extra money from my weekly shift at the pub to help supplement my teacher salary.

Being an adult is hard, y’all. I know I’m not the first to say it, but MAN.

So anyway, I’ve got some big goals and dreams and things to work toward this year, on top of my regular job and my part-time job. I am so excited to kick off another school year and to get back in a regular groove! Cheers to the year, and to all of my fellow goal-setters and ass-kickers out there (sorry Mom!).

what i’m using to keep track of all my hustlin’ this year, from¬†karma paper company!

So many people who are close to me have big, busy upcoming events – babies, weddings, new jobs, business growth, school, personal goals‚ĶI love getting to support all the people I love in their celebrations and achieving their goals! Comment and let me know what plans and goals you’re working on! And look for a post soon on how I try to keep it all together with so many things going on all the time. A colleague asked me for a mental health post, so it’s coming soon to a blog near you ūüôā

Wants // back to school

I cannot believe that I start teacher work days THIS WEEK.

Yesterday I spent about 3 hours transferring from my last year school calendar to my new one for this year. I am so excited! Call me crazy, but I love the feeling of getting all my important dates into a new planner. This year I have some really exciting stuff coming up! My best friend is getting married (!!!) and I’m taking on some new classes and roles at school this year.

Speaking of getting back to school, there are some items I’m reallllly jonesin’ for in anticipation of a new school year. Clothes, accessories, and classroom/desk items, to be precise! Currently these things are all sitting in a cart somewhere online (it’s my classic move – I’m a pro at pretend online shopping without ever pulling the trigger). But a girl can still dream, can’t she?!

1. Fitbit Alta HR – to count all my steps while I teach all day, plus calculate calorie burn during workouts! My old Fitbit is the original and it is on its last leg. And perfect world, perfect hair day, I’d get the blush pink with rose gold plate (duh). I also love being able to track my sleep!

2. Perfect rose gold desk accessories – basic desk kit,¬†with a pen/pencil cup, stapler, tape dispenser, and some cute binder clips. Because what use are binder clips if they’re not cute?! (Just kidding. Binder clips in any way, shape, or form are lifesavers to a teacher.)

3. Paper clip holder – because I use about 18 million paper clips a day. Also rose gold. Because, well, matching.

4. 3-drawer tiny stacking unit – for paper clips, push pins, erasers, whatever I want! Also‚Ķrose gold‚Ķbecause, well, matching!!! And you don’t have to mention to me that I already have a paper clip holder in my cart. This is my daydream, so let me have it and be impractical if I want to!

5. Marble gray desk pad – because I want to be like all the other trendy people and I’m in love with gray marble.

6.Steve Madden slides – in blush‚ĶI’m sensing a pattern here and feeling a little embarrassed. I like rose gold and blush pink, okay?! Who doesn’t?! These would be perfect for school and would transition to regular life, too (all my dreams coming true in one little slide).

7. Work pants – loving these slim pants, these fun polka dot pants, and these pixie ankle pants in the winter wine color.

8. Dresses – this one and this one. Easy to dress up or down!

9. These black wedges. Classic with a twist! Plus a teacher left a review that they’re great for being on your feet all day!

10. If I was going to splurge on a cute & trendy desk chair – this one, this one, this one! Maybe next year, after I win the lottery!

What’s on¬†your¬†back to school list? If “back to school” doesn’t really apply to you, what items do you just have to have for fall this year? I’m always dying to add something else to my pretend online shopping carts ūüėČ

 

Classic with a twist // MAXOUThappy

my first-ever blog photoshoot with whitney ūüôā

When I started MAXOUThappy, I really wanted to do it¬†the right way. I researched for hours, stalked favorite blogs, read articles about how to blog, how to design, what hosting site to use, etc. All the behind the scenes stuff. I worked for Kate Bryan at thesmallthingsblog last summer as an intern, which was so cool,¬†and I learned a lot about blogging. I took a Skillpop class about blogging basics with Molly Stillman and hope to take another one from her as soon as it’s offered.

I recently met up with Whitney, and we were discussing ideas and thoughts for her photography business and for MAXOUThappy. I mentioned that I never really know what to say when people ask me the inevitable question: ¬†“So what’s your blog about?” I usually just say it’s a lifestyle blog, so it’s a little bit of everything‚Ķbut I wanted to have a more focused description. I’ve mentioned my “classic with a twist” style before; but what is MAXOUThappy really about?! A fair question.¬†Whitney¬†helped me really narrow my focus into an idea that makes the most sense to me.

We both went to Meredith College and majored in Family and Consumer Sciences. We met on freshman move-in day and have been partners in crime ever since. I always wanted to teach high school, but I started out as an English major. I ended up switching after my sophomore year and Whitney did, too. Family and Consumer Sciences is what used to be called Home Economics, or “Home Ec.” I’ve caught a lot of flack over the years for going to Meredith, which by the way is a fantastic school, and for changing my major, which by the way is a fantastic¬†major that is little-known and not as widely supported as it should be. A lot of people love to joke about getting your M-R-S degree at Meredith, or that my major is to help me be a better housewife some day. I’d love to tell all those people where they can put their opinions, but instead, I’d really rather help people get it. Family and Consumer Sciences is based on the idea that everything begins in the home and spreads out to the community and beyond. What we can solidify in the home/family and what we can improve on with an individual directly affects the outreach and impact of that individual. We are not people in a vacuum. We are all interconnected and how we live our lives and help others (or not) affects and sparks change in the world. My major is not about cooking and cleaning to be someone’s home maker, although there’s nothing wrong with that job, either. Family and Consumer Sciences is about creating change, addressing global issues, and helping others.

Being able to teach about Parenting and Child Development, Human Services, Foods and Nutrition, Food Science, Interiors, Personal Finance, and Textiles/Apparel gives me such a wide range of topics to be able to help mold the teenagers in my classroom, and hopefully it spreads out beyond them. I realized that the things I write about on the blog tend to trace their way back to one of these areas, and figuring that out really gave me a sense of pride for all the hours I have spent defending and supporting my college major.

So that, along with my “classic with a twist” take on life, is what brings me back here to the blog drawing board week after week‚Ķto say “a little bit of everything,” but with this lens of helping others, improving life, talking about real issues from time to time, and throwing in some happy fluff in-between the real talk. It always seems a little silly to think that a post I wrote about lipstick or a new pair of shoes I got is going to¬†help someone, but I guess the idea is just to spread a little joy around, because life has enough¬†blah already. I am a generally happy person and I work on maximizing that happiness to enjoy the life I’ve been given. It’s not realistic to say I’m always happy or that life doesn’t get me down; if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that isn’t true. But I am an optimist and I love to write; I always have. I used to write chapter books as a child, I’ve started a million novels, I wrote my eBook last year, and I have this blog. I’m so interested in words, the meaning of them, and how they can go together in a million different combinations to evoke different feelings. A nerd? Sure. But I’m happy with that. If I can help get anything positive across to anyone, in any small way, I feel so accomplished. When people come out of the woodworks to tell me they read my blog or enjoy it, it truly makes my day. So, happy reading! Now you know what MAXOUThappy is all¬†about. ūüôā

a magnet reminder on my fridge ūüôā

What you didn’t know you needed

your basic toes in the sand picture 

I looked through some old blog posts recently (it’s hard to believe I’ve been at this thing seriously for two years now!), and what I notice the most when I’m gettin’ in my feels on a blog post is this theme of balance. Taking time for yourself. Saying NO to things so you can say YES to what you really need. I’ve said it a million times: ¬†I overextend myself. I have a tendency to do too much. I need to slow down. I need to take care of myself. It’s there, in a hundred different phrases with a hundred different deliveries (all eloquent and witty, of course, I’m sure).

So this week at the beach with my family is a reminder to myself that this is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. Walking for miles on the beach, collecting sea shell after sea shell, running the dogs until we all can’t breathe and we’re panting and happy. I’m having some adult beverages and a lot of water, going to bed early to get up and meet the sun, and trying to stretch my brain playing Scattergories at night – and giggling when we come up with crazy words and fight for justification.

I know there are beach people and mountain people and indoor people and all kinds of other people, but the beach has always been my happy place. Every year as a kid, my family took a trip to the beach and as an adult, the beach just brings me back to that feeling. The feeling of having nothing you¬†have to do, and being able to enjoy whatever you want with toes in the sand and wind in your hair. As an adult, I have to work a lot harder to be able to not¬†have to do anything for a week…but it’s so worth it once you’re actually sitting in a chair, book in hand, waves rolling out in front of you.

360 degrees of beach watching

hey mom

living their best life, running from waves

We don’t realize how much the stresses of day-to-day life get to us. We walk around tense and tight, with knots in our necks and shoulders because we try to push everything down so we can make it to the next thing. We¬†do need to slow down and take care of ourselves, and even if it isn’t for a week at the beach or any type of vacation at all, we have to intentionally set time aside to breathe and just¬†be. It’s just what we didn’t know we really, really needed.

Now I’m going to finish this post so I can go enjoy the ocean and challenge the sun with SPF 70 applications every two hours. I’ll keep you posted on the winner.

P.S. For a little throwback action, here’s my first post ever!

FriYAY feels + a little about me!

Photo by Whitney at J Parker Photography, tank is old from target

Happy Friyay! I’m off to the beach for a whole week with my family, and Andrew’s coming for the weekend! I am tickled pink. I have worked all summer and haven’t really done anything out of the ordinary, so this vacation has been so exciting to look forward to! I plan to lounge around, do yoga on the beach, walk for miles, read, and work on the blog! Plus I’m sure I’ll get a killer tan¬†pink skin and freckles while I’m there.¬†I asked for some good book recommendations on Facebook and got a few great responses! Now I have a wonderful list of books to download to my Kindle.

I thought I’d use today as a Friday introduction! Most of you know I’m a high school teacher and that I adore my dogs, but maybe you don’t know that I have three tattoos, or that I used to grind my teeth back and forth to the syllables people spoke when I was a kid (weird habit). ¬†I love learning unique and quirky things about people that make them who they are, so I’m laying it all out on the table for you today. I mean we’re all weird, right? It’s fine? I’m fine?

Here we go!

-This one’s not so weird, but I love to read. Not just books. If there are words, I’m excited about them. Directions, research papers, cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, news articles, magazines, road signs. I can’t help myself. I used to be the annoying kid in class who raised her hand every time the teacher wanted someone to read.

-I mentioned grinding my teeth as child. It was the weirdest habit. When people spoke, or if I was watching TV, I would grind my teeth back and forth to every syllable. If my top teeth landed “forward” on someone’s last word, I’d hope to end up “backward” on the next last word. And the game continued until everything felt “even.” Am I weird? I’m weird. I dropped the habit at some point, but still.

-I have a strange thing with balance and things being “even.” I’m not sure if it’s a Libra thing or just a me thing. If one window is rolled down, the other needs to be the same height, if I walk over a crack in the sidewalk with my left foot, I like to walk over the next with my right, etc. This used to cause me a lot of grief as a kid but I’ve learned to live in this crazy world somehow. ūüėČ

-I cannot stand to be poked. I flip out involuntarily – flailing my arms, smacking someone, etc. This goes back to the even thing – it has to be happening on both sides of my body evenly or it just isn’t right. When someone jiggles their leg on one side of me it’s the same thing.

-Tattoos: ¬†I have three of them and they all have longer stories, but here’s the short version. I got my first when I was 18 with my best friend Whitney. It’s a sunshine we always used to doodle and we drew it on our feet with sharpies for weeks before committing. Mine is on my left foot; she has the same one on her other foot. My second one I got with my¬†other best friend since childhood, Lindsay. She got an arrow down her arm, I got a Libra constellation behind my ear. It looks like a kite and I think it’s inaccurate, so there’s that. Third and final is a tattoo on my wrist that you’ve probably seen in a lot of my pictures. My sister has the same one on her other wrist, and it is in memory of our grandparents who passed away. They were so special to our family and they were truly lovebirds till the end, and a great example of what a marriage should be. Every time I see my tattoo I think of them!

-I really love making things with raw ground beef, like meatloaf. I just like the look and texture of it and I like browning it or mixing it in the bowl with my hands to go into the oven. (I’m starting to feel really weird now; TELL ME I’M NOT ALONE).

-Obsessed with lists and planners. I could¬†really¬†go into detail here, but let’s leave it at that.

-I love being busy and don’t usually take a ton of time to myself to relax, so I have to remind myself to do that or “plan” me time/downtime. It’s not that I don’t like relaxing – DUH – but I just love feeling productive and getting things accomplished.

-I can’t watch awkward moments on TV/in movies. I have to cover my eyes and look away like a kid! It pains me for them or something‚Ķthe actors getting paid millions.

-Absolutely¬†in love¬†with every single dog, not just my own. I love cats and all animals in general, but I can’t imagine a world without dogs. Whenever I see one, I feel like the world becomes a brighter place. I’m the person that follows a zillion dog Instagram accounts.

-I am super intimidated by social media. There is so much of it, so many apps, so many ways to connect. And for blogging, I’m trying really hard to get “good” at all of them, and it is so overwhelming! I’m trying, though. I’m tweeting and Facebooking and Instagram story-ing and Snapchatting and trying to post all the things without being annoying. It is tough out there!

-I won’t set alarms for “regular” times. It has to be a number that¬†feels right. My favorites are :32, :47, :03, :17, and :54.

-Finally, I’m¬†very intrigued by the tiny home movement. I love small spaces and organized living and I think in a tiny house the ways to organize space are so clever. Sometimes I think of donating all my things and living in a tiny house with a big fenced in yard for the dogs and just making it my own. If you haven’t, google it and look at some YouTube videos of tiny houses. There are some incredible ones out there!

I think that’s enough about me for now‚Ķlet me know if you have any other questions! Thanks to all of you who read my blog. You have no idea how much it means to me!

 

Apartment tour // our little patio!

One of my favorite things about our new apartment (besides our coffee bar) is our outdoor patio! I got spoiled with a huge patio at my last apartment, and the patio at my new apartment doesn’t disappoint! I love the way everything came together.

The idea for our patio “feeling” came from this little corner unit my sister had…

before

We couldn’t find a place for the little corner unit. We didn’t have a lot of corners to put it in that weren’t already crowded. It was also dark brown and just didn’t really go with the idea we wanted for our home. My sister Emily suggested painting it like we did the coffee bar, and we finally came up with what you see here! We just wanted some little succulents and a few herbs, and the cacti were an added bonus when we started shopping – clearly we are hopping on this trend here.

We went to Home Depot and grabbed some more of the Seaside spray paint that we used for the coffee bar project, a tarp, some gold spray paint, and all of our plants!

little buddies

When we got home, we laid out the tarp and got to spraying!¬†I am an absolute baby when it comes to the summer heat here in NC. Like, I literally just can’t get over it even after almost 30 years. You don’t want to catch me when I’m getting ready and start sweating in hair & makeup. But these little DIY projects were SO worth it! We sprayed two coats, letting it dry between each one. Then, my sister used the gold spray paint and a paint brush and hand brushed some spots on the plant stand to add some flair.

my beautiful and talented sister emily

We ordered two sets of these planters on Amazon and one set of these, and the gray planters came from Home Depot! After transferring all of our plants to their new homes, we set everything up on our plant stand in the corner of our patio where they will get some great indirect sunlight!

my absolute favorite thing about the patio!

The market lights, love seat, coffee table, and decorative tray were from my old apartment, so we didn’t have to buy anything new for our patio except for paint and plants. Emily also had the bistro table set from her old place in D.C. and we re-stained and treated that to be an outdoor set.

I am loving this little spot already, but I know we will get a ton of use out of this outdoor space when the weather cools off a little bit in the fall!

thanks to my handsome fella andrew for hanging lights for me again

Apartment tour // bedroom

I love the feel of a mostly white bedroom. It just feels so calming and peaceful. The only issue is that I have 2 dogs that I can’t stand love having on my bed. So I usually bleach my comforter once a week to keep it looking nice and white! It’s also important to me to have a cozy, fluffy, inviting bed. That’s where I spend a lot of my time working on the blog, relaxing, and sleeping, so it has to be a happy place!

i always like to have a book or my kindle by the bed

that picture on the left is from way back in college…look at that white hair!

i’ve had that candle for so many years. i probably should have used a new one for this picture, but this is real life, people. you’re getting the real me who has a burned up old candle by the bed.

i used to have a matching lamp on both sides…but oliver ate the cord to one of them. literally ate it.

Since I’m not made of money, I couldn’t really afford a whole new bedroom decor look for the new apartment, so I just had to use what I had and switch things around. I’m happy with the way things came out, and as I can add little new pieces in here and there, I will!

when i accepted the smaller room, i didn’t realize there was no ceiling fan. i bought that standing fan from amazon and it has been a life saver this summer!

i shut the door to take pictures of the bookshelf and oliver got his feelings hurt. the corgi print on the¬†wall is from my best friend’s¬†fianc√©,¬†romain. he’s a keeper!

more candles i’ve had forever + favorite books (my old adviser wrote the teen life textbook and gave it to me as a gift when i graduated!)

all my yoga books from teacher training/gifts, coffee books from when i wanted to start a coffee shop, and all my notebooks for allllll the lists. goals and dreams, man.

My sister had the white bookshelf from IKEA in her old apartment. It doesn’t really fit anywhere else in our apartment now (our living room is awkwardly shaped and my couch is way too big for the space at the moment), so I stuck it behind my bedroom door and I’ve been happy with it! It has a mix of mine and my sister’s books and it gave me some extra space for my laptop, notebooks, and a couple of decor items.

eventually i’ll beg andrew to mount my tv, but for now, this works.

pretty little things (always a nice touch to have chocolates lying around!)

my rustic corner! shelves from target, picture frame was a gift from andrew (the picture is from the first time he helped me move! what a guy.) the j is from my friend kelly (i think target), and the leap quote you can read about here. 

just rounding everything out and coming full circle with a picture of the doggies on my bed!

As mentioned in my last apartment tour from the old apartment, all of my bedroom furniture is from Ashley Furniture (except for the IKEA bookshelf).

So that’s my room! Finally (mostly) complete. Not pictured: ¬†The corner of my down comforter Bruno chewed and I held together with a binder clip until I could sew it. Also not pictured: ¬†The corners of every pillow case and the corners of my sheets that are chewed off.¬†I’m starting to sense a pattern here…