A Big Ol’ Monthly Roundup

April and May came and went, and I’m sitting here thinking how the heck is it already June?! Fortunately I can say I actually did things the last two months so they weren’t just withered away binge-watching Netflix, which is more than I can say for those winter months…

Like I said in my previous post, one of my goals for April was to start running consistently. Well, I started running and I’m happy to say I’ve been able to stick to a schedule and do it regularly each week. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it is for this girl. I was worried I would start wheezing and coughing up a fit like every other time I tried to run, but thankfully I’ve been fine! Seems like that surgery is paying off after all!

Also in April news, D graduated Ranger School! This was a big, exciting accomplishment. He likes to act like this was no big deal, but it’s huge. He also got his airborne wings in May, so that was another accomplishment checked off his list, and I am so so proud of him.

I made my way down to Portland in May for a weekend. It was…honestly super weird. I know that’s Portland’s claim to fame/thing, but I really was not expecting it to be as weird as it is. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected, but it caught me off guard. I think it came down to how empty it seemed. It felt like there weren’t any people around us, and we were staying in the middle of Downtown Portland! Aside from that though, I did enjoy the few touristy things there are to do there. This list is great if you’re planning a trip to Portland any time soon. I recommend Voodoo Doughnuts. It is popular and busy but the lines aren’t as bad as you’d expect. Also, the tax-free shopping doesn’t hurt either. I also really enjoyed all the food trucks everywhere. That was pretty cool. Overall, I probably won’t be going back to Portland anytime soon, but it was a nice experience.

I surprised my family and went home for Mother’s Day, and the look on both my parents’ faces when they saw me was priceless. Unfortunately I was only there for 36 hours, so it was a quick trip, but it was still great to see my crazy loud family and spend some time together. Traveling back and forth across the country is not easy, and with my dearly beloved boyfriend staying in Georgia longer than the Army first said he would, it’s safe to say I’ll be racking up those frequent flier miles in the next few months; starting with next weekend when I travel to GA for D’s birthday! Woohoo!

And for the last bit of news, I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to share that this week I completed my first week of graduate school! Going back to school has always been on my mind since graduating two years ago. For a while, I just gave up on it and figured it wouldn’t happen or be a good option for me, but thankfully I have an amazing boyfriend and great friends who encouraged me to pursue my goals and take the leap of faith. So I did! The program is completely online, which fits in with my lifestyle, work and commute schedule. The first week was challenging, and I know it’ll only get hard during the next 10 weeks, but I am thrilled to be starting on this new chapter in my life. That’s going to be taking up most of my life now to say the least!

 

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March; Looking Back and Ahead

Happy April!

A week or two ago, I decided to start a new monthly theme highlighting the favorite or important moments from the previous month, but also a few notable things that I’m looking forward to in the new month. It’s pretty basic, really and not anything particularly special, but I think it’d be a fun way to remember the little/big things that happen each month. So here we are, starting with March!

Take it back now, y’all:

  • Ed Sheeran’s released a new album and IT IS AMAZING!! I was admittedly a little thrown off when I first heard the album; I wasn’t really sure what I had expected from him, especially after the success of his second album a few years ago, but after giving it a good listen (shout out to my long commute to work and Seattle traffic for giving me time to listen to an entire album), I was blown away. Needless to say, it’s been on repeat all month and will be for a while. And I got tickets to his concert in July, so I’m pretty stoked about that!
  • My sister came all the way from New York to visit me for a week! It was so good having her here with me. I knew she would love it, because really what’s not to love. We didn’t get to do too many things since I had surgery and she was here to take care of me during my time of incapacitation, but it made me incredibly happy to have someone from my family finally come and see what it’s like out here.
  • Speaking of surgery, I had sinus surgery last Monday to remove nasal polyps and fix my deviated septum. I’ve had issues with allergies and my sinuses for years, but recently they got so bad I could barely breathe, especially at night when I would be kept awake just coughing all night. It also made doing regular things like going for a run or laughing too much a bit of a hassle. The running part I didn’t mind so much since it gave me an excuse to avoid going on a run with Dalton, but it was pretty embarrassing when I would start coughing if I laughed too much. But after this surgery, I’m hoping most of those issues I had will be gone. I’m still currently in recovery and will be for a few weeks, but I feel rather hopeful. It’s been a long struggle.
  • Dalton passed the first phase of Ranger School this month! He’s 1/3 through at this point, though we find out this week if he passed the 2nd phase or not. We can only communicate through letters during this time, so that’s been a bit of a struggle, and my emotions have been all over the place, to say the least, but I know whatever I’m feeling, he’s going through much worse. I seriously cannot wait for it to be over.
  • I gave up shopping and drinking for wine because those are my biggest vices and for the most part it hasn’t been too bad! I will admit I kind of regretted giving up drinking when I realized how much I missed Dalton, but then again it was probably in my best interest that I did give it up. (wow I sound like I have all kinds of issues). I don’t need wine to cope, but it sure is nice to have a glass after a stressful week at work. I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday in a few weeks 😛

Looking Ahead:

  • I honestly cannot believe I’m even writing this right now, but one thing I’m looking forward to is being able to start working out again after getting the okay from my doctor. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I couldn’t do it at all. Now I don’t want to make it seem like I work out everyday, because I definitely do not, but I do a few times a week. I’d also like to test out my new and improved sinuses and see if I can actually run now. That might be pushing it, but I’ll report back at the end of the month!
  • Tulip Season has arrived! I will hopefully be going to Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields. It’s apparently a big deal around here, so I’m looking forward to that.
  • If Dalton passes the next two phases, I’ll be going down to Georgia for his graduation. I can’t tell you how anxious and excited and nervous I am all at once. Here’s hoping and praying he passes; I miss him so much.
  • I recently purchased a pile of books that I put in a corner and promptly forgot about. I have a bit more time on my hands lately, so my hope for April is to at least finish two books. That might be expecting too much of myself, especially given my reading track record lately, but we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that’s all for now! I’m excited for April and have a feeling it’s going to fly by. Hopefully it’s a good one.

In The Land Of Sideways, Misty Rain & Occasional Sunshine

I always do this; start blogging again only to give up just a few weeks later. I used to convince myself it would be different this time, but at this point, I really can’t say that it will be any different. That, however, is not the main point of this post. Seattle, aka my new home, is the focus here today.

Around April 2016, I started feeling the need to do something new, live somewhere different. I wasn’t sure where I’d go, and I had no idea how I would explain my newfound desire to leave New York to my family and friends, but regardless of that I did some research and figured out where I wanted to set my focus on: Seattle. I applied to quite a few jobs, and heard back from a couple every few weeks, but being across the country made the interviewing and hiring process difficult, so I was easily overlooked as a candidate. I kept trying though, writing cover letter after cover letter. after a few weeks of that I knew I had to let my family in on my plans. As I suspected, no one was too thrilled about my decision. It was hard to explain why I felt the need to move, and I know some of my family members took it personally, which is definitely was not. this move was about me, for me.

Weeks and a couple of phone interviews went by, and in late July, I had a Skype interview with a company. I thought the interview went well, and I was figured if I did get a call back I would have to fly to Seattle for an in-person meeting. I was pleasantly surprised when I was called back a few days later with a job offer. If I accepted, I would start my new role in 3 weeks, just enough time to give my two weeks notice and get my car out to Washington. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for, finally coming through. I thanked the office manager for the opportunity and accepted the position. 

My mom was the first person I saw after the call. my mother is the strongest woman I know, and I could count one hand how many times I’ve seen her cry, so when she started crying when I told her my big news, it naturally led to a sob fest between us both. (Unlike my mother, I cry over everything. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.) Despite her tears, she managed to choke out words of support and encouragement, and I know that was not an easy thing for her to do. 

Telling the rest of my family and friends was a bit easier, though there were mixed reactions between “yay congrats, a new job!” and “holy sh*t, you’re moving across the country”. Yet through all their own doubts and disappointment about me leaving New York, my family did their best to support me, which meant the world to me. 

I shipped my car out, gave my two weeks notice at work, and said goodbye to my life in New York. As the plane was taking off I started freaking out, wondering if I was making a terrible mistake, but it was too late; I couldn’t turn back now. When I landed in Seattle, I was picked up at the airport by Dalton’s mom. Since she lives alone she offered for me to stay with her for a few weeks while I looked for my own place, which was such a blessing. What was supposed to be just 6 weeks of living with Lisa, my super cool roommate/ boyfriend’s mother (weird, I know) has now turned in to 6 months. It turns out that we get along pretty great and don’t mind each other’s company (actually, I think it’s safe to say we prefer each other’s company, but maybe that’s just me) so Lisa offered for me to stay with her indefinitely, until I felt the need to move out on my own, which has not happened, and she hasn’t kicked me out yet so I think we’re good. We spend our Friday nights drinking wine and falling asleep on the couch by 9:45. We’re quite the roommates; she’s kind of amazing. Also I get to live with 3 dogs, so that’s pretty cool too.

I love living in Washington, more than I ever even thought I would. I figured I’d like it, maybe, hopefully, but I didn’t think I would fall in love with it the way I have. It feels like home, which is crazy to say since no place but New York has ever felt like home, but this feels right, and I have no regrets about moving out here. I love my job and the company I work for. It’ll be 6 months since I started working there, and during that time I’ve already gotten a promotion. It feels great to finally be appreciated and valued for my hard work, and I love working for a company that treats its employees right. I’ve made a few friends at my job, but I’ll save that topic for another time.

As for my family and friends, I think they’re finally coming to understand my move out here. It’s not easy being away from my family though. I feel it most on Sundays, the day we would go to church and all have breakfast. It’s honestly harder than I thought it would be, but I’m getting used to it, and I’m so grateful for FaceTime and Skype that allows me to keep in touch and see their faces on a regular basis. 

Throughout it all, my boyfriend Dalton has been incredibly supportive. He knew how much I wanted this, and I’ll always be grateful for his love and support during this time, despite all the changes he’s been going through himself. He moved to my side of the country while I moved to his, and while it hasn’t been easy being apart and dealing with the different time zones, as cliché as it sounds, I really do believe this has only made us that much stronger as a couple.

As for myself, it’s weird to even type this out but I’m proud of myself for taking the chance, jumping ship into the unexpected and doing something new and different. It was scary to say the least, but it’s been a great journey so far and I’m pleased with the direction my life has turned. 

Anyway, this was a bit longer than I planned but I had a lot to catch up on. So that’s my story! I’ll try to be better about updating regularly, and possibly talking about my adventures out here in Seattle, but ya know, no promises! 

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View from my office rooftop!

Figuring It Out…But Not Really

Man, my last post was months ago. Whoops. I wish I had something inspiring or amazing to say but I don’t. A lot has happened since I last wrote, yet also not much has happened at all. I would love to be able to say that my doctors were able to figure out what I have and what is causing it, but unfortunately they have not, and I’ve been in and out of the hospital a few times since October. It’s been frustrating to say the least, but I’m actually doing better after my last hospital visit, so ya know, there’s that.

I’ve spent most of my time lately just getting through each day, and I can’t believe it’s almost May already. Not sure where time has gone but I’m starting to realize that I need to seriously reevaluate my life and work on my goals a little bit harder. And I feel like I’ve been saying that for months, possibly years, but I’ve gotten to the point where my own complacency with my job and just life in general is driving me crazy. I of course have no one but myself for that, but as they say, the first step to fixing a problem is realizing that you have a problem, so that is what I am doing.

I have definitely spoken about this before, and I think that may have to do with the fact that it is a legitimate struggle in my life, but over the last few weeks as I’ve reviewed my finances, it hit me like a semi-truck on a highway…my shopping problem is seriously out of hand. I make ends meet with my paycheck, but now that I have a new car payment each month (oh yeah, I bought a new car in December, super exciting stuff!) I really can’t afford to continue shopping the way I’ve gotten so used to doing over the years. I’ve known this for a while now but I simply chose to just ignore it. That’s what credit cards are for, I thought. But now that mind frame is coming back to haunt me and I have so many regrets, shopping regrets that is.

You see, my problem is if I see something that I like and decide that I want it, I just buy it…because I can. I realized that it was a freedom thing. I have the ability to buy this for myself, so I will and I do. This was hard for me to admit to myself. That might be okay to do for a little while, but now I’ve accumulated a lot of things that I don’t use/need/even want anymore. It’s actually ridiculous.

Now I’m trying a new approach. With the help of a dear friend who also struggles with impulsive shopping, we’re working together on a shopping “fast”. This means no shopping for frivolous, unnecessary things for a few weeks at a time. We hold each other accountable, and when we feel like we want to buy something, we talk each other out of it. It works well, knowing that I have someone else doing it with me. It would be easy to buy something and just not tell her about it, and trust me I’ve been tempted, but the guilt would be too heavy of a burden to carry, so I have been able to resist temptation successfully.

And sure, when the self-imposed fast is over it will be all too easy to go back to my old habits, but if nothing else, this fast has taught me that I do have the ability to say no to something that I think I want, and closing the browser completely and walking away does actually work.

So this is me, deciding now to do something about one thing that I know is holding me back from accomplishing a few of my own goals, because I really don’t need that bag, or those shoes. Really, Mari, you don’t.

A Typical End of the Year Post

2013 was a wonderful year for me: I learned so much about myself, I grew to love myself as I am, flaws, quirks and all…and best of all, I fell in love and learned the meaning of true love. I faced one of my biggest fears and let someone new into my life completely. And I am so glad I did. Throughout the year, there were a few things I learned about life, love and beauty that really made a difference for me, so I figured now is the best time to share my newfound knowledge with you all.

Life:
When you feel like things can’t get any worse in your life, think about all the good that has happened recently in your life. It can’t all be as bad as you think. If it is, maybe it is time to find a way to change that.

• Family: though they can drive you crazy and it may seem like they just don’t care or understand, your family loves you and wants what is best for you, especially when they tell you things you really don’t want to hear.

• On that note, your family isn’t just those directly related to you by blood. Your family is your group of friends, those you can trust with your life and you know will have youf back, no matter what.

• If you want something, go get it now. Don’t expect hand-outs. Life just doesn’t work that way.

Love

• Before you can be loved by someone, you have to love yourself. If you only see your flaws and mistakes, how can you expect someone to see and fall in love with your good and besutifyl qualities. It might take some time before you love yourself, but focus on that first. Become the version of yourself that you can love. When time is right, someone will fall in love with you, warts and all.

• Loving someone can be a terrifying thing. Being loved back is even more terrifying, but when that love is real and true, it is the best feeling in the world.

• Though it is beautiful, being in love can require sacrifice. Being apart from J is not easy, especially during Christmas since that is our holiday but we make it work. It sucks most of the time, but it could be a lot worse. We are confident in our love, and we trust eachother. I think that is the key to surviving a long distance relationship: trust.

Beauty

For the first two years of college, I wore makeup everyday. I wouldn’t always wear eyeshadow, but I had to have foundation, eyeliner and mascara on before I stepped outside. If I ever went out sans makeup, I felt like everyone was seeing my pale, acne-prone face under a microscope. It was awful. Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore at all. I’ve learned to embrace my natural face, and a few beauty tips along the way.

• I no longer wear foundation everyday, but I’ve discovered that tinted moisturizer or BB cream can be life savers. I use Garnier Fructis BB cream on my face everyday. I recommend this one to every girl I know. It provides a bit of color while also hydrating my skin. Win, win situation.

• Red lips are a classic. A great red with some mascara and you’ll feel like a 1950’s beauty queen.

• Not much is necessary to look and feel pretty. It is all about confidence. If you think you’re beautiful, that confidence will radiate and everyone will see your beauty as well.

• Mix two different shades of lipstick. You’ll have a new color lipstick without having to pay for it. Plus, it makes changing this up a lot easier and interesting!

• Not to sound clique or like a broken record, but drinking plenty of water throughut the day can go a long way. Staying hydrated will help your face stay zit-free or at least help reduce the appearance of those little suckers. Its also just important to stay hydrated for health reasons, ya know. 

These are just some things I learned this year. They may seem obvious, but you know what they say: experience is the greatest teacher. Okay, I don’t know if that’s a real thing but I’m making it a thing now! I’m looking forward to the new year. I know it probably won’t be all wonderful, but if life were great at all times, how would we be able to appreciate those extra special moments?

I hope everyone has a great New Year’s Eve. Tonight, I’m doing things out of the norm for me and putting on some glitter eyeshadow.  I hope you do, too!

Mother Knows Best

Over the last three years since I started college, there is one thing that I have learned: my mother knows everything, and she is always right. This, of course, can be pretty annoying sometimes, especially when I really want her to be wrong. Growing up, it always bothered me when Mom would say things like “You can’t hide anything from me. I always find out” or “I’ve lived a long time. I’ve seen it all.” Yet my ignorant self refused to believe it.

However, now that I am in a committed, adult relationship, I find myself turning to my mother for advice more frequently. And she always knows exactly what to say! I guess that’s what 36 years of marriage will do to a lady. Yet her words of wisdom aren’t limited to relationships. I can tell her about anything going on in my life, and regardless of what it is, she has the advice and remedy for it. Mom likes to remind me that “You are a French woman. You can’t give up so easily!” Sound advice…except my Frenchie-ness is a bit far up the family tree, Mom.

There are still times when Mom doesn’t know best, which is kind of nice too. After all, my ego can’t allow her to be right all the time! Maybe it’s because I’m finally growing up (haha!)but I’m really grateful I have my mother to turn to. The fact that she’s so wise is a lovely, additional bonus. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I never thought I’d say it, or agree with that evil Mother Gothel from Tangled, but mother really does know best. I can only hope and pray to be as wise as her, and to be able to share Mom’s wisdom with my own daughter someday.

My vanity will be the death of me: part 2

Last time I made a post, I wrote about my vanity and how it was affecting my life, mainly my bank account. When I came to the realization that I couldn’t continue buying expensive products, I went out and tried to find similar products but for a cheaper price. To be honest, when I first starting shopping around for the right items, I was really skeptical. I didn’t think I would find what I was looking for. To my surprise, I did. The total amount of money I spent on the “better”, more expensive products I usually bought was $143. After searching for cheaper products, I was able to find exactly what I was looking for, for a total of…$40! I was surprised. But what surprised me the most was that the new less expensive cleanser that I bought for $7.95 actually works better on my skin than the $39 one I used to buy. Ultimately, I’m satisfied with my decision to change the products I use. I’m willing to compromise the luxury I love in order to save myself that extra money, which could be put to better use. However, I must confess that there is one thing I am not willing to give up just yet- my mascara. I know there are mascaras that are good and are less expensive than the one I use, but that is the one luxury I am allowing myself. It may seem silly, but I feel like if I give it all up completely, there is a bigger chance of me going back to buying the more expensive products. Could just be me though. I really hope I don’t! So that is my wrinkle of the day. Stay beautiful, my pretties!

My vanity will be the death of me

Literally, the death of me. That’s what my mother always tells me, anyway. I never paid her any mind though whenever she told me I was too vain and spent too much money on unnecessary makeup. That is, until I sat down with all my receipts, did the calculation and noticed the amount of money (or lack of) in my bank account. I feel like now would be a good time to mention that, according to my family, I am high maintenance, whatever that means! When they say that, they’re referring to the fact that I like buying products that are the best of the best, no matter what the cost, especially when it comes to my beauty products. My favorite beauty store is Sephora. My items of preference are usually on the pricey side. As I looked at my income and my budget, I decided to try something new. I’m going to stop buying the best beauty products out there and I’m going to look for similar products at more than half the price. That’s the plan, at least for now. I heard somewhere that the first step to solving a problem is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. This is my first step. I’m willing to try something new. Maybe I won’t continue doing it forever, but at least I will be able to say that I’ve tried it before. Now I’m off to shop for my products at bargain prices. Stay beautiful, and never forget that the prettiest thing you can wear all day is a smile! And that is my wrinkle of the day!

Gossip girls

I should probably take this time to say that I’ve come to the conclusion that this blog will mostly be of things that I already knew but was reminded of throughout the day. Like today’s topic: gossip and women- or as I like to call them: Gossip Girls. It is well known that women love talking. The amount of jokes that exist about this minor detail of womanhood is impressive-and if I could say so myself, these jokes are actually pretty funny. Google “Jokes about women talking too much”. You won’t even have to finish writing the whole sentence and it will come up on its own! I was reminded of this today as I was walking in the city. I overheard so many conversations among groups of women that were all alike-basically “He said, She said…blah blah blah”. And of course, the male conversations that I heard were not surprising. They were generally about food and/or the game from last night (don’t ask me which one though, I have no idea). I just found it so funny how different men and women’s conversations are. It really does seem like we’re two different species sometimes. Also, I know this post sucks more than usual today, but I have 2 best friends who are talking about tumblr like psychopaths next to me and 2 finals tomorrow that I haven’t even started studying for. So please forgive me for tonight. And that is my wrinkle of the day! Buon notte!!