Remember

This month of blogging has been inspiring, mind opening, heart opening, thought provoking, and just all around wonderful. I’ve truly enjoyed every second I spent typing away my thoughts and ideas, and reading about others’ lives, struggles, successes, and every day things! I found myself gravitating toward some blogs, always looking for them, and enjoying every slice because it was so relative to my thoughts, feelings, and life- almost like they were inside of my head! I was always intrigued when I came across a slice that took me in a totally different direction than I thought it would, and I always felt a sense of calming when I read a slice I could relate too; like I wasn’t alone.

I don’t know most of you, in fact I only know a handful of you, and yet I feel so connected to all of you. You’ve let your fingers leave your heart on the screens of many, and you’ve let your words enter the minds of any who wandered on to your page. You made your blog a space for people to connect, share, challenge, accept, and acknowledge your daily routines, hardships, special moments, boring days, exciting adventures, and everything in between.

I will miss visiting the Slice of Life Challenge page and scrolling through the list of people, wishing I had the time to read and respond to all. I will miss visiting my “virtual friends'” pages- you know, the ones you seek out because you feel a sort of connection with their writing. I will miss entering the minds of people I know; you can see someone in person every day, but they can carry a whole different piece about them when it comes to words. I will miss picking random blogs simply because their titles were enticing or because I wanted to hit as many pages as I could before I went to bed.

So please, remember me. Come back to my page every once in a while. I’m going to keep up the blogging. I may not do it every day, but my goal is to do it a few times a week- about anything. When I first started my blog, I wanted it to be about “school stuff”. I wanted it to be a place for me to write about my days, what I did, how things went and what I could do better. And I may still do some of that. But what I really want to do now is blog about anything.  I want to write down that idea for my book. I want to express my feelings about something happy or sad going on in my life. I want to share pictures and experiences. I just want the world to have access to the good and the bad about things they can relate to. I want to remind everyone that life is crazy, messy, wonderful, fun, hard, exhausting, exciting, lively, boring, sad, damaging, routine, adventurous, active, and good. Life can be all of those things, but at the end of the day, you have to realize that your life…your actual life, the thing as a whole, not just an hour, a day, or even a year…your whole, crazy, beautiful life… it is good. And that is what I want to share with the world.

Life is beautiful.

La vita e bella.

Words I’ve kept close to me for many years. I first read them on the wall of my grandparent’s condo, and during the summer of 2013 I got them tattooed on my back. My grandfather had spoken those words many times before, and I truly love the moment of peace and clarity that the phrase “life is beautiful” can bring. I always try to look on the bright side of things. I’ve always kept a more positive outlook on life, and assured myself that life was taking me on a beautiful path.

I got the tattoo the morning that my then fiance left me. We got back from the appointment and an hour later I never saw him again.

Was life really all that beautiful now?

I hated those words for months; and I had to look at them every day. For those of you who have tattoos, you know the care that goes in to them during those first few days. It was painfully hard to take care of those words when my life had crumbled around me the very day that I decided to fully embrace the phrase “life is beautiful”.  Life, at that time, was anything but beautiful.

Months passed and my outlook on that memory changed. I found strength in my family, friends, faith, and new people/experiences. I made my life beautiful again; and I looked at my tattoo with happiness knowing that no matter what comes my way, life is truly beautiful (p.s. things always work out for the better!!)

Today, I covered that tattoo. It was faded from the sun, and the letters had smushed together, making it no longer really legible to new eyes (nor did it look nice.) It was a hard decision, one I waffled on for a little while, but finally decided to go ahead with, simply because if I didn’t do it now, I would end up doing it next year when it looked even worse. (I cried thinking that I was “erasing” the memory from my grandfather, but smiled when Zach told me that it was going to be my little secret knowing that those words were underneath the new tattoo, reminding me.)

My life is the most beautiful when it’s a sunny day, with lots of puffy clouds scattered across the blue sky. It’s even better when I’m watching those clouds from atop a mountain, with the ocean calmly moving in front of me.

Mountains are big. They are beautiful. They can be hard, easy, boring, fun, rocky, spacious- and at the top, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s a gorgeous view, sometimes it’s nothing special. Sometimes, you get nothing at all because the weather sucks or the clouds cover too much. But it’s always a walk I’m willing to take. It’s always something I enjoy doing and I always find some sort of beauty in it.

Find the beauty in your life, even through the cloudiest of days. Look back on things knowing that your world is still beautiful, knowing that you made it through the challenges and danced through the victories.

La vita e bella.

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Daddy’s Motivation

A few months ago my dad joined me at Planet Fitness because I have the black card and he could come with me as my guest. We got on the treadmill and he pushed me to run a 5k with him. I did it, and it felt really good! He ended up getting a membership there and we work out at least 3 times a week together, sometimes more. I enjoy that time we spend together, and he always gets me to go my hardest and farthest!

Yesterday afternoon I was not feeling the gym. But the evening before, I had skipped the gym, and my dad had said that we would definitely go together Tuesday. So I sucked up my sluggish feeling and made my way to the gym. When I got there, he was already on the treadmill waiting for me. I walked over to him and with a big smile he said “my meeting got cancelled at lunch time today, so I came over here at noon and ran 5 miles!” My dad is insane. He runs at least a 5k 6 days a week (sometimes 7) and on most  days he runs anywhere from 4-6 miles. He’s crazy…and he’s fast. All of these runs are done in less than an hour.

So I said to him “why are you here now if you were already here earlier?” And he responded with “well, you said you were coming and that you needed your back stretched and massaged (he’s an athletic trainer, so he knows all the right things to do) so I wanted to be here for you! Plus I saved you this treadmill.

What a guy. I love my dad. He worked on the knot in my back for a couple of minutes and then went to lift for a bit. Before he left, he asked me how many miles I was going to run today. “Eh, only 2 I think.” “Have fun!” He chuckled.

I started running and I felt good. Amped it up and felt great. My dad checked in around mile 1.8. He teased, “only 2 miles today girl?”

I smiled and said “eh, maybe 3.”

I ran a 5k. Just for him.

 

The Dollar Store

Yesterday I posted about a date activity that my boyfriend and I like to do. We both really enjoy experiences rather than things, but I couldn’t help myself when I came across this other date activity. It costs $3 and the gas to get you there and back.

It’s called The Dollar Store Date.

You and your partner head to the dollar store with $3 each. Your task is to choose only 3 things (oh by the way- you only have 15-20 minutes!).

Find something to match your partner’s personality.

Find something that makes you think of your partner.

Find something that your partner would be happy to receive as a gift.

You have to do this while your partner is not around! You don’t want them to see what you are getting. Then, take it home and share your things with them- giving an explanation for each thing. Here’s what I got Zach:

For “Something to match your partner’s personality” I chose a party hat (you know, the old school cone shaped ones)- He is silly, fun, and entertaining; all things that this party hat symbolizes!

For “Something that makes you think of your partner” I chose a book about random facts– He is obsessed with learning new “fun facts” and is constantly telling me about random things he’s learned, read, or just knows about! This book was perfect (and meant!) for him.

For “Something that your partner would be happy to receive as a gift” I chose a handle back washer– He is always complaining that he can’t reach down his whole back!! So this little thing can be soaped up and he can scratch and wash away! Lol, he loves it!!

Here’s what Zach got me:

For “Something to match your partner’s personality” he chose a pair of fuzzy socks– He says my personality is comforting and he feels comfortable with me, he says I have a warm and fuzzy feeling about me.

For “Something that makes you think of your partner” he chose a Finding Dory figurine– He says that every time he sees Dory or Nemo and anything about that movie he thinks of me saying “hey Mr. Grumpy Gills” to him when he’s feeling grumpy or down.

For “Something that your partner would be happy to receive as a gift” he chose a pair of yellow shoe laces. If you know me you would know that once the cold and snow is gone, I love funky, cute shoes. (He actually painted a pair of shoes for me- he painted daisies on a blue shoe!) My favorite color is yellow, so he bought some bright yellow shoe laces for me! I put them on my plain black and white gym shoes- they are perfect!

We had so much fun with this date- it was really hard to choose only 3 items- I actually cheated and bought him another book to go along with the fun facts book, but basically, books make me think of him! Lol. You could totally change this up and make it your own- and you could do it with anyone! Your partner, a friend, a family member…hey- maybe this could be your next super meaningful gift to someone! It actually made me cry when he was telling me why he chose socks to match my personality- who would have thought?! 🙂

Have fun!!

The Penny Game

Looking for a fun date idea? 

For Christmas this year my boyfriend and I decided not to do gifts for each other, rather, do things together instead. I came up with “25 dates for 25 days of Christmas”. Our Christmas tree was decorated with little balls, and on each ball there was a date activity.

Dinner his/her choice.

Make dinner/dessert together.

Movie his/her choice.

Free Museum

Dollar Store Date (I can post about this one another time 🙂 one of my other favorites!)

Game night.

Paint night.

You get the idea…

One of the activities was called “The Penny Game”.

You and your partner get in the car and get ready for an adventure. If you know your town/streets well, maybe drive somewhere you don’t know too well and start there.

Have the driver think of a number between 5-20 (higher if you’d like!). The passenger takes a penny (or any coin) and gets ready to flip. At each intersection you come to, the passenger flips the coin. Heads, you turn right, tails you turn left. Keep doing this until you’ve flipped the coin the amount of times that the driver chose. Once you get to the “destination”, you make a date there! Whether it’s a picnic, a walk, or maybe you’ve discovered a cool restaurant or shop! The point is, you have no idea where you could end up. Your last flip could take you to a gas station- so grab a snack and find a place to sit! Maybe you come to a beautiful pond- go for a dip! Sit on the water’s edge. Maybe you found yourself in a field- have a picnic or take a nap! Maybe you end at a dead end, or a random street. Park your car somewhere out of the way and take a walk around the neighborhood! Look at the houses, pretend you’re buying one- pretend you’re already living there! Just have fun! 🙂

This date was such a fun experience- we actually ended up driving in a circle! We saw a few beautiful stretches of land, some pretty houses, and even a farm that we will most definitely visit come spring/summer to watch the goats play! I love this date and I can’t wait to do it in all of the different states and towns we may live in in the future. All you need is a gassed up car, a coin, maybe some snacks, and if you want, a little cash in case something super cool comes up. But really- it’s all about the experience 🙂

Happy date day/night! 

 

Experience of a lifetime

One of my favorite things about my boyfriend is that he’s really in to experiences rather than things. This makes birthdays, anniversaries, and just “gifts” (life) in general so much more enjoyable! His birthday is in April, but I got him an early birthday gift because, well, timing.

His favorite band is Great Big Sea. He’s been listening to them since high school and he’s turned me in to a huge fan as well. Since we started dating I tried hard to get us tickets to one of their shows, but whenever I looked they were playing somewhere pretty far away (mostly Canada) and the tickets to get there would cost 3x as much as the actual ticket to the show. Therefore, we were never able to make it to one.

Great Big Sea has since split. This broke Zach’s heart as he had spent 14 years trying to get to one of their concerts but it was just never able to happen.

Every so often I get online and check out upcoming concerts for his favorite bands, or just concerts in general. A couple of months ago during my search I came across Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies. Alan Doyle was the lead singer of Great Big Sea, so I had to check this out. I listened to a couple of their songs and fell.in.love. And I knew he would too. I had to take us. The concert was March 25th in Brownfield, ME- only a couple hours away.

I sent him a link to one of their songs and he responded with “it’d be really cool to see him play some of his new stuff”. I wanted to keep this a surprise, but I also needed to make sure he had that night off from work. I told him he could see some of his new stuff if he kept the night of March 25th available.

The show was fantastic. The best I’ve ever seen. It was truly a beautiful and amazing thing to watch and listen to, and Zach was in his delirious happy place.

The BEST part- we got to meet him. It was a pretty small venue, so we didn’t even have to wait long (though we would have if we needed to). Seeing Zach meet his favorite artist was by far one of the coolest things. He was so happy, so excited. Just look…:) Happy early birthday to the best person to ever walk in to my life xoxoxo

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My A-Z life rules

My ABCs of Life

 

Always have an appetite. For food, for learning, for love.

Build strong, healthy relationships.

Control what you can, let go of what you can’t.

Dance at least once a day- it is so empowering.

Eat well- meaning, eat what keeps you healthy, BUT also treat yourself to happiness. Don’t deprive yourself of the food you love to eat!

Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.

Give your best self to those who deserve it. And for those who don’t deserve your best- don’t give them any version of yourself.

Help when you can, however you can.

Introduce yourself. You never know who you may meet!

Justifying your reasoning with “because I want to” is enough, but it may not always be right. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes, but think carefully.

Kindness truly matters. Be kind to friends. Be kind to acquaintances. Be kind to strangers. Be kind to kids. Be kind to elders. Just be kind.

LAUGH. Never hold back a giggle. Never apologize for laughing. Let your body laugh. (Once one of my student’s tooted and became super apologetic and embarrassed. I did all I could not to giggle because, well, I’m an “adult”, but then one of his friends giggled and softly said “it’s ok”, which in turn made another friend giggle and do the same, which in turn made ME giggle and do the same. “Excuse you” I smiled. This child went from morbidly uncomfortable to smiling and giggling with his friends over something he thought he’d get in trouble for! The power of a laugh!)

Make time. Make the time to do things for yourself. Make the time to spend with those you care about. Make time to do the necessary evils. Make.the.time.

Never skip a chance to pray. You may not be religious, you may not even believe in the same religion I do, but regardless, we all find ourselves in situations where we feel the need to just think aloud or to ourselves..we’re talking to someone..something..but we may not know who/what. Talk anyway. Think anyway. Pray anyway. And if you’re a believer, then you know.

Observe. Observe your surroundings, the people around you, and your feelings. Be in the moment. Observe so you can better “be”.

Play. Have fun. Whether it’s dress up with your kid, cards with your friends, or solitaire by yourself. Take time to play throughout your day.

Quiet. Take time to be quiet throughout your day. Be still and silent with your thoughts, emotions, and self.

Raise your voice, but raise your hand. Speak up, but don’t speak over. Be heard, but don’t silence others.

Sparkle. Leave your glitter wherever you go. Be confident enough to make a shining impact on those you are around.

Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Enough said.

Understand that not everyone is like you. People need different things. People do things differently. People are different. You don’t need to like it, but you need to understand it, especially if they are people close to you.

Visit your parents. Visit as often as you can.

Walk with your head up. Confidence. Smile. Eye contact. Be pleasant. Be friendly.

eXplain your feelings. Don’t assume everyone knows how you feel.

You are only young once- yes, “YOLO” is a ridiculous term, but it’s meaningful if you take it out of the 14 year old language. Do the things you can and want to while you’re young and relatively responsibilities-free.

Zip your lips when you recognize that your opinions, help, and concern is not expected, wanted or heard. You have a voice, but you need to know when it’s appropriate to use it.