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Spontaneous Solo Travel 

8 Mar

With the promise of a three day weekend I made the decision to do something I’d been wanting to do; visit St. Augustine, FL.

I did invite a couple of people, with short notice no one could come. I decided to go anyway. Best decision I could of made.

I had the most enjoyable weekend, possibly of all time. I booked and inexpensive hotel right in the center of all there was to see and do and I purchased a trolley tour that came with admission into 5 popular attractions.

I spent 48 hours going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seeing and doing whatever I wanted. It was beyond perfection not having to compromise or think about anyone but myself. It truly blows my mind how much I’ve grown and changed in the last three years or so. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go to Walmart alone, now here I am traveling over two hundred miles for a weekend totally alone.

St. Augustine is truly amazing, the history, shopping, food, and all there was to see and experience. Now, the price of admission seemed a little high on some of the attractions but when purchased in the trolley package totally worth it. My only trolley complaint was if you wanted to get on just to get back near your hotel it could be quite a long ride, upwards of an hour/hour and half.

I learned a lot about the area, American history, and myself during this trip. 

The Christmas Card 

16 Dec

15326351_10104927238232114_9134524054777893964_nI’ll start off by admitting I did not want to do a personalized Christmas card. Those are for families and people with babies…not single girls. That’s awkward. But my best friend talked me into it by saying it would be fun, people would love it, and “you live an amazing life in Florida show it off!”

So to continue on my path of “brave, proud, single life”, I sent out 15 personalized Christmas cards. My best friend and her husband took the picture for the card and I created them on Shutterfly; I love that website so much. I buy way too much from them.

At first the plan was to take the picture with the Scooby Shack… but I couldn’t think of a way to take the picture that wouldn’t look exceptionally awkward, as well as have other people an their homes in the background. Ultimately we decided to take the pictures at the beach and the they turned out awesome! The water was a beautiful shade of aqua that day and I wore a great Lilly Pulitzer dress.

img_0791For the card itself I decided to add some intentional “funny” to the body of my card by adding the chorus lyrics to “Single Bells”. On the front I put “Seas & Greetings”. I even made the envelopes special by coloring a large monogram of everyone’s last initial on the front, a snowflake on the back, as well as matching address labels I ordered from Shutterfly. 

It’s funny how there are just some things in our society we don’t do because of social convention, seriously it’s just a Christmas card. But it’s not the norm. All of the Shutterfly examples used to showcase the different styles were of parents with their children, and a few young couples. Our society really sends mixed messages about “single life”. For the most part it is glamorized, exaggerated and celebrated by the entertainment industry. But when it comes to product sales relationships and families are hailed.

The small group of close friends and family I sent the cards to all seemed to enjoy them. I sure would love to know the reaction of the person who printed my cards… I wonder if they thought they were funny, clever, or strange?

 

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You Know You’re An Adult When…

7 Nov
  1. img_0335You complain about the music played on Today’s Hits.
  2. Kids playing in the road make you nervous.
  3. The volume of music in your car has gone down.
  4. You enjoy driving without music at all, sometimes the silence is wonderful.
  5. You are able to give good financial advice.
  6. You have a routine on Sunday that includes cleaning your house and doing laundry.
  7. You have no problem asking for your mom or dad’s advice.
  8. You hold steadfast to your beliefs even if they aren’t popular.
  9. You gage your actions on their long-term effects.
  10. You made yourself a budget that includes putting money into savings.

 

Tiny House; Tiny Bread 

27 Oct

It’s difficult to buy groceries when you live alone. You either waste a lot of food or eat a lot of food that is bad for you to avoid wasting it.

I stopped buying bread over a year ago for that very reason…but I miss bread, I love, love, love it.

My solution: I found a little Pyrex loaf pan in my moms endless cabinets of kitchen gadgets. She makes homemade bread a lot from frozen bread dough and it is delicious so I thought that this would work the same just on a smaller scale.

I bought a bag of dinner roll dough, same thing my mom uses just smaller portion. I mashed 3 of them together, let it rise, and bake! Makes about 3 or 4 sandwiches worth of bread, I’m not wasting anything, and I’m eating less bread because it makes a mini sandwich!

#2 Live Alone

23 Oct

unnamed…and relish the independence.

Honestly wasn’t sure if I would ever cross this one off of my bucket list. Between student loans and the impossibility of finding a decent paying job, living on my own felt like a pipe dream.

Lucky enough I found a job that takes care of the two biggest factors in making living on my own a reality. Granted I am still not where I want to be in my life but I know for certain that I am a lucky girl, and that the choices I have made so far have been good choices. The biggest being the choice to live in a tiny house. Thinking long term any money I can save now will be beneficial to me later; not to mention making traveling more possible, which is one of the most important things to me.

I know I’m lucky because at 28 years old, I have a good paying job, a solid course of action for my student loans, I am living not only on my own but a thousand miles from home and in a house that while unconventional I own.

My little house with all of the beautiful renovations and alterations I own outright because I paid cash for everything. How many single people can say that at 28? I’m very thankful for all of the help and support in making this little house a reality.

I adore my little house and I am particularly proud to cross #2 Live Alone off my bucket list.

Ultimate Packing Guide

7 Jun

I fly a lot, specially this past year. I’ve committed over packing enough to have my packing down to a science. What you see would last a minimum of 5 days possibly 8 if I mixed up the combination between the shorts and tops.

  1. Start with a great back pack, this one is Swiss Army brand I got it at Wal-Mart for $40. It is jam-packed with awesome features. A cup holders on either side, tons of pockets and dividers, and the metal loop on the front is a great place to clip a carabiner with my car keys.
  2. Two pairs of shorts; one more casual the other a little dressier gives you more options for appropriate dress if you end up in a museum or a theme park. Torrid buy one get one 50% off.
  3. One awesome, easy to wear dress that can work nicely for a wedding or a nice dinner. Lilly Pulitzer $109 on sale.
  4. One pair of exceptionally versatile shoes; brown leather with a heel strap makes them easy to walk in all day as well as match everything I packed. Wal-Mart $12.
  5. Tops, choose two easy to wear t-shirts, and two nicer tops if you need to dress up a little more than a t-shirt.
  6. Pajama’s could pass for another outfit in a pinch. An old Phi Mu shirt and softy shorts.
  7. For the beach/pool: beach towel (aldi’s $6) , SPF top (Old Navy $12), bikini top (Torrid $30), bikini bottoms (Lilly Pulitzer for Target $20), flip-flops ($2.50 Old Navy).
  8. Make up bag including a mini body spray and deodorant and hair brush.
  9. Book and snacks for the plane.
  10. Lilly Pulitzer wristlet that holds ID, credit cards, cash, and cell phone $30.
  11. An empty Tervis is also great to take you can fill it up at a water fountain on the other side of security and then you’ll also have it the rest of your trip, bonus it doesn’t sweat, $15.

As for the flight: I fly Frontier the most. Their tickets are priced amazing as long as you don’t purchase the extras. Let them seat you wherever they want that will save you $12 each way. Pack smart and just take the backpack, it counts as a personal item and you don’t have to pay for a carry on or checked bag saving $30-35 each way. Download the app and you can check in on your phone saving yourself at least that line, and you don’t have to print your ticket it’s right there on your phone.

What to wear on the plane: I always wear yoga pants, sneakers, and a t-shirt with a zip up over that. These are comfortable, give you temperature options, and are bulky items you’re keeping out of your backpack.

Safe Travels.

A Decade Later

3 Apr

e93456e6f66f68187ba38dc9eb3b3942It has been ten years since I attended my high school senior prom…

10 years.

A whole decade as past. I can barely wrap my mind around that. Ten years ago I was putting on a silly fluffy pink dress with three of my best friends I’ve had since 4th grade. My sister was doing our hair and make-up and my mom was taking a bunch of pictures.

We thought we were so cool. Seniors headed off to one of the biggest nights of our high school career, our whole lives in front of us; college just around the corner…

It is so cliché to say but it doesn’t feel like its been that long, but when you stop and think about all the things that have changed a it has been a lifetime. Since that night, for my circle of friends, we now have: 3 husbands, 6 (almost 7 kids), 3 home owners, 2 bachelors degrees, and we live across 4 (soon to be 5) states.

If I could talk to that version of myself what would I say to her? Would I want her to make any decisions differently…? It would be nice to have less student loans but then I wouldn’t have the college memories and friends that I do. Any mistakes I’d like to have her avoid wouldn’t have me where I am right now. I Suppose that means I should enjoy the mistakes I make from here on out because eventually I’ll look back and realize I needed to make them.

I’d just give that version of me a hug and tell her to buckle up, life really is a roller-coaster.

10,227

27 Jan

img_8329I’ve had 28 birthdays and over ten thousand days on earth so far.

Every year I get older I think back about what I’ve learned, experienced, and all that I hope is yet to come…and every year I get a little more frustrated with myself for what I’m lacking.

One year it was a respectable job, another year it was my weight (that’s a lot of years), and now as I get ever closer to the big three-decade-mile-marker it’s my relationship status.

Lame. Ridiculous. Silly. All of the above: “don’t worry about it; it will happen when its happens.” But people! Women out number men. It’s entirely plausible that it won’t.

“You’re so talented, sweet, loyal, loving, creative, smart, beautiful…someone will snatch you up.” So far my experience is that I’m too much of a “catch” for men to handle so they toss me back into the water. I’m intimidating, I try not to be…but why do I or should I have to hide part of who I am? Shouldn’t a guy love it all?

My observation has been that men are too insecure in themselves and what they have to offer to appreciate what I have to offer.

So….sure. I had a mini or freak out about getting a little closer to thirty (the magic number all women expect to be married by). But I have a career, I live where most people vacation, if I’m bored I drive 12 miles to the beach, I can go anywhere anytime I want, I’m working on the weight.

I have a lot going right and I am so sick of feeling, thinking, writing, and talking about being single. I just want to be happy.

Tracks 

31 Dec

 If a train in Ohio leaves the station in 2014 and spends 2015 gathering speed on the track that it’s on the passengers inevitably get comfortable; they settle in as the train speeds along.

That train is derailed.

Passengers are tossed about, bruised and shaken. They pick up their lives and build new tracks, maybe even a new train and head in a new direction.

That’s been my life this past year. I was headed down one path and was completely derailed and everything that followed changed.

Last year when I was thinking about what 2015 would bring I had no idea it would bring me to where I am right now. So for 2016 I’m not even going to try and guess what’s to come. What I know for sure is what I’m going to leave in 2015 and that’s what caused my train to derail.

It’s a new year. I have a new car and a new job in a new state, so I need to keep trying to make the most of this new start and not worry about having been derailed and the possibility of it happening again.

Solo

14 Nov

6a725472069d2004f534b761da5c901aSince moving to Florida I’ve tried to do more things alone, and I don’t mean just watching Netflix when I’m not at work, but I do that a lot too.

I’ve been going to the beach, taking photos, walking for miles, lost in thought and enjoying the view.

The other day I spent the day on the beach then went to a few stores and window shopped, got a pedicure, had dinner alone. It was a quiet day but I need to learn to like the person I am on my own.

I’m forcing myself to do this so I don’t have regrets later…I don’t look back on the time I lived in Florida as the time I never did anything but watch Netflix. I really don’t enjoy doing things alone…I used to refuse to even go to the grocery store alone, now I do it all the time.

It is a lonely life but maybe if I’m lonely now I won’t have to be lonely later…

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Tossing shells into the ocean like pennies into a well.

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Catching up on some reading.

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Sunrise over the intercoastal