On making the hard decisions.

4.15.2018

This post is brought to you from beneath the covers of my cozy queen-sized bed, where I’m currently holed up with a sinus infection. I should be working (Fridays are the busiest days), but instead, I’m still in my pajamas and sipping on green tea in the hope that its magical healing properties will kick in sooner rather than later. (Disrupted routines are the worst.)
Regardless of the less than fortunate circumstances surrounding my day off, I’m grateful for the time to write. There’s so much to fill you in on, and I don’t know where to start! The beginning is as good a place as any, I suppose. Let’s start there.
In August, I talked a little about my career path (or lack thereof) in this post, sharing some of my insecurities on the subject and ending on a positive but annoyingly vague note regarding my future. Even though I had a set plan in mind, the details were still fresh and the thought of putting it out into the universe too soon was scary. Even for me. But now that the wheels are in motion, I’ve been piecing this blog post together in my head for weeks, trying to find the right angle with which to frame this story. But sometimes, in writing, it’s just easier to go at it and let the angle take care of itself. (Read: I’m going to allow myself to ramble because #selfcare.)
Last fall, I made the decision to go “back to school” to study nutrition. Quotes are included because in this case, school is a 9-month online/workshop-based certification program led by the Nutritional Therapy Association. While it’s not the same as a master’s degree (I ain’t about that full-time student life), I will graduate with a certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner—essentially a holistic health coach—that allows me to work one-on-one with clients on their health challenges and goals. Meanwhile, I’m assisting a chiropractor in town who (crossing my fingers) has expressed interest in partnering with me, come November, to provide nutritional services to her patients.
It’s all very exciting now, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take an embarrassing amount of discernment to get me to this place. My degree was in journalism, for crying out loud, and my ultimate dream was to be a magazine editor. (Give me a break, I grew up on early 21st century rom-coms with role models like Andy Anderson and Jenna Rink.)
In March of 2016, after 8 telling months of proofreading articles and composing weekly newsletters for a wedding magazine, I realized I was miserable and left the first publishing company I had assumed would be my start in a lifelong career. Despite having Her Story Goes to focus my efforts, this was around the time that my self-esteem took a nosedive. Publishing was supposed to be my calling, and when that dream crumbled, my resolve went with it.
Without a specific career path to follow, I was lost. Useless. Forced back to the drawing board of my life, and staring at a blank slate. I watched as close friends and acquaintances pursued their own goals with fervor, full of passion and ambition that I suddenly lacked. In the two years that followed, I worked several part-time jobs—photography assistant, PR account coordinator, medical office manager—to “make some money and gain inspiration,” I told myself. But in reality, I was just biding my time before the pressure to pick something substantial and long-term became too much. I knew deep down what I wanted to do (nutrition had been an obsession of mine since high school), but after my brief stint in publishing, the idea of truly committing to any one thing made me nervous. I had already gone down a wrong path, and I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
Since then, I’ve learned that there are no “wrong” paths; each step we take inevitably leads us closer to where we’re supposed to be. It’s okay to change your mind, to be confused, to try different things and decide you’re not cut out for some of them.* At least, that’s the advice that one very good friend gave me when I was in the middle of my quarter-life crisis and doubting everything I thought I knew.
“But here’s the thing,” he said. “You have to keep moving forward, and it starts with making a decision. Taking a leap of faith is part of the process.”
And he was right. How else are you supposed to know what is—and isn’t—right for you? Pick a direction, see what happens. If you’re lucky, it’s a direction worth sticking to. Worst-case scenario? Somewhere along the way, you change your route. That doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you human. And humans are more than their resumés.
After two years of waiting for a sign, I finally realized that I didn’t need one. My decision wasn’t all that hard to begin with.
*I’ll be the first to admit that the flexibility I had to change directions so early on in my career came from a place of privilege. I recognize that not everyone has the opportunity or resources to quit a job they don’t like, or go back to school to study something new. I’m both lucky and grateful for these opportunities, and all I can do is try my best not to waste them. It’s all any of us can do.
// originally published on Her Story Goes //

Contentment.

3.18.2018

It's one of those Sundays. The house is clean, the sky is dark, and I'm still in my pajamas. As Scott likes to say, it's perfect video-gaming weather. I'm perched on our fluffy grey sectional while he—you guessed it—plays video games in the office on the other side of the house.

Everything is quiet and lovely, and I feel the need to write this moment exactly as it is. Express my gratitude for the stillness, and tuck it away for the not-so-quiet days in our future that I both fear and long for.

I asked Scott last night, as we sat across from each other in a crowded pub, what year of his life has been his favorite so far. As I pondered my own response, he said, "This one, I think."

And I get it. Our lives now look quite different than they did two or three years ago, when we were dating or even newly married. Instead of wild dreams and forays into the unknown, we take pleasure in the simple things: pancakes for breakfast, visiting nearby family, the occasional flick at our local theatre. The ups and downs are subtler, the minutes seem to pass slower. It's just the two of us, and we're more at ease with ourselves and each other than we've ever been. Secure jobs, steady income, a home in the suburbs. Date nights each Saturday, the freedom to travel or just stay put.

I've always been one to value adventure and novelty over contentment. But as I sit on my plushy couch and type these words in the quiet of a spring morning, I have to admit, I think I like this phase.

This love.

1.30.2018

Currently, I am...

Drinking: bamboo mint tea out of the Anthropologie "e" mug that Mar gave me.

Loving: my monogrammed red onesie (gifted by my brother) for these cold winter nights. So cozy!


Reading: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. It lacks plot but is still captivating.

Stressing over: the fact that I signed up for a 5:30am barre class tomorrow and I'm not yet sleeping. Taking bets on if I actually get up and go.

Thankful for: the goofballs in the photo above. Our first reunion of the year happened last weekend, and I'm already missing them like crazy. One day we'll all be neighbors.

Listening to: (and halfway ignoring) Trump's State of the Union. 

Learning: to say no when necessary, and to make each "yes" count; to be genuinely, authentically me, for better or worse.

And a little bonus fun fact: I finally took the Enneagram test everyone's been talking about and got type 9, the Peacemaker. Go figure.


How's your Tuesday evening going?

Rewind: 2017.

1.11.2018
1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Before 2017, I'd never owned a house, flown in a helicopter, or spent Christmas at home (with a real Christmas tree!).


Other firsts: ziplining in the rainforest, eating raw oysters, crashing a bachelor party (my bro's), hiking a legit mountain, and touring the Grand Canyon.


2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My main resolution for this past year was to figure out what was truly important to me and focus on that. I think I succeeded in a lot of ways, especially as it pertains to my career/life calling (more on this later). Last year's resolutions also included practicing my kitchen skills and and reigniting my passion for photography. Neither lasted long, to be honest.

In 2018, I'd like to work on my relationships—both with God and my loved ones. I'd like to spend longer time in prayer, call family regularly, initiate more coffee dates with friends, and plan several weekend trips home this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope! Maybe that will change in 2018...

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My cousin Rick passed away in February from complications with Cystic Fibrosis. He was the comedian of the family, and an absolute warrior. Most days, I still can't believe he's gone. But as much as I miss his unwavering spirit and obnoxious jokes, I know Amanda's probably having the time of her life with her big brother up in Heaven. Life down here, however, will never be the same without those two.

5. What countries did you visit?

Costa Rica! And I'd go back in a heartbeat.


6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

How about a puppy? Now that we've settled into our home in Frisco, Scott and I would like to start growing our family, and I can't think of a better way to do that than by adopting a fur-baby in 2018. Fingers crossed!

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?

February 18, the day we moved into our first house. February 21, the day I found out about Rick's passing. February 25, the day my best friend/business partner tied the knot to her (sort of) high school sweetheart.


June 17-24, the week our families spent together in Costa Rica. November 14, the day my sister-in-law got engaged to the love of her life. December 16, the day I gained a new sister.


8. What was your biggest achievement?

I have several small accomplishments worth noting that hopefully add up to one big achievement: Contributing to Windrose Magazine, taking up Barre3, reading 18 books (more than one book per month—I'm getting faster!), generating my first bit of income from HSG, volunteering for my church on a regular basis, and finally deciding to pursue a career as a holistic health coach. All good things!


9. What was your biggest failure?

Ugh, probably abandoning Her Story Goes as much as I have in the past few months. Since starting a full-time job in November, it's been a sad little space with zero new content. There were quite a few posts from 2017 that I'm still proud of, though, including:

+ Love Is a Battlefield: Part III, and III
Why I Cancelled My Subscription to Kayla Itsines' Fitness App
Feminism Isn't a Dirty Word—But You Could've Fooled Me
The City that Changed My Relationship
When Silence Isn't An Option

It's a work in progress, y'all.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had to have a gum graft surgery done in September, which left me sippin' on nothing but smoothies and soups for two weeks. Other than that, and some annoyingly hard-to-heal hormonal imbalances, I've been very fortunate in the health department. (Knock on wood!)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tuition for my enrollment in the NTA. Come next November, I will be a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Huzzah!

And plane tickets. (Duh.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband's, for always being ridiculously supportive of me and my goals—even when my goals are ridiculous.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The Harvey Weinsteins of the world. Get it together, guys.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The house. And food, of course. (We eat A LOT of food.)


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Seeing my Oxford besties for the first time in YEARS. These faces though:


16. Did you make any new friendships?

Shout out to Megan Weaver for being the best boss friend I've ever had! I also grew so much closer to Scott's family during our first year in DFW, which was a huge blessing.


17. Did you go on vacation?

Yes! Scott and I went on a lot of little and big trips this year, starting with a wine weekend in Fredericksburg with the soul siblings.


June was the month of Costa Rica (our biggest vacation of the year), and July found me roaming NYC with the You've Got Mail fan club.


October kicked off a ripple of fun getaway adventures to Salem, MA for Halloween, the Outer Banks for a family wedding, Zion National Park for Scott's 30th birthday, and Vegas for Thanksgiving. Whew, we've been busy!


18. What do you wish you had done more or less of?

I wish I had seen more shows. One of my favorite evenings was getting all dolled up for a fancy dinner and burlesque show at Houston's Prohibition Supperclub for Kristen's bachelorette party. So much fun!


On the other hand, I wish I had consumed less coffee. (Yeah, that's a lie. Coffee is life.)


19. How did you spend the holidays?

We spent Thanksgiving in Vegas with my family, Christmas in Plano with Scott's family, and New Year's Eve at home with just the two of us! Lots of food, movies, and relaxing.


20.  What new food did you discover?

Two thousand seventeen was the year of the avocado toast. (I'm addicted.) And Hurts Donuts! (Good, but it ain't Gourdough's good.)


21. What was your favorite TV program?

Big Little Lies. Give me Season 2 already!

22.  What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?

Costa Rica has to take the cake. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have not one, but TWO incredible families that love to party together. I mean, we put on a TALENT SHOW, for God's sake.


23. What was the best book you read?

It's a tie between The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

24. What song will always bring you back to 2017?

Justin Bieber's "Despacito." And now it's stuck in my head.

25. What did you want and get?

A new, super comfy couch for our living room. It's so fluffy!

26. What did you want and not get?

A tattoo. (Maybe one day.)

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Wonder Woman.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 26 in October while in Salem, MA (also known as the home of the Salem Witch Trials and more importantly, the filming site of Hocus Pocus) with my husband, brother, and his boyfran. We dressed up in our Halloween best, scoped out Max Dennison's house, and ate our weight in seafood. Best birthday ever? I'd say so.


29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

You know, I really can't think of anything off the top of my head. A good sign, I suppose!

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

Classic. All about those pearls and polka dots.


31. What kept you sane?

Neighborhood walks with my better half, my nightly chocolate-and-tea ritual, and Yoga with Adriene.


32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Gal Gadot. She's a freaking goddess.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Probably gun control (or lack thereof). I don't think I can take one more mass shooting, honestly. The whole alt-right Charlottesburg rally thing was heartbreaking, too. And don't even get me started on the sexual assault/harassment scandals. It was kind of a depressing year, politically. YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT, HUMANITY.

34. Who did you miss?

My writing partners, Kristen and Elise. Even the cutest coffee shops are lonely without you ladies.


35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

The only thing that matters in life is the people you spend it with. So cherish the heck out of them.


Cheers to 2018!

Read my recap of 2016 here.

A Vegas Thanksgiving.

12.24.2017

My first impression of Vegas included:

+ three luxurious nights in the MGM Grand Skylofts (courtesy of WME)
+ a full view of the city from the High Roller
+ Thanksgiving dinner at the Stratosphere
+ front row seats to "O" by Cirque du Soleil
+ dirty martinis and a three-course meal at Mr. Chow
+ a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon 

But despite all of this, nothing could beat the company. Every day is a party with these people.

(A shout out to my big brother for making this trip possible! We had a blast, and couldn't be more grateful for the weekend of a lifetime.)