Weekend Wrap Up – 11.18.13

This past weekend was the last relaxing weekend before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sets in. I love my relaxation time but I’m so excited for the holidays! My enthusiasm caused me to get some of the holiday decor out. I ordered new monogrammed stockings and can’t wait for them to arrive tomorrow. There is nothing like a home decorated for Christmas…

On Saturday we were babysitting my parents dog, Bonnie. She and Maggie are best friends for life and are so cute and happy together.   bestfriends maggieandkt   ryanandbonnie

Saturday afternoon we worked on cleaning out the closets and managed to fill up more bags of clothes for donation. This has been an ongoing project since September – and by the sheer mass of clothes that both Ryan and I have donated it is obvious that it was long over due.

Back in September I donated a huge stack of gently worn clothes to an amazing online consignment company, thredUP, and made $28!

ThredUp-Logo

Here is how it works:

1. Create an online account with thredUP.

2. Send away for a “Clean Out Bag” (which ships to you for FREE)

3. Fill the bag with you gently worn clothes and ship it back to thredUP for FREE

4. thredUP combs through your items and pays you up to 40% of the resale value in cash!

What is there to lose? I was so happy with my $28 and can’t wait to see what my new donation brings in! Try it out today! 

After doing some major clean out we headed out for dinner.

katie and ryan

Later on Saturday evening I forced Ryan to watch one of my favorite movies of all time, Gone With the Wind. He’d never seen it, and because he’s such a good sport, he said yes. This was my go to movie when I was at home sick from school as a tween. I remember going to the video rental store and seeing the huge record size display case holding all FOUR VHS tapes. It was so beautiful and I looked forward to renting it during every  bout of middle school strep throat. I’d cry my eyes out and memorize all of Scarlet’s monologues. I know way too many facts about this movie and felt like Ryan needed to watch it with me as it is such a part of who I am.

I also proceeded to drink cheap red wine throughout the movie and of course ended the night in a puddle of my own tears. On the other hand, Ryan fell asleep a few times and couldn’t believe how bitchy Scarlet was and that it was about 2.5 hours too long. Oh well.

Sunday was spent doing some work at home and preparing for the last full work week of November! My social calendar is full this week too, and then we are off to Asheville, NC for Thanksgiving, and come back home on December 1 ready to celebrate Christmas!

I hope you had a great November weekend!

xoxo katie

 

5 Friday Favorites – Procrastination

Five Friday Favorites

procrastination6

The other night I found myself in an all too popular situation. I had a big post to finish writing, dinner to cook, and a still hadn’t completed my daily run. But instead of getting on top of any of these tasks I was instead glued to my phone, constantly refreshing my feed and clicking on every single article in twitter. Each article would lead me to another article, and another, and another, and another.

Pretty soon a whole hour had passed. I’m a pro at procrastination.

But the fact that I just couldn’t tear my face away from my phone begged me to ask the question:

How did I procrastinate before social media and smart phones? Before I had a smart phone, I would be sitting with my Macbook in my lap, quickly turning myself into a serious stalker on Facebook.

Before Facebook was introduced in 2004, during my senior year of college, I would put off writing assignments by chatting on AIM or by feeding my addiction to Snood. (remember snood?! The first candy crush!)

i-want-to-study-but-theres-a-computer-in-my-room

But, even so, I believe I spent more time off the internet than on because we could leave it behind. It wasn’t always constantly with us, taunting us with adorable cat videos, Miley Cyrus articles, or 5 billion ways to cook, decorate, dress, and live better on Pinterest. When I seriously needed to get work done, I would post a fun little ‘away message” on aim, leave my dorm room and head over to the library. Oh the glorious library. I loved sequestering myself in one of the little cubicles tucked away in a quiet corner on the 3rd floor, surrounded by the musty yet loved smell of old books, with only a pen, a notebook, and a stack of books.

That is an almost unimaginable scene in this day and time.

As are these 5 ways I used to procrastinate before the internet took over:

Be ready to feel like the internet is the most unhealthy, anti social, destructive tool ever.

1. Go running

When I didn’t want to study for biology, or rewrite that one damn poem for the 10th time, I’d lace up my running shoes and go for a long run. Yes, I still run now, but it’s at a scheduled time that I often put off because I’m too absorbed reading facts on IMDB or Buzzfeed articles.

2. Play with my dog more

Before smartphones, Maggie would receive more one on one cuddle time, ball throwing fun, and long walks. She and my childhood dog, Missy, would benefit from me putting off work. Maggie’s smart – she knows that petting her with one hand while I shop online with the other is not quality time.  She promptly jumps down and scowls at me from a chair across the room.

3. Talk on the phone

Yes, it’s true. I would actually use my phone to talk to people, with my voice. In high school I’d spend HOURS on the phone. I now hate talking on the phone. What happened?

4. Clean/Organize

To avoid doing  any other project I would turn to cleaning my room or organizing my project. Just proves that you can accomplish SO much when you don’t want to do the one thing you really should be doing.

5. Nap

Naps are a beautiful thing. Before, if I had writer’s block or just wasn’t feeling into a project, I’d take a 30 minute nap and wake up feeling refreshed. Now, I still go lie down in bed and  tell myself I can take a 30 minute nap – but instead of promptly closing my eyes I find myself scrolling through blogs and instagram. Pretty soon my 30 minutes are up and my eyes are more tired than ever. Fail.

So basically, I’d be living a more enriched and productive life. So, why is it so hard for us to disconnect from our phones?

images

And if you need some help prolonging any task you wanted to complete today, here are 5 articles to assist you:

Jennifer Lawrence’s Insightful Guide to Life

This Woman is a Professional Cuddler

Dinovember: One couple brings wonder back into childhood

Gadget Sickness: In case you needed more proof that our devices will be the end of us

11 Terrifying vintage ads featuring children

Have a great weekend!

xoxo katie

 

 

Go Big or Go Home

just messy make up free me

Some people wonder why I blog…

I started this little blog about 3 months ago and it has already taken me to places I never knew I’d go – or even knew existed!

I started this blog because a colleague suggested I write about newlywed life. I was hesitate and put it off for a month or so. And then, I started writing. At first, it was strictly going to be about wedding planning and newlywed life and my colleague was going to sponsor me. Very quickly, and I mean very, as in 3 days, it turned into something completely different.

The more I wrote, the more I read.

Before starting this blog, I never knew there was such a thing as the blogging community. I knew nothing about blogging – nothing about sponsorships, guest posts, giveaways, or how to best use social media to connect. There are millions of bloggers out there, connecting with each other on a daily basis. I have about 200 blogs in my bloglovin feed and there are many out of that list that I look forward to reading on the daily.

I love hearing others people’s stories, reading their words, and connecting. I love how I feel like they are speaking to me. Three months ago I had no idea how welcoming this blogging community was – that in just a few short weeks I’d be swapping ideas and connecting with other women across the country.

The more I wrote, the more self-aware I became

As a lifestyle blogger, I force myself to look at my day-to-day activities with a very intimate lens. I have learned to appreciate the small things more. This blog allows me to think more about my past, my future, and my choices.  Writing 4-5 posts  a week  forces me to be more creative. It has certainly slowed down my life and has brought a new perspective.

The more I wrote, the more I realized that I wanted to share.

Writing allows me to express myself.  This little corner of the internet serves as an outlet for me to be true to myself. The more I wrote, the more this little part of the internet felt like home to me.

I like to share my story because I believe in the power of words to connect people. If one person can relate to my story and have it make her (there aren’t any men that read this blog are there? If yes, then I’m sorry, keep reading!)  feel not so alone – that is enough for me.

I was inspired to write this post after Sarah at Venus Trapped in Mars discuss being open on the blog and asking her readers which type of blog they would rather read – “A blog without a face, so to speak, or a blog all about the face?”

My opinion?

Go big or go home.

This is my space to share my story and I’m going to be as personal as I can be. I want to connect.  I’m sorry but I just don’t connect with those bloggers that always have the perfect outfit on, with perfect makeup and talk about how perfect their lives are on the daily.

I’m not perfect and my life is far from it.

Sometimes I’m messy. Sometimes I’m broken. Sometimes I’m selfish and immature. Sometimes I’m insecure. But, I am me and this is my story. I titled my blog “A Beautiful Little Adventure” because everyone’s life is an adventure-there are going to be bumps in the road and you are going to get lost. But in the end, it’s always more about the journey and those moments when life’s little bumps turn into something beautiful.

I wrote a very personal post yesterday. It was my most personal post yet and it was also my most read post yet. A few family and friends may not understand why I want to put so much personal information out their on the internet. They just don’t get it, and that’s a okay! But this is my story to tell, no one has to read it. But some people keep coming back each day and it makes me smile.

I’ve committed myself to this little lifestyle blog – so I’m going to give it my all. Why only give little snippets of the story or allude to what really happened? Why mask the truth?

My most personal posts are the most rewarding to write. They make this big scary world into a smaller place. They celebrate the little messy puzzle pieces of our lives and connect them into a beautiful thing.

I’m committed to go big, to share it all, and to continue to write my little heart out.

Thank you.

xoxo katie

 

 

{Love Story Part 1} When I Lost Sight of Love

wrightsville beach, abla

After posting our “abridged” love story, I promised to one day write Ryan and I’s full love story. But in order to tell our love story, I have to start with my history with love. You see, every good love story has a good back story. It makes it all that more special when you know the journey that led the lovers to each other. So this is part of my story.

The part of my story that is all my own. The part of my story that has shaped me into the woman I have become. The part of my story that left me wounded.

The part of my story that in time redefined my definition of love.

Let’s go back in time to when I was engaged to a different man, no boy. Yes, I was engaged before during a time that feels like a lifetime ago. You see, four years ago I had a completely different life in Chicago and was preparing myself for a future that looks so different from where I am now.

My old story began back in 2004. I met my ex in college when we were silly and free – still kids at heart. We dated for 5 years. After I graduated I accepted a job in Annapolis to be close to him as he was still in college. Two years later, we moved in together. He was my first adult love. But, I was ready to grow up and he was still maturing. Things were not perfect, but after we had been together for so long the next logical step seemed to get married. We got engaged in the winter of 2008 and I was happy. I do remember being happy, it’s hard to see myself like that now, knowing what was to come. I dove into wedding planning. We picked a date, a venue, and vendors. We were moving ahead, together.

The future was looking bright. He had a job offer in Chicago and after some very careful planning, negotiating, and talking we decided together that this was the right move for us. I would quit my job and move to Chicago for him. So, in the Spring of 2009 I packed up my life and moved half way across the country, putting all my faith into our future together. It was so hard to say goodbye to my friends, my family, my beloved east coast. But, as the die-hard romantic that I am, I trusted my heart and my love.

My time in Chicago was a big adjustment. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed any sign of normalcy. Even he started to change. It was scary but I tried to stay positive.

Then, during the week of September 28, 2009, the world as I knew it ended. I was vacationing for a week at my favorite beach in NC, Wrightsville Beach with my mom and two of her girlfriends. During this time, my brother and his wife lived there as well. The beach is where I feel the most serene – so I was ecstatic to leave the already chilly Chicago on a plane to go see my mom at the sunny and warm beach.

katie all smiles at the beach

He stayed behind – as this as a girls’ trip. After my second day there, I knew something was up. He wasn’t answering any of my phone calls. Even after I left frantic messages and called his parents. As the worrier that I am, I was picturing the worst. My mind was creating images of him lying dead on the floor while Maggie cried and licked his face.

My fun in the sun was halted, because I just knew, in my gut that something was not right. Two days later and he was still not answering any messages, from me or his parents. I was mad, I was scared, I was full of rage.

Yet, I tried to keep smiling.

And then, 5 days into my trip I received the phone call that changed everything. We were out at a nice group dinner at a Thai restaurant. I loved this restaurant and was so mad that he was ruining this for me.

indochine dinner

It had been five days since I had talked to him. Every single tear filled voice message was left ignored. I must have left around 20. And then, during that dinner, my phone rang.

Writing this makes my hands shake and causes my stomach to do flips. Not that I’m still hurt – but just because I can still remember being that girl. I can still feel how it felt to step outside of the restaurant and hear my fiance that I love say, “I don’t want to marry you anymore. I don’t think I love you anymore.”

I no longer remember what I said. Or how I initially reacted. I do remember feeling nauseous. I do remember feeling like this couldn’t be true. I do remember feeling like everything inside of me turned into dust and disintegrated. I do remember walking back into the restaurant and trying to smile but the tears streamed down my face uncontrollably.

That evening, I sat on my bed and screamed and cried while my mom rubbed my back. What a blessing to be with her when I received this news. I was hysterical and nothing could help me.

After everyone else went to bed, I sat on the deck facing the ocean and it is so quiet except for the sound of the crashing waves which is competing with the pounding of my heart. My pain seems to take up the whole beach and ocean and I feel so alone, drowning in it.

beachview

I called my best friend around 2 am and she picked up and listened. She was so supportive and insisted that it couldn’t be over. But, telling someone else only made it more of a fact – I knew that this part of my life had concluded.

If only I had known then that it was only that, a part, a small segment, of my life that was over. In that moment it felt like all was lost.

I had built my life around him. I had left my job, a city I loved, my friends, my family, my everything to be with him. I had no idea who I was without him. It was like someone had died. Five years of my life vanished. The memories, the laughs, the love were all a waste. My heart was ripped out and discarded. As I sat there listening to the waves crash on the shore, I imagined myself as a lifeless piece of seaweed getting pulled under the current and pushed out to sea, never to see these shores again.

I couldn’t imagine facing him. I couldn’t imagine even facing my own heart. I had no idea how I was going to make my way back on a plane in two days and confront my future.

I didn’t know what love was anymore.

And, more importantly, I was afraid I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Stay tuned for {Love Story Part 2} Rewriting My Story 

xoxo katie

 

 

 

 

The Easiest Baked Oatmeal

easy baked oatmeal

As the weather turns colder I find myself craving a warm and filling breakfast. This is THE easiest baked oatmeal you will ever find. Perfect for lazy weekends or holiday gatherings. You simple place all the ingredients in a crock pot and let it cook overnight and awake to a delicious and warm breakfast.

Ingredients:

4 Apples – peeled and thinly sliced

2/3 Brown Sugar

4 Cups oatmeal

3 cups water

1 tsp Cinnamon

 Directions:

Place apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in crock pot. Add 4 cups of oatmeal and 3 cups of water. Do not stir! Cook on low heat for 8 – 9 hours.

bakedoatmeal2

Serve hot – I like to mix in a banana and and peanut butter, and sometimes chocolate chips!

I make a pot of this on the weekend and it lasts Ryan and I all week. Would also feed a large family on Thanksgiving morning.

baked oatmeal yum

xoxo katie

Weekend Wrap Up 11.11.13 Follow Your Bliss

follow your bliss

Today I feel a little bit like a kid who forgot to bring their homework to class. On Mondays I have been following the rule of posting a weekend wrap up, including pictures documenting the events of the past weekend. I took zero pictures this weekend! You can lower you eyebrows now – I simply took a little break from technology this weekend.

The weekend started off with a heavy dose of law school stress. I write often how I wish this hard time would go by faster. I hate seeing Ryan so stressed and unhappy. The heavy load of work, school, and finances hit us hard on Friday evening. I’ve been trying hard to follow my own advice and to not wish these rough times to pass. I’m making an effort to savor the waiting.

We allowed ourselves some tears and some time to wallow in the stress on Friday. Sometimes after you release that rage and wipe away the anger and tears the bigger picture looks so much clearer. I was able to come away with a new perspective and a goal to keep things simple.

An old boss had a signature phrase that I used to roll my eyes at; “Follow Your Bliss”. As a twenty-something I scoffed at this saying. I would think, well sure, I would just LOVE to follow my bliss, but how am I going to afford to go live at the beach and write poetry and novels with the man of my dreams and two little children running along the water’s edge? Sure boss, you followed your bliss because you had the money.

But now I see that your bliss doesn’t have to be a huge all encompassing dream. Your bliss can be something simple – anything that makes you smile, that makes your days a little more you. Following your bliss means creating your life to be a mirror image of YOU, of your thoughts, dreams, and hopes. It means filling up your days with actions and words that represent the heart of who you are as a person. Do what makes you happy. Create the changes you wish to see and be the type of person you dream of being with each little element of your day to day life. This is a rule that we all could strive to follow a little better, don’t you think?

So, this weekend I made sure to follow my bliss.

The rest of the weekend was filled with things that are signature happy Katie.

1. I jumped in on the Christmas spirit early. I love Christmas more than the average person – probably even more than a 5 year old. I love the warmth, the reminder to love each other, the festive decor, the excuse to celebrate and the magic of it all.

So, this weekend I decided it was time to start bringing Christmas to our home. I’m about 75% done with my shopping, bought some new decorations, played Christmas music all weekend and lit the Christmas tree scented candles.

2. I spent hours catching up with my bff Kay Marie and wedding planning! She was the maid of honor in my wedding (and did a fabulous job) and I am now able to return the favor as I am now the maid of honor in her wedding. Weddings and parties are a good second favorite after Christmas. I am so excited to be part of her wedding plans.

3. I danced around the kitchen to James Taylor as I made Pad Thai and baked some cookies – a home is complete when the kitchen is full of good scents and music. We ended the weekend together. There is no other bliss I love more than simple time with Ryan, bundled up with blankets, wine, a Christmas tree scented candle and freshly baked cookies.

This is what life is all about. As this is the month of Thanksgiving, I should be grateful for the hard times, as they remind me to enjoy the small things and to remember what makes me happiest and full of bliss.

xoxo katie

 

The Thankful Project – A Job

thankful project

It is the month of Thanksgiving – a perfect time to reflect and remember all that we have to be grateful for.

I’m joining Kenzie’s The Thankful Project over at her blog Chasing Happy. Today we are discussing a job that we are thankful for.

To be honest, I’m thankful for every job that I’ve ever had. Not just because good jobs are hard to come by these days, but because they were all different and all suited me rather well.

The job that I want to discuss today though is my very first “real” job out of college. I was floundering a big after graduation. It took me a good 8 months to find a “career” job. There seemed to be zero good fits for me and my English degree, until I stumbled upon an ad for a job at an international boating magazine. After studying the company a little bit, I knew this was the job I wanted. I was ecstatic when I got an in person interview.

I was a nervous wreck and dripping in sweat under my suit. Everyone was so nice and it was a beautiful office located right on the bay. But, everyone was a passionate boater. It was their life. When they asked me about my boating experience, I choked up and looked nervously around the room. I knew if I mentioned my Pop-Pop’s small time fishing boat they would smile and think “awe isn’t that cute, that’s the type of boats we use as a dinghy”. I put on my biggest smile and said, “well, not much, but I can’t wait to learn and become a boater like the rest of you!” I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the job on the spot.

Like most other first “real” jobs I learned a lot of valuable lessons, tools, and became much more self-aware about myself. Like any job, it wasn’t perfect and I did my fair share of complaining during my time here. But in hindsight, it was pretty great. Here are a few of the things I’m thankful for the most about my 3 years in this position:

1. I learned to stand up for myself and to use my voice. When I started this job I was feeling pretty low about myself. I had done so well in college, but couldn’t find a job. While at this position I gained confidence in myself. I learned to speak out about what I like and didn’t like about my position and low and behold, a mere 6 months after starting, they created a new position for me – that better suited my passions and tool set. I learned that my voice matters. 

2. It provided me the opportunity to travel the country. Part of my job entailed traveling around to different boat shows across the country. I got to travel to some pretty spectacular coastal places in New York, Florida, California, and Washington. It was a lot of time away from home and a lot of hard work. I would never want to go back to the grueling 12 hour days of running a boat show, but I wouldn’t trade in my experience to see beautiful parts of this country on someones else’s dime. Although we worked really hard, we also enjoyed times at fun restaurants and bars. I have so many memories like the ER visit in Miami, being in San Diego for Mardi Gras, and group happy hours on the deck of boats in the San Juan islands.

3. It opened me up to new things. Through this job I became friends with people I would have never considered being friends with in college. It allowed me to see that “clicks” don’t have to exist in adult life. Before I started this job, I swore that I hated wine and I would have never tried sushi. And surprise, surprise, now I love sushi and am a major wino. I also would have never considered becoming a graphic and web designer – but while at this job I self-taught myself some basic html and Illustrator and had so much fun that I decided to go back to school for it!

4. It Made me less shy. When I first started at the young age of 22, I was basically terrified to call up strangers on the phone to talk to them about our business. But, as my three years progressed I quickly found myself as the bubbly blonde that loved welcoming and introducing our clients at events and even acted as the emcee during our Auction and Trivia nights. In hindsight, this job really helped me grow into myself.

5. It introduced me to a whole new world of people. I never knew that “boaters” were such a niche demographic of people, or that they were so fun! These people can drink! I had so much fun over the years meeting various welcoming boaters at our events. I think that was my favorite part of this job – hearing all of the amazing stories of our readers and event attendees. Most of them were devoted boating and travel enthusiasts who gave up all of their belongings and their home to live aboard their yachts and to travel the world. They had a dream and they made it come true. I found them to be inspiring and once again fun!

6. Instilled in me a good work ethic and to live by the motto, “work hard, play hard” As I mentioned above, we worked extremely hard. But, we always rewarded ourselves at the end of the day with either a night out somewhere or by having a few glasses of wine back at the hotel or office. Even though it was sometimes hard to get up the next day, we would get up, strap on our boat shoes and attack the next day. (I know for sure I wouldn’t be able to keep up now at age 30.) Even though we drove each other insane sometimes, I learned the value of team work.  Our boss would always says, “You gotta work hard to play hard.” and I remember thinking that it was so cheesy. But, it is a good motto to live by at any age. I continue to celebrate each victory while simultaneously look forward to the next step.

What is a job that you’ve had that you are thankful for?

xoxo katie