friends

Maid of Honor

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I barely remember a time in my life when Julia wasn’t in it and I’m certain my sister and brother can’t. When I received her official card in the mail asking me to be her maid of honor I was beaming. The card was perfect for us and I was honored to accept. I can’t imagine seeing someone else stand beside her on her special day and I can’t wait to help her get there.

 
I could go on and on in this short post about our friendship, but I can’t give everything away. After all I have a speech to prepare over the next year. Julia is more than my best friend. She’s my family. She’s been there for me when through deaths in the family, when I needed to cry over a boy, accomplishments, birthdays, happy moments, vacations, concerts, etc. She’s been involved in more of my family holidays than I can count. She’s my best friend. We can talk every day and see each other all the time or go days without a text or weeks without seeing each other and it makes no difference to our friendship.

 
I’m so incredibly happy she found Martin and that he’s such a great person. I can’t wait to help them start their life together and watch them grow together in the years to come.

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Depression, friends, Random Thoughts

Self Critical

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We all have an inner critic. Some of us have a stronger one than others. Some of us just barely have one, but either way it’s there. I can tell you that mine is rock hard strong and comes out at every chance it gets. Sometimes it’ll knock the wind right out of me. It can come out over the strangest things. Things nobody would think twice about. Things I shouldn’t think twice about. Things that aren’t even real. Things I try to push aside, but can’t because I don’t have a handle on it. One of my biggest fears and something that really bothers me is feeling or looking stupid. When I say stupid I mean actually stupid, embarrassed, foolish, vulnerable, etc. Sure, these are things none of us like to feel, but I work my life around not feeling them.

 
There are times when I’m walking down the street and I’ll play out in my head tripping over something on the sidewalk and how embarrassed I would feel if that happened. I’ll figure out how I would recover from that embarrassment and what my next step would be. I’ll replay it and replay it until I’m done walking or someone or something distracts my mind. Sometimes I’ll play out a situation that could happen with me in a room full of people or at the office that would be mortifying and I’ll sit and hope and pray it doesn’t happen and worry that it will because I thought about it. This probably isn’t normal and feeling this embarrassment and shame over something that’s not even real is embarrassing (there’s that word again) to admit. In fact, it’s not something I’ve ever admitted or even talking about.

 
I talked in my depression posts about how I don’t like to not know what I’m doing or to have to ask questions. This goes back to that. I recently started a new job and the first few months of a new job can be hard for me. I want to be perfect right away. I struggle with wanting to be the best at everything I’m doing immediately. When I’m not perfect or I make mistakes my inner critic comes out in full force. When I make mistakes, I can’t help but feel as if everyone around me is thinking or talking about how dumb I am. I replay a mistake over and over in my head and wonder how I could have avoided making that mistake and how to never do it again. When my coworkers talk about people in other offices being dumb I get nervous. I hate hearing them say things like that because I associate myself with these dumb people.

 
I guess I’m different in the way that I criticize myself. Sure, I criticize my body and there are things I don’t like, but I criticize my mind and my abilities more than anything. I struggle with feeling smart enough or educated enough or capable of doing things. I’m always doubting myself. I worry about everything and if it’ll make me look foolish. I was brought up to not care about what people think and for the most part I don’t. However, when I criticize myself so severally it doesn’t matter what other people think or don’t think because I’m already thinking it myself.

 
This is something I realize I need to work on and probably should bring up in therapy. This is a reason I spend every night in the gym. A few weeks ago, I sent an invoice to the wrong client and they emailed our AR email back saying it wasn’t their invoice. I was so embarrassed because the whole team saw my mix up. I was even more humiliated when my boss emailed me to say I needed to pay close attention. Sure, it was JUST AN EMAIL, but it ruined my entire day and left me feeling shame to the highest degree. Shame over an EMAIL that my coworkers probably didn’t even notice because we get hundreds of emails. The shame followed me home and stuck with me for hours and it wasn’t until I started my work out that I was able to clear it form my mind.

 
I need to cut myself some slack. I need to remind myself that people make mistakes. We all have bad days. Things happen and we move on from them. It’s not possible to go into every new situation and know exactly what to do or how to perform. You won’t be perfect at anything and you don’t need to be. You might fall on your face in front of a block of people, but who cares? You don’t know them. Get up, brush yourself off and keep walking. Now, if I could just get this message through to my inner critic that would be great.

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Uncategorized

Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run

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I’ve never been a runner. I never ran a full mile in gym class growing up. I never thought I could. Up until a year ago I never actually had. Running a 5k has always been something I’ve thought about doing. When I got the email from the Mario Lemieux foundation announcing this years 6.6k run I knew I had to sign up. I didn’t put much thought into it. I registered real quick at work and it was done. I couldn’t take it back. It was something I didn’t share with anyone. My family didn’t even know until Saturday that I was running. That’s how I like to do things. I don’t like the questions and the attention. I don’t want the advice and suggestions. I like to do things on my own in my own way and check things off my list by myself.

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It was important to me to run this first race on my own and that’s part of the reason I didn’t tell anyone. Yes, running with someone can be great motivation, but it can also feel like competition. I don’t want to compete with anyone. The only person I’m competing with is myself and that’s how I like it. So, I woke up at 6 o’clock yesterday morning, had a protein bar, drank some water, got dressed, brushed my teeth and headed downtown. Traffic was pretty heavy, but after attending so many Penguin games in the years past I know how to get through it. I parked in the garage and to the starting line I went. I was a little nervous because doing new things on your own is always scary. A few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing something like that on my own. Now I just throw myself into new situations and get over it. I actually had to ask one of the volunteers if I needed to do anything before going to the starting line, because I have never done any type of run or walk. Thankfully, she was very nice and didn’t think I was an idiot. haha

I placed myself in between the 9:30 and 10:00 min/mile groups. I wanted to put myself in the 11 min/mile section, but I’m glad I didn’t. I have the tendency to tell myself I’m not as good as I am and that I can’t do things. I stood around with the other runners and waited for the sound of the gun and off we went. I’m so glad I looked to my right before crossing the start line. Seeing 66 at the very beginning was extra fun. I didn’t even hit the 1/2 mile mark and I was already smiling. There was a little boy with his dad on the sidewalk giving everyone high fives. He was so excited and proud. It was awesome and made me feel amazing. After the 1 mile mark and crossing the bridge to station square Paul Coffey was waiting for us with the Stanley Cup! Talk about exciting… running your first race and having the Stanley Cup there to cheer you on. My legs felt great and my breathing was better than usual. I was focusing on breathing through my nose. I’m not very good at it and because of that I can get some killer cramps, but I’m happy to say I didn’t get any this race!

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I figured I’d probably stop and walk in the middle of this run, but once I got started I made a decision to not walk. It was the one goal I had. I didn’t care what my time was or how long it took me I had to keep running. I was passing people, people were passing me, but it didn’t matter. We were all in it together. I noticed at the 3 mile mark that I was well ahead of the man running with the 10:00 min/mile sign. That was an exciting moment for me because I thought for sure I was going to fall behind that. Running with such a large group of people was so motivating and fun. The whole race went pretty quick and seeing that finish line was an awesome feeling. I remember seeing the clock and just picking up my speed because I didn’t want to go over the next minute and I didn’t. I didn’t know that Mario Lemieux stood at the finish line and high-fived everyone. Let’s just say I was SO excited! I got that high-five and almost forgot to grab my medal because of it. haha

Growing up we never watched a lot of sports in my house. The only sport I remember being on TV was hockey and eventually there was a small Nascar moment. For whatever reason hockey was something I’ve always enjoyed watching. It might be because it was one of the few times I saw my Dad excited as a kid. Mario was someone and is someone I’ve always admired. He had an amazing career and could have had an even better one minus the cancer and back issues. He fought through all of it and never once gave up. At one point his back was such a mess he had to have his skates tied for him, but he went out and performed on the ice every night. You don’t find that drive and hard work in everyone. I could write an essay about 66, but I think I got my point across. Running the 6.6k for my very first run just felt like the perfect decision. I try to donate to the foundation as much as possible and this was an extra special way for me to donate.

Crossing that finish line felt amazing. Someone that could never run a mile ran 4.1 miles. This was a big milestone for me and a huge motivator. I can’t wait to sign up for more races. I can’t wait to push myself and to see how far I can go. Our bodies are capable of anything we just need to put the work in to get them there. Yesterday was awesome and I’m really proud of myself. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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friends, Weekend

Christmas in the Woods && the Farmer’s Market of My Dreams

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Another awesome weekend is in the books. I took PTO Friday. I’ve needed a mental health day for a few weeks, but I also knew after the concert Tuesday night I’d be beat. I was. When I take a day off I like to get my chores done. Sounds silly, but it allows me to enjoy the rest of the weekend with them out of the way. I went to the 9:30 Crossfit class at my gym and my favorite coaches were coaching. Yay! I’m used to having a whole day in between classes so I was a little nervous returning to the gym 12 hours later. I ended up having a great workout and left glowing. It was confirmed come Saturday that it was in fact a good workout… let’s just say my bum was very sore. haha I had planned on grocery shopping right after my workout, but I STUNK. So home to shower I went before running down to PPG Paints Arena. I had to go pick up my pre race packet. Just picking up my bib was exciting. I ran my errands and home to meal prep I went.

I made chili this week! I was craving chili a month or so ago and I found this super easy Turkey Chili recipe on Ambitious Kitchen’s website. It’s sooo good! Who doesn’t love a recipe that involves dumping everything into one pot and letting it simmer?

Saturday morning I got up early and headed to Columbiana, Ohio for their Christmas in the Woods festival. This year my mom, sister and friend Katie went. We hit some decent traffic on the way in. That’s not something we’ve dealt with the last two years, but we eventually made it. There was a lot of people, but it’s usually pretty busy. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed shopping. I’d also be lying if I said I enjoyed crowds. However, I do enjoy being outside on a nice day with friends and family. I also went to buy two very specific items and to hit up this awesome farmers market we stumbled across a few years back.

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If you know me at all you know I love butterflies. Love. Them. Last year I stumbled upon the Insect Creatures both where I bought my first butterfly. I knew this year I had to go back for another one. I’m still hoping to get a Monarch at some point from them. There’s nothing better than a bright orange butterfly. I also have a thing for bees. Bumble bees and honey bees. Mainly because bees are so important and I freaking love honey. I would like to have my own hives at some point. A stop at the Bumbleberry Farms booth to grab my three favorite honey spreads was a must. They’re so good!

After we left the festival we stopped at the best part! The reason I go every year! The farmers market. We found this little family owned farmers market off a back country road a few years ago and I fell in love. The prices are insane! An entire pail of red peppers for 5 dollars? I mean what? A single red pepper at Giant Eagle will set you back almost 5 dollars. I told the young girl that works there that I wished they were my neighbors so I could buy all of my food from them. What I really wish is that I had my own farm that produced beautiful produce. I swear I was either a farmer/farmers wife in a past life or it’s in my future. It’s calling me.

After the market we headed home. It was a nice day and I’m really happy I go to spend time with my mom, sister and Katie. See you next year, Columbiana!

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Depression, friends, Music

Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

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It’s rare to say you can remember the day you fell in love with an artist and their music. The exact day you dove into their first album and were instantly connected. That happened with myself and Halsey’s first album Badlands. Another reason I won’t forget that day is because my friend Nikki also came into my life with Halsey. Nikki and I had only talked a few times at work and randomly started talking about music one day (me? talk to someone about music? crazy!). I remember it was a day late in April of 2016. She asked me if I had heard the song “Colors” and I had and I told her I loved it. She suggested we both put the album on at our desk and give it a listen. I was instantly hooked. The music was fun, but the lyrics were deep and I connected with a lot of what Halsey had written. I can’t remember the last time I found a new artist or any artist where I immediately loved an album. It typically takes two or three listens and even then, I usually only like it. I remember Nikki and I messaging back and forth about each song, reading the lyrics with excitement and talking about how much we were loving everything we were hearing. I honestly don’t remember a day after that where I haven’t talked to Nikki.

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Halsey got me through that summer. I was at a point where I couldn’t listen to any of the music I had listened to from the year prior. It all reminded me of things and people and it was too hard and I couldn’t keep going down memory lane. Halsey was new and fresh and I could listen to it over and over and that is just what I did. Her lyrics were explaining everything I was feeling. It’s like she jumped in my head and wrote that album. The songs “Castle”, “Drive”, “Ghost”, “Roman Holiday”, “Strange Love”, and “Haunting” were the songs that stood out and I connected to the most. I mean lyrics like, “All we do is think about the feelings that we hide All we do is sit in silence waiting for a sign” that she sings in “Drive.” In “Roman Holiday” she sings, “Oh, all of these minutes passing, sick of feeling used If you wanna break these walls down, you’re gonna get bruised.” I could probably list lyric after lyric, but I’ll stop there. She went on tour with her Badlands album two years ago, but I didn’t make the Stage AE appearance. When her dates went live for her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour I knew Nikki and I had to attend.

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How is it possible Halsey can be both adorable and smoking hot? Not even fair.

Nikki came into my life when I was a literal mess. We connected over music and our weight loss stories. Nikki is the kind of person that will tell you anything about herself. She doesn’t have anything to hide and she opened up to me immediately. I don’t open up as quickly, but I remember feeling honored that she trusted me (someone she barely knew) with so many of her life stories. We were instant friends and because she opened up to me about so many things I felt comfortable doing the same. I can’t believe the life Nikki has had and the things she has been through. She is one of, if not the strongest, person I know. I’m not going to even begin to tell you her stories, but I bet if you asked her she’d tell you them herself. I am in awe of her at times and her way of thinking and her positivity. She opens my mind up and challenges me to look at things in a different way. She never makes me feel silly or embarrassed and is always there for me. I truly cherish our friendship and I’m so happy we connected over music that one day. I’m so happy she saw someone who was broken down, not in a good place mentally and chose to stick around and support them. She stuck by me in my hardest days and listened to me and was there for me and she only knew me for a short time. I feel as if I’ve known her forever and I’m so happy to call her one of my best friends. I’m so glad Halsey brought us together that day. I remember our conversation before it turned to music. I think Nikki might have known I needed the distraction. I certainly know looking back that I did. Who would have guessed that an artist and a new friend would get me through some of my roughest months?

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Yep, we are wearing the same lipstick.

Fast forward almost a year and half later to us attending the Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour together. Our seats were better than I expected and we had a blast. Halsey puts on a great show. She goes out there on her own and kills it. Her stage was awesome. It was so big and so bare, but so exciting and fun at the same time. She had a single dancer that appeared here and there throughout the show, but other than that it was just her up there doing her thing. She sounded great and played so many of my favorite songs. She even played one that she only has released on a 2014 EP called, “Is There Somewhere?” I. Love. This. Song. LOVE IT and when I saw it on her playlist before the show I was ecstatic. I might have gotten a little emotional when she performed it. It also didn’t help that she said it was for her fans and ran around the stadium hugging people with pure joy on her face. You could tell she loved performing and I loved watching her smirk at different lines in her songs. I just kept thinking, “Girl… we know, we know.” The concert was more than I expected and I’ve watched the videos I took an embarrassing amount of times already. Being able to see her live in a completely different mindset than I was that day I listened to her and with the friend I made because of her was so rewarding. I already can’t wait for her next album and for Nikki and I to attend her next show when she rolls through Pittsburgh.

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Random Thoughts

Introduction to the Blog

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They say when you start a blog your first post should be an introductory post and it should outline what you plan on writing about and your goals. Every time I started to write a post like that it sounded dumb and pointless. So, I decided to put this post off until after a few entries. I’ve gone back and forth over starting a blog for close to 10 years, but I never had a direction I wanted to take it. Recently I’ve felt like I needed to share my story. I needed to share the things I’ve been through and the journey I’ve been on. I’ve noticed that the more open I’ve become with people the more they open up to me. It made me realize that we all go through similar things. We all have similar struggles. If I’m open and willing to share mine maybe it’ll help one person see that they aren’t alone. Maybe it’ll show them that it’s okay to ask for help.

I started this blog off on a rough note, but that’s kind of how I do things. I just dive in. That’s of course after I obsess over every way something will fail and every way I will screw it up (hi! my grammar game is not strong), but THEN and ONLY then will I dive in. I’m someone that does not enjoy small talk and by not enjoy I of course mean loathe. I like deep and meaningful conversations. I like learning about people and hearing about their plans and goals. If you want to talk about the weather you can keep it moving. Tell me your deepest darkest secret or get lost. In all seriousness (just that last part was a joke.. I really do dislike small talk) I plan on keeping you up to date on my depression. Winters are tough and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous for the coming months. I plan on posting my self-doubts and my bad days. I’m going to post them for myself because writing them out makes me realize how silly they can be. I’m also going to post them for you to show that we all have negative thoughts and bad days. I’m going to push myself to share my fears and failures. The goal is to be as open as possible or as open as I’m willing to get.

The blog wont be all doom and gloom. I want to post about my good days too. My time spent with my friends and family, outings and adventures. I want to share about movies and the books I’m reading. I’ll be posting about music because music is literally life. I plan on posting about my weight loss and that incredibly long journey and where I’m at with it currently. I’m going to post about my fitness journey and my goals in that department. I’m going to post about work and my long and short term goals in life. I’m going to post everything and anything I want. If you have questions or recommendations feel free to share them with me. I love the feedback.

Speaking of feedback, the outpouring of support I received on my posts about depression were unexpected and so moving. I received texts from friends saying their boyfriends were reading them. I received messages from people telling me they have gone through similar things or are going through it now. I received support, love and motivation. I truly cannot express how much your comments and love meant to me. I think most of us keep a lot of things locked up and I’m certainly guilty of that, but we all have things we need to talk about. We all have things we need help with. Sharing and opening up to all of you showed me that we are not alone.

So, thanks again and stay tuned. I have a Halsey (eek!) post coming up. It might actually turn into two posts. I’m excited! See you soon.

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Weekend

The Best Weekend

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I had the best weekend. I was feeling really burnt out towards the end of last week. It was affecting my mood and I was feeling extra sensitive. Because of this I went to hot yoga on my way home from work Friday. It was needed and definitely was the right choice. I go pretty hard with my work outs 4-5 days out of the week and I forget that you need those active recovery days. It took my body some time to adjust, but once it did it felt amazing. I think the best part of the class was when the instructor cracked the door to the outside and it felt like someone popped the 98 degree bubble we were in. It. Felt. Amazing. What’s funny to me about hot yoga is I don’t even notice how hot it is until the sweat is dripping off of me. My focus is on the movements, my balance and the relaxation that comes along with it.

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Saturday morning I headed out early with my Mom and best friend Julia. We headed to Titusville with a little bit of a plan, but ended up squashing that plan and going to camp. My Great Great Grandma lived in Leeper, PA. When my Mom was little my family would always go up and stay with her on the weekends. When she died the house was left to my Great Grandpap and his sister. His sister ended up selling her portion to my three great uncles and now two of them own the house. The memories in and around this house are indescribable. I have very few of my own memories, but the photos I have of my parents and family up there on the weekends are some of my favorite. The stories they tell about camp are some of my favorite. They spent most weekends at camp just drinking, shooting, riding 4 wheelers and jeeps and bar hopping (in no particular order). The amount of people they used to get into that house (if they didn’t pass out back by the fire so I’m told) is comical. My great uncles, my parents and my older cousins would spend all this time at camp and my Great Grandma was always with them. She would just do her own thing. She would clean, take care of the house, fish, tan and most importantly cook for everyone. I’m so jealous of the time they all got to spend up there. The fun they had. The memories aren’t even mine and I cherish them.

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We showed up unexpectedly, but that’s how it works with my family. There’s never a real plan (something that drives me crazy). We all stood around admiring my Great Uncle Wyatt’s new to him 1943 IH Farmall Tractor.

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After the tractor admiration was done we headed out for lunch and made our way into Cooks Forest. Cooks Forest reminded me of a miniature Washington or Northern California. We didn’t last too long in Cooks Forest. I think we were all looking forward to the Jeep ride with my Great Uncle Mike. It was easily the best part of our day. I think we could have sat in that Jeep for hours. It was so fun and so muddy and just a blast. It’s always fun catching up with those guys. They all wanted us to stay the night, but I’m a planner and that wasn’t in the plan. We ended up heading back towards home for dinner and to call it a night.

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I love long drives and I don’t mind having to be the one that drives as long as you don’t constantly critique my speed (we averaged 80 mph on the way up.. give or take). The day was needed. It was nice to just be in the car for a few hours talking. Julia just recently got engaged and is literally inspiring with how easy she is making (and fast) the wedding planning process seem. It was an awesome day. I can’t say it enough. My mind needed a day with no cell service and people that keep me calm even when I’m hangry.

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I ended the weekend on Sunday with a really good run. I got my best 1 mile time at 8:56.7. This was the first time I had ever gotten below a 9 minute mile. I felt like I was moving pretty fast and it felt good. I felt strong and capable. When my wrist buzzed for that mile and I looked down I could not stop smiling. I smile more during my workouts than I smile in every day life. This little accomplishment meant so much to me. My legs felt great, now I just need to get my breathing right. Why is breathing the hardest part? I’ll get there. After my run I went grocery shopping, meal prepped, did some laundry and relaxed. Sundays are for getting things done. I have a fun week and weekend ahead of me. I get to see so many of my favorite people in one week. I get to see a concert with one of my favorite artists with one of my best friends. I have a trip to Ohio planned for Saturday with some of my family. I have something exciting happening next Sunday. I have Friday scheduled off. Things are good. Things are fun right now. This is the best time of year.

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