Getting it Together Thursdays: Collect Moments, Not Things

What do you remember more – that amazing Spring Break trip you took with your girlfriends in college or the sweater you bought last week? If you’re anything like me, you don’t realize you own two-thirds of the things in your wardrobe, so it’s probably the trip.

I love to travel. I was bitten by the travel bug at an early age. I am very lucky and blessed that my family puts importance on spending time together doing things rather than buying things – while most people asked for a new MacBook for high school graduation, I schlepped my two-year old laptop to college and instead, asked for a trip to Europe. The laptop I eventually did have to purchase a week into school now lays forgotten and unused in my basement, but I still fondly remember visiting Versailles with my grandmother just about every day.

My friends often ask how I have money to travel so much – the simple answer is that I am really cautious about where my money goes: I pack my lunch everyday for work rather than buying it, I make my coffee instead of stopping at Starbucks for a latte every morning, I live at home (I know, this isn’t something to necessarily be proud of at 25, but I save so much money) and delete those sales e-mails. Think before you buy – do you really love it? If not, don’t buy it. That money could go to something more meaningful.

Maybe you don’t have the travel bug – you can still collect moments with your friends and family. Each birthday and holiday, I try to buy my friends and family something that requires us to spend time together. I bought my grandmother a spa package this Christmas, took Friend Emily (who seriously I have to have guest post about her Green Trekker) out to brunch and a mani/pedi for her birthday and bought tickets to a concert for Angela for all her hard work over the summer.

In college, I drove a beat-up Ford Taurus (because I was a terrible driver, it was purchased for me in perfect condition) and all I wanted was a new car. After a summer trip to Italy, my dad told me “I was going to buy you a new car this summer, but I decided the memories you would make in Italy would be worth more”. Think about that next time before you spend money – will you remember what you buy or will you remember that trip or event you are saving money for?

Chat with me:
Do you collect moments or things? (It’s okay to collect both :))

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Getting It Together Thursdays: JOMO [Joy of Missing Out]

It’s not a secret that I was once completely out of control, but in the exact opposite way I am now. The fact that I went to a party school wasn’t a happy coincidence. I don’t remember a lot of details about college and it’s probably because I was regularly ingesting 1,000 alcohol calories 3-4 times a week. Friday mornings routinely consisted of me being hungover in bed watching all the great Thursday night TV I missed the night before hanging out at the same bars with the same people.

I’m comfortable talking about this because it was never a secret to my family – as long as I was “safe” (i.e. not drinking and driving, not passing out, etc. etc.) and kept my grades up, it didn’t matter what I did (despite getting guns pulled on me in the Philippines and eating in Nigerian kitchens – that didn’t elicit smiles and laughs from my parents). From the time I was 14 until I was halfway through being 24, I wasn’t comfortable spending a Friday or Saturday at home – and I could probably count on two hands the number of times I did. No, I wasn’t necessarily out getting wasted all the time, but I was at least out doing something.

 

Italian tomatoes | almost getting it together

Fun fact: If you’re a loud, drunk American your Italian neighbors throw tomatoes at you.

 

I spent the first three-quarters of 2013 traveling just about every weekend and staying in half-marathon shape (and running them, of course). I was always jealous of people who were able to enjoy being at home – I was never that girl. I wondered what it was like to enjoy laying in bed watching a movie or reading for pleasure or any of those normal things normal people do. I blamed my need for traveling and going out on my boundless energy and sense of wanderlust, but let’s be real – I just had FOMO for ten years before it could be self-diagnosed.

Then something happened: I realized I was absolutely miserable going out. I was uninterested in a glass of wine before it was finished more often than not. I knew how many empty calories were in those endless shots people kept buying. Unless I had a reason to be out (i.e. seeing some guy I liked), I found that I was a lot happier at home reading blogs, catching up on all the things I didn’t have time for during the week and not gaining back my college weight by drinking like an Irishman.

 

kennebunkport maine | almost getting it together

I love Maine because you can just relax and unplug.

 

Last week, I found a blog post I missed from Lululemon in which my disease of homebody-ness was diagnosed: JOMO, or Joy of Missing Out. The author, a former magazine editor turned freelance writer, gave up fancy events and parties for the joy of spending time at home. Huffington Post even declared 2014 as the Year of Missing Out.

In October-November 2013, I began to be more mindful of what I was doing – more mindful of how I was eating, more mindful of how I was spending my free time, more mindful of putting down the phone and enjoying the moment. I’ve never been one to have my finger on the shutter constantly when traveling or somewhere, so deep down I knew how to live in the moment.

I live in Pittsburgh – the bar scene is going to be the same people, same places, different night – I know I’m not missing out on anything terribly cool. Yeah, Sidney Crosby might be at the bar – but he probably is not going to come up and ask for my hand in marriage once again. I’m happier binge watching Scandal and waking up in the morning to go to yoga or for a long run than I am spending my entire weekend hungover in bed and eating greasy food, only to feel immensely guilty Sunday night.

Much happier running 13.1 miles on a Saturday morning than being hungover.

Much happier running 13.1 miles on a Saturday morning than being hungover.

For now, I’m turning down invites if I don’t want to do something. I used to pride myself on never canceling on people and forcing myself to do everything, but now I pick and choose the things that will make me most happy.

Chat with me:
No questions, just your thoughts.

Spill It Sunday [3]: 2013 Recap

Okay, I’m aware that it’s Thursday and 2013 is long over. We can make this a joint Spill It Sunday and a Getting It Together Thursday about how I almost got my life together this year. I’ve had a busy few weeks (hasn’t everyone?) and haven’t given my blog the love it deserves. So here’s to 2014 and a five day late “Spill It Sunday” hosted by the lovely Arman. And you know what? I’ll throw in some selfies, too.

The theme of this week’s Spill it Sunday was shocking events of 2013. I’d say a shocking event was how shockingly boring my life was compared to 2012 (although I did do a ton more traveling). I kind of went shocking/memorable so there you go.

 

The big man's world

Event: BluePrint Juice Cleanse
I did a juice cleanse. I’m absolutely insane, I know. I would link to the post on my other collaborative blog but then I definitely look even more nuts. I still look back and I’m shocked the only thing I ingested for three days was juice.

I was having a ton of stomach issues around the holidays. I put on weight (probably because I a) needed to and b) started training again). I decided a juice cleanse sounded like the easiest way to lose some weight fast, kill my sugar cravings and reset my metabolism(I’m that girl who believes crap in magazines). I did a lot of research first –  a lot of fitness bloggers, food bloggers, etc. – to make sure it was worth it.

 

blueprint juice cleanse | almost getting it together

Juicing in Palm Springs is not for the weak of heart.

 

If I wasn’t currently so terrified of sugar I would honestly probably do another, just because I was SO focused and creative when I was on it. I had so much energy for weeks afterward, it was unreal. I’m going to try and do Gwenyth’s Elimination Diet sometime this month just to reset because I now know it’s not really good for your metabolism to not eat food.

Discovery: I can be good at running
I didn’t discover running this year, but I discovered that if I tried, I could be decent at it. I discovered running over ten years ago when a gym teacher/later my first cross country coach noticed I had good endurance running in class. My friends all decided to run cross country in high school so being the follower I am, I decided to run cross country too.

 

beckley woodrow wilson cross country team 2007 | | almost getting it together

In honor of this being Thursday, here is a Throwback Thursday photo of the girls’ cross country team my senior year. We got mud racing before mud racing was cool.

 

I’ve fallen in and out of love with running. I had a lot of injuries early on and fatigue later on. Running has pretty much saved me from being an absolutely miserable person. I can go out on the trail and get out all my extra energy and anxiety. I can get centered and collect my thoughts and ideas for the day. If I’m having a bad day or have something to work out in my mind, I go for a run. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken down crying on a run because I just suddenly ‘got it’.

This year I came out of my self-imposed half-marathon retirement. I PR-ed at my first race in almost two years. I honestly never thought I would see a sub 2-hour time when I crossed the finish line but each race I keep surprising myself a little bit more.

 

Meal: Maison Premiere in Brooklyn
Honestly, I don’t remember all the details about this meal. There may have been 1-2 bottles of champagne involved. I was out on a date with a boy [note that I refer to an adult in his late twenties as a boy] and after assuring said boy that even though I am allergic to shrimp, I’m not allergic to oysters (thank God), he took me to La Maison.

La Maison is an oyster bar/Brooklyn-y restaurant with an amazing outside seating area and approximately one million (okay, maybe 40) different types of oysters to choose from. I love oysters and I love champagne and I love when boys take me on nice dates so this was a winner in all three categories. I do think I ended up in Little Haiti (my own invention) at some point that night and we all know how I get out of my comfort zone in America (terrified – but for some reason love it when I’m traveling).

 

Trip: Hawaii

My dad decided one day in that he wanted to “see Pearl Harbor and see a volcano” so we should go to Hawaii. This trip was in the works for over a year but then I got my job at AEO and couldn’t really bounce for a week and then it was summer and pointless to go [and then hunting season for my father] so it didn’t happen until this spring.

 

hawaii | almost getting it together

My dad looks so genuinely excited here, I love it.

 

I also love traveling with my dad because he lets me take charge. Truthfully, I’m really good at trip planning. We basically did every essential Hawaiian thing you could do (surfing, whale watching, seeing a volcano erupting and of course, Pearl Harbor). I had never thought to go to Hawaii (but then again, I’ve never thought to go to 60% of the places in the world I’ve been to) but think every day how I have to go back. I’m currently trying to convince my dad to retire there so I can continue to freeload off of him (kidding… kind of).

 

Realization: I like being single.
Okay, this is weird. I spent the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 being SUPER depressed and heartbroken. I hadn’t been single in almost two years and suddenly I was. Once I worked through it, I discovered dating as dating is fun. I then figured out how to have fun on my own and not depend on anyone else for my happiness. That transitioned into me discovering how I like having time to do what I want, going to visit whoever I want whenever I want and not feeling obligated about anything. Who knows, this is the last time I could be single in my life so live it up, right?

 

Chat with me:

Getting It Together Thursdays: Homecoming

Visiting your old college sounds like a really fun idea. It’s Homecoming! You’ll see all your old friends and maybe that boy in your class you had a crush on will be there and still be single. You’re right – it can be a really fun idea, but it can also be a really, really bad idea if you don’t do it right.

If you’re like me and you’ve graduated college, you probably lost a lot of weight in between. Ever wonder why? It’s because you stopped binge drinking and eating pizza at 2 a.m. I often wonder why I was fat in college despite training for a few half-marathons, working out nearly every day, and being sure to eat my veggies. It’s because I would routinely drink 1,000 calories a night (probably not an exaggeration).

I’m a super routine-oriented person. It honestly probably makes it awful to be my friend/boyfriend. I have to go on a run nearly every day. I have to eat a lot of protein and vegetables and stay away from carbs. I now have a fear of empty alcohol calories and not sleeping in my own bed. I’m like a Gremlin – I come with instructions and you can’t get me wet (or make me drink cheap beer).

Have you ever been in a bar completely sober? That was me this weekend – twice. I love a glass (or two) of wine as much as the next girl but I also love wearing size 0 jeans. Sorry I’m not sorry. Drinking six drinks in a night and then eating pizza (okay, maybe I had a slice of pizza one night) is not conducive to that. So I was at the bar sober but the people watching and lack of a hangover the next day was definitely worth it.

So I’m exhausted and half-watching Scandal while writing this, but here’s the moral of the story: Going to Homecoming is cool because you see people you forgot you loved and you can eat Black Bear twice in one weekend. Be relaxed (unlike me) and have a few drinks and forget about the alcohol calories. Embrace being young because your metabolism isn’t getting any faster. You realize you have a cool job and you’re (relatively) successful for being in your early mid twenties. Going back for Homecoming makes you grateful you don’t have to study or go to Formal Meeting on Sunday and that you have a little bit of expendable income. It makes you remember who your friends are and where you came from. So go back. Have fun. Don’t be a wet blanket (sorry if I was a wet blanket for not drinking, everyone).

 

almost getting it together homecoming

This is how you could typically find me on a Sunday morning in college.

Chat with me:
If you graduated college, do you go back for Homecoming? If you’re still in college – what is your Sunday usually like?

Getting It Together Thursdays: Social Media

In honor of the phenomenon known as “Throwback Thursday” let’s all take a minute to think about those Thursday nights in college that you felt the need to document your play-by-play on Twitter. It’s real fun to talk about how many shots you took on Twitter and then spend Friday morning lamenting how hungover you are to all your followers. I’ve been there, I get it. It also makes a future employer or even your coworkers wonder where you lost your filter.

One of the most adult-like things you can do is clean up your social media accounts. When I started interviewing for my job, I spent [several] hours cleaning up everything from college. I was open about my cleaning spree once I was comfortably employed and had a rapport. Scale down the swearing about how your professor sucks. Delete the photos on Instagram of you throwing back margarita pitchers. It’s trashy and lame to begin with.

NEVER talk about your employer negatively on social media. No matter what company you work for, someone is going to see it. There are social media police. At my company, it’s me.

No one cares what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No one cares about your work out. No one cares about how clean you ate one meal. Stop the play-by-play.

Start being more relevant on social media. You don’t have to be all-professional all the time, but you should throw in some tweets about something in your industry (if you want to look knowledgeable). If you’re in fashion maybe you should mention the great interview you read about John Galliano’s comeback at Oscar de la Renta. If you’re in med school talk about some cool medicine thing (the only thing i know about medicine is how to be a hypochondriac, which I am).  I throw in a few tweets occasionally about people doing cool things on social or funny social media cultural quips but I try to keep it pretty true to what’s going on in my life and I think I’m pretty funny.

 

An example of a photo that shouldn't be on your social media accounts.

For Throwback Thursday: An example of a photo that shouldn’t be on your social media accounts.

 

Chat with me:
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done on social media?

Getting It Together Thursdays: Staying Informed

I thought a fun little series on my blog is where I would try to do one adult thing a week. That’s a lofty goal for anyone – are there even 52 adult-like things in the world to do? So maybe this will be more like a monthly thing or bi-monthly or you know what? Goals are for adults. Planning that far out will be for another day.

I realized a long time while ago that I was super-uninformed when it came to the news. I had no clue what was going on in the world. I actually think I recently learned that Joe Biden was our Vice President. Also, news to me was that John Kerry was Secretary of State. Whew, glad he’s relevant again. Anyway, maybe it’s just politics, but when you know more about Miley Cyrus’s nail polish color that week then what’s going on with the Arab Spring, you start to take a step back and re-evaluate your life.

I say I watch the news every morning, but really it’s just the second pop-culture focused hour of GMA, then sometimes the first 15 minutes of Kelly & Michael if I’m running super late. I really don’t have time to read my Twitter feed anymore, so how am I expected to skim (FORESHADOWING) CNN.com unless I am promised a video of a seal crawling onto a boat or something?

 

Image

My friend Emily (the inventor of Green Trekkers), who I literally just wrote about, told me about The Skimm. It’s this daily newsletter you get e-mailed to you in the morning with five headlines. The first one is a big one (lately it’s been all about Syria), then they have smaller ones that touch on US news, politics, pop culture, technology, or human interest pieces. So The Skimm basically makes me seem like a real person and probably half-informed and intelligent to most people. You should sign up for it. It’s great. And sometimes boys think it’s cute when you’re informed.