Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Settling

via The Everygirl

Last night in the middle of my WERQ dance fitness class cool down, I started contemplating the idea of "settling". What does it mean to settle? How does the act of settling impact one's life? These were questions that flooded my mind as I struggled to maintain my balance while stretching my quads.

The word settle has a negative connotation. For me, settling means continually choosing to put time, effort, and emotion into something or someone who doesn't fit my needs or goals. Sometimes what we want or think is best for us is actually the exact opposite.

There are a few "almosts" in my life--relationships and opportunities that despite my best efforts didn't come to fruition--that I have mourned. Not having the chance to pursue or experience something you really want is painful and frustrating.

Failure hurts too, but not in the same way. At least you had the opportunity to try. Stolen chances leave a different kind of void. "What if" can be a haunting companion.

As I focused on my breathing and stretched my aching muscles, I experienced a moment of clarity. I realized that if I'd succeeded in obtaining what I had previously deemed as lost opportunities, I would have been settling for a life different than the one my Heavenly Father intends for me.

Even though I may not understand why things I wanted didn't work it, I believe everything happens for a reason. Like Joy Wilson, I'm not the kind of girl who settles. I intend to keep not settling.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

10 Home Decor Updates Under $20

Looking to update your home decor for spring? Head over to and check out today's blog post written by yours truly: 10 Home Decor Updates Under $20.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I decided to go to grad school for a lot of reasons. To have an adventure. To get away from a boy. To find my passion. To work towards an attainable goal.

In a few months I will have accomplished this great thing--getting my master's degree. I don't feel like I deserve it. I'm hoping that feeling will change once I receive my diploma.

Three years ago I applied to grad school because I thought that if I was really going to pursue writing as a profession, I couldn't get there on my own. I needed more training and more professional contacts. I also needed to feel like I was working towards something instead of being consumed by feelings of uncertainty and fear about the future.

The year between graduating from college and starting grad school is not one I'd care to repeat. My best friend was miles away serving a church mission, a romantic relationship I'd hoped would blossom combusted instead, and I had no idea what I was going to do for a job after my internship. I was alone and completely lost.

In an attempt to figure out my life and what to do next, I found a therapist and spent every Monday for nine months in his office. Slowly and painfully, I found enough courage and clarity to make an important decision about my future.

Grad school was never part of my plan but I'm not surprised I ended up there. I've spent the majority of my life performing well in school. School has always been a safe place and an environment where I feel at ease.

The funny thing is grad school has never felt safe or comfortable. They're have only been a few moments where I've felt really good about the work I produced or loved what I was doing. Every story has required an enormous amount of effort just to finish, let alone finish well. Despite my lack of confidence in my performance, I've had several professors praise my work and encourage me to pursue writing as a full-time career.

I don't regret the decision to go to grad school or move to Chicago, but like most things in life, I'm not where I'd thought I'd be by now. I still have a lot of the same questions about my future that I did three years ago. Plus, I'm in a lot more debt than when I started. I thought I'd find this great passion in grad school but that hasn't been the case. My career path isn't linear and I'm learning to accept that.

I need to figure out what's next, but this time I don't feel the same despair or pressure that I did three years ago. I'm more comfortable not having all the answers. I also feel more prepared and in a better place to tackle some of the personal issues I wasn't ready to face. Even though I still have a lot of questions about who I am and where I'm going, I'm proud of myself for choosing to do something with my life rather than sitting back and waiting for something to happen.

Even though the future is still scary, it's also exciting. What job will I have next? Will I finally start to date? How long will I live in Chicago? Where will I be a year from now?

What will life look after grad school? I don't know and that's finally ok. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Everygirl's 30 Day Challenge

image via The Everygirl
I love the idea of doing a 30 Day Challenge, so I was excited when last week The Everygirl announced a 30 Days of Journaling challenge beginning April 1st (tomorrow!). In some ways I use this blog as my journal, but there are some things even I like to keep to myself.

Writing is how I process my emotions and experiences. Too often I don't write at all because I want my writing to be polished and succinct right from the get go. After years of schooling I should know that's not the case.

That's the beautiful thing about journaling. You can free write and not worry about your reader, punctuation, or forming a complete, cohesive thought.

For the 30 day challenge I plan on writing by hand in an actual journal. I spend so much time in front of a screen I think it will be a good excuse to pull away. Writing by hand is a different experience than typing.

Interested in doing the 30 Days of Journaling challenge? Click here to read The Everygirl's post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I've never been so excited to wear a swimsuit...

Attention: I am going on a mini vacation! Easter weekend my mom and I are jetting off to sunny San Diego (or as Ron Burgundy calls it Sawn-dee-ahh-go). It's a total, spur-of-the-moment trip that I desperately need. Between the Polar Vortex and grad school, I am pretty burnt out. I love Chicago but a few days away will be absolutely glorious. All I want to do is lounge by the pool and go to the beach. I've never been so excited to wear a swimsuit in my whole life.

Here's to spontaneous trips and fun in the sun!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happiness is...

The past few weeks I've been a little black rain cloud--grumpy, agitated, frustrated, and just in an overall bad mood. Certain periods of life are particularly overwhelming and I'm in one of those right now. I'm so ready to be done with grad school. Every day I want to quit and throw in the towel. It's taking every ounce of effort I have in me to keep going. The Polar Vortex has brought a bitter, long winter to Chicago and I'm at my whits end. Spring needs to come NOW!

But this post isn't going to be a downer or an attempt to understand some deeper life issue. I want to pause and reflect on the happy things. Because even amidst all the crap I'm trying to deal with right now, there are still moments where that make me stop and truly appreciate the life I've been given.

For me, right now, happiness is...
  • Taking Uber to work because I was running SUPER late this morning (I swore I'd never do it due to my measly salary but sometimes you just have to go big or go home)
  • Watching episodes of Nashville on my Kindle
  • Receiving a text message of encouragement from a dear friend
  • Spending Saturday night with one of my girl friends at our favorite hot spot...Target!
  • Paying $3.50 for a delicious cup of Starbucks hot chocolate. Treat yo' self.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Healing

We go through difficult experiences because that is part of our journey here on earth. Agency is very real. Every choice we make effects our lives and the lives of others. No one is perfect. We're all damaged.

Lately, I've found myself myself wondering: How do you live with an ugly emotional or mental scar? Does the pain ever go away? One of my more puzzling questions is this: How do you know when you're healed?

"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives." - Unknown

I like this quote because it provides an answer to my earlier questions. Healing doesn't mean you forget the bad things that have happened to you or that you have to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. The healing process takes time but it is possible.

We can't live with gaping wounds, but we can survive with scars. They are evidence of our humanity. We earn every scar because it means we refused to be defeated by grief, agony, betrayal, or whatever our grievances might be.

Damaged but not broken. Take control and be free.