Archive | May, 2011

A letter to my 17-year-old self

31 May

Dear Emily,

I know that you have been feeling overwhelmed, scared, and a little emotional lately. Don’t try to push those feelings away. Graduating high school is a big deal. The more you deny those feelings, the harder it will be when you leave for Purdue in the fall.

As you prepare for college, don’t stress too much about finding a summer job. Yes, it’s a good idea to keep yourself busy so that you aren’t lost in your thoughts day in and day out, but enjoy the time that you have off, too. And when your friend offers to help you get a job at Steak & Shake, don’t complain about smelling like greasy, fried food or not being offered enough hours. The people you work with will teach you something. You will realize why you are going to college.

And Emily, that boy that’s causing you to mope around? He’s playing with your feelings. In fact, in four years he will be married and it will not be to you. You won’t be ready for marriage in four years anyway. You’re young. Enjoy being single for the next few years- you will learn more about yourself than you ever could with a boyfriend. You will meet the person you are supposed to be with when you least expect it, and he wouldn’t even think of hurting your feelings. You will fall in love- just give it time.

As far as college goes, don’t be afraid to try new things. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Join clubs and organizations. Get to know your roommate, even if you don’t always get along. Try to appreciate the new experience, even if you are homesick. And if Purdue doesn’t work out, that’s okay. You don’t have to be on a straight and narrow path- in fact, your journey will be anything but that. Be prepared for changes, changes that will be for the better. And don’t feel like a failure if you want to take a semester off to figure things out. Don’t listen to what other people say- you will go back and finish. You will graduate college, even if it takes a little longer than four years. Don’t let confusion and changes upset you- other people go through it too. It is all a part of learning experience.

Finally, Emily, stop and look in the mirror. Look in the mirror right now. You are beautiful. You are thin. You are fit. Stop telling yourself otherwise. There is no need to workout seven days a week when you get to Purdue. Just because the gym is a three minute walk from your dorm room does not mean that you need to go every second you get a chance. Nor do you need to carefully watch everything you eat. While it’s okay to make healthy choices, it’s not okay to deprive yourself from sweets during the week, so that you end up eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a bag of M&Ms on Friday night while your “friends” go out drinking. About drinking- if you don’t want to do it, don’t. And don’t apologize for making that choice. You will hear too many stories of girls who messed up their relationships, their friendships, their bodies and their minds, because of alcohol. Trust your instincts, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your decisions.

Enjoy this summer, Emily. It may in an in-between stage, not a high schooler, not yet a college student, but it’s a time for you to reflect. Enjoy time with family. Enjoy time with friends- although you may think so now, they will not be your friends forever- enjoy their company while you have it. The next five years of your life will fly by. Soon your youngest sister will be the one in your place, and you will wonder where the time went. You will be in a similar place that you are right now, only a college graduate, looking for a job, figuring out life. Don’t rush to get to that point. Life goes by too fast. Just embrace it. Just enjoy it.

Love,

Emily

 

 

Snail mail

30 May

It’s no secret that I love getting mail. Real, old-fashioned, snail mail- not the kind that leaves my inbox full of horoscope predictions and Kohl’s coupons (I always forget to print and use them anyway). So, when I received two pieces of mail on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised.

The first piece of mail was a package that I was anxiously waiting, though not expecting so soon.

Inside was the Barre3 Total Body Lift Workout DVD, and the complimentary FitBALL Mini. I read Jenna’s review of this workout last week, and since the lovely ladies of barre3 offered her readers a 20% discount, I wanted to try it even more.

I completed the 40 minute workout for the first time this morning, and I can confidently say that I know it will be a new favorite of mine. It is ballet, pilates and yoga inspired, targeting all areas of the body- legs, arms, abs, and butt. I could feel the burn the most on the legs portion, which is supposed to be the hardest- although I have feeling my whole body may be feeling a good hurt by tomorrow morning. Definitely $23.00 well spent :).

The second piece of mail arrived in the form of a letter, and when I first opened it, I actually had no idea what it was.

Then, as I read further, I remembered. During my senior year of high school, five years ago, my government teacher had us each write a letter to ourselves. We wrote about our short-term goals, our long-term goals, our wildest dream, what we would look for in a future mate, and so on. When we were finished writing, we put the letter in a self-addressed envelope, with two stamps (in case the cost of postage went up- which it did). He promised that he would mail us the letter in five years, when most of us would be out of college and in our “adult life.”

As I read through the letter, I realized that even though many things in my life have changed, many of my goals and dreams have remained the same. I still want to visit Venice, Italy; I still want to get married and raise a family one day, and I still want to have a successful career. Although I am not a pharmacist or engineer (what I thought I wanted to be at the time), I think I am now on a path more suitable for me. I also thought I might marry my high school boyfriend, which is kind of funny, considering I broke up with him one month after writing that letter. Shows how seriously I took my “love life” at the time :).

I think that of all the assignments I completed in high school, this was one of the most valuable. Thank you, Mr. Smith, wherever you are now (I found out that he has since retired), for that :).

I do wish, however, that I could have received a letter from my future self when I was in high school. Obviously that is not possible, but I think it would have saved me from a lot of heartache and stress. Tomorrow I will be back with a letter to myself, written from today’s point of view to myself, five years younger. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know then, what I know now? I think so. If any of you readers are younger than I am, I think you might interested too ;).

Well, I am off to a Memorial Day party at Jordan’s house. Time to soak up some sun! Enjoy your holiday!

How would you feel reading a letter to yourself, that was written five years ago?

I felt kind of funny first, and a little sad, because all of my high school memories began rushing back, especially since my youngest sister is now in the place that I was then. It was definitely a valuable experience though- and something that I can keep forever!

Have your goals and dreams changed much in five years?

Caps, gowns, and food on a farm

28 May

Last night, my family and I attended our final high school graduation ceremony (for our immediate family, anyway). It was the third time my cap and gown had been worn, the last time it will ever need to be worn. Having three girls of similar sizes in the family, we share a lot of clothing- high school cap and gown included :).

Before going to the ceremony, we began the evening with a dinner out. We went to The Loft at Trader’s Point Creamery, a local, organic restaurant located on a farm off of some country roads.

The atmosphere of the The Loft is enough to want to make you come back again. The inside looks like an old barn (which I believe, it once was), with a dairy bar that serves homemade ice cream and milkshakes, and live music on Friday nights.

The menu changes seasonally, so even though my sisters and I were here just a few months ago, we had brand new options this time. I was debating between soup and a mixed green salad, or an entree salad, and finally decided on the Strawberry Fields Salad.

Fresh strawberry slices, pecans and goat cheese were served on a huge bed of spinach, with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. I ate this salad until I was full, picked at it a little more while perusing the dessert menu, and then finally decided to take the rest home. It was delicious.

For dessert, I had a single scoop of ice cream, half chocolate/half carmel. All of my pictures turned out a little blurry, but you’ll have to trust me when I say it was some of the best ice cream that I have ever eaten.

And since ice cream is my favorite dessert, that is saying a lot :). I am usually a chocolate girl, but the carmel was outstanding. Jordan described the ice cream as being “awesome,” and he doesn’t usually get excited about food (he is happy going to MCL Cafeteria- not much of a foodie, if you get my gist 🙂 ).

After dinner and dessert, we headed to the high school for my sister’s graduation. Just in time, too- we arrived 45 minutes early and it was already almost standing room only.

I felt kind of funny seeing my youngest sister walk down that aisle and across the stage. It seems like just yesterday I was doing the same.

It also seems like, just yesterday, I was running laps, running stairs, and playing volleyball in that very same gym for summer P.E. Thank goodness those days are over ;).

And then, before we knew it, it was over. The speakers kept their speeches very brief, and all of us enduring the cold, hard metal of the bleachers were appreciative :).

By the time we found my sister in that sea of purple and white and got home, it was after 10:00. Apparently I was exhausted, because all I wanted to do was go to bed, and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

As far as today goes, it has been quite relaxed. I just received a new workout DVD in the mail, so I’m thinking that a workout is the next item to tackle on my non-existent to-do list. I will be back later with a review :).

Enjoy your Saturday!

How many people were in your graduating class?

My sister had about 500, but not everyone walked- still, it was hard to find her in that swarm of people! I believe my class was in the 460s- I remember seeing people at graduation that I didn’t know existed!

What were your high school colors?

Purple and white! And my senior class colors were hot pink and lime green- two of my favorite colors. I think I lucked out in the color department 🙂 – my mom’s colors were brown and gold!

 

 

Everything changes

27 May

Today, my youngest sister graduates from high school. I don’t know what is stranger- the fact that I am now in the “adult world”, or the fact that my sister, whom I still see as five years old, is leaving home and heading off to college in just a few months.

The old days…(actually, 2007)

It’s a bittersweet day, but I guess she has to grow up sometime ;).

Since I knew that I would be busy tonight with a celebration dinner and the graduation itself, I got up pretty early this morning. Breakfast has already been made and eaten.

Oatmeal- perfect for this 55 degree May day

And I will soon be on my way to the gym, because I want to get in a workout before my lunch plans today. I am meeting my fifth grade neighbors (twins) for lunch at their school. I have lived next door to them their whole life (which they still find hard to believe 🙂), and today is their last day of elementary school. One of them gave me an earful over the weekend about how I shouldn’t have a boyfriend because I never spend time with them anymore. That is not why I am meeting them for lunch (I would want to anyway!), but it made me remember that kids really are perceptive of change, of people growing up. One day they, too, will realize that playing on the backyard swing set is quite different when you are 22, compared to when you are 11 :).

Ah, reality…

(Source)

Well, I must get to the gym before I lose my motivation. Enjoy your Friday :). And, Happy Graduation Day, Sister. I’m proud of you :)!

When did you realize that you were “growing up”?

Are you celebrating any milestones this spring/summer?

They’re pretty fab

25 May

Thanks to Trop50 for sponsoring my writing about fabulous bloggers. This year Trop50 is granting 50 Fabulous Wishes. Click here to enter for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous!

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When I first began blogging, I did it for two reasons. One, to express myself through writing, and two, to make connections with people in the blog world. While I knew that I might evolve as a writer, I had no idea how connected I would feel with other bloggers…bloggers I haven’t even met in person. It’s crazy how much you can learn from someone, just by reading their thoughts on a computer screen.

While I read tons of blogs on a daily basis (I feel like my subscription list just keeps getting longer and longer), today I would like to mention five bloggers that are the definition of fabulous in my book. Of course I wish I could mention all of the blogs that I read, but that would make for a very long post :).

I consider these bloggers fabulous because they are (or, since I’ve never met them in person, they seem) real- down to earth, tell it like it is, funny, sarcastic- real. Even when things aren’t all “sunshine and happiness”, they bring optimism to their blog, and if they aren’t feeling the optimism, they admit it. I like that- life’s not perfect, so why should we pretend like it is in our blog entries :)?

The first blog that I ever read was Angela’s, Oh She Glows.

My sister introduced to me to blogging, and this is the first one that I subscribed to. Angela is sweet, her story is inspiring, and her recipes always look delicious. While I’m not vegan, nor will I probably ever be, Angela has introduced me to vegan recipes that I have incorporated into my own diet, and her idea of healthy living is extremely motivating.

After reading Angela’s blog on a regular basis, I slowly started working my way into the “blog world.” Gracie’s blog, girl meets life., was one that I was drawn to.

At the time I began reading girl meets life., Gracie lived at home with her parents. She is also a Communication grad. I liked that I could relate to someone else finding her way in the “real world.” Gracie has since moved out on her own, but I still enjoying reading her stories as she figures out life out as she goes.

Michelle, at Living, Learning, Earning, is another blogger who I consider fabulous.

Michelle writes about life after college. I like how she tells it like it is, while still keeping an optimistic attitude. She is currently writing a Working Girl series, which is perfect for job searching me :).

Colleen, at The Lunchbox Diaries, is another fabulous blogger.

I find Colleen’s sarcasm so very entertaining. She’s funny, smart, and tells it like it is, as she lives the life of a grad student/soon-to-be bride (exciting!). Strangely enough, Colleen reminds me a lot of my best friend from high school, who moved to Oregon (three time zones away) after college graduation.

See the resemblance?

Finally, last but not least, is Grace at yourdailygrace.

I found Grace’s blog a few months ago. This past semester I could relate to her busy college schedule, and her balance of an internship, school, and a boyfriend. I lived vicariously through Grace this winter, slightly jealous of her warm Florida weather during our snow and ice storms here ;).

There you have it, five fabulous bloggers. As I said before, I read many fabulous blogs (just look at my blogroll), but I am happy to honor these lovely ladies today.

Who are some of your favorite (and also fabulous) bloggers? Share the love, leave a link :).

Don’t forget to enter the 50 Fabulous Wishes contest for a chance to win $1,000 to celebrate a friend with a refreshing attitude about looking and feeling fabulous. I was selected for this Tropicana Trop50 sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do. I received compensation to use and facilitate my post.

Lazy day

24 May

I have spent way too much time on the blog today. I forgot how time consuming it can be! My goal was to make some minor changes, and I think I have accomplished that goal. My favorite addition is the cute little twitter button (look right) that I grabbed from Emily at Blogaholic Designs. Thanks, Emily :)!

*   *   *

Before making the decision to fill my day with blogging, I began my morning with a bowl of a cereal and a cup of teeccino.

I won teeccino from Chelsey‘s giveaway a few weeks back, and was pleasantly surprised when I received the goodie in the mail yesterday. I normally drink green tea in the morning, but after trying this hazelnut teecino, I am considering buying it in bulk from their website. Not even exaggerating. I like the taste of coffee, but I don’t like the way I feel after I drink it (shaky, stomachache, headache). This tasted better than coffee, and I didn’t have to prepare myself for any annoying side effects. Herbal coffee is a new winner in my book :).

Paired with a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares- it was a good start to my morning :).

If only the rest of my day had been more productive. I’m feeling pretty lazy today, mostly because I don’t have much of a routine or schedule. One nice thing about being out of school though- I actually have time to read books that I enjoy!

Even though I have now seen Something Borrowed at the movies twice, yes, twice, I still can’t put the book down. There are so many details in the book that the movie doesn’t mention. It’s really just an easy, girlie, summer read. School made me forget how much I like reading (nerd alert).

Since it is now way past noon, and I am still in my pajamas, I think it’s time for me to get moving. The rest of my afternoon will probably feature some bathroom cleaning, a walk outside, and some quality time with the above mentioned book (most likely while soaking up some sun :)). Oh yeah, and I will be job searching too- don’t think that I’ve forgotten about that important detail in growing up!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Do you prefer coffee or tea?/ Have you ever heard of/tried teeccino?

What are you reading right now?

Constructive criticism

23 May

Last night, while watching TV with my sister and Jordan, my blog somehow came up in conversation. I don’t always enjoy talking about my blog with my “real life” friends and family. I kind of prefer to keep the two worlds separate. So when my sister, being the little sister that she is, decided to give my blog some “constructive criticism,” I wasn’t really feeling it. AKA, I took it personally.

She suggested that I change the layout and background, making it “not so boring.” I actually kind of agree with this, and will be getting around to it at some point. Then she told me that she doesn’t understand the title of my blog, and Jordan admitted that he doesn’t either. This is what bothered me. If they don’t understand the title, then I had to freak out wonder, how many readers don’t understand the title?

After having a “Oh gosh, how long will it take me to change my title/What should I call it now?” moment, I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 watching aforementioned TV decided it might just be easier to explain the title (if only to make myself feel better).

So, I found a short (and also kind of cheesy, bear with me) video, that does the explaining for me. It’s crazy how YouTube has an explanation for almost anything.

My message is, striving for perfection does not equal striving for happiness. Or, for short, perfection isn’t happy.

(Source)

Now that I’ve cleared that up, I feel a little better. I’ll get to the “boring layout and background problem” later ;).