No more white bread

Well hello there..

I haven’t posted here in a bit, for the most part…well, because I may not need the therapy of getting my thoughts out as much lately. It is a great relief to not feel like I have to type out my life with purpose into the blogosphere. It’s just as relaxing to type it out now, I can breathe a bit easier these days and I feel so much more positive about my place in this world. I have recently discovered the beauty as well as the mediocrity of a full time job with regular business hours. In my past I have had a real fear of normalcy, and I really always thought that I was destined to have more. Not in a physical sense, but in the sense that I wake up to a new experience daily, that I never have to accept the 40 hour work week or be a “real adult”. That my life would some how magically be the kind that others envy. I refused to accept the reality of providing for myself and having stability. I have chosen to embrace and recognize the beauty instead of focusing on the negative…there are moments where I want to complain and bitch about how I sold out and settled for a mundane routine of office life, of driving to and from the same office park day in and day out. Where I think about how I gave up the bustling life of the city for the quiet and simple life in the ‘burbs. When I wonder why I’m not hand gliding in Bali, or getting married in Vegas. Hell, I’m only 24! I am supposed to be traveling the world and swimming in the Mediterranean and backpacking around Europe. Yet this is what we were striving for when we set out on this journey. Not boring-but realistic. A life where we can save and spend weekends enjoying ourselves instead of busting our asses at jobs where we write a fat check at the beginning of each month for rent in the city. A life where we have two weeks paid vacation to go on adventures since we couldn’t afford groceries before this…

When I think of a word that describes our lives right now it is stable. I haven’t felt this in years, the routine of life adjusting to a new normal. As I sit here sipping my second cup of coffee, on a rare Friday morning when I am not in the office.. I appreciate it all. I appreciate the small things that are necessary in this life that I lacked before. I have benefits, I mean I didn’t even expect to have that when I came here…I assumed I would have a mediocre job that I didn’t really like. That I would put in my time and be miserable in order to better our lives.. But that is the good thing about not having too high of expectations of what life “should be” according to your own naive train of thought. It really does make what you have seem alright and not sub-par, it makes you happy with normalcy. I don’t really have to check the prices on a loaf of bread anymore. If I want whole-grain I get it. No more white bread. No more cheap cuts of meat. It is because of this “mundane office job” that I can afford to make these choices. And I’m not complaining. I think it has finally paid off, this crazy adventure that we took.

This has been a journey that has tested our relationship, that has made many of our loved ones question us, and to be honest that has made me question my own sanity. There were moments that were not pretty when we first arrived, and I ugly cried a lot. It was so hard not having my own space, not having a home and feeling comfortable. But I could cry happy tears at this point. I feel like we are on our way to where we want to be, and although I am definitely the new girl at work, and the shit is rolling down hill into my lap to deal with….I am grateful. I appreciate my life and I am so happy to have been given the opportunity to live up to my full potential.

We are better than ever, because we realize we have never truly been okay. We have never not been worried about making rent, or paying our electric bill. It is a really cathartic experience to not stress all the time. I have my moments, but now it is more about the fact that we might spend too much money on the weekends, we might be having too much fun! We are trying now to refocus ourselves and our goals. We have set up plans for saving, budgeting, and making our bodies as healthy as we can to fully experience life now that we have the ability to provide for ourselves adequately.

This may not sound like much to many, but to me it is everything. Our routine has given us freedom, as ironic as that may seem. We are free to enjoy our down time without the constant worry of how we will afford food or shelter. I don’t know if it will stay this way, I’m not sure we will be in this apartment in a year…or North Carolina, or on another grand adventure. This part of my life may be the beginning of something big, but for now..normal is good. And we are free.

-M

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The best is yet to come 

Life has taken me to some downright weird places so far. Some good, and others ugly…a few tragic and many amazing.

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University Commencement with mom CU Boulder May 2013

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Arches National Park- Moab, Utah May 2014

From recent graduate to file room clerk in a hospital, to unemployed college grad traveling the west and eventually making my way to the South East.

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Going away party with Sarah Boulder, CO May 2014

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My sister, Nell and her boyfriend Joey. Moab, Utah

Upon my arrival in FL I spent time as a temp at a cardiologist office while living at home with my parents.

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Walt Disney World Epcot with dad June 2014

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Melbourne Beach, FL Summer 2014

In July 2014 I made the impulsive purchase of a one way ticket to Denver to be with Joe…

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Camping Kenosha pass, CO Fall 2014

By Christmas we moved across the U.S. (again). After New Years 2015 we arrived in Charlotte following our 70 hour cross country road trip.

Just as we are getting acquainted with a new life another opportunity has fallen into our laps as I accepted yet ANOTHER job. As if the stars aligned, I will have a significant pay increase, benefits and weekends off. Coincidentally this occurred simultaneously with news that a hospital bill I had from 2010 was wiped clean and I am free from a mountain of debt. Funny how the universe worked that out.

The ultimate goal in this wild ride was obtaining “regular” jobs and a steady income. Perks were considered benefits and paid vacation time for adventures. I’m happy to say that this is a dream come true for us. I can’t wait for weekend trips the rest of the summer and into the fall. It feels as though all of the struggle was worth it. Despite moments of weakness and feeling sorry for myself in the last 7 months we now find ourselves breathing a sigh of relief. After two months of weekends spent apart we are no longer scraping by to afford food or shelter, and finding much relief in saving our hard earned money in hopes of being abroad by next year! I find myself day dreaming about where we will end up in the grand scheme of things.This time we intend on staying put for as long as we can….if you can’t tell, that’s sort of been an issue for us in the past. We tend to move around a lot 🙂 I feel truly beside myself that we can start planning vacations and adventures and confident that the best is yet to come. 

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

-Molly

Saving, splurging, and setting goals 

As my second paycheck rolled around this past Friday, I was immediately reminded of the sense of satisfaction that comes with having more than 98 cents in my checking account. I have been able to contribute so much more, which aids in my self esteem as well as our overall happiness in life. Joe no longer bears the entire financial burden for the two of us and we can actually save money (gasp)…what a concept!

I have declared to save 10% of each paycheck and we have a designated travel fund set in place for future adventures (as well as a few others for retirement, emergencies and general life savings). It may be a while so don’t wait up for anything too terribly exciting in the near future, but it’s a start! 

We have also been able to add little pieces here and there to our home to make it feel, well—more like a home. Yesterday Joe’s parents came in from Houston and brought his grandmother up for a Father’s Day lunch and to see our new place. They took us shopping for bedside tables and lamps as well, which was very appreciated and exciting, as we had zero light in our bedroom since moving in.  

 I had a creative streak in me and decided to finish hanging some things up last night and have some ideas for hanging pictures in our room later today. It is nice to have a home to hang things in. 

It’s technically my Saturday today, so I have been running around doing chores like getting my oil changed. It’s crazy how accustomed I have gotten to saving money that doing things like this seem so foreign! I like the feeling of it so much I have been actively looking for a better job. Last week I interviewed for a position at a company that decided to pass me along to a “more challenging postion” and it’s a lead to something much better I think. Feeling hopeful about my prospects and also grateful to have a job in the mean time. Joe has been successful in his own ways at work, but things ebb and flow as they typically do. We have our bad days still since that’s how life works, but I am feeling super positive about everything right now! 

Money definitely cannot buy happiness, but a lack of it can’t make you down right miserable! It has been a learning curve and a crazy adventure moving so far from our comfort zones and starting from scratch in a completely new city, but I am so grateful we had the guts to do it. We have certainly grown a lot since this photo was taken a year ago. Who would have thought that life would have taken us from a long distance couple that no one thought would last to a whole new life together in our own home?

  
As we become more settled and comfortable with each passing day, we are trying to set more goals for ourselves and try to become the best we can be for the future. The newest is going to be getting to the gym atleast four times a week. We are trying to cook at home as much as possible and hold each other accountable. So far we seem to be pretty good at motivating each other.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
-Theodore Roosevelt 

The Highly Caffeinated Diaries

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My recent interest in water colors finally made a debut last Monday, here is a flower border and a little sunshine just for fun

There are some things in life you simply cannot control. Thank God for coffee.

For me, this has been my rather hectic schedule the last few weeks as I have started my new job. I apologize deeply to my poor Joe, who has to endure my endless snoozing each morning as I attempt to drag my lifeless body from our cozy bed at 4:30 am. And then again at 4:45, and one last time at 4:50. When I finally manage to do the most difficult sit up of my life, I then slink to the bathroom using every ounce of strength I have..from there I have a 5-10 minute sulking period while accidentally squeezing face wash onto my toothbrush in a half conscious state of mind. I throw some concealer on to cover the dark circles which have become a permanent staple to my everyday look and stab my contact lenses into my eyeballs; I have committed to the day. I am up, I throw my hair in a top knot and proceed to drive 20 minutes while the gas light in my Subaru leers at my tired face, hoping I don’t end up stranded on my way..

It seems like a sad narrative when written out, but it all happens so quickly I’m actually getting used to it. The most rewarding part of it all, is the three week paycheck that is scheduled to arrive simultaneously with the due date for all of our bills. A welcome aid to our financial situation, and a huge relief to be able to fill my gas tank fully, something which I have been unable to do for months now. Joe is a victim of my early mornings as well, and as we are getting adjusted to the new schedule we find comfort that soon I will only have two of these unfavorable mornings a week. Not to mention regular money coming in….always a good feeling.

Working weekends isn’t necessarily something new to me, I have had several jobs in life where I am required to spend my Saturdays waiting on people rather than having my own life, and it becomes a routine. This job gives me the ability to have the rest of my day with Joe, which I am grateful to have even if I have to drown myself in espresso and fight back yawns all evening. I’m lucky to have Starbucks at my disposal for this exact reason since I’m working in a bakery. I will have Mondays and Tuesdays as my weekend, which is unusual, but a welcome thought as I look at the messy kitchen I’m avoiding cleaning up to finish this blog post.

I am ultimately okay with the situation that I’m in now. I am lucky that I can help with  expenses now that I have a job, and although it isn’t my “dream job” I know something else will come along eventually. Joe has really taken a liking to his new job, and is slowly becoming more and more successful since putting in the hours and hard work. I can’t wait to see where we will end up after all of this change settles down for a bit…I don’t see us staying anywhere too long in this life. I think we are pretty destined to live and see many places, work many different jobs, meet new people and make new friends. I’m excited for the experience, which is exactly what I tell myself during the bathroom pep talks as I come near to tears in exhaustion before work. This is just one small stepping stone in my life. I wonder what or when the next adventure will present itself..We may live in our little apartment for a while while putting in the work to move forward in life, but a vacation is also in the plans…something big, and exciting, something we will semi-plan and half leave to fate. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

Love,

a very sleepy Molly

Rosemary, lemon, herb chicken

Hello, blogosphere. We have had a busy few weeks! Joe has settled in nicely at his new job and I found something to help temporarily while I continue my job hunt. My parents promptly came into town a few weeks ago for a little visit, they wasted no time coming to see us which was sweet! We finally found a kitchen table and have been using it, a LOT! I have come up with some fun recipes lately as we have had guests and thought I would share them with you!  Since then we have successfully hosted a dinner party (where my cooking skills finally got to shine) thankfully it was a risk that didn’t turn into a disaster. Score! Here’s what I cooked..

  

Rosemary, lemon, herb chicken- 

Serves approx 4-5

What you’ll need:

Whole Chicken (3-4 lbs)

Lemons (2-3) depending on how strong you want the taste

Rosemary, 1 pkg

Garlic

Onion (1 white)

Olive oil

Spices: salt, cracked pepper, basil, thyme

Prep: 10 minutes

whole chicken (3-4 lbs) (giblets removed)- organic is best, but if it doesn’t fit the budget, that’s okay too!

rinse with cool water, pat dry with paper towels, place the chicken in a glass baking dish lined with foil.

Stuff with garlic (2 cloves chopped), half onion (white), rosemary (1-2 stems) lemon (whole sliced) *I used one inside, which gave a hint of lemon, but not an overwhelming taste*

Cover the outside of the chicken with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with: salt, cracked black pepper, lemon juice (sparingly), basil, and thyme. I topped mine with lemon slices, chopped garlic (1clove) and rosemary as well.

Cook at 375 for about an hour (checking frequently). Use of a thermometer is recommended (inside temp should reach 165 when fully cooked and safe to eat), use your best judgement and slice into it to make sure there are no pink spots in the breast. While cooking, keep uncovered. If you see that the top is getting golden brown cover loosely with foil while it’s finishing to avoid burning. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with rice, (2 cups worked for us) and a salad! The gravy from the turkey is amazing on top of the rice! Goes well with a Pino Grigio or some iced tea.

This dish served 5 adults with ease! Enough for one to have seconds. If you like leftovers, this dish would be perfect for two. Chicken can be used for soup, salads, or sandwiches for the next couple days.

Other than cooking in our lovely new kitchen, we have checked out some local breweries as well, made rounds to fun events like second Friday and got to enjoy our surroundings a bit hiking in Uhwarrie National forest last weekend! Here are some pictures of our recent adventures 🙂

Assclown Brewey, Corenlius, NC

My parents at Scotish Highland Festival, Huntersville, NC


Love,

Molly

Full Circle

This past weekend was a busy one, indeed! Saturday we celebrated Joe’s 23rd birthday, and Sunday was our anniversary….my, what a crazy year it has been!

On Friday afternoon I declared I would find my inner creativity again while trying to do something meaningful for Joe’s birthday. I tried to use our recent relocation for inspiration, put on some Avett Brothers, and boom….my brain gave me something to work with! I managed to create a bunch of DIY gifts for him while staying on budget. It is really pretty amazing what you can do when you are motivated for someone else to be happy!

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Pre-covered with tissue paper to keep any writing on original canvas from showing through. Align map on desired location, leaving enough room to wrap until snug (like wrapping a book or a present).

This is what I came up with for his main gift. I found an ugly canvas (in the dollar section of target) bought a map of the east coast and covered the canvas with the area of North Carolina we live…imagine you are covering books in 7th grade with paper grocery bags, that is basically the method I used. Once it was on I tried my hand at calligraphy. It definitely isn’t perfect, but I think it turned out pretty cute. Can’t go wrong with inexpensive gifts from the heart!

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I also found small glass jars in the same section of Target and filled them with his favorite candy. I used a large mason jar with no lid that I had been using as a drinking glass to make a homemade frame with a print of the two of us. I wrapped the lids in twine bows, filled with sweets, and voila! Sealed candy that looked super cute in the jar, and a reusable picture frame once all the goodies are gone. [I’ll be repurposing the small jars with cotton balls and q-tips in our bathroom this week].

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Another idea I used, thanks to Pinterest, was writing on a plain white ceramic mug using a sharpie, and baking in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I read that rubbing the mug down in rubbing alcohol beforehand was a good idea but we didn’t have any, so I just went for it. So far it has smudged some, and I think it will eventually come off from washing. Definitely not dishwasher safe, and kind of a pain in the ass. But it turned out cute, and he has gotten a few sweet cups of Joe out of it 😉IMG_0288

Next time, I would probably rub it down with alcohol (and be careful of getting the oils from my hands on the ceramic after), and use ceramic specific pens that are oil based. I really don’t know if it would work, but plain old sharpies just didn’t cut it, ya’ll, so it would be worth a try!

When he arrived home I had set up a little romantic scavenger hunt with the first clue on the front door with some balloons. I sent him around looking for the clues leading to our date night. He chose a local Irish pub we have been wanting to try called Galway Hooker. We had a nice date night on the patio there and ate some yummy food 🙂

Saturday we had brunch at a local restaurant called The Rusty Rudder which is right on the marina on Lake Norman.

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We spent the rest of our day in Uptown Charlotte at the first annual Moo and Brew Festival. It was an exciting experience  going around trying all of the local beers and trying fun burger combinations, not to mention the weather was beautiful! Our favorite burger was a slider with cheddar cheese, bacon, and jam on it…weird and horrible for you but we shared it, and it was amazing!

The tickets to the festival also included free admission to a Charlotte Checker’s minor league hockey game that night. So it ended up being a pretty sweet birthday for Joe and I was so glad he got to enjoy his day off with some of his favorite things…food, beer, and sports!

Sunday was a really special day for us as well, and I know next year I will definitely have to go all out again for this specific weekend of the year! The 12th was our one year anniversary….I’m scratching my head even saying that..I can’t believe it’s only been one year. We have certainly had an eventful one! A short recap would consist of our first date. Joe picked me up and we went to The Chophouse in Denver (pretty much a catch from the get go, huh?). When we got to the parking lot he paid for parking twice since he couldn’t figure out the meter. How stinking cute is that? He followed it up with a visit to a comedy club downtown. We ended up seeing each other the very next night and I was immediately drawn to his presence. He has this great energy, the ability to laugh at himself and make me laugh. And an almost mirrored weirdness to mine, which is pretty hard to do. We dealt with a long-distance relationship for the summer, followed by a hasty move back to Denver. Adjusting to living with someone was so easy for us, despite neither of us ever living with a boyfriend or girlfriend before. Everyone doubted our decision, but we really just took the reins of our own lives and went with it. Best decision ever. After our time in Denver we have endured a move across the country, living with people for four months, being dirt poor and barely scraping by, unemployment, moving, again….and now settling into a place of our own. It has had ups and downs as everything does in this life, but knowing I have someone on my side who I love so very much is pretty damn great. IMG_0324

We just enjoyed each others company for the day. I woke up to coffee and breakfast and eventually we ended up at a local brewery called D9 Brewing. Our crazy weekend drew to a close watching Game Of Thrones, which holds a special place for us since it is how we spent our second date.

Making it here from where we began is not where we saw ourselves at all one year ago, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I often have to sit back and remind myself that worrying about things going wrong won’t make them go right.

I have done a lot of worrying, stressing unnecessarily about where we would be after this journey began. Reflecting back on the experiences and struggles we have recently overcome makes me realize I can’t let fear or anxiety dictate where I go in life. At some point I have realized that the great challenge in reinventing your life or yourself is what you will allow that fear to do to you. In my past, fear has been a deterrent rather than a motive to move forward and better myself. I have allowed it to hold me back and keep me stagnant. Well, that’s definitely not the case now. Our plans and goals that we had initially making the decision to settle down here are quickly unfolding, and everyday feels like a new adventure.

Love,

Molly

Why 5 year plans don’t work

Salida, CO 2014

I went into my college education with the same mindset a lot of Millenials probably do, “If I get the degree I’ll get the job!”. Well, easier said than done, folks! I had a plan…get a degree, go straight into Graduate school for my masters in Speech Pathology, get a job, live happily ever after in never never land with the tooth fairy and The Easter Bunny..

When I was working towards my Bachelors I felt so fulfilled. So structured, like I knew exactly where my life would take me in my 5 year plan. Man, I was a naive child. College was a life experience, I gained so much knowledge during my time on and off campus. Now I wonder though, was it worth the debt, long nights of case studies, clinical observations and reports, grueling calculations of sound that I don’t remember? I struggled with the academics thinking it would lead me to this perfect career. I was one of those people who believed that working your butt off in some classroom or University Library would pay my bills someday. Like I was for sure going to want to do this for the rest of my life (yeah, right!) 

The truth of the matter is that I was headed down a path that would slightly veer to a fork in the road to my future, and it’s definitely not leading me where my 19 year old self imagined. 

I don’t see that as being cynical. I see myself as a realist.  Yes, it is a negative that it didn’t work out the way I planned…it is unfortunate that I most likely won’t use the critical and field specific information I worked so hard to understand. The honest truth here is that telling your kids they can be whatever they want to be is a lie.

If you suck at math (like me) you won’t be a doctor! Yet I see it as a positive, a positive that now I realize it isn’t only about how hard you work all the time. Your circumstances depend so much on these extenuating factors we have zero control over. Low admission to grad programs and high applicant numbers, GRE scores, the funding to go through with it all. If you bomb every standardized test you take and your GRE or LSAT (or whatever it may be) scores are awful..it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be great at it. It means you suck at standardized tests!

 The realization that I just don’t have the passion for it that I thought I did is what changed my mind fully. I don’t need two years of classes to tell me that I don’t want to work with children who say ‘wat’ instead of ‘rat’. 

Why would put myself through the standardized testing and admissions process, the expensive fees, emotionally draining waiting period, for something that I chose to do when I had no idea who I was when I decided to declare a major? Who can honestly say they were the same person 5 years ago? We are human…we change, it’s what we do!

I think the reason I’m ok with it though, truly coming to grips with the fact that I’m paying off loans for a degree I won’t really use…is the experience. Outside of the walls of the lecture halls I learned so many invaluable lessons. To work with others to get things done, to use every resource I had available to learn what I needed to know. To nurture friendships that will last the entirety of my life, how to handle alcohol and how to manage money (I’m looking at you Absinthe ladies night). What guys not to date and the hard truth about dating them anyway….they all taught me something that I can’t put a price tag on. 

 

CU Buffs game with Sarah November, 2013

 
I’m not saying education isn’t valuable, because it is. I put a high level of pride in the work that I have accomplished and I know there are people overcoming challenges to meet their own goals. Some people are blessed enough to know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. My point is that everyone is different, and if you are sure of yourself by all means don’t give up. Go and get what you want. 

So if you are in school, if you have a 5 year plan or if you don’t…enjoy the entirety of your experience. Because the honest truth is that you will miss those days you skipped classes to hang by a pool with your buddies, you will look back on moments where you bombed a quiz, and it won’t seem like such a big deal.

Let your plans change if it feels right. And never, ever think you are entitled to your dream job just because you have a degree (you and everyone else in our generation does too!).. You are a little fish in a big pond….and at some point you realize that your dream job might be something completely different than what you imagined at 20 or 22 or 25. And most of the time, the people who take longer to figure it out have less debt and more experience. 
I’m realizing that it’s OK to not know where you will be working in 5 years. If you will have a higher degree, more loans, or if you will own a home. If you enjoy every moment, smile and laugh and enjoy the things you will someday look back on with nostalgia. That’s ok too. The truth is, you’re doing just fine. Even if it feels like you’re not. You are. The universe has a funny way of working itself out. 

 💓
Molly