july {ambitions}

  1. Budget, baby! I need to start working on a budget for the next two years while I’m in grad school. I’ve done some basic math to figure out how much rent I could afford–but I’m really hoping to not defer my undergraduate student loans and to continue still paying on those. My boss told me to check out Mint. Anyone else have any budgeting tool recommendations?
  2. Read fervently. Now that I’ve caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I want to try to get ahead…before I start school in August. Let’s shoot for 5 books, at least.
  3. Keep running towards the goal. I about halfway through my running program, so I need to keep on keeping on. And…I already have another running program to complete after this first one! I’m really hoping I can keep this routine going when I start my new job and classes in August.
  4. Enjoy the calm before the storm. I need to actively try and enjoy this month. Come August 1st, I start my new job. Come August 23rd, I start classes. This month, I want and need to enjoy time with A and with my best friend, who’s coming to visit me in a week! This might not be a very measurable goal, but it’s still something I want in the front of my mind.

 


 

June update:

  1. Continue running towards the goal. With the exception of the week I was at a work conference, I ran at least three times a week and have been steadily completing my running program. I’m feeling better about myself, my health and about finally being able to run again.
  2. Read fervently. I read seven books this month and have finally caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge.
  3. Pack lunches.
  4. Pare down. This is the only goal I didn’t accomplish–but I’m hopefully I’ll continue to pare down as A and I move into our new apartment soon!

june reads

  1. Everyday Sexism, by Laura Bates
  2. When Watched: Stories, by Leopoldine Core
  3. He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, by Jessica Valenti
  4. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson
  5. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer
  6. Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
  7. The Girl’s Guide: Getting The Hang of Your Whole Complicated, Predictable, Impossibly Amazing Life, by Melissa Kirsch

And by reading seven books in one month, I’ve finally caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve been collecting books at at a faster pace than I can read them and am excited to continue my goal of “read fervently” into July.

While I had to force myself to finish #3, the rest of this month’s books were excellent! #3 wasn’t a terrible read; I definitely recommend it to anyone who is starting to learn and read about feminism or misogyny. For anyone who’s already started that journey, this book may be too simple to hold your interest. (However, I love Jessica Valenti’s work–especially The Purity Myth!)

I’ve been following @EverydaySexism on Twitter for quite awhile and loved hearing the story behind its creation; I always love hearing real life experiences and Everyday Sexism gave me exactly that.

It took my awhile to get into Men Explain Things to Me, but once I pushed through a particular essay that didn’t speak to me, it was everything. I particularly loved learning about the evolution in feminist linguistics and how that ultimately impacts the movement.

 

chasing community

“Community can be the birthplace of inspiration.” -Hannah Brencher

I’ve been struggling with the concept of community. Last week, I attended Hannah Brencher’s second class in her #CravingSeries; this month’s topic was community. On the webinar, Hannah asked participants to write down their greatest fear related to building and fostering their own communities.

Fear: I worry that I don’t know myself well enough to be authentic and genuine with other people. If I don’t know and understand myself, how can I be real with others and foster positive relationships and communities? 

The seasons are changing and I’m about to leave behind a community of people I’ve lived among for two years. I’ve chosen to move 1,200 miles away and start grad school, but with those changes comes a need to foster a new community of friends and coworkers…which, for me, also means new hesitations, self doubt, and navigating new social and professional relationships.

“Be an asset in your community–not a weed.” -Hannah Brencher

may reads

  1. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
  2. A Paris Affair, by Tatiana de Rosnay
  3. An Expected Guest, by Anne Korkeakivi
  4. After You, by Jojo Moyes
  5. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Last month was a relaxing practice in reading easy, light and fun books, like A Paris Affair, An Expected Guest, and After You (which I hated with a passion!). Of those, A Paris Affair was my favorite; it was a series of heartbreaking or amusing short stories tied together with the common theme of adultery.

I read We Should All be Feminists in twenty minutes, as I sat on the floor of a Barnes and Noble looking through the Women and Gender Studies section. Based off of this TED Talk, We Should All be Feminists definitely resparked my drive to get through my ever-growing pile of books about women, feminism and rape culture.

coffee date: 6/4

If we were settled down in a local coffee shop, sipping on our drinks of choice (mine is currently a toffee nut latte with almond milk!) I’d tell you…

  • It’s been almost a month since I’ve been actively seeking a life of balance and I already feel better about myself and my life. I am running 3-4 days a week, sleeping 8 hours a night and waking up earlier, drinking more water, reading more, Netflix-ing less, cooking dinner every weeknight and packing lunches for work, and generally feeling happier. I know this is something I need to continue working on–and I know my new routine will be put to the test with my upcoming move, but I’m ready.
  • There’s less than a month until I make the big move to Miami to start grad school! I, surprisingly, have no anxiety about anything. I’m ready to move in with my boyfriend, to go back to school, start a new job and to begin a new life adventure! There are a few nerves knowing I’ll have to live on a very tight budget for the next two years–but that’s part of adulting isn’t it?
  • I’ve missed cooking. Traveling professionally for two years didn’t really lend itself to trying new recipes, stocking up my pantry and enjoying time in the kitchen. I love cooking (and hate the clean up); it’s almost cathartic for me. Sadly, when it comes to my diet…I think I have to break up with dairy. In the past few years I’ve noticed I’ve become more and more sensitive to dairy. I can’t really eat ice cream, greek yogurt, whole milk or foods with too much cream. One of my best friends cut out dairy and I’m thinking I probably need to as well. Expect some heartbroken, breakup poetry dedicated to cheese…

june {ambitions}

Happy June! On one of my old blogs, I would frequently post monthly goals and recaps; it frequently helped me reach for and complete small, attainable goals…and that ultimately led to accomplishing larger goals. So, here goes…

  1. Continue running towards the goal. Once I would have described myself as a passionate runner; I loved throwing on my shoes and heading out the door. I like to blame a torn meniscus for losing my dedication, but I truthfully lost my passion long before crutching around campus. While it kills my pride to say this, I recently started a running program for beginners–and my goal is to simply keep up with it. I’m hoping I can get into a routine before starting school in the fall and actually reclaim one of my favorite hobbies.
  2. Read fervently. I’ve read more in the last few months than I have in years…and I love it. I started a Reading Challenge on Goodreads, but, while the year is almost halfway over, I’m not halfway to my goal. Let’s get to 25, shall we?
  3. Pack lunches. Such a small and silly goal, but I’d like to pack lunches at least 4/5 days a week. Our office is surrounded by fast food restaurants like Panera and Chipotle, and it’s so easy to walk over for some pre-made goodness. I’ve been cooking more lately and intentionally making extra for the next day’s lunch, so I’m hoping I can keep this up (and save money at the same time)!
  4. Pare down. Everything I own in this world fits into my car. While I’ve pared down quite a bit, I still fill like I have too much. I’m hoping to continue going through my clothes, my books and the other nonsense that fills my car; even though it’s small, I’d like to get rid of, at least, one trash bag worth of stuff. Clear out the clutter and live a smaller life.

the list of lies

“We have stop sleeping with the liars. I would tell all of you, when you guys leave tonight write down the lies that are standing in your way. What are the things you’ve been telling yourself on repeat that make you feel that you aren’t worth a life of balance? That you’re not worth a relationship? That you’re not worth the health journey?” -Hannah Brencher

  1. Being busy and productive in my professional life means being successful.
  2. I’ll never be good enough at writing, running, or any of my other passions or hobbies.
  3. I’m the only one putting on a front everyday and faking it ’till I make it.
  4. I disappoint in all my personal relationships.
  5. Cliche, but I’m wasting my youth and not living a full life.
  6. I don’t know myself well enough to succeed.
  7. I’m selfish and everyone sees it.
  8. I can’t trust my own feelings and must logically rethink everything.
  9. I don’t know how to be vulnerable with anyone, even myself.
  10. I frequently don’t take opportunities that I should.

I need to stop sleeping with the liars, stop wearing these falsehoods as my own personal mantras, and I need to start feeling worthy of the life I’m living.

stories of a traveled blogger

I started seriously blogging almost five years ago as a sophomore in college. Like a typical millennial, I started off on Tumblr–reposting pretty pictures with no substance or meaning.

Online mediums and interactions have always appealed to me. Even as a middle and high schooler, I was drawn to those free, and sketchy, websites where I could write and interact with other users.

Eventually my Tumblr transitioned into a running and health blog. I would post pictures of my smoothies and, one summer, wrote a race recap for the 12 different races I completed, as well as started training for my first half marathon.

That same blog eventually just became a snapshot of my life; I blogged about my personal relationships, school, work and my fears for after graduation. And then it just died out…

I have traveled professionally for the last two years and had zero interest in starting a travel blog. To be fair, I was traveling to middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania and Indiana, and not some exotic locale. While I probably could have entertained readers with silly happenings on the road or stories of my car woes, like the time my drivers-side window got stuck rolled down during one of the worst snow days in Ohio.

I’m done traveling. I’m starting grad school in the fall. I’m starting to get back into running. I have a major move and a big step in my personal relationship coming soon. And I have a lot of mixed feelings. I don’t quite know what I intend for this blog, what I’m hoping to share or what I want it to become. I’m just writing to write, to build community, and to engage with others.

see yinz soon

I’ve always loved having no hometown; it’s always been one of my fun facts. I’m from nowhere, but I’m the product of all the places I’ve lived. All nine states, two countries and the good ‘old District of Columbia. I’ve played among bluebonnets deep in the heart of Texas, learned to bless your little heart in South Carolina, appreciated another culture in the “Franconian Rome,” and simply existed in the Great Plains of North Dakota.

When you’re part of a military family, home is where the Army sends you–but Pittsburgh was mine. It was my choice, my own adventure.

I’ve cheered in PNC Park, Consol Energy Center and Heinz Field, and screamed at Kennywood. I’ve tasted fries and coleslaw on my sandwich, indulged in Prantl’s burnt almond torte cake, hesitantly tried New Year’s pork and sauerkraut, and fed my inner hippie at Peace, Love and Little Donuts. I’ve wondered through the Carnegie museums of art, natural history and science. I’ve sat in pitch black at the Mattress Factory and explored Randyland on a sunny day. I’ve taken an incline to Mt. Washington and enjoyed the city skyline at night. I’ve earned a degree, shared my best adventures and met my best friends.

I’ll never say yinz, gumband, slippy or pop. I can’t say I enjoy a cold Yuengling or understand the appeal of a Pittsburgh steak salad–but Pittsburgh has crawled its way into my heart and I’m convinced it will live there rent-free.

As I packed up my car, squeezing bags and boxes into any space I could find, and finally started heading west, it hit me. After six years, my chapter in the City of Bridges was over. I’m excited, terrified and anxious for my next adventure, but with the Steel City in my rearview window, I know…I’ll always have Pittsburgh.

shattered decency

I’m struggling and I feel stupid for it.

Friday was a wonderful day–there were donuts, contemporary art, a cozy coffee shop and good friends. However, on my way home, the blissful day was quite literally shattered when someone threw a rock at my car while I was driving by. All I saw was a large group of younger teenagers, standing outside a liquor store. I’m okay. One of my best friends, who was also in the car, is okay. My car is now missing a $400 window.

The situation was made worse when, a mile down the road, there was a cop car. I pulled over and we waved them over. Trying to be a concerned citizen, I explained what happened and they were apathetic, at best. I wasn’t trying to make a report. I wasn’t trying to get them to chase whoever did this. I simply wanted them to know.

It was startling, to say the least. I called my mom, my dad, made myself ill from the shock and cried myself to sleep that night. I’m still struggling and I feel stupid for it. Why would someone do something so stupid and senseless? What did they possibly gain from throwing a rock at a passing car? Did it provide them with temporary pleasure? Why can’t people just be decent and kind? I keep grappling with these questions. Common decency can’t be that hard. I know we all struggle with ill thoughts, but we refrain from acting out.

Maybe this is self-absorbed, but I truly hope I’ve never caused this grumbling unhappiness for someone else. I recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and one of the things she worked on was to “cut people slack.” So, whoever you are, it’s okay. You didn’t know that I travel for a living, that everything I own is in my car or that I had a road trip planned for two days later. Life happens and I guess I just have to roll with it. Or, in this case, drive with it.