Less Talking, More Doing

Alright so it’s time for the obligatory New Years resolution post!

The end of 2015 was such a blur! Seriously, wasn’t Halloween, like, yesterday? Ah, well…

With the new year, of course, comes new resolutions! Like the title of my posts says, this year, I’m going to focus on “less talking, more doing!” Sometimes I feel like I plan things and talk about doing things so much and then never actually do them, how awful is that? So this year I’m going to make it a point to start actually doing the things I’ve been talking about.

With that said, in 2016 I will…

… pay off all of my debt (minus student loans, let’s not be ridiculous).

… go to the Art Museum (shame on me for living in Philly for almost 8 years and never going there before).

… get back into yoga.

… (cough, cough) blog more.

… make myself dinner more often than not (or, less replacing snacks with meals and ordering takeout).

… bake more!

… go to New York City. (No, I’ve still never been.. and I’m pretty sure this is not the first time NYC has made an appearance on a list like this…)

What are your 2016 resolutions?!

x

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State of the Union

So I turned the big 2-5 on Sunday. And when I wrote this post, I was sitting in bed at 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night after having just read an excerpt about being 25 from a book my mom sent me and I couldn’t help but dissect my own life up until this point…

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but things are pretty freaking awesome right now.

I always told myself that if I didn’t “have it all figured out” by the time I turned 25, I would head West and drive cross country to LA. What I didn’t know at the time was that you never really have it all figured out… But I think what I meant by that was if I didn’t have a good job that I enjoyed, or a boyfriend, or really anything tying me to Philly, what was the reason for staying? I’m not sure why age 25 was my cutoff, either. At the time I promised this to myself, when I was just finishing college, I’m sure 25 seemed “so old,” but now that it’s actually here, I feel like I was expecting a lot out of a measly 3 years time!

High expectations or not, I’m happy to say I did not feel the need to drop everything and drive cross country this Summer.  I, by no means, have it all figured out, or anything figured out for that matter, but for once in my life I feel like everything is on the exact right track.

Work is still work. I would still choose sleeping over getting up and going to work in the mornings if I had a choice, but I appreciate it for what it is. A paycheck, for one, but also a great way for me to learn more about my craft (currently: marketing) and hone my skills in an environment full of good people who I enjoy working with and seeing on a daily basis. Yes, I have my good days and bad days, and some days my office is like a really chaotic episode of The Office, but overall I like where I’m at work-wise. Which seems like a miracle considering a little over a year ago, before I landed my current gig, I was stuck in a dead-end job (that was really a glorified internship) that I hated. Go me!

My love life is… Present and accounted for. Again, not without its issues, and maybe it has a few more issues than most, but I can wholeheartedly say I have someone who loves me even when I’m being a brat, supports me, encourages me, makes me laugh, holds my hand every chance he gets, spoils me, buys me flowers just because and loves my cat (very important). He tells me how he can see the hard work I’ve been putting in at the gym has been paying off, but always reminds me that he thought I was beautiful even before I started going to the gym 5 days a week. And most of all, he inspires me each and every day, just by staying positive and living his life in the best way possible.

I’m also lucky enough to have a family who supports me no matter what. They may not like some of the decisions that I make, but they do their best to help me in every way possible. At the end of the day, they have my best interests at heart and aren’t afraid to let their feelings and thoughts be known if they think it will serve me in the end.

Every now and then, I have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment in the heart of Philadelphia. I’ve raised a cat since she was a kitten. I buy my own groceries and manage not to stock up on junk food every week. I walk to work every morning and it only takes me 10 minutes. I go to the gym 5 days a week and can run 30 minutes straight. I’m making travel a priority and will have gone on 5 trips to new places by the time the year is over. All these things make adulthood truly great.

But for me, being in my mid 20s is a little like dipping my toe in the water. I’m getting my feet wet with what I consider “adult” experiences (dealing with ER visits, insurance companies, medical issues, comcast bill negotiations, apartment problems, etc.), but haven’t quite had to jump head first into the adult pool yet. My parents still do my taxes. I’m still on their insurance (1 more year, baby!), I still call my mom when I have a cooking question or need help getting a stain out of my clothes. I still send out a Christmas list to my family and want to blow out candles on my birthday…

But who’s rushing to be a full-blown adult, anyway? I have at least 5 more years for that… right?

xo

Hello, 2015

resolution 2015

This year, I’m going to cook and bake new recipes, paint, make things, blog, write, save money, send more cards, travel, spend more time with friends, take some “me” time, exercise, explore new makeup, clean out my closets, do more things in nature, take more walks, make new friends, eat healthy, take more pictures, and above all, BE HAPPY.

Happy New Year!

x

Goodbye, 2014

I can’t say I’m sad to see 2014 go.

Don’t get me wrong, some really great things happened this past year.

I read some really great books.

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I saw some really great movies.

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I watched some really great TV.

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My brother graduated from high school and started college. I got a new job. I fell in love. I fell out of love.  I moved out of an apartment with a roommate and moved into an apartment with a boyfriend. And then moved out of that apartment and into a place of my very own… And then had to get a new second job in order to afford said place of my very own. I joined a gym. I made new friends. I lost some along the way, too.

2014 has been a roller coaster of year. It has taught me a lot about life and a lot about myself.

In 2014 I learned…

Love really does make you do crazy things. Like stick around for longer than you should and put up with things that you shouldn’t have to. It’s easy to sit there and say what you would do if you were in someone’s shoes, but it’s a whole other thing to actually be that someone in the thick of things. You never know what someone is going through, so can we all just start being nice to each other?

There is always a way out if you want there to be. I was the first person to tell people how bad of an idea I thought moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend was, and then I did the very thing I used to preach against! So when it wasn’t working out, I felt like such an idiot. I’m lucky to have supportive friends who would always let me vent and parents who offered to help me even before I asked.

Don’t ignore your intuition. That little voice inside your head that’s whispering to you? Accept the fact that it knows better than you do and listen to what it’s saying.

Nothing is as important as your own health and happiness.

Someone who sees the glass half empty all the time is not someone you want to be around.

Just because you post copious amounts of cat pictures on your instagram and no longer have a boyfriend does NOT mean you are a crazy cat lady. (Saying this for a friend.)

Not wearing makeup isn’t the end of the world. In fact, no one even said I looked tired/awful/insert unflattering adjective here. Instead, someone commented on my “healthy skin” and said they were jealous of my long eyelashes. I think I’m on to something here, ladies…

On the flip side… Makeup is fun! This past year, I discovered my interest in nice makeup and Sephora and I’m not looking back. Maybe in 2015 I will finally attempt to try some of Amber Rae’s makeup tutorials!

Sometimes you just have to stay in and watch 90s TV marathons on Netflix. And that’s totally ok.

I still don’t have it all figured out, but instead of letting that scare me, I’m meeting the new year with arms wide open and ready for change. Bring on 2015!

I Am My Mother’s Daughter

A few days ago, I saw this Huffington Post article about one woman’s role as a daughter now that she’s in her twenties and it got me thinking about my relationship with own my mom.

We’ve sure had our differences throughout the years- There was my sophomore year of high school when she wanted me to “get out more,” and my junior year of high school when she wanted me to get out less. Then there was the time when she grounded me for not coming home one night and subsequently found out (through some cellphone snooping that I am still a little bitter about) that I was (underage) drinking with my friends. Not a shining moment for either of us.

I think the best thing I’ve ever done for our relationship was move out of her house. If that sounds harsh, I definitely don’t mean it that way! Moving out allowed me to grow into my own person, yes, but it’s also helped me appreciate how great my mom really is… And how right she is about, well, everything.

Over the almost 6 years since I moved out of my parent’s house, my relationship with my mom has blossomed. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a good relationship when I lived there, because we did. But having a relationship with someone who lives under the same roof is a lot different than having a long distance relationship with someone. I, like most high school seniors, could not wait to get out of my parent’s house and on to bigger and better things. I’m not sure when I realized that the latter half of that sentence was not entirely true (probably somewhere in between not knowing how to cook a good steak and having to kill a bug by myself at 3 o’clock in the morning), but slowly I’m realizing how many of the things my mom tried to teach me turned out to be useful after all.

So thanks, mom, for teaching me…

… how to make a tuna salad sandwich, even though I told you how seeing the process “disgusted me” because the mayo was so “jiggly.” (That’s a technical term.)

… how to thoroughly clean a dirty dish so it doesn’t have to be washed a second time.

… the importance of having clean underwear.

… to be crafty and creative, although I will never be as crafty as you are!

… the importance of washing my face every day, even though I fought you about it when I was younger.

… that money isn’t everything.

… how to do my laundry.

… to always close my dresser drawers, even though I ended up learning the hard way.

… to be comfortable in the kitchen, and thus unlocking my passion for baking.

… giving me room to make my own mistakes, but never being so far away that you couldn’t help me clean them up.

(This list could go on and on.)

I’m lucky to have such a good relationship with my mom. Now that I’m in my twenties, she’s more of a “best friend” mom than anything. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but I know that she’s always there for me when I have a question about how to cook something, need life advice or just want to chat. She’s probably the only person who can get through to me when I’m being stubborn (much to Tall Guy’s dismay), and I know she always has my best interests at heart. I love the relationship that we have now because I, too, can be there for her when she needs something, which wasn’t the case when I was a self-absorbed moody teenager. I feel like I know her so much better than I ever have and I’m so happy we’re super close. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my mom for the world.

So don’t forget to thank your mom this Mother’s Day, and make sure to tell her how much you love her. I promise she never gets tired of hearing it.

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Happy Mother’s Day, mom! I love you.

Broke Girls Love Philly

Everything great about Philadelphia! (According to me.)

Broke Girls Go Out

How long have you lived in the city? I moved to Philly in Fall of 2008 to attend Drexel and have lived here ever since. What is that, almost 6 years now?!

Where in the city have you lived? I pretty much stayed near Drexel’s campus in West Philly for my entire college career (shout out to my apartment on Lancaster, right across the street from Lemongrass!), but have since moved to Fairmount, which I am obsessed with.

What made you fall in love with Philly? Walking through Society Hill when my mom and I came down on a college visit trip during my Junior year of high school. It was beautiful weather, we had just picked up cheesesteaks at Jim’s (where we met the coolest lady from DC in line) and were wandering to this “little park” that we had sat in the day before. We really had…

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What I’m Adding In For Lent

I am a bad Catholic. So bad, in fact, that I didn’t even realize yesterday was Ash Wednesday until I saw someone post about it on Twitter. Yeesh. Sorry, Jesus.

I rarely, if ever, talk about religion on the blog, so let me give you a little background on my religious beliefs. My parents are both Catholic and I went to CCD for so many years I can’t even count. I was never interested in it, but it was just something that I had to do. So when it came time to get confirmed, it didn’t seem like I was making a choice to become a member of the church, it was just kind of a given. After I got confirmed, I was allowed to choose when and how I practiced, and so I simply chose not to. I stopped going to mass and I can’t remember the last time I went to confession (never voluntarily, I can tell you that much).

I’ve avoided going to church for a lot of reasons that I’m not even sure of anymore. My main reason for staying away is that I don’t agree with the Catholic view on today’s popular and controversial issues, i.e. gay people and abortion. But a very wise woman, let’s just call her “mom,” told me that those issues are a very small fraction of what the Catholic church teaches and only seem so big because of how they’re portrayed in the media, and that’s something that has really stuck with me.

Back when I went to church on a regular basis and actually celebrated Lent, my mom also used to say that Lent didn’t have to be about giving something up, it could be about adding something in, something to make your life richer or to benefit you in some way. So instead of not eating sweets for 40 days, you could decide to exercise once a day for 40 days. You get the idea.

So for Lent, I am going back to church. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and yesterday seemed like the perfect time to decide to act on those thoughts. While I don’t necessarily believe you have to go to church to be a good Catholic, it just feels right for me right now. I can’t say whether it will change my whole thinking of the church, hopefully it will open my eyes to all of the good things Catholicism offers. I’m excited to finally be doing things on my own terms, and happy that I event want to do this in the first place. The best part? Tall Guy is going to come with me. He is not religious in any traditional way, but knows a lot about a lot of different religions. We both believe in a “higher power” of some sort, but are open to the idea that it might not be exactly what the Catholic church says. Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to being able to share this experience with him.

If you celebrate, what will you give up, or “add in,” for Lent this year?

Anywhere But Here

I’ve had a particularly less-than-lovely couple of days. The weather has been absolutely miserable and I think I’m in the middle of the worst Winter Blues I’ve ever had. I want out of this weather and this city ASAP.

If I could be anywhere…

It’s the Summer after my Freshman year of college. Early August, to be specific. I finished up working at the yacht club snack shack around 3:30 pm and it took me approximately half an hour to drive out to my favorite spot on Duxbury Beach. That’s where you’ll find me. Bayside, in a little-known spot that only has a few parking spaces, so I’m mostly alone, except for an elderly couple who has clearly been here for a while. I set up camp around the corner from the parking spaces, just out of view of the beach road. I’ve only got the bare essentials with me today. Chair and towel, both of which I keep in the trunk of my car 24/7, sunglasses, a bottle of water and a book. I’m not even wearing sunscreen since it’s so late in the day, and I’ve got a good tan going, so I’m not worried about getting burned (my high school self also, unfortunately, was not worried about getting skin cancer).

Yeah, that’s where I’d be if I could be anywhere right now. Lounging on that beach, my beach. Reading and taking in the view, without a care in the world or a cloud in the sky.

Oh, the Places I Will Go… And the Things I Will Do

So I told you about my one and only New Years resolution for 2014 and I’m happy to say that it’s already going swimmingly!

While I’m convinced that the sentiment is resolution-worthy, there’s a teensy tiny part of me that feels like my resolution was a bit of a cop out. Yeah, I want to have more “me” time, but there’s a ton of other stuff that I want to accomplish this year that I didn’t want to put down as a resolution for fear it would go the way of most resolutions, as in, it would never happen.

And so I bring you my list of places I will definitely go and things I will definitely do in 2014. Note: THESE ARE NOT RESOLUTIONS, ok? Think of it as a “to do” list of sorts. I LOVE lists!

In 2014 I will…

… finally finally finally go to NYC.

… read at least 1 book every month. Hopefully more than that, though! (Thanks in advance to the Broke Girls Book Club for keeping me on track with this…)

… make at least 1 new recipe (from my list of 49+ pages of recipes to try) every month. I’m talking dinner/appetizer/soup/meal recipe. No baked goods or desserts included in this goal! 1 a month can’t be that hard, right?!

… go camping. Real camping. With tents and sleeping bags and a fire pit… And preferably very little cell reception. Tall Guy was a boy scout, so I’ll be fine you guys.

… learn how to play the guitar that’s been sitting in the corner of my living room since I moved into my apartment over a year ago…

… bake and make more desserts! My list of dessert recipes to try is at least 10 pages long, so I really need to get cracking!

… keep playing pool (in hopes that I’ll eventually become good at it). I actually won a couple of games against Tall Guy last weekend, so that’s a step in the right direction…

… do at least 1 creative thing a month. I’m thinking along the lines of a craft project, painting, collage or really just anything that gets my artsy fartsy juices flowing!

… go up to the observation deck in City Hall.

… use the pastry bags and tips that Tall Guy got me for Christmas to decorate cakes and cupcakes. I’ve graduated from the rigged gallon ziploc bag method, people. Get excited.

… figure out how to use the espresso machine my parents gave me last Summer. I’m sure it’s super easy (I’ve been a barista before, so if I can figure out an industrial espresso machine and milk steamer, I can figure out this machine, I’m sure), but I just haven’t ever taken the 5 minutes I’ll need to look at it. I know, I’m awful.

… go paddle boarding.

… go to the Art Museum! Because I’ve lived here for 5 years now and STILL haven’t been!… I should clarify that I’ve never been inside the museum… I’ve walked around the outside a bunch, though! *Hangs head in shame*

 

Lucky number 13 seems like a perfect place to stop…

What’s on your “to do” list this year?

Broke Girls Make Resolutions

I finally made my New Years resolution! What’s yours?

Broke Girls Go Out

Last year, for the first time ever, I stuck with all of my New Years resolutions! Well, ok… Technically I only made 1 New Years resolution, but still… My 2013 resolution was to start blogging, and I’m happy to say that as of this past Tuesday, I have been blogging on my personal blog for a year!

Since the whole “1 resolution” thing worked for me last year, I think I’ll keep that going and only make 1 again this year. Sure, there are a lot of things that I want to do this year.. Start running again, make more crafts, get back into painting, bake and cook more.. But I don’t necessarily need a resolution to do all that stuff… Plus, how many resolutions like that fail? And I’ve got a record to keep, people!

It seems like it always takes me a few weeks to really get started…

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