2014: The Year in Review

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Oh 2014, what a year it was! As I’m settling back into NYC after a great holiday break with family, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the last twelve months and wrangle in my ideas for 2015.

2014 kicked off with my fiancee and I having a delicious dinner at home before cozying up to the corner seats of our favorite bar while our friends passed us beers and champagne at midnight. I’m pretty sure I wore faux fur since that has become a New Year’s trend, and someone tried to repeatedly sell us light up spinners and flowers.

The spring months whizzed by in a blur of work and the boy attending class. We moved into our new apartment early in the year and Charlie settled into his downstairs bachelor pad after a very frightening fall down our deathly steep stairs.  In mid May I flew to Miami to celebrate my baby brother graduating college (crazy!) and arrived home just in time to bid my fiancee adieu for the summer. He was relocating to Los Angeles for the summer, and we would become ever greater technological gurus planning our wedding across the country. The very next day I celebrated my birthday with Charlie Dickens.

This summer was a crazy, exciting, and emotional few months. Over Memorial Day weekend I headed west to visit my soon-to-be husband in his temporary LA digs. While he worked, I soaked up the sunshine, got lost on the highway in his car, and worked from his garage studio. I burned through middle school-earned frequent flyer points to make the trip a few more times throughout the summer, and thoroughly enjoyed attempting to be a SoCal local.

Just after 4th of July (and my now husband’s bachelor party!) my brother relocated to New York. With the boy’s space in the apartment vacant my brother took up residency on my couch for 6 weeks. It is very rare to get to live with a sibling again once you have both moved away from home, and although it was very busy, I consider myself so lucky. We explored the city and my neighborhood, hung out watching Real Housewives (what a sport) and he got my arms in the best shape of my life with some pretty intense “convict-style” workouts at the park.

In July I also had two beautiful bridal showers where I officially felt like the bride to be. So many of my old friends from Louisville got married years ago, and yet they all came to my shower with their babies in tow to celebrate my big day. I love that for so many of us, 5 and 10 years later, we pick up right where we left off. The month wrapped up with my sister throwing me a, dare I say, epic bachelorette party in Nashville. I adore country music and pretty much listened to it live for three days straight. We kept the group small, the music loud, and the drinks and greasy food frequent.

My husband-to-be arrived back in New York exactly one week before our big day. We had a final planning meeting with the venue, and spent a few afternoons making seating signs and tying programs. Mostly though, we hung out and enjoyed final dating date-nights in the city. It was such a fun week, and as my brother perfectly said in his speech, it was great to see how excited we were. I plan on doing a full post of our wedding early this year so let’s just leave this as quite simply the best day ever.

The Sunday after our wedding we jetted off for a 9 day honeymoon in Europe. I fell in love with Rome in our first four days. Every day we would oversleep for breakfast and set out exploring before undoubtedly walking way too far. We would normally catch a quick nap before hopping across the square to pick up cheese, speck, and some wine or prosecco to enjoy on the rooftop as our apertivo (love this habit.) We would then change and nab seats on the square for an Aperol Spritz before overdosing on pasta and saltimbocca. Rinse and repeat for four days. We then hopped a flight to a change of scenery in Santorini. The view from our hotel was absolutely breathtaking. On day 1 we attempted to walk around the island, hike to a beach, and I made myself sick with dehydration. On day 2 we rented a four wheeler and spent the next 3 days zipping around the island, checking out beaches, cafes, and generally having a blast.

We arrived home just in time to hop a flight to Wisconsin for the wedding of two of our great friends. If I thought our courtship was long, they far surpassed us. The wedding was beautfiul with a fantastic 80s coverband, plus I got to rewear my rehearsal dinner dress that I adore.

The fall arrived with all of the beauty that New York brings. My now husband headed back to school and I settled into a new routine.  The next few months as a married couple were a balance of relishing married life and adjustments in real life.

In one sense 2014 felt like an incredibly long year, and in another it seemed to fly. I can say that I grew tremendously this year, and had without even slightly exaggerating, once-in-a-lifetime-never-want-to-end moments. While I’m not for grandiose resolutions, I do have a few goals for 2015 that I am still tweaking and confirming. Here’s to a fantastic new year!

An Old Anniversary

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Seven years ago an adorable soccer player with curly locks and blue eyes held the door for me after Latin American History class. He asked me how I did on my quiz, and if I wanted to get something to eat later. I assumed we would go the cafeteria, and he was in fact planning our first date. I was so excited that for the first time, I didn’t even plan an outfit (thankfully I at least changed my shoes!) We walked across the Wren courtyard talking about how I wanted to work in fashion, probably a magazine, to which he responded, “Like Us Weekly?” I was so nervous that I just ordered soup and he wrestled a lamb shank. One date with those curly locks and I was a goner, and we got married just shy of seven years later. We may have a new anniversary, but I’ll also never forget this one.

Just say yes…advice from Tina Fey

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So often I hear people say that they have a problem saying no, but I often think it can be just as difficult to say yes. I’ve always thought being unable to say no is part of the “always being busy” phenomenon. If we can’t say no, we can just add it to our to-do list and it will keep us spinning on a wheel heading who knows where and avoiding anything we’ve put on the back burner for unknown reasons.
Learning to say yes comes with a whole other bowl of challenges. My mom always told me I have a rare ability to make anything I’m dreading 100 x worse than it could possibly be. Whether it was a trip to the dentist, a shot, an exam, or an audition I can work myself into a tizzy with my active imagination on hyper speed coming up with horrendous hypothetical results. This takes up an exorbitant amount of energy. Thankfully I’ve had people around me to push me along with “Stop, it’s not that bad.” Of course, they were always right. What about when you’re presented with a challenging opportunity, or an option where you just really don’t know the result? A phone call, invitation or introduction with a zero chance of negative consequences, but also a big pile of unknown. Saying yes to this can be pretty scary if only because of the element of the unknown (hello control freaks, this one is out of your hands.) I love this quote from Tina Fey for this exact reason. Save your energy from coming up with a million reasons to say no, and just say yes. I’ve been actively working to apply this recently, and I have to say it’s working out quite well. I’ve also found you spend significantly less energy figuring out how to make it work than the complicated thought process you were about to go through figuring out why it’s a bad idea. Basically, just say yes, and then you’ll be so enthralled in new opportunities that you won’t even think twice about saying no to the mundane task you weren’t looking forward to anyways. Doesn’t that make everything easier? I think so.

Mini Changes

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I found this article, “7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Destroying Your Life’s Potential,”  last week while scrolling through my Facebook feed. I’m not sure why I wanted to torture myself at that point, but I clicked through the post. While  it ranks in the top 10 of the most over-dramatic article titles I’ve found on the internet, the content itself is quite interesting. I like small changes with maximum impact, and that’s exactly what this article suggests. In particular I’ve been making a conscious effort at #1. Up until a few days ago, I would often scan emails and social media first thing in the morning. Now I check alerts for emergencies (as in red flag ambulance emergencies, not a Nordstrom sale) and then leave my phone upstairs until after coffee, breakfast, and walking Charlie. Surprisingly, it has had a pretty dramatic effect on my mood as I start the day.

Image via P.S I’ve also been experimenting with hot rollers, more to come on that soon!

31 Years Ago…

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Thirty one years ago today these two crazy kids (aka my parents) tied the knot. They married in the very same town where I met my now husband almost seven years ago – wow. In my mind my parents have one of the most beautiful and loving marriages, with a handful of truly bizarre quirks, which also looks incredibly fun. As the boy and I approach our three month mark, I’ve drawn a few conclusions from my parents thirty one year example…

Be Nice: It sounds so simple, yet too often I see couples that just don’t seem to be nice to each other. Whether they ask the other if they need something when they get up from the couch, or pick up something the other likes from the grocery even though it’s not their favorite, it’s nice to live with a nice person. When you are apart, flowers and pre-made dinners in the freezer help too.

Be a Team: Growing up I literally thought there was nothing my parents can’t do, and now I realize even more there is nothing they can’t do together. From building a deck to renovating a kitchen, ridiculously long road trips to see loved ones to successfully moving a family across the ocean, these two manage to do it together. They pull equal weight in the task, and cheer each other on during the long haul.

Fight Fair: Let’s be honest everyone fights, but I honestly can’t think of a time when my parents ever yelled at each other. Now that we’re older I’ll sometimes catch a little venting through the phone, but these two handle their fights responsibly. It may drag on filling the house with a little tension, but at the end of the day they sort it out sans screaming, yelling, or ridiculous accusations.

Have Your Partner’s Back: If we mouthed off to my mom growing up my dad’s response would be, “Don’t talk to your mother like that.” If we really mouthed off his response was, “Don’t talk to my wife like that.” That’s when we knew things were serious and we were way out of line. No matter what is happening in life it’s nice to know that one person will always be there to back you up.

Thanks for being such a great example mom and dad, now enjoy the game tonight in your matching fleeces.