Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

This past Sunday was a weird day. I wouldn’t say it was bad necessarily, just a little off. It seemed like everything that I tried to do just didn’t go as planned. Nothing major, but when the small inconveniences build up it can still get a little overwhelming. As I was stumbling my way through running errands that evening (since I was literally making everything difficult for myself) I remembered something I’d been told many times before: Life isn’t meant to be easy.

I feel like that’s one of those cliche’s you hear all the time, but never really give any real thought to. Or at least I hadn’t. I’d hear someone say it or read it somewhere and nod vigorously in total, unwavering agreement. Yet, when it really came to applying it in my everyday reality, I’d always forget about it.

But this Sunday was different. Because while I was having an off day, I suddenly remembered this simple, incredibly helpful, fact. For most of my life I had it easy (in most ways, I still do). But once my Dad became sick I kind of had to have a come to Jesus moment with the fact that being alive meant things like this would happen too. And that it was pretty much completely out of my control. What a freaking thing to have to come to terms with in such a short amount of time. In all honesty, I think I am just now getting around to realizing what it means to truly understand and accept it.

My response to it at first was to try with all my might to control it. Or at least predict it. I’d worry endlessly about someone else I loved, or myself, becoming ill, getting hurt, or dying. When someone would refer to the future with such certainty, as I would have in the past, it suddenly didn’t feel right. How could you say so confidently that “there’s always next year?” I’d almost feel that I was jinxing it by saying something like that, so I kept my mouth shut and just prayed for the best. 

Brené Brown says that joy is one of the most vulnerable things you can feel. And now I really understand that one too. I used to feel joy without a doubt in my mind. Now I feel it and immediately follow up with the fact that it won’t last forever. It’s exhausting, always stunting your joy before you’ve even really had a chance to feel it. 

All of this need for control totally took away my ability to just feel happy and relax. Attempting to control everything that happens to you and your loved ones and everyone else in the world, and wanting everything to be perfect and for everyone to feel safe and loved, is a lot to place on your shoulders. Not only is it a lot, it’s setting yourself up for complete and utter failure. And massive disappointment. 

This past Sunday, when I remembered that life is not meant to be easy, it finally sunk in that I do not have control. And that it’s actually really beneficial to find acceptance with that. It doesn’t mean you accept the bad things that happen, which is what I think I’d thought it meant all this time. It means that you have to accept that regardless of how hard you try to keep it from being so, bad things will happen. To you, to your loved ones, to the world. Bad things happen everyday. But so do good things. A LOT of good things. And trying to predict and avoid any and all possible things that could go wrong, tear away any opportunity you might have to experience everything that could go right. Plus it distracts and discourages us from doing good in areas we may be able to actually help change, too.

Take it from me, someone who has tried to control everything and has constantly “waited for the other shoe to drop,” life changes for the better when we release our attempts to control things that are already, and unchangeably, completely outside of our control. Bad things can, do and will happen. There’s no way around it. But our reaction to it and how we choose to live our lives in spite of it, is what really helps us through. When we acknowledge that life is actually meant to be a struggle, we won’t be blindsided when shit hits the fan. AND, when shit is not hitting the fan, we also give ourselves permission to fully immerse ourselves in and feel those moments of joy. We realize that no, those moments won’t last forever, but that it’s a privilege to have them at all. When we stop trying to make everything perfect, we can see it for the perfect that it already is. And when we see its perfection we can trust it more fully and live in a way that makes us feel truly alive. Appreciating every little moment, knowing nothing lasts forever. 

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

I’ve been reading the book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle. If you’ve read it, or are familiar with it, then you know it’s a story about a woman who colors within the lines, or tries her darnedest, for a majority of her life. Then, something magical happens. She decides to be unapologetically herself and unapologetically happy for it. Naturally, this has me thinking a lot about my currently over-apologetic self and how I came to be this way.

You see, society conditions us (men and women, but for these attributes I’m speaking specifically to women) to be seen and not heard. To be polite and pleasant and always put others before ourselves. We pride ourselves and base our entire worth as a woman on how helpful we are, or at least how helpful others perceive us to be. We feel guilt the moment we share an opinion that might come off as “too strong”, or when we want to do something that might disrupt our own, and others’, comfortable way of living. If we speak too loud, hurt someone’s feelings, do something for ourselves over doing something for someone else, we are pushed into a shame storm that lasts until we can finally redeem ourselves and someone by the grace of God comes along and tells us just how “good” we actually are. That feeling of validation for being someone society wants us to be, is exactly what keeps the vicious cycle going. 

The idea of jumping off this wild carousel ride feels intimidating, almost impossible. As humans, we so badly want to be “liked.” We want others to think we are good. And we’ll do anything to get that stamp of approval. Of course, we don’t want to be running around like a bunch of assholes, but to what extent is making others happy causing us to lose ourselves? If we aren’t careful we might just end up as shells of humans with pretty hair, pretty smiles, and our entire existences spent searching for the next validating moment that tells us that we, indeed, have succeeded as the figure of a woman society so happily constructed for us. 

I find myself lately asking for validation way more than I’m comfortable with. Way more than I think many of us would feel comfortable with. Confirmation to ensure that I’m not being too much, but also reassurance that I am still enough. A tight rope I’ve walked my whole life, that I have only brought myself to question a handful of times. I have put the responsibility of making sure others feel comfortable, that others feel happy, before myself. I will feel uncomfortable, I will feel unhappy. So long as others around me don’t. So long as they think I’m nice and pretty and pleasant.

But within those lines is not where great things happen. Life, real life, cannot happen there. There, we do all the things we think we’re supposed to do. The things we think we “should” do. And then a whole life passes and you look back and realize you never really did anything you actually wanted. You never really lived your life for you. 

We’re told that we can’t be contradictory or controversial. Everyone is much more comfortable with us being calculated, careful. But we can make mistakes and still be good. We can have strong opinions and stick by them even when it makes others uncomfortable. We can exist in our fullness without being sorry for it. What we cannot do is survive in a life where every little action and reaction is given all of our energy to think through it first in fear of how it’ll be perceived. Or where we would rather live with caution, never putting ourselves out there, in fear of rejection. 

Our existence is not purposeful in making others feel comfortable. Our existence becomes powerful when we give others permission to live their lives fully, by living ours fully too. I can think back to many times when society has tried to keep me locked in a perfectly finished little box. It still does. And I still feel the pressure of those walls. Every time I think of myself as lesser I am reminded that they are still there. But there’s a way out of that box. It’s not locked. We can choose to challenge those thoughts and feelings and decide that we are both not too much and more than enough, all on our very own. 

We are all capable of amazing things. No favors are done by shrinking into “should.” It is a great disservice, to yourself and to the world, to be anything but you. A you that lives life how they want, on their terms. A you that loves themselves, unconditionally and unapologetically. We must forgive all the apologies from our past, people-pleasing selves, and trust ourselves enough to make way for the new, shiny, unapologetic being that’s been here inside us all along. Just waiting to break free.

She is loved. She is you. She is perfect.

<3,

Sarah

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

I know not many of us are all too keen on the whole idea of “Valentine’s Day,” but, to me, I have found it to be quite an uplifting and joyous occasion. Not because of romantic relationships, per se, but more so because it is a reason to celebrate love. And love comes in all different shapes and sizes.

When we’re born, our first loves are our parents. As we grow, our love stems to new friends and mentors. Later on, we may find love romantically as well. Then eventually, for our children, if we have them (and of course, love for our fur babies!). And hopefully, through all of this, we feel the most important love of all- the love we have for ourselves. And all of these kinds of loves give lots of room to celebrate this holiday however you please, really. 

In my opinion, there is no greater gift you can give another than to love them unconditionally, and there is no greater gift you can receive than to feel that same kind of love in return. Not just romantically, but for everyone we love and care for, including ourselves. I think we all too often go through life thinking we have all the time in the world, that those we love know just how much we really love them, and that there is no need to make sure of that right this very moment. But, the truth is, we don’t have all the time in the world. It never hurts to tell our loved ones, again and again, of how much we really love them. And we do need to tell them- right this moment, and every moment we are lucky to have with them. 

It would benefit everyone greatly if we lived our lives like we only had right now, and stopped bemoaning Valentine’s Day because you “hate love.” You don’t hate love, you just hate some of the shitty situations you’ve found yourself in that you considered to be “love”. But what about taking this holiday as just another opportunity to share our love with those who really make us feel that warm and fuzzy feeling inside? I’m sure your mom would love a card, your best friend would love some chocolate, and you would probably appreciate doing a little something nice for yourself as well, right? We can spend any day doing these kinds of sweet gestures, and all Valentine’s Day has to be is a designated day to really do it up. 

So go wild. Spread the love. Not just this Valentine’s Day, but every day. Because you need it. Your people need it. The world needs it. Life is hectic and dark at times, but love always wins. And I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life I will take any reason to celebrate love and share as much of it as I can, with as many as I can. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s weekend and that you get to spend time with those who make you truly feel like your best, most lovable self. Because that’s what you are- always.

<3,

Sarah 

What I Learned During Dry January

What I Learned During Dry January

Let me ask you a serious question. What’s the longest you’ve gone without one single sip of alcohol in your adult life? For me, I honestly couldn’t remember up until this past January. We spent the holidays last year like any other, drinking/eating a lot, and doing fun stuff with people we love. What was different for us this time, however, was that after all was said and done, we decided to go cold turkey on the drinking for the entire month of January. It seemed like such a great way to start the new year fresh and on a positive note, and also didn’t seem that hard to do, at least in the very beginning. Here’s what I learned during 31 days of no drinking:

  1. Your skin looks SO much better with no alcohol in your system. I don’t necessarily break out more when I drink, but my “fine lines” are definitely more visible after a glass of wine or two. I know you’re supposed to drink lots of water while consuming alcohol, to offset the effects of dehydration, but honestly who is on top of that 100% of the time? Not me. Because of this, I REALLY enjoyed waking up to a youthful, glowing complexion almost every morning in January. Will not be taking that for granted!
  2. Your body just feels better when you’re not drinking. I used to wake up slightly hungover even just from having two glasses of wine, but when you’re not drinking you wake up feeling great pretty much every day. Which is freaking amazing. Alcohol also messes with your REM cycle when you sleep, so no alcohol means you get better rest overall. 
  3. Alcohol is actually a carcinogen, meaning it has the ability to affect cell production and cause cancer in the body. I’m usually all about clean eating and avoiding foods/products that can cause harm, so why do I not associate alcohol with this group? Now, I’m not saying we should live in fear and avoid everything just to hopefully live to 150 (cause who wants to live to 150??), but I do think it’s smart to be mindful of what alcohol actually is, so you can remember to consume in moderation and treat your body with respect. Alcohol actually speeds up the aging process, and, while I am certainly not trying to live to 150, I also am not trying to speed things up either. 
  4. I still have anxiety when I don’t drink. For the longest time I have blamed anxious feelings/thoughts on alcohol. Even if I had one glass of wine the night before, if I felt off at all the next day, I’d immediately blame it on the alcohol. Which, could have had something to do with it, sure. But every single time? Probably not. This was an easy scapegoat so that I could carry on throughout my day without actually checking in to see where the anxiety was stemming from. Without alcohol, I had to develop a new practice. Alcohol couldn’t be the reason anymore, so I started journaling more, reading more and generally just doing more great stuff for my mind and body. Which was an amazing perk, and actually led to less anxiety overall. Win! 
  5. Not drinking makes you WAY more productive. Now, I am not an advocate of working more than what you personally feel allows for a balanced, healthy lifestyle, but I will say that not drinking helps you go longer than you otherwise might- like the cute little Energizer bunny. Some days, when I’m done with work, I’ll pour a glass of wine, read an article and relax. And while I love this time to myself, the problem ends up being that I suddenly have zero motivation to get anything else done afterwards. Folding the laundry? Hell no. Doing the dishes? Absolutely not. Doing anything other than getting some chips and watching 17 episodes of RHOBH? Not happening. So, if you’re trying to keep the productivity mode on longer throughout the day, maybe postpone the wine, or skip a drink altogether. 

Many lessons learned on this road we (Dan and I) just ventured down, and I am happy to report that I am so glad we did it. Sure, it was a bit unsettling when in the beginning my first thought every Sunday was to go to brunch and get a bloody mary. And yes, it was much more difficult towards the end and I’m not going to try to convince you that I didn’t almost cave a time or two. But, overall, this experience is something I would recommend to anyone who feels like they’re in a bit of a life funk, and needs to do something drastic to get out of it. Not drinking for 31 days gave my body and mind the reset it needed, helped me stay motivated and inspired to do things I love and that fill my soul, and made me a better human overall. Alcohol, as nice as it can be, can also be an agent for numbing and not being fully present in your life. We only have so much time, so we don’t want to waste too much of it buzzing on the couch staring at a TV screen. There’s so much knowledge to learn and experiences to have! Spend 31 days 100% sober with yourself, and let me know how much more you love and appreciate the “new” you at the very end. 

Cheers! Oh wait, too soon?

<3,

Sarah

My Love/Hate Relationship With Moving

My Love/Hate Relationship With Moving

So, even though we did not end up moving forward with our house (see Our First Home Buying Experience), we are still moving to another apartment this weekend. We are moving into a two bedroom/two bath with a friend of ours for the next year. Definitely a mental transition to go from thinking you’re moving into a beautiful, brand new, spacious home, to a two bedroom apartment in the same complex you’re currently in, but things could be worse. 

In fact, this situation has shown itself to be a pretty big blessing in many ways. We’re all about to be able to save more money in the next year than we thought originally, and we have more time to find the house that’s meant for us. Plus we get to live with our friend, who’s super great, so I think it’ll be a fun experience. We also get a beautiful view of the mountains from the new apartment, so that’s a plus too. 

Regardless of all the pros, I have many many mixed emotions around moving. And that’s not exclusive to this moving experience at all. I feel this way EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Even if I’m ready to move, it still stirs in me such a bittersweet feeling that I just can’t shake. 

I love the apartment we’re in now. Sure, it’s small (one bed/one bath), and inconvenient that the closet is connected to the bathroom and annoying that the bathroom has a sliding door that Remi is able to push open with her nose so you can never “go” in peace, but this is also the first and only place we’ve lived since we moved to Denver. And so much has changed since then. 

I remember walking into this apartment for the first time in October 2019. I was emotional and exhausted and when I walked through the door, it only got worse. We had left our friends and our whole lives behind in San Diego, only to come here and be met with an empty, cold apartment, and no friends to be found. 

I was also in my last term of grad school and was working full time, and the whole month prior we’d gone to a wedding, crossed the country to visit family, travelled to Bali for a week, all the while having our stuff moved to a new state, working and going to school. I was a WRECK to say the least. Plus I am EXTREMELY sentimental and every goodbye felt like a punch to the stomach.

But, since then, this place has become one of the homiest places I’ve known. We’ve decorated and made memories here and have grown so much since that first night. We’ve grown apart from friends and grown closer to others, developed new habits, new hobbies, adventured, gotten a pup and a kitten, learned to cook better, blasted music on Saturday mornings while making breakfast, gotten to know ourselves better… SO much has happened here. We’ve done so much growing and I feel like an entirely different human than the one who walked in the door all those months ago. So wild how quickly things can change.

This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “Isn’t it funny how day to day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” It’s funny how life happens like that. One moment you feel one way about your situation, and then life continues and you begin to feel differently, and you don’t even realize the change until you take a moment to reflect and look back. As Andy from the Office says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

GAH. All the feels right now haha I’ve spent many nights, right before bed, staring out into our living room/kitchen area, looking back to our cozy cave of a bedroom, and just feeling so freaking grateful that we are here. 

Sure, it felt a little touch and go in the beginning, but I ended up loving every moment in this place. And the other funny thing is that I know I’ll feel the same about the next place too. That’s just kind of how things work. You may be really happy where you are, but change is imminent and so so necessary. Phases never last forever, and, though we may feel resistance to new stages at first, we almost always end up discovering that what we had feared had no basis at all, and that we evolve and adapt better than we ever could have imagined. We can appreciate the last stage and maybe would have stayed there longer, had we had the choice, but we’re so happy to be in the next stage because it’s pretty great too. 

Resistance and surrender, resistance and surrender.. that’s all there is to it.

When was the last time you had to move? What were your feelings around it? Please share your stories, I’d love to hear them!

<3,

Sarah 

Meditation, Simplified

Meditation, Simplified

So I know I just wrote this whole post about not forcing yourself into a one-size-fits-all routine (see Creating Routine That Works For You ), but I should mention one part of my day that I have just started to implement and really enjoy- meditating. I know, I know, it’s a very intimidating idea to sit in silence for any extended period of time when we could be doing so many other things that need to get done, but hear me out. When you begin your day, do you start out slowly, taking in the new sunlight pouring through your windows and getting a moment to peacefully begin? Or do you hop out of bed, rush through all your morning rituals, only to run out the door or hop on a zoom call at the very last minute? 

I for one, typically begin my day as the latter. I have never been a morning person, but, morning person or not, it’s never enjoyable to wake up and instantly feel like you’re already behind for the day. It makes me full of anxiety in the very minute of waking, and I am sure that anyone who does the same can relate to that feeling. So why do we keep doing it? Why not give ourselves at least 5 minutes in the morning to begin our day on a more positive, intentional note? So we can spend the rest of the day more centered and grounded in our purpose. 

This is why I have started to implement meditation into my morning routine. I’ve been working on waking up earlier, which includes going to bed earlier (a HUGE challenge for me), but I am SO much happier when I wake up early and have time to spend my morning how I want to. I know meditation can sound pretty boring or intimidating because what most of us think of as meditating is sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat or pillow, with our hands facing upwards on our knees, our shoulders squared and chin tucked, counting our breaths, not having any thoughts whatsoever, and a bright light emanating from the top of our skull to the heavens when we are doing it right. Right? Just me? Regardless of what you think of when meditation comes to mind, if it’s negative, I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. 

What really got me into this idea of simplifying meditation was Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier. If you haven’t read/listened to it, and are skeptical but curious about meditation, then I’d highly recommend taking a look. I listened to it on Audible during a long car ride, and was fascinated the whole way through. Dan Harris is an excellent story teller, and his is an amazing one to hear. He is actually someone who you probably would never think of as a “meditator,” but he describes his journey to meditation as a way to relieve anxieties, and how he found a way that works for him. So, the key here is to find a way that works for you, too! Here’s some tips that have worked for me so far.

  1. Get out of your head. I mean, that’s really the whole point of meditating in the first place, to become aware of your thoughts, right? To see the inner workings of your mind, that constant chatter that we sometimes can mistake as our reality, for what they really are: thoughts. And we are not our thoughts. Reality is not our thoughts. Our thoughts are an endless free-write session of our subconscious feelings and insecurities. So, when preparing to meditate, try to remember that the reason you are wanting to meditate, is the very same reason you might feel deterred to do so. Your mind will go to great lengths to keep you from shutting it up.
  2. Sit wherever and however you are comfortable. You do not need to roll out a yoga mat, light candles and play spiritual music. You can literally sit on the side of your bed, in your car, or in your chair at your desk. Wherever you are comfortable is where you will be most successful. 
  3. Remember that while meditating, it’s okay to have thoughts. I think many of us become discouraged and give up on meditation the moment we have a single thought during the experience. Your mind is literally made to think, so it is perfectly and completely normal to have thoughts while you’re meditating. This is the whole point and a great opportunity to work your mind! Being able to have a thought, and be aware that you are thinking. That is success in meditation. I’ve heard it described as watching cars drive by, or being behind a waterfall and watching the water come down. The cars, or the water, or whatever other metaphor you’d like to come up with- those are your thoughts. And in meditation you are watching them. You are aware of them. This helps you remember that you are not your thoughts, they do not define your reality, and that you can disconnect from them at any time you want- you just have to have the awareness to do so. 
  4. You do not have to meditate forever! I know some will say they meditate 30 minutes or an hour a day, and that’s great for them, but to me (and to I’m assuming anyone else who’s a beginner), that sounds like I’d just be setting myself up for failure. So, instead, start small and work your way up. I started with 5 minutes and am up to 10 now. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to 30, but hey, never say never! 

Meditating is like a workout for your mind. Unfortunately, our society is so focused on working out the physical, we forget how important it is to be mentally strong as well. While being physically healthy is incredibly important, being mentally healthy, I’d argue, is almost more-so. If you don’t feel beautiful and happy with yourself on the inside, you’ll never feel that on the outside- no matter how perfect of a specimen you may be. And yes, the two can go hand in hand- working out does give many people a form of meditation- but if you’re feeling strong on the outside, but not so much on the inside, then maybe it’s time to take a look at other methods for that. 

Meditating has the ability to ground you and center you into who you really are. It connects you to a higher place within- a place that reminds you that most of the bullshit we worry about really doesn’t matter. It’s funny really, because we already know ourselves and what’s truly important in life, but we get caught up in all the commotion. We lose ourselves to all of these outside pressures and forget that we are perfect, just as we are, and that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

When I take even 5 minutes in the morning for this practice, I spend the rest of the day feeling happier, more inspired, and more at peace with myself and the world around me. There is so much constant chatter coming from inside our heads, as well as a million other external avenues, on a daily basis. This can cause anxiety and depression and discourage us from becoming our best selves and working toward the life we want. We must find ways to invest in ourselves and center ourselves so that we are more readily able to handle all of this chatter, otherwise we will find ourselves on a never-ending wheel of feeling tired, anxious, helpless, and never be able to stop. Meditation is an incredible way for you to step off the wheel. You can remove yourself from all the noise, if only you allow yourself the opportunity. I know it sounds like a lot, but if you consider the steps I listed above, I think you’ll find, as I did, that it can be one of the greatest assets to a happy and purposeful life.

What has your experience been with meditation? Any tips you have to share? Would love to hear your stories!

<3,

Sarah

Our First Home Buying Experience

Our First Home Buying Experience

I think most of us dream about some very specific goals in life, one of them being buying your first home. This is especially the case after years of paying rent, and feeling like you’re literally just setting money on fire every month. Sure, you have to be grateful for the fact that you have a roof over your head, but you’ll never see the money you spend on rent ever again. In fact, home ownership is one of two indicators of ability to build wealth in one’s lifetime (alongside education). Which makes it no surprise that so many of us have worked, and are working, toward this huge achievement. But as the saying goes, “if it was easy, everyone would do it,” right? And I am here to tell you- it most certainly is not easy. Our first home-buying experience goes a little something like this:

Dan and I had been planning to buy a home in 2021 (so this year.. weird), after we had our wedding in September 2020. Well, of course, that didn’t happen, and once we had decided we’d be postponing the wedding, we turned our attention (and savings) toward the potential of buying a home. We hadn’t done a lot of serious research, but one weekend in June with nothing to do, we decided to drive around some neighborhoods and check out different houses. We came across a new development with an office for tours, and in we went. Of course, we fell in love immediately with the idea of building a new home, and by the next day we had signed the paperwork for a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home with a gorgeous view of the mountains. 

We spent that whole summer going to brunch on Sundays (hello bottomless mimosas!) at a place near the new house, and then going to check out the progress on our way home. I have a photo of almost every week of construction- it was so cool to see our dream coming to life. 

Finally, in the beginning of December, we received our closing date for December 18th. We were SO excited. We had set up home insurance, ordered furniture and appliances and put in our notice at our current apartment. 

The first sign of trouble was a few days before the 18th, when we did our walk-through, prior to the final one. They warned us that they had been waiting to get the water meter inspected and set, and that our closing date might need to be postponed until they got the proper paperwork to close. The date ended up getting pushed to the 23rd of December. We thought okay that kind of sucks, but not a big deal- right? 

Well, during that time, a welder went into the crawl space to complete some last minute work, and a spark ended up catching on some of the insulation and a fire was set. The welder had no idea what had happened when he left, so the fire burned for some time before a plumber came in to do his work, and smelled the smoke. He immediately called the fire department, and that night we got a call from our seller. 

Of course we were super bummed, but we eventually made the difficult decision to void the contract and get our earnest money back. We figured it too big a risk to purchase a home with fire/smoke/foundational damage, especially when it was supposed to be brand new! It was a bit of an emotional transition realizing that we were back to apartment life for the time being, but now I am grateful we’ve been given the extra time. It seems like the universe loves to give us all the time we need lol the wedding, a house… 

This experience was definitely eye-opening, and it made me more excited to start looking for a home when we are ready- again. Since exploring more this summer, we’ve realized there are some areas in Denver we’d rather live, and that, though my heart was set on a new build, it might be fun to find a house in need of some work that already has some character and personalized touches. This has also given us extra time to save, and it is kind of nice not having to worry about a mortgage, and all the other expenses you don’t think about that come with homeownership, for the time being. 

My best advice when it comes to pulling the trigger on your first home is to listen to your gut. I feel like that’s my message with most things, but for real! If we had gone completely off emotions when making our decision to move forward with the house or not, we may have ended up with a lot of regret in the end. Yes, I had dreamed about all the projects I wanted to tackle there, the fun memories we would make, and the possibility of having babies while living there, but that didn’t take away the potential issues we might have faced. Plus, it felt like that fire was a HUGE sign from our guardian angels that this was not the house for us. My Dad worked in construction, and I truly believe he was looking out for us here. It was too big a sign not to listen, so we did.

Big decisions like this are not ones that should feel rushed or super difficult. We have instincts and loved ones looking out for us, and once the situation is right, it will all feel right and fall into place. At that point it might be a little scary because it will almost feel “too” easy, but I think that’s a good sign! Though we may be destined for apartment living for the time being, I can honestly say I am grateful for this experience and feel more ready to tackle this huge life step- as soon as the time is right. But for now, hello no yard work and being able to call maintenance whenever there’s an issue with the appliances- gotta love that! 

What was your first home-buying experience like? Are you thinking about taking this next step? Share some tips you’ve learned and/or any stories you have- I’m all ears! 

<3,

Sarah

Creating Routine That Works for You

Creating Routine That Works for You

I wrote this post last week when I was feeling less than inspired, and it honestly came out as complete and utter bullshit. Sometimes that happens. Writing doesn’t just happen on demand, it has to come from a genuine place and feel inspired. I originally wanted to share about the changes I plan to make in my daily routine so I feel like a more productive person, because last year I didn’t feel that way at all. I think we all fall into ruts in life, where there’s something, or a few things, holding us back from the things that are really important to us. And I want to feel that, instead of this post just giving you some bullet points on how to wake up earlier or hold yourself accountable to work out, that it actually helps you feel inspired to do those things. 

I think the knowledge lies within all of us of what it is we truly want, yet our brains get in the way and keep us from accomplishing it a lot of the time. Last year was a really strange year- as I know it was for most (all) of us. For us, Covid was still new, Dan was working evenings, and we lived somewhere we barely knew anyone. I spent a lot of last summer alone. I’d stay up late and wake up late, and always felt like I was falling behind or wasn’t doing enough. I did go on walks to watch the sunset with Remi and stuck to a pretty structured workout routine, but the motivation behind it just wasn’t there. It felt like I was going through the motions and didn’t have much purpose.

Man that sounds depressing lol but it’s honest. I was okay, really, I just felt uninspired and a bit lost- which is the root of all that is holding you back. And the greatest way to combat this feeling is to spend time doing something you love. Maybe you don’t really know what that thing is yet, and that’s okay. Try different things and see what speaks to you. But make sure it’s something that really feeds your soul. Not reality TV or social media. More like getting out in nature, reading a good book, journaling or listening to a podcast. Anything that leaves you feeling better than before you started it. I didn’t do that enough last summer and I really suffered for it. As soon as I began doing some of the things I mentioned above, my anxiety lessened and I felt more at peace. I felt more motivated to do other things I loved and was inspired to better myself.

Doing these things helps so much because it leads you to your “why,” which is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. What is the point of you doing any of this if you don’t have a reason? The nice thing is you don’t have to put a lot of pressure on this part (none of this should really feel pressured at all). Your why can be whatever it is you think of and pull inspiration from. Toward the end of last year, my reason became myself. I have been on this constant journey of healing ever since my Dad became sick, and for most of it I was just trying to distract and stay afloat. But last year I finally got a chance to slow down and not feel guilty for it. I spent so much time with myself and finally got to learn more about the new me. I am not the same person I used to be, but I like this version of myself more. Finding that new love and understanding helped me feel more purposeful in my days again. No, I wasn’t finding that purpose in running around like a crazy person doing things for other people, I was finding it in how good I felt in everything I did for me.

I guess my main message here is that, if you’re currently pressuring yourself to stick to a new routine you came up with in order to feel good, just remember that it’s not going to work unless you are inspired from within. You have to do it for you and your “why,” not just to fit into some box that you think everyone expects you to be in. The truth is we don’t see the behind-the-scenes of anyone’s life. We all struggle to stick to schedules and beat ourselves up when we aren’t able to. What if instead, we allowed our routines to change from week to week, day to day? Life’s natural rhythm does not work in such strict terms, so why should we? We are going to feel different every single day, and we have to be able to listen to that and decide what our next move is based on where our energy will be best spent in that moment.

Kind of like writing. If you do it from a place of just needing to get it done, then it’s going to fall flat and feel meaningless. But if you listen to yourself and follow your rhythm, then perhaps you will feel more flow. You’ll stop fighting against it all, and have more energy to give to what’s right in front of you. 

While we may desperately seek routine, perhaps it’s not so bad to fall out of one. Sure, they provide structure, but they can also cause stagnancy. Newness in our days helps us see new perspectives, follow different paths and hopefully guide us to truer versions of ourselves. The in between can sure be nice with a little routine sprinkled in, but if we want to grow we must rise to the occasion when change inevitably comes our way. I think with this mindset, a routine that really works for you, and meets you where you are in life, will naturally follow. And what better kind of routine, than one that feels genuine and true to you? One that you wake up and are excited to move through- that’s the dream right there. 

If you’re anything like me (a control freak planner), then this post probably isn’t the perfect answer you were hoping for lol but I do hope it helps you on your journey and in being kinder to yourself when things don’t go as planned. When did you last feel out of sorts and in need of routine? What did you find that helped?

<3,

Sarah

The Importance of Trusting Yourself, and What To Do in Moments of Self-Doubt

The Importance of Trusting Yourself, and What To Do in Moments of Self-Doubt

I woke up this morning in a great mood, ready for a productive day. Then, out of what seemed to be nowhere, a thought popped into my mind. An invasive, unwelcome thought, about how I’m not good enough. Not good enough to finish my workout, not good enough to get all the things off my to-do list, not good enough to make my biggest goals a reality. These feelings also stem from unworthiness- who am I to be doing all of this and what does it matter, really? 

Sound familiar?? Our lovely brains just love to work overtime, and, if we aren’t careful, that train can get derailed real quick. 

I know this is a common human experience, one most of us would rather not, and rarely do, share. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all experience this feeling to some degree. Some more than others, sure, but we all do nonetheless. And with this knowledge, we can hopefully find understanding that we are not alone in this feeling, and that even those who we think have it all together and never have moments of self-doubt, in fact, do. And if they’ve been able to break past those limiting beliefs, then so can we. 

So, when this thought does spring up on us, what is there to do? Well, luckily, there are lots of ways to curtail it. Not avoid or get rid of it all together (because that would just be us living in complete denial), but to be able to see it for what it is- a road block based in falsehoods. Keep in mind however, that, unfortunately, though there are many things we can do, it is likely that in these moments of self-loathing that you will want nothing to do with any of it and rather just stay in bed binge-watching your favorite reality TV show or something else completely unproductive. It’s tempting, I know. In these moments, we can simply begin by being honest with ourselves.

The moment you pause the endless chatter in your mind and analyze it from an outsider’s perspective, you are immediately able to disconnect yourself from the idea of those thoughts as your reality. You can look at them as though someone else were speaking them to you, and determine how you feel about it in that scenario. I’m assuming that, when your mind is running down a self-deprecating rabbit hole, that you wouldn’t like your inner dialogue much. And you certainly wouldn’t like it if someone else were saying all of those things to you. Would you say those things to anyone else? If you’re a nice person, then probably not. So why do we do this to ourselves?? We are our own toughest critic, but those thoughts are not based in any kind of truth. In fact, it’s simply our brain doing its job. Trying to keep up safe. 

Once we are able to see these thoughts objectively, they suddenly feel a little less heavy. No, they won’t go away immediately, but that’s okay. You’ve at least prevented them from becoming all-consuming. At this point, the best thing to do is something to get you out of your head and into the present moment. Change your scenery, your activity, the vibe- whatever it is that works for you. Turn on some music and dance. Go for a walk. Get a good workout in. Read a book. Go out in nature and breathe. Meditate. Journal. One really amazing thing you can do is look at yourself in the mirror and smile. I know that sounds SUPER weird, but how often do we really give ourselves that kind of attention in the mirror? Normally we just use that time to criticize ourselves, so why not make it a more uplifting experience? Smile at yourself and tell yourself what a beautiful, capable bitch you really are. It makes a difference!

See what I mean? There’s a million things you can do to get out of this rut of not believing in yourself, we just have to get ourselves in motion. It is so incredibly difficult to go through an entire day with this kind of negative self-talk and really get anything done. At least not efficiently or effectively. Self-doubt is the root of all evil (at least I think it is) and it should not be given any more time and energy than it deserves. You are not your thoughts, and you do not have to identify with them.

Negative thoughts about yourself really just come from the outside world. Our society constantly telling us we’re not good enough. And we don’t have to listen to any of it. My best advice, that I’ve found to be helpful, is to begin your day in a way that makes you feel inspired and loving toward yourself. This way you can hopefully keep those unwanted thoughts at bay, and keep doing the things you love that reinforce your trust in yourself and your abilities. Start the day with 5 minutes of meditation, read, or write in a journal. Hell, do it all if that’s what does it for you! Anything that allows you to set an intention for the day and puts you in a positive space.

You have so much magic to offer the world, you just have to get out of your own way. And, the comforting thing to remember is that, even if you do fail once or twice (or even more than that) you can look yourself in the eyes at the end of the day and know that you are trying. And that’s more than most people can say. You are living in your truest form, doing what makes you happy, and sharing that beauty with the world. And that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. 

Now go on, you beautiful, capable bitch! 

When was the last time you were feeling down? What did you do to get out of it? Would love to hear your thoughts and stories! 

<3,

Sarah

Planning a Wedding: Covid Edition

Planning a Wedding: Covid Edition

Every bride goes into wedding planning with a thousand things on their mind that could go wrong. They give attention to every single minute detail because they can’t stand the idea of anything not being absolutely perfect. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime thing, right? (At least we all hope it will be!) What I don’t think is included on many of these mental lists of potential mayhem is a pandemic occurring. At least, it certainly wasn’t on mine.

I went into 2020 as blissful as a bride can be; overwhelmed only by the typical never-ending lists of to-do’s. I had read about Covid and had even told my mom over the phone one night that I hoped it wouldn’t affect our wedding, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it really would. I know some brides decided to go through with their weddings, and to each their own, but for the location and size of our wedding it just didn’t make sense. Plus, the whole point of our wedding was to finally celebrate with all our family and friends, since we were already married.

I do feel lucky that we had been able to get married in 2018 and enjoy a small intimate ceremony with close friends and family because I think this took a lot of pressure off of us when making the decision to postpone- it seemed like a no brainer. I can imagine the emotions behind this decision being much greater without the comfort of knowing that person is already legally bound to you (lol). Our venue was also on government land in San Diego, so we had no choice but to abide by whatever the restrictions were at that point in time. And, with everything changing every 2 seconds or less, it was STRESSFUL. Once we had officially changed the date and had all our vendors on board, I felt like celebrating.

I know we all felt like celebrating when 2020 was finally over, but, as I am really realizing now, things have not (unfortunately) magically changed overnight. This means that all us 2020 brides out there, and now all of the 2021 brides too, have a great deal of things to think about and consider. Here are some tips I have come up with, to help organize your plan and manage the stress.

  1. This is no time to be bridezilla. In fact, the more flexible you can be with your planning, the more support you will receive from those around you. It will actually make you feel really good about yourself because everyone will commend you on your ability to get through the present situation with grace and strength (who knew this chick could so cool and unbothered?! ..Not me!).
  2. Remember that everything happens for a reason. Try to see the positives in this situation- to be perfectly honest, there are a LOT. Not only do you have extra time to be excited for your big day, but you also have extra time to plan and make it perfect, as well as save your $$. Who knows, maybe you’ll be ready to buy a home or go on that dream trip earlier than you had previously thought. You also will have more time to add personal details into your big day, which will make it all the more special. I know it’s never fun to wait- for anything- BUT if you can just be patient you’ll realize time is going to go by faster than you think, and before you know it- it’ll be your wedding day! And ooh how much sweeter that day will be.
  3. With an open mind and a level of acceptance that plans may change, you can start to form a game plan, should you need to take action. If you haven’t already sent out your save the dates/invites, I would highly recommend making note on them of your plans. Whether it be that you plan to move forward regardless, or that you will keep everyone updated and notify by a certain date through a certain medium (plus on your wedding website of course!) if you do think you might postpone, all of this information is extremely helpful to your guests. They will appreciate the notice and be able to grow excited for your big day, knowing they’re somewhat involved in the planning and surprises will be kept to a minimum.
  4. If you do end up deciding (or being forced to) postpone, don’t panic! Hopefully you have chosen vendors not only by their talents, but also by your compatibility with them. If not, this still goes for you too, and hopefully you aren’t working with complete assholes. First thing I would recommend is to reach out as early as possible, once you even start THINKING that postponing might be the way to go. Reach out to your venue first and ask them for available future dates. Pick whatever you are most comfortable with (that’s as far in the future as you can make it) and then reach out to the rest of your vendors to let them know you’re thinking of postponing and ask them if that date will work. Ask everyone to put that date on hold, and, so long as everyone is on board (or you’re willing to let go of any that aren’t), once you officially have made the call to postpone, the rest will be easy! Or easier, at least. You’ll just need to reach out to your vendors to confirm the date change and, if it’ll make you feel more comfortable, ask for a new contract showing the new date (although I am fairly certain written confirmation through email is also legally binding- a “virtual handshake”). This worked really well for us and, as I said before, I was ready to celebrate once everything had been finalized.

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, but basically having to plan multiple weddings and keep strong communication going between 50+ family and friends you don’t regularly talk to, can be maddening. My best advice is to roll with it and be grateful for what you can. After all, this is a pretty great problem to have! You have a partner who not only loves you enough to put up with your crazy ass forever, but also wants to commit to doing so in front of a shit ton of people. Congratulations- that is amazing! The only question left is when- and if we can find it in ourselves to practice patience and release control, I think we’ll find that the process really isn’t so bad, because the reward will just be that much sweeter.

What wedding planning advice/tips do you have to share? Any Covid brides here who can relate? Would love to hear your stories and what you did to make it all work! 

Happy planning!

<3,

Sarah