Essie Nail Polish

Brave

Have you ever heard the advice, or the rather judgement deflecting phrase “You do you”?

I have a friend who says it often when she doesn’t exactly understand another’s choices, or on the opposite side of the spectrum when she is encouraging me to stand in my truth and be brave enough to live my own life.

Example: Wearing a dress that is too short for my taste but happens to look fabulous on my friend.  “You do you.”

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Example: I love seeing my parents twice a week even though I’m a grown woman.  “You do you.”

The concept is similar to Amy Poehler’s phrase, “Good for her, not for me.” Constantly pulled in a thousand directions, it can be challenging to remember that all we can do on this planet is capture “you.” You being me… you are following this right?

But what happens when “you do you” results in the fear of isolation and loneliness? I know that at times I don’t like to make decisions that are going to benefit myself for fear of disappointing others. Personal growth and embracing new opportunities gets thwarted because I much too often let others define how I am going to “do me”. Oh heavens, you don’t want to tag that phrase in a blog post. But do you know what I mean?

Let me try to explain. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks and am excited about the opportunity to go in a new direction with new prospects and responsibility. I had stomach aches giving notice at my current position when I knew that my leaving would disrupt the flow of things in my current situation. When I gave my news I was met with the most gracious response a boss could provide and support and good luck for my next step.

I am scared about what leaving behind a group of people I have grown to know over the last year will mean. Relationships are hard enough for me to maintain; what happens when I am the one changing course?

And yet, this is something that if I’m being honest with myself, I want. Me being authentically true means learning to live in the wake of the discomfort I am causing others and saying ‘we are all going to be ok’. I think women all over the country struggle with this. The idea of taking care of ourselves goes beyond getting a manicure or taking a nap. I’m learning it is also being beautifully brave in taking the next steps that are going to help me continue to grow. To “Lean In” as Sheryl Sandberg would say, or to embrace all that God has given us so we can develop into who we are meant to be.

In a recent post on Brene Brown’s Facebook page she was encouraging individuals to set healthy boundaries around the holiday season and her quote, “Be willing to choose discomfort over resentment” struck a serious chord in me. How often do we stay quiet, go with the flow, remain comfortable for fear of what others with think, or say, or do and then get angry. Angry at ourselves, angry at our situation, angry at others.

I’m noticing this pattern in myself and I’m wanting to put an end to it. No more anger for allowing myself to put me on the back burner while others glow boldly in the front. Instead, here is what I hope for in the year ahead as I continue to be me.

  • Growth – being ok with being uncomfortable
  • Keeping up this blog. Will you continue to read along? I’m going to write anyway.
  • Camp – the mountains are calling and I must go
  • Find a small group – I’m craving community and want a group of people to walk through life with. I don’t care your religion – let’s find a chance to connect and discuss all that is life over chicken noodle soup.
  • Start a retirement account – financial goals are becoming a reality
  • Continue to read. This year I think I’ve reached 43 books. Next year maybe more.

Being beautifully brave is a conscious choice that requires energy and discipline and self- care. I’m not feeling incredibly brave tonight, so write this as an ode to myself knowing I’ve got what it takes within me to continue to boldly step into the next stages, paying attention to what I need.

What helps you feel beautifully brave as “You do you”?

Essie Nail Polish: Jump in my Jumpsuit

Biscotti: None – but heavens have I eaten enough Christmas Cookies to last me until next year. I did make my dad this Shortbread Recipe

 

Plants, Pelicans & Lilac Rebels

When you plant seeds in the ground, you have two choices. The first is to tuck those little nuggets of potential growth into their dusty beds of soil, water, and wait. You trust that your nourishment and cultivation and light are going to yield something fantastic. It may take three weeks, or three months, but you are confident that what is shown on the cover of that seed packet is going to rise through its gritty foundation and end up delighting your senses.

The second choice, if you are untrusting, and unsure, is to continually check on the plant. You dig and look for roots, and pick out the bugs, and move its location to a seemingly better windowsill that serves the plant much better than its first location. All of this unsettling, likely, results not in growth, but in death. You can not rip up a plants roots and examine its everyday progress, or you will kill it. This is like life too. We have to trust that the good iterations and progress and unseen, measurable day to day growth will pull us into some pretty fantastic fruit if we can wait long enough to see things grow. It may take weeks, it may take months, but our efforts will produce something good.

I had this concept shared with me this week in my monthly Dining for Women group. What a refreshing reminder of optimism. I love this group of ladies that ranges in age from, well, me, to women old enough to be my grandmother. We share food, laughter, questions and support the great work that women are doing all over the world. These greetings continue to bring unexpected beauty and a sense of grounding to the world. The previous analogy got me thinking, where am I ripping up the roots and getting frustrated because it just isn’t happening fast enough. Whatever “it” may be. I do this to myself often. Not trusting that where I have been planted for now may yield some fantastic results. I cherished the reminder to trust the process and was thankful for the metaphor that connects us to the earth.

This week I feel like the haze of winter has fully lifted and beautiful gifts of spring continue to grace me with their presence. On Wednesday night, as Dylan and I were eating dinner, he was looking out the window and he loudly exclaimed, “is that a paddle boat with three heads on the water?” We rushed to the window, and looked closer at the lake. No, not a paddle boat, but rather, three, enormous pelicans were bobbing along. There is a pelican rescue about 15 miles away, so perhaps this little family of birds were out for an evening stroll, or swim, or glide. We watched these birds for a long time, until they gracefully floated out of view. Never have I experienced something like that, so close to my own beautiful backyard.

Also in the backyard, and all around the neighborhood, the lilac bushes are blooming. Last year, about this time, one of my co-workers brought in an amazing mason jar full of the blossoms to our office. When I asked her where she found them, she said she just snipped a few from the bushes on the way in to work. “What?”, my little rule following self exclaimed, “you can do that without pissing people off?” She didn’t care how she got them, just that they were in the office. Well, my friend, you inspired me, and this weekend, I snuck into the backyard and cut a few blossoms off of our elderly neighbors abundantly flowering lilac bushes. I stuck the flowers in a wine glass, and put them on my nightstand next to my bed. The smell is heavenly and I like looking at the delicate orbs as I rise. I smile to myself because in the grand scheme of things, this is hardly a rebellious move. However, it went against my rule following comfort zone and brings me immense delight.

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I received a comment on my blog last week that was along the lines that life is about the simple things that we should bask in every chance we get. Another beautiful basking was the combination of ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice in a bright copper mug. Freeze the mug before you transfer the concoction to your drink holder , and muddle some lime, and a Moscow Mule is something delightful to appreciate on a Friday night. I don’t follow a special recipe, but I do have loyalty to certain kinds of ginger beer. This combination is a mouth watering treat. Treats are good and copper mugs are fabulously fun to hold and toast.

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This weekend was the most calm and relaxing I have had in awhile. Dylan was in a wedding, and I spent the rainy days reading at my in-laws while he was off fulfilling his groomsman duties. It is amazing how when you let yourself rest, things come catching up to you like a rushing river. Emotional reminders to process, to breathe, to grieve, to be grateful, to soak in the gloomy weather with a content heart. Going to a wedding after participating in my own wedding was such a fulfilling experience. Never before have I felt so confident in my choice I made to walk through life with another human being, as I was when watching my cousin-in-law take his vows. Weddings are powerful, love is tangible, life is meant to be shared and I was thankful.

What can you toast to this week?

Biscotti: Thinking about making some with almond M&Ms – haven’t gotten there yet

Essie: Hands – Limo Scene – unfortunately this one just blended in to my skin tone – fleshy looking nails

Toes – Size Matters ( my mom gave me a pedicure this week when we had girls night. Have I mentioned I love my mom?)

He lives on

Let’s start out with some updates shall we?

This week’s Essie color of choice: Guchi Muchi Puchi with a coat of As Gold As it Gets

Biscotti: None – was replaced with Birthday Cake

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Look at this beautiful cake! The raspberries. The rosemary. The dusting of powdered sugar! My wonderful mother made it for me for my birthday. I have two women in my life who are marvelous bakers and love to make me cakes for my birthday. I love to eat cake for my birthday. It really is a win-win. This was this year’s selection. I am spoiled, I know.

I’ve never been one for surprises, and I am very adamant about knowing what to expect (not my finest character quality, I admit). However, my friends and husband pulled of a surprise birthday dinner the night before my actual day and delighted my heart with their presence. We shared overpriced Italian food, and free champagne, and laughter. I need laughter right now. I need it a lot. It warms the heart to see people you love come together to celebrate you. Basic concept, I know, but it’s not something I ask for very often, and I was filled with joy at the coming togetherness of it all.

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On Thursday morning I woke up early, threw off my covers, and ran around my house yelling “It’s today! It’s today!” I love my birthday. It comes but once a year, you know, it has reason to celebrate, to bask in the wonder of a whole new year ahead, Birthdays are much better because you get to eat cake rather than have social pressure of improving yourself that comes from the fresh start of New Year’s. I have a co-worker who came into my office with cupcakes and danced, my family made me dinner, I receieved cards and gifts and roses. I bought myself a latte and I settled into a weekend of celebration.

Celebrate we did. Dylan and I headed off to Las Vegas for a celebration splurge. Usually, this is very unlike me. I like to scrimp and save and go to bed by eleven, so heading off to the smokiest city with sparkles and ding ding dings was perhaps a little bit out of character for me. Maybe characters can change. I loved our weekend at a nice hotel, with a show, and an afternoon by a pool. I think you learn quite a bit about someone when you travel with someone. Dylan and I quickly learned we are travel compatible years ago, but it tickled my heart this weekend when we finished dinner not too late, went to a show, and got excited about the idea of watching “Friends” in the hotel rather than go out clubbing. We are not cut out for gambling – we lost ten dollars in a matter of about three minutes. We slept in and walked through the crazy polarity between obscene extravagance and the staggering reality that there are so many who are not as fortunate as us.

As I was walking through the casinos all I could think about were the rooms that were unoccupied at the moment, and the countless number of individuals on the street with signs. What if we created a lottery program to offer up those empty rooms to those who need it? Never going to happen when a roll of sushi costs $35, but hey a girl can dream. Beautifully composed and delicious sushi, I might add.

I am touched by those who joined in to celebrate me this past week. I am encouraged by the reminder to take time to bask in the beauty of celebrating myself. And, check this out! An Essie Nail Polish vending machine. Does anyone else want to stroke their hands across the beautiful colors of that wonderfully marketed nail polish? Only in Vegas.

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I leave you this week with a photo of some Elvi (that’s the plural of Elvis right?) He lives on, and so do we. That my friends, is worth celebrating.

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Take Pride in How Far You Have Come

You know that feeling when you set a goal and you accomplish it? How does that make you feel? At first I thought I’ve sort of been one to shy away from making goals – fear of failure, fear of risk, fear of discomfort-not quite sure. New Year’s Resolution season is upon us and goal setting is all around (that’s why I’m avoiding the gym this week people! How many weeks do they go until falling off the bandwagon. I want a spot back in yoga please.)  However, when I stop and think back about goals I have set for myself over the years I smile with a small sense of pleasure in my own, surprising determination.

I’m 10 years old and my dad promises me he will give me a dollar for each chapter book I read so that I can have some spending money for our upcoming trip to Disney World. I read 102 chapter books and got some sweet souvenirs.

I’m 16 years old and want an off period in high school. I know, in order to achieve that and avoid dreaded gym class, I have to participate in not one, but two school sports. Focus in on the only other non-cut sport offered and I found myself on the cross country team. I ran each race and quite often finished as the last participant on my team (NO not last, last – just last of the Impalas). I did it though, I ran. Running is hard.

I’m 18 years old and spend most of my first semester of college crying. No, not just crying, bawling my eyes out, not eating, obsessively thinking about a return to Colorado. I dropped out of a small liberal arts school, but made the goal to attend state school. Even amidst terrorizing fear that led to weight loss and trouble sleeping, I took brave small steps to re-enroll in school. I went home each weekend for most of college, but I did it. I did my laundry too.

I’m 23 years old and know in my heart that working for a non-profit must become a reality. Again, through perhaps many stomach aches and trouble sleeping I found a way to return to an organization where I believe very much in the mission and heart of the work we do each day. My resume is diverse from bouncing around in jobs, but my heart was a straight-line to accomplishing a very long term dream.

I realize that I do set goals, and work to achieve the ones that I want. None of this pithy weight loss, make more friends, find a husband, build a career blah, blah, blah goals. Not to discount those working on those goals currently. These, quite honestly, are areas I too have struggled and continue to think about. I just want goals that are more realistically attainable for me. I think we put too much pressure on perfection, on areas to improve and once again set ourselves up for a continuous cycle of “OH MY GOSH I’M JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH” . You can read more about my thoughts on that topic in my previous post “Stop Trying to Improve”. I don’t want to do that for 2015.

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*Spoiler alert – here comes my 2014 reflecting*  As I look back on the year behind us I am proud of some of the goals I achieved. WordPress emails out these handy Annual Reports with stats and demographics all about your views and comments and “how good you were at blogging”. I’m not sure if I’m good at this per se’. I have no advertising (interested – I want you!) I only have 3700 views and a few new followers a week. I’m no world wide sensation but I did get views from over 52 countries. I’ll try not to think too long about that. That one kinda weirds me out. I published 53 posts! I met my goal for 2014. I have been able to connect with other women who are similar to me in uncanny ways. This has been a space to heal and express and ask and find some peace and gratitude. I’m proud of myself.

We planned a wedding, I got married, I have grown in a job that continues to challenge me. I’m learning to be a wife, a daughter and a friend all in new contexts. I traveled a little and I read some books. I am not sure what 2015 has in store.

Here are some achievable goals that I hope to accomplish for 2015. Don’t laugh.

1) Continue this blog. I like this adventure more than I thought I would

2) Paint my nails each week. Isn’t a manicure nice. I have SO much Essie nail polish and not enough time to keep up my hands. I’m going to try it. Maybe I’ll share my colors each week. 52 weeks of Essie.

3) Keep chugging on towards my goal of 20,000 pages to read. Hurry up with this Katie. You have reading to do!

4) Travel – even if it is little weekend adventures try to go to a few new places.

5) Make more biscotti. Biscotti is delicious.

6) Continue to be open to what the universe has to offer. Even if that means you encounter hard or challenging opportunities to grow or change or adopt new patterns, build new relationships, or close some out. It is a grand adventure isn’t it.

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I believe there is beauty in accomplishing goals big and small. Beauty in being proud of yourself. Beauty in setting realistic limits and expectations. Do you have big goals or little goals for 2015? Do you like resolutions? Are you mad too because the gym is so damn crowded?