101 in 1001: #57 Go on a Girls Trip.March 11, 2014

This past weekend my college BFFs and I traveled to Chicago to have a girls weekend in honor of our dear Susan who is getting married in one month! :D Four out of the five of us were there (Lindsey’s in Scotland with a new baby girl!), and it was SO good to see them and chat about everything and nothing all weekend.

Chicago Girls Weekend

Two of the most important things we realized over the course of the weekend were a) we look a lot older now than we did in college (what’s up with that?!) and b) we did some pretty weird things in college. I think we’ve always known the latter (I won’t even begin to get into our inside jokes), but every time we’re together we laugh so hard we cry over the random memories: the videos we made, the experiences we had that no one else would find funny and the things we did while cramming five of us into a 3-ish bedroom apartment.

Chicago Girls Weekend

Because we missed Lindsey and we can’t ever leave anyone out, we obviously made a paper-plate-on-a-stick version of her to tote around the city. I really wish I was kidding. Actually, no, I don’t. Because this is just another normal day for us and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Chicago Girls Weekend

Leah, the resident Chicagoan, lined up some pretty awesome stuff for us to do: a delicious brunch, manicures, aromatherapy making (see below) and more.

Chicago Girls Weekend

On the way home to CLE, I listened to an audiobook I’ve been wanting to read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend. It was the perfect read (or listen!) after a weekend with my own best friends. I realized, while listening to Bertsche talk about the different stages of friendship, that I am extraordinarily lucky to have many lifelong friends that know me inside and out. And these four girls, who I met freshman year of college in good old Morris Hall, will always be lifers.

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado | TravelFebruary 17, 2014

Steamboat Springs Skiing_0002

I’ve been nesting away this long, long winter. That’s my excuse for lack of blog posts lately! It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s more that I’ve been spending my time under a blanket, watching (all of) the Olympics with a warm cat next to me. :) But I’m breaking my hibernation to bring you … more snow! Specifically our winter vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Nathan’s family LOVES to ski. And I? Well, I’m learning. (In case you missed it last year, here’s how I look on two wooden sticks flying down a hill. I swear I FEEL like I’m flying.) This year was definitely a step in the right direction. I only freaked out once and was a little more confident in my abilities. Let’s just say that the green hills are my best friends. Nathan’s dream is for me to ski the blues with him. I told him maybe in three years. ;)

Besides the fact that I’m not a great skier, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to travel and see all the beauty out west. The day we arrived in Colorado, we checked out the natural hot springs at Strawberry Park. It was such a crazy sensation to walk around in a swim suit in 25 degree weather and then get in a pool that’s more than 100 degrees.

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Every day that I skied (a total of two!) we had AMAZING weather.

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I was very glad I decided to sit the third day out because it was a blizzard on the slopes!

Steamboat Springs Skiing_0006

Nathan and his dad are pros though and loved the powder from the falling snow.

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Rosie UpdateFebruary 10, 2014

Rosie, our beloved black-and-white cat, turned one year old (-ish … since she’s a rescue, we really have no idea when her birthday is) a month ago. I realized I haven’t done a proper Rosie blog post since we got her, and I think it’s time I right that wrong. To all you cat haters out there, just scroll right along to the next post. :)

Rosie the Cat_0001

She loves:

  • Chicken (And we give in to her begging waaay too much.)
  • Toy mice (She’s hidden a 15 pack all over the house and we can’t find any of them!)
  • Rubber bands (We frequently find them in our shoes. I think it adds a little element of surprise to her game.)
  • The neighbor cat Marco (Nathan caught them sitting in our adirondack chairs last summer having a chat.)
  • Unplugging my laptop
  • Brita water (Haha, I wish I was kidding but our cat only drinks Brita water now.)
  • Cuddling with us on our red blanket
  • Hiding in our guest bed’s mattress springs (She literally gets inside through a hole.)

Rosie the Cat_0002

She hates:

  • Being petted on her back and stomach
  • Not getting enough attention
  • Every other cat in the neighborhood besides Marco
  • Being tormented by the squirrels and birds
  • Getting wet
  • Rubber bands once they’ve broken

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2014 | It’s All About BalanceDecember 30, 2013

2013. What. a. year. I always find it overwhelming to look back at 365 days and draw up some overall conclusion/feeling/concise thought about an entire year. My 2013 was exciting (It was my first year as a full-time photographer, and Nathan and I explored lots of new places together). My 2013 was surprising and enlightening (I learned something new almost every day). My 2013 was busy (Did I mention I went full-time with photography?).

My year was these things. It was also SO much more.

If I’m being 100 percent honest, 2013 wasn’t necessarily easy for me. The craziest, most exhilarating thing I did was choose to dive head first into photography. I’d thought about it a lot. It wasn’t a rash decision, and I’m so thankful that I was able to ease into it so that by the time 2013 came around I had my ducks in a row. Or so I thought.

Let me tell you something. Running a business is not a walk in the park. It’s hard work … especially when it’s a one-person show. You probably all realize this. I was still grasping at that truth while I was immersed in it. For me, a lot of 2013 was about struggling to find balance and set boundaries. It was my first really, really, absolutely full season, and while I’m SO unbelievably grateful for (and completely amazed by) it, I was not prepared for it. I was more than halfway through the year before I realized I was completely consumed by work all the time.

Sometime around the middle of August, I was only seeing Nathan when he would come into my office to clear away the dishes on my desk and bring me new ones (I wish I was joking; it sounds so ridiculous). I wasn’t seeing or interacting with my family and friends nearly as much as I would have liked, even though a lot of them live within a one-hour radius and the phone was always sitting on my desk. I wasn’t eating right (at all), I was exhausted, and the summer was flashing by without a proper bike ride, long walk, or good book devoured on the back deck.

I tell you all of this not to wear my busyness as a badge of honor (although I was certainly doing that just a couple months ago), but to bring complete and utter honesty to the table. I want to share that the most important lesson I learned was that a one-dimensional person is not a happy person, no matter how much work you have, how many features you get or how many Facebook “likes” are currently staring you in the face.

I thought that constantly being busy and stressed out meant I was making it. I thought that saying “yes” to everything was the only way to show that I had it all together. Well, guess what?? I didn’t. I don’t. And I realize now that that’s OK.

I recently read 7 by Jen Hatmaker and was completely awakened to the truth that stress can take over your life if YOU let it.

“We are short fused, stressed out, overextended, and unrested. This pace is not sustainable. I don’t want it to be. This season of life is passing me by, accelerated by a lack of boundaries. Most days I just try to keep the wheels on, not living in the moment at all; I’m just getting it done while thinking about what’s left …

“This biblical concept of rest is whispering to me, ‘You’re ignoring me.’ And I am. Not only do I not take God’s command for rest seriously, but I act like its not in the Bible. Ah, Sabbath. How cute and archaic.”

Yes. That’s me. How did you know, Jen?

After much self-reflection, I now realize that balance is going to be my saving grace in 2014 (that and a little prayer :) ). I know that I need more than one thing (work) to keep me happy/creative/motivated/content/excited/[fill in the blank]. I know that I don’t nearly have it all figured out, and I will stumble and fall more than once, but I am on the right path. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about making space for myself to appreciate the moments and then live in them. Imperfect and all. I’ll let you know how it goes.

St. Lucia

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