Wednesday, December 18, 2013

(And At Christmas You Tell the Truth)

The truth is I gave my heart away some time ago. Years have passed and I'm still trying to put all the pieces back together. My wounds have healed but some unanswered questions remain. Maybe they always will. Among other things, I've learned that sometimes you have to live without your ideal form of closure.

Reflecting on the past in an attempt to understand the present and move forward towards the future, I often wonder: What emotions or memories has time blurred? How much of what I remember or think about is based in reality? I know that at 22 I was as hopeful and foolish as a Taylor Swift love song. Desperate to make sense of impending post-college life and feeling completely alone, I clutched at everything I thought would bring me closer to the picture I had in my mind of what my life was supposed to look like. That approach didn't work very well. Happily, I've survived and become a better person for it.

For awhile I was so hurt and confused I didn't know how to get my heart back. To be honest, I don't think I really wanted it back. It was mine to give and I wanted nothing more than to start a life with someone I loved by my side. The dream had become tangible for the first time and yet, it still eluded my grasp.

Last Christmas my little sister got married. This summer my three closest college roommates, including my best friend, said "I do". My brother also tied the knot. Here in Chicago the majority of my friends and coworkers are either married or in serious relationships. It's no exaggeration that I'm often the only "single" person.

Maturity and time have provided me with much needed insight and perspective. I'm surrounded by couples and I can truthfully say I'm genuinely happy for them. Do I wish I had the relationship portion of my life figured out already? Absolutely. Do I want to be married and have a family? More than anything. Am I learning to embrace who I am and the life I'm living? Every day.

The truth is I'm still trying to figure myself and love out. That's ok. Love is actually all around.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Humanity is on display at an airport. Tearful goodbyes. Joyous reunions. Nervous explorers. Whatever emotion or scenario you're looking for, you can find it between arrivals and departures.

There's something about the airport and flying that put me in a hyper-reflective state. Maybe it's the long train ride on the L or anticipation for the impending trip. Whatever the reason, I usually become emotional and suddenly develop a strong urge to write.

I think about my relationships with individual people in my life and where they're headed--literally and figuratively. My melancholy mind becomes misty as I recall prior journeys with fondness. Senses are heightened and my memory enhanced.

When I'm up in the air, thousands of feet above ground, life is temporarily suspended. No phone calls can be made or texts sent. My wifi doesn't connect unless I fork over eight dollars. It is a period where I am truly alone with only music or reading materials to keep me company. Inevitably, my thoughts usually take over.

Flying is a chance to get away from the world.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Pain of Writing

photo by paper pastries
Ernest Hemingway said, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Today we sit in front of computers but Hemingway's sentiment still rings true. The act of writing is fulfilling yet painful.

Between undergrad and grad school, I've spent an infinite number of hours typing stories and papers on my laptop. Afternoons and all-nighters filled with despair, Coca-Cola, and fervency. Fulfilling a writing assignment usually feels as physically and mentally exhausting as running a marathon.

When I have a story deadline, I typically procrastinate because the blank page is a wall that appears too tall to climb. So I sit at the bottom and look up in dismay. Hours before my story is due I begin scaling the wall while the clock steadily dwindles. I need the fever of a deadline to spur me into action.

This dysfunctional writing cycle produces unnecessary pain and stress. Once I finish my story, with only a few minutes to spare, I sit and wonder why I didn't start sooner. Inevitably, the wall is easier to scale once I start climbing. Next time, I tell myself, it'll be different. The process doesn't have to be this way and yet, it's a habit I can't break.

I haven't written on my blog for almost two months because I either haven't felt like I've had anything worthwhile to say or the simple act of writing my feelings/thoughts down has felt too hard. The tricky thing about any creative endeavor is that you only get better with practice. How will I know what I want to say if I don't try?

So this is me, once again, trying to write. Make it hurt so good.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One more day!

One more day and my mom will be here! I'm just a little bit excited that she's coming to Chicago for a visit. I'm taking Thursday afternoon and Friday off work so we can play until Sunday when she heads back home to Utah.

Lately, I've really been missing my family and having a hard time being so far away from everyone. Don't get me wrong, Chicago is great, but sometimes I wish I was just a little bit closer to the ones I love. I need a mom visit. Bad.

While my mom's here we plan on going to her favorite Chicago pie shop, Hoosier Mama, taking a trip up north to the Chicago Botanic Garden, and doing a little crafting. I'm also super excited for her to see my new apartment and get her decorating advice. My loveseat and chair arrived over the weekend and I'm at a complete loss as to how to arrange my place. Mom to the rescue.

Aren't moms the greatest?!

Friday, October 11, 2013

diet coke insomnia

I really should be sleeping but I have a lot on my mind and I think I drank a little too much diet coke close to bedtime.

Do you ever just feel like a total fraud? Like you're not even good at liking the things you like? Take reading for example. I love to read---books, magazines, newspapers etc. I'm a journalism grad student who doesn't read enough. I get the Wall Street Journal but admit I don't always make it past the headlines and front page. Time magazine comes in my mailbox every week but I don't always get around to reading it. I haven't read a novel in months.

Reading is just one, albeit very small, area I'm feeling inadequate in right now. Bigger ticket items include working out, eating healthy, my spirituality, and managing my finances. The list goes on.

My favorite journalism professor keeps encouraging and urging me to get my pieces published. What good is my work if no one ever sees it? You need clips to have credibility. Working full-time pulls my attention away from being a grad student. Combine that with the fact that my career goals don't necessarily match my journalism studies and the struggle to put forth the extra effort to get my pieces out there increases.

Time is such a precious commodity and yet it is so easy to waste. It's so much easier to consume episode upon episode of Friends in the background and pin things on Pinterest. Those activities require small ounces of engagement in the big picture. The big picture can be a lot to choke down every day.

So how do you balance goals, leisure time, and responsibilities? I don't think there is a solid answer but rather approaches and methods to try out. There are definitely times when I'm better at managing life than others.

Maybe the curse of living during this time is the constant competition for our attention. I keep thinking if I just had one day where I could get organized and find my center then I could change my everyday less than desirable habits. I think I may be wishing for a "day" that doesn't exist. Tomorrow always comes whether I'm ready or not.

Right now I just feel tired and inadequate. Where's the flipping reset button? It's a really, really good thing my mom is coming to visit in a few weeks because I need a hug. Like right now.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

stop the glorification of busy
image by A Pair of Pears

True confession time--balancing everything life has to offer is hard. Grad school is hard. Eating healthy and exercising is hard. Keeping my studio apartment clean is hard. Waking up on time is hard. You get the idea.

I detest the glorification of busy that consumes our society. Like somehow busyness equates worth. I used to buy into that idea, in fact I whole-heartedly believed it to be true. Then I had a complete mental, emotional, and physical breakdown my freshman year of college. I've been on the path to rebuilding myself and my expectations ever since.

Lately I've found myself falling victim to the catchall phrase: "I'm so busy..." The combination of grad school staring again and my efforts to be more social have sometimes left me feeling like I'm on a merry-go-round I can't get off.

So what do you do when you feel overwhelmed? It's easy to tell yourself to just suck it up and that other people do so much more than you do--you should be able to handle this. Don't listen to those lies. If you're feeling overwhelmed, acknolwedge those feelings and figure out the different choices you can make so you feel more centered.

For me this past week, those different choices included saying no to an event I wanted to attend so I could get caught up on homework and clean my apartment. I also went to yoga Friday night with a friend.

Too often being "busy" means feeling out of control and frazzled. I want to be actively engaged in my life and the the activities I enjoy. Part of that process is figuring out when to push yourself and say yes and when to allow yourself to say no.

Finding life balance is a life long endeavor. I'd love to know how all of you manage the stresses of life. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? How do keep yourself from falling into the "busy" trap?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

True Love

photo by Lou Lou Photography

My parents met in high school at an early morning church class called seminary. It took awhile for my dad to ask my mom on a date but eventually he did. Not long after their first date my parents knew they were meant to be together.

After high school my dad served a church mission in Texas for two years and my mom went off to BYU. Three months after my dad returned home from his mission they were married in the Seattle temple. A year later they had me. A few years after that my brother came into the picture. A couple more years passed and my little sister was born.

Today my parents celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. I feel honored and blessed to see first hand the loving, tender relationship my parents share. Both my mom and dad had difficult childhoods. It is truly a miracle that they found each other and were able to create such a loving, wonderful home environment for me and my siblings. 

My parents--that is what true love looks like. Because of their example, I have hope and faith that one day I too can have a strong, enduring marriage. Alone and together, life for my parents has rarely been easy. But no matter the obstacles they've faced individually and as a couple, my parents have always clung to each other and the Lord for support. Neither one of them is perfect, but together my parents continue to beat the odds.

Thank you mom and dad for loving each other so purely and unconditionally. Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Sometimes it's 8:30pm on a Tuesday night and you're already exhausted from the week. So you take a cab home instead of riding two buses or switching trains lines twice and taking another bus.

Is it way more expensive? Yes. Does it hurt your pocketbook? Absolutely. Do you do it anyway? Oh yeah. Yes, taking care of yourself can mean a $13 cab ride.

Same goes for treats like Starbucks. The little budget-conscious diva inside me shirks at spending $3.50 for one drink but the times I do indulge are well worth it.

Emails won't stop coming. People keep asking you questions and needing your attention. All of a sudden your head is spinning and you can't feel the floor. Stop. Step away from your desk. Grab your wallet and hightail it out of there.

As my coworker said today, she enjoys the walk to Starbucks almost as much if not more than the actual drink she purchases.

So there you have it. Taking the occasional cab ride and going to Starbucks every once in awhile. Two small ways to promote self care, which seems to be my topic of choice this week.

How do you promote your own self care? What helps relieve your stress and make life feel a little bit easier?

an easy silence...

It's after midnight. I just said goodnight to a good friend and really need to catch some z's but I keep saying I'll make time for blogging and don't. The past few weeks have been rather hectic between moving to a new apartment and starting another quarter of grad school. But really, those are just excuses.

It's easy--too easy--to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of life and not stop to reflect. Writing is how I process my emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Becoming a better writer takes practice and I don't get practice unless I make time for it.

Writing is a form of self-care for me. Self-care is a term which when heard I immediately used to turn my nose up in the air. However, my therapist is helping me learn and appreciate its intrinsic value in our lives.

If you don't set aside time to rejuvenate and find your center, you can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer need to survive. Your actions lose meaning and your life feels empty of purpose.

So right now I'm writing for the sake of writing. It feels good. I'm going to try harder to be more consistent with my writing and combat my biggest obstacle: time.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Y'all ready for this?

Y'all ready for this? I don't know if you can handle it. Donuts. Ice cream. Together? Say what?

Firecakes has been receiving a lot of press ever since they debuted these scrumptious treats last month. They even extended their hours to accommodate the rush.

Last night, my friend Irish and I finally tried our very own donut ice cream sandwich. It was amazing. Absolute perfection. Party in my mouth.

The whole experience was over way too soon. I already want to go back and have another one. It's probably a good thing Firecakes is all the way downtown or I'd be there every night.

A donut ice cream sandwich will set you back $4 and let me tell you, it's well worth it. Nestled between glazed donut perfection is either vanilla or espresso ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. So simple and yet so good.

If you live in Chicago, go now. If you don't live in Chicago, get on a plane baby. They're that good. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learning About the Finer Things in Life

My Nana - Karen Elizabeth Christensen
Nordstrom. Starbucks. Clinique. Traveling. Dining out. Going to the theater. Fancy dresses. Broadway musicals. Christmas decorations. Fredrick & Nelson. Frangos. Baskin Robins. 4th of July fireworks. Downtown Seattle. Tea at The Empress. Butchart Gardens.

All of these things remind me of my Nana.

Today is my maternal grandmother's birthday. She would have been 71. My Nana suffered a stroke in November 2011 and passed away in her sleep from heart failure in December 2012.

When I was seven-years-old, Nana took me on a 10-day trip to Washington D.C. For a girl enamored by history, it might as well been Disneyland. In later years we traveled the Oregon Trail, visited San Francisco for a weekend, and enjoyed the splendor of New York City at Thanksgiving. When I was 16 she took my entire family to Disneyland for the first time. Best family vacation--hands down.

Growing up in Everett, WA, Canada was only a few hours away. My family and I spent many happy vacations and weekend trips in Vancouver and Victoria with Nana. For my 12th birthday we got dressed up--complete with hats and gloves--and had high tea at the magnificent Empress hotel.

It's because of Nana that I've been places and seen things I might not have otherwise seen.

No regular outing with Nana was complete with out a visit to Starbucks. My siblings and I would order our favorite butterhorns and hot chocolate. Nana would always get a venti unsweetened iced tea and then proceed to load it with several packets of sugar. We'd pile into her Blazer and head-off to run errands (she was always running errands), go shopping, or simply enjoy the drive.

Nana showed us her love by giving us experiences. She taught us to ask for the things we deserved and not be ashamed to walk into a department store like Nordstrom. She also taught me to take pride in being a woman. Nana knew how to take care of herself. I used to love watching her put on her makeup and spray her fabulous salt and pepper hair with hairspray. My mom and I both wear Clinique because of her. 

My Nana lived an interesting and somewhat selfish life. As I've gotten older I've realized she did the best she knew how. She was sexually abused as a child and as an adult, struggled with alcoholism. She was married several times, had a few affairs, and wasn't the greatest mother. Eventually, she got sober and made her career as a drug and alcohol counselor and consultant. She paved the way for addiction recovery in the State of Washington and died with over 30 years of sobriety.

While my Nana was a wonderful grandmother to my siblings and I growing up, the last five years or so that she was alive, her relationship with my family was tumultuous and volatile. When she died we were not on the best of terms, which made her passing that much more difficult. However, time does help to heal wounds.

When I think of her now I try to focus on all of the good memories and time we spent together, rather than the not-so-distant heartache and anger.

I wish I could tell Nana about my adventures here in Chicago. I know she would be proud of the woman I am becoming. There are moments of stillness when I look around and realize she's a part of me. That some of who I am and where I am in my life is because of her. I especially feel that way when I'm traipsing around downtown Chicago or dining out with a close friend at a new restaurant.

Nana taught me about the finer things in life and for that I will be forever grateful. I love you, Nana. Happy Birthday.

At Nana's Memorial Service - January 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

I'm moving!

Next month I'll be moving to a new apartment. It's a little bittersweet to be leaving my first Chicago home but I'm really excited to have a little bit more space and a dishwasher.

I've been having fun on Pinterest dreaming up decorating ideas and finding furniture I can't really afford but would love to buy. I have purchased a few decorative pieces to spruce up my new abode, including a clock and a fun motivational print for my gallery wall.

An added bonus to moving at the end of the month is that my dad will be coming out to visit/help me. He drove cross country with me when I moved to Chicago two years ago and has yet to come for a visit. Plus, he'll finally get to meet the little baby muffin (aka: Harper) in real life.

While my dad's here we're going to catch a Cub's game, eat Italian beef sandwiches at our favorite place, and go on the lake and river boat tour. It's going to be one busy, fun weekend.

My mom was sweet enough to order me some moving boxes from Costco. This weekend operation packing will commence.

Here are a few images and a DIY project that are inspiring me as I plan my new space. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Spian Wedding

I can't believe it's already been over two weeks since my little brother got married. Time flies! Spencer and Ian's wedding weekend (#spianwedding) couldn't have been more perfect. My parents, sister, and aunt arrived from Salt Lake on Thursday and I flew in from Chicago Friday night.

Saturday morning we had brunch with Ian's family at Sol Food, a favorite local hotspot in Everett. Amazing food. Fantastic atmosphere. Perfect morning. Afterwards we rendezvoused to the boys' apartment to work on the wedding favors before we headed off to the rehearsal dinner. Ian's best friend Emily and her mother Gayle put on the dinner at their home. It was a wonderful evening full of love and laughter.  

Sunday was wedding day! The weather was absolutely gorgeous--not something you can always count on in the great northwest, even during the summer. The boys got married on a vintage boat in the middle of Lake Union. After the wonderful ceremony we cruised the lake, took pictures, ate dinner, cut the cake, danced etc. We had a fun time seeing how many people we could get to wave at us. I also got to see my high school bestie, Miss Keely Coxon, which made the day extra special for me.

One of my favorite parts of the night was driving to Molly Moon's on Capitol Hill after the wedding. My sister Elizabeth and I drove my brother's car behind the boys' getaway Jeep, driven by my brother's best friend Katie. We honked and hollered our way to the ice cream shop--complete with a drive down Broadway, Seattle's gay district.    

I love my brother so much and am so happy he and Ian found each other. Ian, I couldn't be happier that you're now officially part of the Fidler family. I only wish I was closer so I could spend more quality time with these fine gentlemen. Hopefully they make it out to Chicago one of these days to visit. Love you my boys!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Set Yourself Free

This sentiment isn't always 100% true but I'd wager most of the time it's spot on. Fear is such a perplexing concept to me. The amount of power we yield to fear is astounding. Fear of the unknown and how that relates to our decisions is particularly difficult.

I'm a planner. I like to know what's up ahead so I can prepare accordingly. However, my 26 years of life have taught me that while it's good to have plan you have to be flexible. It's also important to make sure you're not so focused on your plan that you forget Heavenly Father's plan for you. They're not always the same thing.

As mentioned in previous posts, I struggle with social anxiety. Often social events are that thing I'm afraid of doing but if I would just go I'd be set free. I'm working on believing that and actually putting it into practice.

What fears keep you from living a full life?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

True Confession: Flaws

Flaws. I'm not talking about liking cashews or not wearing sock with sneakers. I mean those ugly parts of our personalities we'd like to think we don't have but do. Think you're perfect? Look again my friend. We are all flawed.

True confession: I'm a bailer. Too often in social situations I decide not to go at the last minute. I've committed and told people I will be there but when it comes time to actually show up my social anxiety gets the better of me and I can't pull the trigger.

Case in point. This weekend we had a regional conference/outing for the single adults in my church. On a normal week my anxiety would be a hill I have to climb, but a particularly rough week turned that hill into a mountain. Now that's not to say I couldn't have strapped on my boots and conquered the beastly mountain. There are times when I have, but this wasn't one of them.

Activities were stretched over Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I didn't go to anything but at least I had Sunday where I could redeem myself somewhat. I agreed to help out with the food committee on Sunday in hopes that having an obligation would make it easier for me to get my butt out of bed. My sweet friend even reached out to make sure I had a ride.

I don't like the fact that I'm a bailer. I don't want that label or reputation. It's rude to others and doesn't serve me well. I guess the first step in remedying a flaw is acknowledging you have one. You can't change what you don't know. Just like I seek others' forgiveness, I have to forgive myself.

On the bright side, I have times where I conquer my anxiety and show up and those times usually turn out pretty well. The goal is to win more battles than I lose. That's what I'm working on.

This weekend's verdict: Social Anxiety - 1; Clarissa - 0. Battle on!

Friday, July 19, 2013

New York State of Mind: Portraits of Pain

photo by Taslima Akhter

"Portraits of Pain" by Krista Mahr - TIME Magazine

This image and article demonstrate the unique power of photographs, particular as they relate to the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment-factory in Bangladesh.

“This is not a wake-up call,” says Sara Hossain, a human-rights lawyer in Dhaka who has filed several cases to the Supreme Court calling for investigations into the disasters. “This is like somebody sleeping in after the alarm has been ringing and ringing and ringing.”


"Weighing the Cost: Shoppers grapple with the aftermath of Bangladesh" by Irish Mae Silvestre - M.A. Journalism, DePaul University

Shoppers, including myself, react to the "Made in Bangladesh" label a month after the factory collapse tragedy.

“Sometimes as much as I’d like to buy local or not buy that H&M T-shirt, I’m more focused on my daily life, my financial and living situation,” said Fidler. “Those take over when I make my decision and I’m not necessarily proud of that but that’s the reality for me.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer in the City

It's official summer. My weekend was full of fun activities in areas of the city I'd never explored. Saturday night Irish and I went to the She & Him concert at the Aragon. Talk about a peculiar venue. Inside it looked like a Bavarian kingdom. The ceiling was an inky blue complete with constellations. It felt like any moment sorcerers would come flying out.

Zooey Deschanel was amazing and M. Ward was fabulous and oddly sexy. They did a double encore and for the very last song Zooey sang "I Put a Spell on You". Phenomenal. We ran into my friend Kate at the concert so she hung out with us for the evening. After the concert we headed downtown to Grand Lux Cafe for their irresistible molten chocolate cake.

Sunday I ventured south to U.S. Cellular Field to attend my first White Sox game. My co-worker Jessica and I had never been and decided to get a group of people from work together and go. It was a perfect day at the ballpark. A mild 72 degrees plus hot dogs and cotton candy--so good.

After the game my co-worker Dana showed me around Bridgeport and we rendezvoused to Little Italy to have Mario's Italian Lemonade. I got watermelon lemon complete with real chunks of watermelon. Talk about delicious.

Summer has never been my favorite, but I have to admit Chicago in the summer is pretty fantastic. Here's to more summer fun in the city!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Timing & Promises

I know these words to be absolutely true. Most of the time our timing is in sink with the Lord's. We think we know better but thank goodness He is at the helm.

Patience is a difficulty virtue to develop. I think our ability to be patient improves with age and experience.

When you look back on your life it's easier to see how the Lord's timing, not your own, was exactly right. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Confessions of My Unorganized Life

Do you ever feel like you're going so fast and your to-do list is so long you can't stop to get organized?

I experience periods in my life where I feeling like I'm treading water. Even though swimming (i.e. taking the time to get organized) would be a more effective, faster way to reach my destination, I get stuck spinning in circles. It's what I know how to do, despite the fact that it's not really working so well.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I tell myself I'll get organized but too often I don't slow down and focus long enough to make it happen.

In the spirit of Usher, these are my confessions: 
  • Reading a textbook while lying on my bed is a sure way to fall asleep and fall behind in class.
  • Even with one set of dishes and no roommates I still have an overflowing, dirty sink.
  • Working out after work rarely happens if I go home first or don't have something scheduled with a friend.
  • Lying down for a "30 min" nap almost always turns into 2.5 hrs.
  • Doing homework at home always takes me twice as long.
  • Not making a grocery list ensures that I consistently forget at least two items I need to pick up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicago Women's 5K

3.1 miles. Conquered. Woot, woot!

Yesterday morning at 6:50am my friend Tasha and I ran the 5K portion of the Chicago Women's Half Marathon & 5K. Despite the early start time, the race was awesome. 

The course started in Grant Park and wrapped around the lake to the Museum Campus. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. There were about 1,000 women who rank the 5K. It was a wonderful, diverse group of all ages and sizes.

While our training using the C25K app was far from hardcore or amazingly consistent, it got us moving which was the whole point. We ran most of the course and finished with a time of 38:30.  

Three to four months ago it had been two years since I'd run on any consistent basis, if at all. I ran my first 5K five years ago in Everett doing the YMCA Yankee Doodle Dash. I'm definitely not going to wait five years again until I do another one. 

I have no desire to ever run a half marathon but I'd like to stay in shape enough to run a 5K whenever I feel like it. That's my ultimate fitness goal.

I'm so grateful Tasha and I decided to run a 5K together. Running with a friend is so much more motivating, and now we know we can do it! Next stop, the Hot Chocolate 5K in November and finishing under 35 minutes.

P.S. Like our good buddy Mindy Kaling, we run so we can feel better about eating pancakes. After the race we rendezvoused to Kanela for brunch. I enjoyed the French Toast Flight, which included four types of french toast: lemon poppy seed (the winner), orange, banana, and red velvet. Amazing.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New York State of Mind: How Not To Be Alone

This insightful essay by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) was adapted from his 2013 commencement address at Middlebury College.


How Not to Be Alone by Jonathan Safran Foer, The New York Times

"Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat."

"Each step “forward” has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity. THE problem with accepting — with preferring — diminished substitutes is that over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little."


Monday, June 17, 2013

just another unproductive monday

Monday, Monday. I don't what it is but I never seem to be very productive on Mondays. It takes everything I have to haul my butt out of bed, make myself mildly presentable, and get to the office on time. And it's not like I party on the weekends. This girl won't every know what a hangover feels like. I can only imagine and it doesn't look good.

Once I'm at work my level of work efficiency is dismal at best. Same goes for my Monday night classes. I've had a Monday night class the past three quarters. When I get home, I crash in front of Netflixs until I decide to actually go to sleep and try again tomorrow. Laundry sits in the hamper. Dishes wait impatiently in the sink. Nothing ever gets done.

You would think that coming off the weekend I would be perky and at least somewhat refreshed. Nope, apparently not the case. Do you feel like you're less productive on Mondays? What do you do to get yourself motivated to face another week?

Help me cure my habitual case of the Monday blues!

Friday, June 14, 2013

living in this perfect day

the gorgeous bride and groom
Perfect days do exist. Sarah’s wedding day was everything we’ve ever dreamed of and more. Sarah looked absolutely stunning. Rob surprised her with a wedding band during their temple sealing. Picture taking on the temple grounds was epic. The reception, held in Sarah's neighbor's backyard, was elegant and refined. It couldn't have been better. 

Sarah's younger sister Lyndi, childhood friend Kenzie, and I were the bridesmaids. I love both of those girls so much. The only mishap of the day was that the zipper on my dress broke. Luckily, Kenz came to the rescue with her sash (I forgot mine, of course).

Member's of Rob's band, The Strike, played jazz music at the reception creating a fantastic mood. I caught the bouquet--more like I picked it up off the ground but it still counts. Chris caught the garter. Lyndi made the wedding cake and it was positively scrumptious. When Sarah and Rob left for their honeymoon they danced up the walkway to The Strike playing "Let's Get It On". Hilarious. 

Salt Lake Temple
getting ready for the big day
the three amigos
Me and the first set of newlyweds in our group
the bridesmaids
the after party
Exhausted from the day’s festivities, Lyndi, Kenz, Chris and I lounged on the Miller’s front lawn after we helped clean up from the reception. I pulled the white peony from my hair—a runaway from the bride’s bouquet—and proceeded to throw all the petals at Chris. He retaliated with said petals and added some grass for good measure. So, I stole his tie.

To finish the night, Kenz and I took a ride in Chris's awesome Jeep, nicknamed Sarge. Standing up with my arms stretched out Titanic style, I felt like the characters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

True Confession

I'm not exactly sure when it started but for the longest time my best friend and I have had "true confession" moments. We have a very open and honest friendship, but if either one of us starts a conversation with "true confession..." you know whatever the other one says is going to be extra juicy and revealing. It's our own little signal of sorts--prepare yourself girlfriend.

A few months ago my best friend Sarah got engaged. We live over 1,000 miles apart so I met her fiance for the first time only a few weeks ago when I was in town for two of our college roommates' weddings. 

True confession: For a brief period during my visit and a little bit afterward, I was angry at my best friend for being engaged.

I was thrilled to finally meet her fiance but quickly became annoyed by the new dynamics their engagement created. I found myself disappointed that we didn't get to spend more time together one-on-one during my visit. I didn't want to share her with him. In college none of us dated anyone seriously so we never had to balance time between friends and boyfriends. I kept thinking: I've been around longer than you, pal! (Sorry Roberto...I still love you!)  

I lost my perspective and made the situation more about my "loss" rather than focusing on the true joy I feel about Sarah's happiness. Upon returning home to Chicago, I spent some time reflecting on my feelings. I realized that my tendency toward anger and resentment were both normal reactions, but they were also toxic. I acknowledged what I felt, worked through it and decided to move on.

I'm grateful for the maturity that comes with age and experience. Had I been in this same scenario as a 21-year-old I don't think I would have been able to gain perspective so quickly, if at all. Sarah is a dear friend. She knows everything about me and loves me unconditionally, true confessions and all. I couldn't ask for more. I'm beyond excited to be a bridesmaid next week and to see her marry the incredible man who's won her heart.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! What are you doing during this long weekend?

I've got to get my lazy butt out of bed and go running. My 5K race is less than a month away and I haven't run in three weeks. Ahhh! 

Like many red-blooded Americans, I'm using the holiday weekend to go SHOPPING (sad but true). I started off this morning with some lovely purchases from the J. Crew Factory store (50% everything online today). 

dress / sandals
Once I get back from my run, I'm headed downtown to my favorite donut shop, Firecakes. I've been craving their lemon verbena meringue donut for weeks now. After that I'm on a quest to find a pair of brown flat sandals and some fantastic summer wedges. I'm going to try and sneak in a viewing of The Great Gatsby too. 

On a more serious note, I am incredibly grateful for my ancestors who have gone before me and the brave men and women who've paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom. It is important to reflect on past journeys if we are to find meaning and substance in our own. Be brave and fight the good fight. Those who have gone before you are cheering you on. I believe that with all of my heart.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Broham!

This picture is 20 years old, which means my little brother and I are in our 20s. How did that happen?

Today Spencer turns 23. In less than two months he'll be marrying his wonderful fiance, Ian. Just last week, after loosing our beloved Kootchi, Spencer and Ian adopted a smooth fox terrier named Aston. They're thrilled and exhausted. A puppy is definitely good baby prep.

I'm so proud of my brother--who he is and what he has accomplished. Spencer has always had a tender, enormous heart. He gives everything to the people he loves and never hesitates to help a stranger in need. When he was only 14, he courageously came out that he was gay. It hasn't been any easy road but he's always remained true to himself and recognized his individual worth. I admire his strength and tenacity.

Life has brought Spencer other trials that he's faced with resilient, positive determination. When he was a teenager, I used to worry about him and his future. I don't anymore. He has matured, and continues to mature, beautifully. We're adults now facing adult-size joys, triumphs, and heartaches.

I'm grateful that I've been blessed with such a wonderful brother. The world would be a better place if everyone had a brother like mine.

I love you Broham! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: You Can Go Your Own Way

Lately, I've been working on embracing the uniqueness of my own story. Rather than being caught up in the past or future, I'm focusing on being engaged in my life, here and now.

In a month I'll be 26. I'm a very single grad student and young professional living in the great city of Chicago. I'm in a much different place--literally and figuratively--than most of my college friends. It's hard sometimes to feel like the odd man out, to not be able to fully relate to some of the people I care most about. But that doesn't mean we're not all exactly where we should be.

I've always tried to be brave and make my own path. It's ok, great even, to go your own way. I'm finding the trick is to fully embrace who and where you are.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

next month I'll be naturally presents are in order

Some people have a hard time coming up with gift ideas for their birthday. Me? Not so much. I love birthdays. I love giving gifts and I love receiving them. It's just fun. So even though my birthday is over a month a way, here's my little wish list.