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 

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 

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

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

A Little About Me…

A Little About Me…

Now that you know why I started this blog, I assume you might be wondering exactly who I am and what I’m about. Well, good news! You came to just the right page.

My full name is Sarah Faith McAvoy (soon to be Sarah Faith Bryan as of 8/14/2021!) and I am a PNW native- born and raised (mostly) in Portland, Oregon. I’m a Taurus, born May 16th, so you can imagine I’m fairly stubborn and love good food, a clean home and cozy clothing/blankets. I am currently 27 and have a hard time believing that I will be 30 in less than 3 years. Time is FLYING. Which I find partly exciting, mostly scary. 

I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication from Portland State University in 2016, and in March 2017 moved down to San Diego for warmer weather and palm trees (and maybe a boy, at the time). I started my first job out of college as an Enrollment Advisor for a university and stayed there for 3 years. During this time, I met my now husband, got married, earned a Master’s in Leadership online, and moved to Denver, CO. We’ve been here for a little over a year now and we love it! I do miss the beach and warmer weather at times, but the mountains are so beautiful and skiing/snowboarding is quickly becoming a favorite activity. 

You should also know that I love animals more than humans. We have two cats and one dog (I’m pushing for two more dogs in the next couple years!). Moo (our oldest cat) is my baby. I got her when I was 19 and could barely take care of myself. She’s traveled from Portland to San Diego to Denver with me, and even back and forth a few times by plane or car. She’s seen me through my entire adult life and has been my trusty, cuddly sidekick through it all. Remi (our dog) is the sweetest babe. We adopted her a little over a year ago, right after moving to Denver. She loves kisses, squeaky toys and playing with Sloane (she seems to think she’s one of the cats). Sloaney (named after one of our favs from Entourage) is our newest addition to the fam. We adopted her about 6 months ago when she was just a little kitten and she is now a little terror lol. Kidding, but not really. We love her to death but she can seriously mess you up if you cross her at the wrong time. Luckily, she’s got Remi to play with while Moo is just way too sophisticated for any of it.

Dan, my husband, and I got married December 26th, 2018, but we are still waiting to have our big wedding next August. We were supposed to have it September 26th, 2020, but of course, coronavirus. So, we’ve been blessed with some extra time to save and plan. I am VERY much looking forward to 2021, and I know I am not alone in this. We also just bought our first home that we will be closing on this month, so we are SO excited about this too!! 

Other than that, the things that bring me the most joy are my family and friends, being outdoors, reading, good music, yummy food, long car rides, wine, Burt’s Bees chapstick and, if you couldn’t already tell.. the color pink. 

I’m a health-conscious neat freak who loves organizing, cooking (just starting out so bare with me), staying active, fashion, home decor, self care, travel, animals, music and photography. My goal is to be a well-rounded, have all my shit together, kind of person, but obviously life doesn’t always work out in our favor. I do struggle with anxiety, and am on a constant pursuit to find peace with it and peace within myself. 

You’ve caught me at a very interesting time in life, where I finally feel like I am in a better place and have a fairly strong sense of self. If I didn’t have that I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I finally have something to say and enough perspective and experience to say it, so I hope you’ll stick along with me for the ride!

I’d love to know more about you, too! Please share anything you’d like below, so we can “meet” 🙂

Hello There!

Hello There!

My name is Sarah and this is my first and only blog. Today is December 14th, 2020, and I have been putting this off for quite some time. I keep thinking that I’m silly for believing I might have anything important enough to say that others might want to hear and/or could benefit from, but I know we all have that evil little voice in the back of our minds and that great things can happen when we learn to just shut it up (plus, what better time to shut it up that after the wild year of 2020?). Even as I’m typing this I feel an urge to delete it all and never start again. BUT. I won’t! If anything valuable comes out of this for others, GREAT. That’ll be truly incredible. What I’m hoping it does for me is allows me to write and process feelings/emotions/situations/life in general and maybe this can help build a little community that won’t feel so alone in how we feel.

I named this blog “Complicated Basic” because it feels truest to who I am. Sure, I enjoy the little luxuries of life (and have really gotten into them as I’ve gotten older) but I also know that there’s more depth here. You can be “basic” and love all the stupid shit people might make fun of you for loving, like Starbucks and Ugg boots, but I know for me, and every single person on this planet, that this doesn’t mean there isn’t more beneath the surface. I feel like complicated can have a negative connotation to it, but in my eyes, and in this case, it doesn’t at all. It means there’s more going on than you might think, and that, if you just take the time to look (or in this case, read) you might be able to get a glimpse into that side as well.

I was trying to find the purpose in starting this blog at all, so I tried to think about what was missing from the current blogs I followed. Not that there is anything wrong with ANY of them! They are all wonderful and so inspiring, but if you’re going to do something like this you don’t want to just copy everyone else. I wanted to feel like I was adding some value here, and sharing my truest voice with you all. It’s generally recommended that you not to try to be too many things at once, and that’s fair- it can get confusing if people don’t know what you stand for. But I (and all humans to ever walk planet earth) am so many things… and narrowing it down was hard. I ended up with “Complicated Basic” because yes, I am a basic ass bitch, as much as the rest of them, but my life (like everyone else’s) is also very complex. I have a lot of stories, experiences, feelings, etc. that I sometimes feel very alone in, like opening up about those things will make me less of how I think the world wants to perceive me: a happy person who only acknowledges the good in the world and is scared of (or is completely oblivious to) the bad stuff.

I spent 24 years of my life in complete and utter bliss from this kind of naïveté, where bad things only happened to “other” people. Then my Dad got sick. He had cancer and was given a year to live. And over the course of what actually was more like 10 months, I watched him switch between appreciative and hopeful, fearful and sad, and regardless of the emotions his body withered and he passed on November 4th, 2018. His passing was the catalyst for a lot of other shit (not all bad) coming up in my life that I’ll get to another time, but my Dad’s experience humbled me to the core. It made me realize truly how fragile and precious life is. I read this quote once that said, “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have been humbled, and those who are about to be.” MAN. That stuck with me. Because for 24 years I aimlessly wandered this Earth in complete oblivion, and then I got hit over the head with a freaking frying pan. I had been “about to be” humbled for 24 years. And now, at 27 years old, I am grappling with who I am as a humbled person, and how I can possibly do some good in the world with this newfound information.

This experience left me feeling so alone, so angry and so bitter at times. And that’s totally and completely acceptable and normal. But it also made me the kind of person where every good little moment in life makes me ball my eyes out in happiness. And that’s actually a really good thing. I experience the highs and lows of all things in life with so much empathy and appreciation and it makes me want to be more involved and purposeful and live a meaningful life. Everything has meaning now. The clock is actually ticking. We are actually dying. I think most of us live in fear of this (I know I do), and so we never truly acknowledge it. We stuff that part of our life away in a nice little box with a bow on it, only to open it when we are forced to and then have a complete meltdown because we never saw it coming. We never actually thought it would happen to US. And then life humbles you.

A better way, that I have found, to handle that fear of death is to let it fuel you. To let it serve as a reminder that time really is our greatest resource, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and that we need to LOVE the people we love and who love us back, because they are the greatest gifts of all. They are what gives meaning to our little insignificant, yet somehow wildly significant, existences. I think of death often. Not in a morbid way (or at least that’s the goal), but to motivate me, to keep me from taking myself and life so seriously, and to help me take risks. I used to play it so safe. No more of that! This is my journey of embracing my basic bitchness and loving myself and taking care of myself and also welcoming the new darker and deeper side of myself that makes me a more well-rounded, accepting and understanding person.

I feel like I just rambled a shit ton and if you’ve made it to this point I can only hope you felt it was worth it and that some of what I’ve said has resonated with you. If so, I’ll keep it up and I hope we can go on this “Complicated Basic” journey together. 

<3,

Sarah