Zumba and the Need to Be Good

Being a perfectionist is a difficult thing.

I am not a competitive person at all, so if I’m bad at something others are good at I skip the “practice makes perfect” phase and instead jump right into being discouraged. I understand that you can’t be good at everything (or really anything, if you’re me) but if I know I’m going to lose I have a hard time enjoying myself enough to continue. This is a terrible habit that has likely robbed me of a lot of opportunity.
Then, Zumba happened. I arrived late for a different exercise class at my gym, which was completely full. Next door to that was Zumba, and I have no idea what possessed me to walk in, but I did, and I had fun
Not the working out kind of fun where you’re sort of happy and you’re sort of miserable. I actually enjoyed myself and didn’t care that I had no clue what was going on. I went into it with no expectations, and thus my expectations were exceeded. I am certain that had I planned to go to this class, I would have spent the day thinking about what to expect and probably would have talked myself out of it. 
Going in without expectations was beautiful. I definitely didn’t look any more put together than I would have otherwise (probably even less so!) but I didn’t care. I honestly can’t remember the last time I legitimately did not care how I looked. Even when I leave the house in my lounge clothes, I have to tell myself I don’t care as opposed to not actually caring.
The whole experience was a huge affirmation that things should be fun and life shouldn’t be a plan-fest. Of course, these are truths that I’ve been over-saturated with my entire life. Every inspirational Pinterest post conveys some kind of message like “Worry Less, Laugh More” or “The only person to impress is you”, and I honestly wish I could read things like things and get inspired. However, regardless of what inspirational jargon I read about confidence, I tend to feel more like a potato with arms than anything that resembles a confident and functioning human girl. Maybe this is anxiety, or just generally irrational thought process, but it isn’t conducive to enjoying myself. The flipside of this is that when you find something you actually enjoy without worry, it is a liberating thing.
I honestly don’t know what possessed me to walk into that class, but I do know that spontaneous, Latin-inspired dance cardio can be a really good thing. I might never Zumba again, but I hope to find other things that inspire this same kind of absent of worry fun that seems to be so rare for me.


“noun: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also :  an instance of this”

While I don’t consider my vocabulary large enough to have a word of the day, if I had one for today this would be it.

At the risk of sounding obsessive (or crazy!), I have been all consumed by this move. How to prepare for it, how to pack for it, how to not drive myself crazy with it (which clearly isn’t working). I’ve been having dreams of touring apartments that don’t exist, and the minute I wake up the first think I think of is the next thing I have to do.

So yeah, obsessive might honestly be a good word.

However, the most chaotic times also produce the most beautiful things, and I’ve tried to not lose sight of this. We’ve been slowly telling people who aren’t immediate family over the past two days, and while that has lead to some sad conversations it has also lead to an outpour of support and well wishes.

I’m not a “facebook for life events” kind of person and tend to hate announcements of any kind, but when you have to sell all of your large pieces there really is no better way. Within minutes of posting, not only did we receive a high volume of people from past lives congratulating us, but we also sold four out of seven pieces of furniture! I guess there really is power in networking.

The kindness of everyone has made this difficult process less taxing, and has shown me what wonderful people I’ve built a life with. We’ve all known that toxic friend who talks down your happiness and discourages you from growth, but I can honestly say that there have been no naysayers throughout this production. I am overwhelmingly appreciative of everyone’s offers of help and congratulations (and buying my furniture, of course!).

Ultimately, all that truly matters is that we have each other and Bird (and my succulents…and my mugs…more on my irrational “must haves” later in the process). While it’s easy to get caught up in the semantics of the ordeal, it’s important to be able to let the serendipitous moments snap you out of that as often as you can.

Eating Elephants and Hauling Boxes

If the answer to “How do you eat an elephant?” is “One bite at a time.” then the answer to “How do you move yourself across the country?” must be “By throwing everything away.”

Though I know it’s impractical, I have never been so stricken by the urge to throw away everything I own.

Harley will be driving to California so we will have some space, but considering he drives a small car that really isn’t much. I’ll be flying and checking a bag, which will maybe take care of all of my clothes. From there, we’re just left with all of this stuff that fills our shelves and cabinets that no longer has a home.

It seems like all the forums I’ve read are either from people who are renting storage cubes to get everything hauled across the states, or people who are already looking to downsize and getting rid of everything they’ve ever loved. We’re in-between, in the type of situation where our things aren’t quite worth the price of a storage cube, but we still have all these random items we’d just have to repurchase when we arrive (Tupperware, spice cabinet items, bath towels, etc.). Then there’s the things that I am irrationally unable to part with, such as my extensive book and mug collection that we’re just going to have to figure out a solution for.

While I’m a big fan of purging, I’m not a big fan of having to throw out perfectly good items and replace them all with higher priced California equivalents. I guess we’ll just get some boxes from the liquor store and hope for the best.

Do The Scary Thing First

Just when you think life couldn’t get any scarier, it does.

Harley got a job offer in San Francisco. As in a job offer that’s better than the kind we said we would maaaybe consider moving there for kind of job offer.

So, long story short, after a lot of rosé and pro/con lists, we’re moving to San Francisco.

I can’t say that I’m not disappointed about not going to Denver. With the mountains and the craft beer and the hockey there’s really nothing to not love. However, living and working in the Bay Area is such a unique experience that few people get to enjoy, so it seems like a good time to choose the thing that scares you the most.

This means I have to sell my car, and everything we own, and start biking to the grocery store, and find an apartment for less than $3500 that is over 500 sq. ft., but after all of those things have set in I think this will be just fine. This is a huge transition from everything I’ve ever known, but I guess if the fun of life is breaking out of your comfort zones I’m doing a fantastic job.

I haven’t even come close to figuring out the new logistics of this, but I’ll be sure to update as I do. In the mean time, if you know anyone wanting to buy a Jetta and an apartment’s worth of furniture be sure to send them my way!

How to Be Productive…

…even when it sucks.

Today, and life in general, has been such a whirlwind! Between looking for new jobs, new apartments, planning how we’re going to get across the country, and keeping up with normal day to day tasks all I’ve really wanted to do is watch Netflix on the couch!

Today I woke up at 7, worked until 2, went to get a replacement social security card, had a call with our leasing agent to talk about new apartments, looked at new apartments, finished up some work I had to do since I left early, went to yoga class, showered, made some delish turkey burgers and sweet potato fries (found here and here, respectively), did 3 loads of laundry, dishes, am now writing this, and will be applying for jobs in Denver afterwards. Whew!

All that being said, I thrive off of productivity. There are few things I enjoy more than crossing things off a to-do list, especially if that also involves having a clean apartment! However, even as a type A personality there are plenty of times when I almost can’t bring myself to do anything of value.

Thankfully, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned to use to help myself get up and get moving again, especially when I just do not want to!

  1. Treat yo’ self: honestly, I am the worst about treating myself for doing basic human functions. Since I’ve been in extreme budgeting mode in preparation for the move I’ve gotten a lot better about doing it with more expensive purposes, but I still think that the small things are really what matter! I live and work in a part of town that doesn’t have a Starbucks (crazy, I know!) so today after I had to run to the social security office, I ran by to get an iced latte as well. I hate leaving the greater downtown Chattanooga area for errands, so this one simple thing made it so much better!
  2. Multitask: I’ve been a multitasker for as long as I can remember! I’ve found that focusing on things for short bursts and then switching to something radically different helps me be more productive overall. I was homeschooled from K-12 and I would always do a few math problems, read a few paragraphs for history, and alternate between them until they were both done. This definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, but I know for me it helps keep things interesting.
  3. Prioritize: this is probably the biggest thing for me! I know that if I keep myself in drive mode and don’t make times for things I enjoy, I get burnt out at an alarming rate. I try to prioritize things like reading or playing with Bird just to keep myself from going crazy! When I don’t have time for that (like today!) I’ll try to at least double up on things where possible. Today, as I had to finish up some work stuff I turned Netflix so I could make some progress on the series I’m watching. This definitely makes whatever you’re trying to work on go by more slowly, but if it makes it seem like less of a chore I think it’s worth it! Normally I’m not super into watching tv, but I’ve been obsessed with 13 Reasons Why and am finishing it as quickly as I can. I read the book in high school and they’ve done the most amazing job making it into a series.
  4. Reading: this probably isn’t as big of a deal for some people as it is for me, but if I don’t actively try to read I tend to get stir crazy. No matter how tired I am, I try to make myself read at least a handful of pages at the end of the day for the sake of progress. I find that if I make it a habit (and always carry a book with me, just in case!) I’ll end up reading more than I ever realized I actually have time for!
Mainly I think the common denominator between all of these tips is finding balance. Balance is a big thing for me as I’m very sensitive to things being out of whack. It’s still a learning process as far as what works and what doesn’t (and it changes often!), but these tips are good general guidelines to help me stay on track.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we find an apartment and I find a job sooner rather than later. Those have definitely been the two largest stressors, and I’m absolutely ready to get them crossed off my to do list!

Self-Help Mornings

Weekend mornings are one of my favorite times of the week.

Our apartment has great morning lighting, and being able to soak up the quiet and read without distraction is such a delight. It seems like this is one of the only times of the week where I’m actually able to actually relax instead of pretending like I’m relaxing while re-reviewing my to do list in my head.

I’ve been on a “lifestyle improvement” book trend here lately and have been absorbing some great knowledge. I know Harley is sick of me spouting off inspirational quotes any time I’m feeling down, but reading about these concepts and success stories has me so passionate about creating my own!


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck // As you can probably tell by the title, this book is very straightforward. Mark Manson’s writing voice is entertaining and hilarious, and his no-nonsense attitude to giving advice is a refresher in a genre that can often be cliched. This was the first book in my recent improvement journey and was a great intro to the self-help world. The entire concept of the book is that you can only care about a finite number of things, so you should make sure the things you focus your energy on are important and productive. A good, quick read that will challenge your perspectives by encouraging you to care less to care more.

You are a Badass // Okay, I am obsessed with this book. This is one I could see myself re-reading regularly, which is something I never do. It’s broken up into 27 chapters that range in length but are all manageably sized. My favorite part is that at the end of each chapter, there’s a ‘digest’ that goes over the concepts and how to apply them. The headline at the front of the book really says it all; it’s the guide on how to live your best life. Some of the exercises Jen has you do are hard, forcing you to confront all kinds of subconscious feelings and doubts. I enjoy this approach because it can be easy to focus on the quick-fixes that to feel better without addressing the deep, important issues that influence every aspect of your life. If you’re looking for a book that gives you the confidence to chase your dreams, this one is it.

The Happiness Project // I haven’t started on this one yet but I am so enamored with it’s concept that I can’t wait to give it a try. Gretchen Rubin, sitting on a bus one day, decides she’s unhappy with her life. What does she do? She decides right then and there that she’s going to change it and create the happiness she desires. She then divides up the next year of her life into month-long sections where she completely commits to a lifestyle change to find what works for her. This is such an empowering concept and I am excited to read about her story!


While I’ve certainly full on thrown myself into this new phase, I’m really excited about how it’s helping me better myself! A lot of things in books like this may seem like common sense, but the execution of them is so easy to forget about. Like, duh, I’m supposed to always believe in myself to make the changes I know I can make, but it doesn’t always seem that simple in our day to day lives.

Having authors who put these concepts into words and really believe them is an inspiration, and I know I’ll pull from what I’m learning for years to come.

I’m about to move across the country, completely change my career to something I’m not yet qualified for, and leave all my friends and family behind. However, this is the life I know that I want for myself, and as long as I keep myself focused, determined, and working my butt off, I’ll be able to create the best life I could possibly imagine (maybe one day I’ll even get to buy all of my groceries at Whole Foods! That’s what I call living your best life).


Adventure Found Us

It’s a big world out there!

Well, we’ve accepted a job offer.

Moving has been something we’ve been talking about for quite awhile now. Just in the general, off-in-the-future, one day kind of sense.

Before you know it, one day becomes today and you’re on the phone with a leasing agent 18 hours away from you asking her about washer and dryer hookups, and figuring out how you’re possibly going to make time to see all of your family within the next month.

For someone who’s entire family lives in a 20 mile radius, moving away is a monumental event. I moved exactly one hour away from my tiny, east-Tennessee home town to go to college in Chattanooga, and that seemed like a daunting ordeal at the time. Now, here I am a year out of school, in love with this Canadian boy who has moved every two years of his life, and we’re about to embark on a gigantic adventure 1300 miles away.

This will certainly be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, but the list of things that have to be done in the next month is quickly getting out of hand. Vet checkups, car checkups, and people checkups all have to be completed, we have to find an apartment without seeing it in person first (aka my worst fear), and I have to spend 2 days in the car with a cat that hates the car to get her to our new home.

Just a little panicking is taking place. The good, excited kind of panicking, but panicking nonetheless.

For the next month, I’ll be trying to get my life together one box at a time, using countless sheets of paper to write and re-write intricate to do lists. I’ll be sure to chronicle the whole thing here, so I can at least have a record of that time that I did something I always thought I would be too scared to do.