How my attitude toward homeownership has changed

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I read back through one of my notebooks this morning while I was drinking my morning coffee, in my effort to stay away from social media. It’s a notebook I have to just jot things down as I think of them. More often it turns into to-do lists and appointment dates, but every once in awhile I write a few pages of whatever is on my mind.

At the beginning of this notebook was some writing from when we’d first moved into our house. I was amazed reading about how overwhelmed I felt at the time. I felt like everything was going wrong, I felt like everything needed to be done all at once, and I felt like I needed a bunch of stuff.

I wanted new things and nice things. I wanted things to not be broken. I wanted the new house to feel like it was my own, and not a hand-me-down filled with hand-me-downs. I had such high expectations for how my home should look.

It’s amazing how my attitude has changed so drastically in the past year. I now know that things will get done when they get done. And not everything is a dire emergency. Some things will just have to wait because we don’t have the money and other things come up that were not even planned. And whatever is in my house is not the source of joy or happiness.  Continue reading

Finding My Voice

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Last night, I had a dream that I was a student. Fairly typical, classroom-style setting. There were about 20 students in the class and the teacher was calling students up one by one to speak about a topic they were passionate about. I was sitting in a chair, dreading the moment I would be singled out to speak. I was finally called up and all eyes were on me. I stood in front of the class and turned toward my fellow classmates, their expectant, eager faces looking up at me.

And I had nothing to say. 

I had zero ideas. There were no words that I could summon. Nothing.

And slowly, the teacher’s face turned to a look of disappointment. The students were mocking me. They all had great ideas and opinions. And I had nothing.

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On challenges and making lifestyle changes that stick

There’s just something about a challenge. A goal with the end in sight. The lure of accomplishment. The feeling that you are joining the ranks of others who have accepted the challenge. The camaraderie amongst those who have achieved the same goal.

At the beginning of January, I decided that I wanted to dive right into some of those goals that I talked about. So I took on some month-long challenges.

These 30-day challenges are supposed to help us jumpstart something hard. If we can make a change for 30 days, then that change is likely to stick with us beyond one month. 30 days can make an impact, even if we can’t stick with it long-term.

While there are lots of month-long, 30-day challenges out there, I ended up dabbling in three that I felt were priority for me. I decided on an Uber Frugal Month, a month of yoga and a month of 5 daily workout moves.  Continue reading

Minimize

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This is what matters. And I will never get tired of posting wedding photos. 🙂 

Today, I ran a quick errand to the mall to return a shirt.

Or so I thought. It wasn’t quick, because I spent more time driving around looking for a parking spot than I did in the store. And I even browsed and bought something with my store credit after my return.

The entire mall parking lot was full. I parked far away, in some kind of overflow area that still had snow covering all the spots, because it probably wasn’t meant to be used as parking.

Guys. It’s 13 days after Christmas. Haven’t you gotten everything you need? Don’t you have it all? Haven’t we all been shopping, shopping, shopping for months?

What does it take for us to be satisfied?  Continue reading

How To Be Better Than Before

Last year was amazing. 2016 was the year to beat. And it probably won’t be beat for a long while.

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I’ve written about New Year’s with a different mindset every year. I remember years when I was so sick of the way my year had gone and so hopeful that the new year would be the one full of change. I remember years knowing that it was the end of something wonderful and the next step was yet to be determined. I remember years that were great and I couldn’t imagine how it could be beat. This is one of those years.  Continue reading

On Faking It

“Fake it until you become it,” he said.

He was quoting a popular Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy. I knew the one. I’d always assumed Amy was talking about moving up in business, getting promoted within a company, and climbing the corporate ladder till you reach the top. What hadn’t truly occurred to me until the night I was at Duquesne University’s Presidential Inauguration and met Ron, a professor at CMU, was that this mantra could be applied to any aspect of life. Continue reading

The Hike Where I Own Up to (One) of My Shortfalls

A few weekends ago, the weather was absolutely perfect for hiking at Moraine State Park and McConnells Mill State Park. Blue skies, sunshine, 80’s – one of those mid-summer days that you just can’t help but get outside and appreciate nature.

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I’d been meaning to drive up with Jim for awhile, but with the wedding and everything else going on, the summer started slipping away from me. Luckily, my friend asked me to go up with her on a weekend when I was a little more flexible.

We drove up early in the morning so we could start the day when it was a little cooler out. It always surprises me how close Moraine State Park is and how easy it is to drive there. Her GPS started taking us some crazy way, north of the lake, so after turning around and following the guidance of a different GPS, we made it to the South Shore.

I think the other few times I’ve been to Moraine, I went to the North Shore, where they have boating, a “beach,” bike trails and such.  We didn’t care where we went, we were just looking for some pretty trails good for hiking.

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The hike at Moraine was pretty easy, so we had plenty of time to talk. Continue reading

Words to My 20-Year-Old Self

Recently, I was reading through some of my old writing and journals because Jim and I couldn’t remember what we were doing this time last year. I don’t know if we were talking about a specific date or just life in general, but I pulled out the archives of my life and started reading.

Out of curiosity, and boredom, I opened up some files from 2010 and 2011 and got hooked on reading through my college years. Some people may never want to look back on those years ever again, some people may not be able to remember college or may only remember hazy, inebriated moments, and others prefer to only remember the good stuff. I, however, wrote it all down. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I wanted to be able to look back on my years of swimming and parties and friends and classes and studying and working and really know what it was like to go through it all.  Continue reading

A Year in the Gym

A Year in the Gym

One year ago, I joined a local gym a little less than a mile from my apartment. One of my goals for the new year had been to start getting back into shape, so I found a gym that I liked that included fitness classes and I signed myself up. I figured if there was $40 being taken out of my bank account every month, I would force myself to go.

One year later, I’m proud to say that I’m still going.

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What You Don’t Know, As You Head Off to College

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This past weekend, my family gathered to celebrate my cousin Abby’s graduation from high school. Aunts and uncles and cousins came together from all over Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia to celebrate the twelfth cousin of the family to graduate and head off to college.

As the newest inductee into the high school graduate club, my cousin doesn’t know yet what she is in for. She’s about to start her next chapter in life at the University of Dayton in Ohio. She doesn’t even know yet how good it’s going to be. She doesn’t understand the college memes or the post-grad-problems or the Buzzfeed lists. She can’t yet fathom how much trouble she’ll get into. She doesn’t know which girls will become her best friends or which boys will break her heart. She can’t know that yet, but she will.

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