Being Critical is Exhausting, Cheers not Jeers

supportive hand holding

We women can sure be mean to each other. Mean girls don’t die out after high school (and hey happy 10th Anniversary Mean Girls!). Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. The cocktail infused gossip fest that starts with one little dig and then escalates and escalates until it seems like you and your girlfriends are ruthless dictators cackling your heads off at the expense of another woman (sometimes even another friend! gasp!)  

Last week when I was driving home after such a gabfest I couldn’t help but think, what was the point of that? What part of that conversation lifted us up or made our hearts sing? Did we learn anything new about each other or ourselves? 

I tend to be a positive person, constantly reminding myself and other to “find the positive” and to “choose happiness”.  I know I annoy Ryan sometimes because I can hear him right now saying, “Sometimes I just want to be negative and be upset!” And that’s the problem, isn’t? Misery loves company. Negativity is like a fatal virus, it just takes one tiny comment for an outbreak to spread. Pretty soon we’re spewing out negative comments because that’s what everyone else is doing. Well, like The Lion King taught us, life is one big circle, and pretty soon that negativity is going to be coming right back to you. 

We need to stop tearing each other down and instead start lifting each other up. Sit back and think about all the time and energy you spend on hating on other women, whether you’re jealous, being critical, or simply tearing another woman down. Now, picture if you used all of that time and energy to lift up other women. Ladies, we hold the precious power to build a community of strong-minded and bold loving women. Yet, we’d rather isolate ourselves. 

Take yourself back to the last time someone gave you a positive compliment, comment, or gesture. Didn’t it just make your day? Pass it on!  We all want empowerment. Together, we need to build it. Together we can be resilient. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were all full of positive encouragement everyday. 

As bloggers we have the opportunity to build a community and to inspire with words. Last week I took part in Ashten and Amber’s Happy Hour Hangout and had the opportunity to meet a lovely group of women including the all around beautiful and inspiring Casey from Aslan’s Auspicious Albany Adventure does a weekly link up called Jeers not Cheers that asks bloggers to spread the love and encouragement by sharing their recent favorite bloggers and blog posts. Love it! 

Cheers not Jeers
Today I wanted to share with you some of the recent posts that I wanted to pass on to others because they either touched my heart, inspired me, or made me laugh. 

Emily from Ember Grey inspired us all to Just Do You. The blogging community can be a weird place, I find myself constantly doubting what I’m writing and sharing and if I should be doing it at all. Emily reminds us to follow your own heart and write for yourself, in the end your true self will shine through. 

Erika from All Things E is a beautiful writer that always seems to be living inside of my head! Last week she wrote, Love Thy Neighborhood about how loving where you live can have a huge effect on your happiness. I’m currently in the works of writing about how I fell in love with my current home city, even though I never could ever picture living here. Now it’s home. 

Marquis from Simply Clarke shared one of her favorite marriage lessons in 1 Question to Ask Your Husband Every Day. Her words reminded me that we need to pay more attention to the day-to-day interactions of our marriage, even if you are A+ communicators, small feelings or needs can easily fall through the cracks. Sometimes people need reminders that you are there for them, all the time. 

Sara from Life as a Hughes shared her post I’m Not A Fashionista or a Foodie, humorously writing about how she doesn’t necessarily fit the description of a typical blogger. This spoke to my heart as I believe there are zero rules to living life, except those your write for yourself. Life can so easily put us in boxes. Sara shared the fact that she’s just going to keep doing her thing and won’t try to fit into a trendy mold. 

Spread the love people! Please comment below and share any women that are inspiring you lately! 

xoxo Katie

Too Much

too much, katie able
When a five-year old girl enthusiastically prances out of her bedroom wearing a colorful ensemble made up of bright yellow rain boots, lime green shorts over purple polka dot leggings, and a Christmas sweater her parents smile and say, “Isn’t that cute, she’s expressing her individuality and style!”

If I walked into work wearing blue cowboy boots, a canary yellow dress, and hot pink lipstick, I wouldn’t be applauded for being an individual. My boss would give one look at me and exclaim, “Wow, that outfit is too much!”.

What happens between the ages of five and thirty?

Growing up, our parents and teachers told us time and time again to, “Be true to you!” We are taught to believe that each of us represents a different color crayon in the coloring box that is life. Whenever we were scared to try something new we were encouraged to “Just be yourself!”  The fastest way to success was following your own path. We are accepting each other differences. In fact that little girl in the bright outfit may have been the most popular girl on the playground.

This optimistic perspective that we are all free to be individuals dates back to the 18th century – freedom to live our lives how we want is the basic mantra of being an American. But how “free” does society really let us be?

As we get older we stop accepting people more and more As soon as we enter middle school we want to be one of the same. We want to wear the same sweater, have the same hair, and talk the same way as our friends.

This desire to conform always grows as we graduate high school and college. In my twenties I desperately wanted to be like my  female co workers, simply because I wanted them to accept me as one of their own. I was constantly comparing myself – trying to mold my own style and personality to be just like theirs. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, they were doing the same, comparing themselves to someone else and trying to mimic their lifestyle.

Instead of celebrating our individuality we were trying to fit ourselves into boxes. Society would rather affix us with labels as opposed to unique personalities. We are not encouraged to follow our own heart. Our consumerism obsessed world does not leave room for individuals who express themselves differently than how the media tells us to live.

Between the ages of 16 – 28 I reinvented myself too many times to count, struggling to find success and happiness. Who did I want to be, the Funny and Laid Back Girl or the Boho Chic Witty Girl? or the Glam Party Girl or the Preppy Snobby girl? Media reinforced this idea day in and day out. Who are we, a Samantha, Carrie, Miranda, or Charlotte? Which box did I want to check? Which girl would make me the most popular? Which one would make me the better employee? Which one would score me the best guy?

Whenever someone steps out of these society defined boxes they are met with aversion and criticism, especially women. When a woman speaks out for her beliefs with determination and emotion she is called “too emotional”. When a female lawyer cries or breaks down while working on case that is close to her heart she is called “too sensitive”. When a woman is aggressive and loud and says what is on her mind she is called “too brash”.

These women who are stepping out of their boxes are simply labeled as “too much”. They need to tone down their personalities so that they belong. I beg to question, can a person really be too much?

I now choose to be too much. After years of struggling to find a box to fit into, I choose to ignore the set perimeters and let myself overflow.

I’m emotional, I’m sensitive, I’m dramatic, I over think things. Some people have labeled these qualities as faults. I choose to look at them as strengths. These same traits are the ones that make me deeply passionate, spirited, loyal, adventurous, intuitive, and insightful.

I want to be too much. I want to fill my life with too much happiness, too much success, too much love, too much adventure. As corny as it sounds, I want to commit to my personality and share it with the world. And if that’s “too much” for someone to handle, maybe they have something they need to work on themselves, like putting an end to extinguishing their own “too much” traits. 

By not allowing myself to be “too much” I’m betraying my own desires and wants. I’m extinguishing any hopes at my most successful and happy life before I even have a chance. 

What would happen if we all went back to the grade school mindset that we are all unique crayons in a crayon box. We are all different colors, some are new and pointy, others have been used so hard there’s just a little stub left. Some of us are different and exotic while others are recognizable and safe. But we all can live together in the same box and can be used for a common good – to create a beautiful picture. 

How do you want to be “too much”?

xoxo Katie

Back in MY Day…

Back in my day, 80s and 90s nostalgia

Every generation goes through it. Every generation looks at the one behind them and tells tales that start with “Back in MY day.” My parents filled me with tales of the shortest mini skirts, not being able to wear jeans (or even pants for my mom) to school, driving in cars without seat belts, and typing college papers on typewriters.

Maybe it’s because I’m on the cusp of being a narcissistic millennial but I believe my generation is seeing the biggest gap between generations. 

mickeymousebaby

1985. Bowl cuts and mickey mouse sweats were all the rage.

Being born in 1983, my generation is the last to remember a childhood free of the internet. This equated to more time outside, more imaginary play, more creativity,  less pressure, less pop culture and sexual awareness, less over saturation,  and in general more innocence. 

back in my day 1980's beach

Summers at the shore. 1989.

Back in my day, messages weren’t conveyed via texts but by handwritten notes. Usually multiple ones a day and even better if they were written on Sanrio or Lisa Frank stationary. Keroppi was the best.  keroppi Instead of collecting followers and likes on social media I collected stickers, pencils, erasers, pogs, and little plastic animals.  In the summer I lived outside.

katiepool

1990, at my favorite place, the pool!

I spent my days at the pool, either swimming around and playing pool games like Sharks and Minnows or Run the Bases or playing My Little Ponies or Barbies in the grass while eating ice cream that cost 25 cents. In the evening I’d be running around with the other neighborhood kids playing kick the can or capture the flag.

Rainy days were spent inside playing the skateboarder pizza delivery game on Atari or Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo. If my brother was doing his own thing I’d transform my entire bedroom into a Barbie house or set up an imaginary school or store. If we were really bored we’d torture our dog, Missy. 

missy in shopping cart 1989

1987, pushing MIssy around in the shopping cart. Check out those shorts!

I know the way to hit my brother and get away with it was to slap him with my slap bracelet. Other accessories included stick on earrings, snap together beads, jelly bracelets, and a plethora of scrunchies.

My most treasured toy was my Samantha American Girl doll. 

We had awesome sleepover parties where we’d play Light As A Feather Stiff As A Board and apply heavy blue eyeshadow on each other and then have fashion shows in our nightgowns and crimped out hair. 

My summertime wardrobe consisted of Umbros and a baggy t-shirts (bonus points if they featured sun flowers) on top of my one piece Speedo or my SUPER cool floral bikini.I wore huge plastic glasses for most of my childhood because that was the only glasses option. At least they were pink! I was unaware of dressing trendy or cute.

mylittleponies

1988, playing My Little Pony with my brother at the beach house.

When I got to fourth grade, the best place to shop was Limited Too, back when they sold preppy vests, stirrup pants, and boxy sweatshirts. 

mesaverde

1996. Obligatory State Park sign during our family “West” trip. Seventh grade was the year of the sunflower.

My family owned a few of our favorite movies on VHS but most of our movie collection was made up of movies we recorded from TV to our VCR. It was so exciting when we’d get a free promo weekend of HBO or Showtime because then we could record all of the newer movies! My mom would record General Hospital everyday on the same beat up VHS tape and we’d watch it together in the evening, rewinding the tape at the end so that it was ready to record tomorrow’s saga all over again. 

I had my own cool pink radio/cassette player which I would use to play my favorite tapes: Amy Grant, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Ace of Base and the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. I also perfected the skill of waiting for my favorite new song to come on the radio and pushing “record” just in time. 

katie and fish

1995, down at the shore in my Umbros. I always caught the biggest fish on my Pop-Pop’s boat.

Recess was spent playing Horse, 4-Square, trying to knock the other person off the other end of the see-saw, or pretending to do gymnastics on the balance beam. We all believed in the mythical tale of the kid who once swung so hard on a swing that he flipped himself all the way over the swing set. I looked forward to rain days so we could have inside recess and play teacher and write on the chalkboard. The go to classroom chore was being the student who got to go outside and clap out the dirty chalkboard erasers. 

trolls

1991. Troll dolls on Christmas morning!

We had a computer in the house but it was mostly used to make very pixellated Mother’s day cards printed on paper that you had to tear the perforated edges off of.  When I was in 7th grade the word internet started to be thrown around.

When I was in 9th grade my parents secured a second phone line so that we could log onto AOL and be able to receive phone calls at the same time. Yet we still didn’t spend too much time online because there wasn’t much to do. I was still happy about the second phone line because then I could spend HOURS talking with my friends on the phone.   

In the early teen years I was obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio. The entire inside of my closet was covered in magazine cut outs of Leo. Love. I couldn’t wait to get my newest issues of Seventeen and YM Magazine.

I listened to Jewel’s “Pieces of You” album on repeat. The first CD I ever bought with my own money was Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissett. I was with my Pop-Pop when I bought it and he made me play it for him when we got home from the mall. It was so embarrassing.   By 8th and 9th grade the internet was gaining popularity. Now the only reason I logged online was to chat with my friends or boys. 

easter

1997 Easter. Baby doll dress and platform sandals.

 In high school your AOL profile defined you. I would sculpt and edit mine on a daily basis. There was so much pressure in listing our favorite bands and movies and choosing song lyrics or a quote that would make you seem cool. No one was cool.  Still, the only thing I did on the internet was chat with my friends and meet boys. It was an experimental adventure. But honestly, I formed some good friendships and even met a few in real life and became pen pals. All innocent fun! 

I thought I was so cool because I doused myself with tommy girl and wore skater clothes. Delias was the coolest place to buy your clothes! But you had to order it via the phone or by a handwritten form that you’d send in the mail with a check. I had the coolest patent leather Airwalks. I made my mom drive around to all the surrounding malls to find them. No online shopping for us. My go to body product was Bath and Body Work cucumber melon and I displayed it proudly on my dresser.

katieprom

2000, Junior Prom. Where are my eyebrows?

My friends and I would make a lot of at home music videos and comedy videos as well as take a lot of staged dressed up photos. We had to be stingy with the photo taking though as film was expensive and it would usually take us weeks to get the film developed I got my first real cell phone when I got my license. I drove a 1988 Honda Accord that was originally owned by my grandmother and then passed down to my mom, then to my older brother, and then finally to me. I loved that car.

high school car

2001 High School Graduation day, I loved my Honda Accord.

When I wasn’t jamming out to my latest mixed tape I was blasting my walk men that I hooked up via a tape deck. My big Nokia phone, complete with a pull out antenna, was kept safely in my glove compartment. I only turned it on when I needed to make a call, and for emergency’s only, like to tell my mom I was going to be 10 minutes past my curfew. 

There was no Facebook or even MySpace. The only thing you had to worry about online was scripting the perfect “away” message on AOL Instant messenger. Your confidence and identity was built offline.

Life was (dare I say it again?) more innocent and free. What are your best memories from “back in the day”?  

SMD's Blog

The Day Before the Big Day

rehearsal day katie and ryan wedding

Oh my, how time flies. I can’t believe that we are approaching our one year wedding anniversary in just a little over a month. I promised myself that I would do a total recap of our wedding and I’ve only managed to give a one or two peaks into the beautiful day. 

But back to the wedding.  I love all wedding related topics – even a year after my planning is complete, I can be found going gaga over centerpieces, stationary, and stalking other people’s wedding photos. So other wedding fanatics out there, I hope you find entertainment in my recap. Otherwise, it will be a nice way for me to remember every element of June 2, 2013. 

The one thing I love about this blog is that it serves as a lovely digital photo album, a time piece for me to look back on in the years ahead for not only me but for our future children. I’m sure this blog will exist as a source of giggles and a way to make fun of their dear old mom while also showing them my true heart.

So, with that introduction, let me tell you about the day before our big day, otherwise known as the Rehearsal Day. 

Ryan and I woke up on Saturday June 1 with more nervousness than excitement. The wedding weekend was finally here! All the details and all the work we had been slaving over was finally coming to fruition! We were to be at the wedding venue at 10 for the rehearsal and to run through last-minute items with the venue. 

I was a nervous wreck. I can honestly say that I was more nervous on Saturday than I was on the actual wedding day on Sunday. I was nervous that none of the wedding party was going to be on time. I was worried that the terrible heat wave was going to put people in grumpy moods. I was worried people were going to be complaining about things. I was worried the musicians weren’t going to show. I was mostly worried about other people. It took me nearly all day to realize I should only be worrying about myself and Ryan. 

And of course, everything at the rehearsal went fine. Everyone was on time. Everyone was smiling. And some umbrellas and endless bottles of water helped the heat situation. I made these helpful schedules detailing the wedding weekend events in case anyone forgot anything or needed addresses or phone numbers.

wedding weekend schedule abla

I also pulled my bridezilla card and declared the next 48 hours to be complain free. (gotta use my powers for good, right?!)

Everything was happening so quickly. I had barely hugged my out-of-town bridesmaids hello before I found myself holding my dad’s hand and being directed at how to walk down the aisle. 

Cue the tears. I squeezed his hand and looked into his tear filled eyes and listened as he said, “ok, let’s do this!” Because my dad is the most adorable dad ever, we had, on his insistence, practiced our “walk”. Through happy tears, we did our walk down the aisle while I held my lovely bouquet made from ribbons from the packages received at my bridal shower. I forgot about everyone else and just focussed on my dad and Ryan. This was happening. 

wedding rehearsal with dad
hot wedding rehearsal
Rehearsal 1 Soon the rehearsal was over. The groomsmen and the bridesmaids said our goodbyes and went out separate ways. The men went to get their tuxes while the girls went to get their nails done. We’d meet up again later at night for the rehearsal dinner. It was fun time!

After getting manis and pedis all my bridesmaids and my mom had a lovely lunch together. While I was happily sipping on my mimosa and chatting with the girls my mom got THE phone call. As she sat directly across the table from me, she nervously answered the phone with, “What’s wrong Ryan.” 

I was in panic mode instantly. Why was Ryan calling my mom and not me? What could be wrong? Is he having cold feet? Did something terrible happen?

Turns out that our tuxedo rental company completely screwed up our order. Months earlier, in February we had spent an entire day driving around town selecting the tuxes. We settled on a grey suit with lovely blush ties. The colors looked heavenly together.

When the groomsmen arrived to pick up their suits. They were all given baby blue ties. Baby blue! A color that is not remotely close to the pale blush color we had carefully selected. They tried to pass off an awful bubblegum pink tie to Ryan. He was calling my mom to see if this was okay. I quickly stole the phone and ran into the hallway. I proceed to yell and cry. How couldn’t something this big go wrong in their systems? Here I was crying to my husband the day before my wedding. Over ties.

What made me the most upset was the complete blase attitude the tux company had over the entire situation. Yes, in the scheme of things, ties are not a big deal. But this is a company that is in the wedding business, they know all the stress, and time, and not to mention money that goes into every detail. After a few back and forth phone calls it was discovered that the suit company had 3 blush ties that we could use. We decided that Ryan, my dad, and Ryan’s dad would wear the blush ties and all the other men would wear ivory ties. In the end, no one but us would know the difference. 

The show must go on. I told myself that if this was the worst thing that happened then it wasn’t so bad. 

After our interrupted lunch we headed back to my house to get freshened up before the rehearsal dinner. It was a lovely evening full of fun toasts and gifts. We gave the groomsmen fun mustache beer mugs and I gifted the bridesmaids with the jewelry that they would be wearing at the wedding. I gifted the mothers with their own special jewelry. Everyone enjoyed winding down with drinks and telling old stories. I loved having this last intimate meal to celebrate with my closest friends and family before the big day. 

rehearsal dinner walsh family
bridesmaids at rehearsal

groomsmen rehearsal

dad and mom at rehearsal dinner

Ryan and I decided to hold with tradition and to not sleep in the same house or see each other before the wedding. He went and spent that night at the hotel that his parents were staying in while I went back to our house for a sleepover with some of my bridesmaids.

My girlfriends sat around with me and let me practice my vows in front of them. I couldn’t say them with a straight face. How was I going to do this tomorrow? We got rid of some wedding night nerves by taking a long walk around the golf course that we live on. At night, I lied in bed next to my best friend since seventh grade. We had grown up together and had helped each other through all our growing pains. Once she fell asleep I lied awake and cried happy tears.

Tomorrow was an end of an era and the start of something new and beautiful. 

Return next week to read about our actual wedding day including our vows, music, and more! 

What are your favorite things about weddings? 

xoxo Katie

 

Illiteracy in the U.S. and the Impact of Reading

beach1

I can’t imagine a world without books. Reading is the fuel for my heart and my brain. It provides me with so much joy, knowledge, and feelings of calmness. I believe not being able to read would leave me feeling displaced – as if I suddenly lost one of my five senses.

I love that I am instantly transported to a different world where I get to live in someone else’s shoes, discover a different culture, religion, point of view, or time period. I’ve written about my passion for reading and the many life skills being an English major has given me. My mom, a former first grade teacher, instilled the love of reading in me at a young age. I have fond childhood memories lying side by side on our bellies flipping through picture books and as we got older, chapter books. Books were everywhere. It was the quickest way to take a vacation, to escape, and to open the doors of my little home to the great big world. 

The studies don’t lie. Reading delivers huge benefits through all periods of your life.

Stress Reduction: reading even beats out listening to music, sipping tea, or going for a walk!

Mental Stimulation: your brain is a muscle and reading exercises it. Reading keeps your mind active and can help prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Improved Focus and Concentration: a major bonus in our busy, distracted, internet crazed world.

Lifelong Learning and Knowledge:  better equipping you for any challenges you may face in your lifetime. 

Vocabulary Expansion: making you more articulate and well spoken and a better communicator. Not to mention a better writer! 

Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

While thinking about the impact of reading on my life, I began to think about the negative side effects of NOT reading.

The data that I found on reading and illiteracy in the US shocked me.  I believe that this topic is completely ignored and covered up.


The data:

Total percent of U.S. adults who can’t read  – 14%

Number of U.S. adults who can’t read   – 32 million

Percent of U.S. adults who read below a 5th grade reading level  –   21%

Percent of high school graduates who can’t read  –   19%

Total percent of U.S. high school graduates who will never read a book after high school  –  33%

Total percentage of college students who will never read another book after they graduate   –  42%

 Total percentage of U.S. families who did not buy a book this year  –  80%


 Are you as shocked as me? 

Even worse, many of the U.S.’s social and economic problems are directly related to illiteracy, yet very little is being done about it. As we move forward with the current educational standards (heavy testing ahem), the focus on reading is not valued. Our entire country is being threatened and the U.S.’s knowledge bank is decreasing immensely.


 The statistics below show the direct correlation between reading and success: 

• One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.

• 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts

• 44 million adults in the U.S. can’t read well enough to read a simple story to a child. 

• 85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

• More than 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

• 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.If they cannot read proficiently in the 4th grade, he or she will have approximately a 78 percent change of not catching up. 

• Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.

• Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a basic level. In the same period, more than 6 million Americans dropped out of high school altogether. 

•  Over one million children drop out of school each year, costing the nation over $240 billion in lost earnings, forgone tax revenues, and expenditures for social services.  

• Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. 

• In 1999, only 53 percent of children aged 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line. 

• Students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reporter having fewer reading materials. 

• Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. 

• 46% of America’s adults are poor readers, or “functionally illiterate.” They can’t carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job. 


 The fate of our country is at risk. What can you do about it?

Continue to read. Continue to discuss books. Read the book before you see the movie. Buy books. Share books. Give books as gifts. Support teachers. Support authors. Donate books to schools, to daycares, to donation centers, and to shelters.  Read to children. Have children read out loud to you. If you can, become a literacy volunteer or a tutor to adult or child students.

Most importantly Read, read, read. 

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

The Inspiration Expedition

inspiration expedition

Over this past month I was feeling uninspired. The monotony of day-to-day life was wearing me down and I was flat-out tired. Every time I went to write a post I felt empty, I had zero energy to write about my feelings and felt like I had nothing to give or to share. Writer’s block was hitting me hard and I felt like I was abandoning my commitment to this blog.

I needed some inspiration.

In a guilt induced panic I began a desperate search for this elusive inspiration that was going to fill me with all of the ideas, passions, and feelings. I consciously told my inner thoughts to “Be quite! I have some inspiration to go find!”

I took a big breath and set off on an inspiration expedition.

These expeditions aren’t new endeavors for me. I’m a little bit of an inspiration junkie, consuming all articles, books, quotes, podcasts, videos, songs, anything that will fill me with a little hit of inspiration.

I spent countless hours reading the many blogs that I follow looking for ideas or a words that would ignite something in me. I only find myself comparing and thinking , “well I’ll never write something that beautiful” or “I’m not funny like her”. Next I find myself scrolling through Pinterest seeing images of DIY projects I’m not talented enough to create or rooms decorated so beautifully they can’t possibly have people living in them. So then I start stalking celebrity train wrecks on Twitter in an attempt to make myself feel better which leads me to take quizes telling me what country or which Hunger Games district I should live in and soon enough I find myself getting envious over the elaborate and perfect seeming life of a former college classmate on Facebook.

I throw my phone down in disgust and realize that not only did I just waste 2 hours of my life but I was left feeling I’m even more lost  and disconnected feeling than before.

So, I gave up.

I consciously decided to take a break. I was going to stop consuming inspiration. I cut off my expedition and retreated into solitude me time.

I stopped writing a blog 5 times a week, choosing to only write 3 times a week. I took more walks. I read more. Whenever I had a free second I chose to not reach for my phone and concisouly put it out of reach. When I watched TV or a movie I did not allow any distractions and paid attention to the story. I put my phone away. I stopped checking Facebook and twitter hundreds of times a day. I took naps. I journaled more and  I scheduled quiet time before bed each evening, allowing room for reflection.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what the outcome was.

I discovered inspiration everywhere. My soul felt nourished. I felt like an individual with value again.

By choosing to turn up the volume of all of the external noise, the blogs, the social media, the comparison to others, I was consciously telling my own thoughts that they weren’t good enough. All the outside inspiration was so loud that it was deafening all of my own  internal thoughts and feelings. I can’t even bear to think of all those wasted hours spent searching (or procrastinating) on my phone.

I’ve made the conscious choice to make time for internal inspiration. To set aside a little time once a day or even once a week for you to turn off lower the volume on all that external noise and distraction and create your own thoughts and feelings. It goes back to my 2014 goal to respect my own desires and myself more.. Your biggest resource for inspiration is yourself.

We all have it inside of us, it just needs us to pay attention to it.

xoxo Katie

 

An Interview With My Husband (men say the darndest things)

interview with ryan

After seeing Maeg from The Modern Tulip post this fun and silly interview with her husband I just knew I had to participate.

I talk about my husband, Ryan a lot but we don’t really ever get to see things from his perspective that often. So today he’s getting his chance to shine by answering a few very important questions:

Me: What is the name of my blog?
Ryan: A Beautiful Little Adventure

Me: What do I typically write about?
Ryan:  Either food recipes or reflections on life

Me: What’s a popular fashion item for women right now?
Ryan:  Seriously? Um…Um…jeggings? (Barf Ryan) I have no idea. That’s what I see all the girls wearing in Center City Philadelphia all day. Isn’t that what they’re called? (let it be known that I do not own a pair of jeggings)

Me: Why do women go to the bathroom together?
Ryan: To talk and gossip 

Me: What do you know about Pinterest?
Ryan:  It’s a place where people post different idea about things, anything you can possibly think of is on there, like all the meals you cook for me or craft you want to do. 

Me: If you could have any job what would it be?
Ryan: A weather guy in California, because the majority of my job would be sitting outside saying, it’s sunny, it’s warm and they get paid a whole lot of money to be on TV for like a minute. And it’s one of the only professions that you can be absolutely wrong  but still keep your job. That or get paid to sleep all day. (wow he’s really thought this through)

Me: What about me?
Ryan: Most definitely a mom. Or  an author or the executive producer of Teen Mom 2. (I have no idea where the producer idea came from other than the fact that I love watching Teen Mom 2 haha)

Me: What’s the best place to shop for women?
Ryan:  J Crew outlet because the real store is too expensive. Also Old Navy because it’s affordable and you can’t go wrong with basic generic stuff.

Me: What does YOLO stand for?
Ryan:  You only live once.

Me: What About OOTD?
Ryan: Am I supposed to know this?  I have absolutely no idea.

Me: What is our favorite thing to do together?
Ryan: Go on long weekends or day trips. 

Me: What do I do when I’m home alone?
Ryan:  Cook, watch all the girl TV shows that I don’t like to watch. Clean. Blog. 

Me: What is my favorite activity?
Ryan: Reading

Me: What do women keep in their purse?
Ryan: wallet, receipts, tampons, little make up things, pepto bismal, sunglasses, endless pit of other stuff

Me: And what do you do when you’re home alone?
Ryan: Go CRAZY! No. I watch tv shows like The West Wing and The Wire and Family Guy, pick up around the house, and sleep. 

Me: What’s my favorite accessory?
Ryan: Big necklaces and bangles. 

Me: What celebrity would you let me have a free pass with?
Ryan: Leonardo DiCaprio because I know how much you love him, maybe that will help him win an Oscar. (Too cute Ryan, too cute)

Me: What celebrity would you like to have a free pass with?
Ryan: Crap now I have to think of one. Jennifer Anniston. (This kind of shocks me)

Me: What’s an acceptable amount to spend on a makeup item?
Ryan: $10. (yikes, don’t look at my Sephora bills!)

Me: What’s an acceptable amount to spend on a dress?
Ryan: $200. (Wow, good to know! Let is be known that the only dresses I’ve bought over $150 were for wedding related events. After I told him that he said, “I take it back! I take it back!”)

Me: What is your favorite trait about me, not physical?
Ryan: I love that you’re always optimistic and that you’re always reminding me that life is an adventure and to not let the bad overwhelm me and to not lose sight of the big picture.

Me: What’s my favorite TV show?
Ryan: Gilmore Girls (Cute that’s one of my top 3! I didn’t even know he knew about it)

Me: Who is a current celebrity “it” couple?   
Ryan: Um. No clue. Can I flip through one of your US Weeklys quick? Um…is Selena Gomez seeing someone these days? (he starts flipping through an Us Weekly) Oh! I got it! Kim and Kanye! (I guess he doesn’t listen when I blabber about this stuff)

Me: Anything else you’d like to say?
Ryan:  Sorry, what? (he was busy still flipping through the Us Weekly) Look it’s Taylor Swift taking her Scottish fold cat out in NYC. (Blank stare) I know how much you love Taylor, so i thought i’d tell you. Is that all the questions? 

xoxo Katie