rayshine

If We Were Having Tea

A new favorite blog of mine published a post like this just the other day..

Honestly I feel like we could be friends so that’s cool.

But besides that probably being weird, she inspired me to write a similar sort of post! I don’t drink coffee, if I do, it’s like once every 5 years. I did not get the coffee gene. However, if we were meeting up for a cup of (strong) tea I might talk to you about some things like this..

If we were having tea..
I’d tell you that I ran into this gentleman I happen to run into quite a lot at the grocery store while accompanying my mother on grocery runs. He makes a comment every time as a joke that I’m home ‘mooching’ again. As a fact, I do live at home with my mom. I lived on my own during grad school but since the job market absolutely sucked and my bank account was dwindling, I chose to move home nearly a year ago. Not even a week later, I got a part-time sort of internship that turned into more of a job. It’s relatively low-paying and I don’t make enough to survive on my own to be honest. I pay all my loans each month (which makes a girl want to cry) and cover the majority of my bills. Plus, I cook, bake, and clean up my fair share. I’m rambling.. which I’d be doing if we were having tea. But my point, this man who doesn’t really know me chooses to describe my situation as something it’s not, and typically I just smile and ignore his comment, but last night it irked me. A lot of people my age are moving back home these days. And I’m fairly certain his daughter does. Saying I mooch implies I sit at home on my butt doing nothing, which is not the case. Okay, off my soapbox. ;-)

If we were having tea…

I would tell you that my sister and I have been getting along really well lately. For the last (nearly) year, I have been staying with her every other week in the Pittsburgh area while I work in the office for a few days. There was a while there where I dreaded it and I felt like we (more often than not) were getting in a little sort of bickering over stupid things. But earlier this Lent (which I plan on telling you about soon) I chose as one of my ‘Lenten intentions’ was to let a lot of those things go. To ignore or let things pass and choose my battles. And to be honest, I think it’s been working. The last two times I’ve visited my sister we’ve actually had a really good time and I felt like we could talk and communicate without having stupid animosity. It’s refreshing and nice. I hope it continues.

If we were having tea…
I would tell you that I feel very disconnected from my best friend as of lately. Since we’re getting personal and all. I feel us growing distant in a sense and it’s tough. She’s developed these new beliefs as far as religion is concerned and in ways I am happy for her. But I also find it hard to accept when she was so against how she was brought up religiously. I never criticized her for this and accepted that, but her newfound religion is often manifested in pushy behavior. Her inability to recognize my different beliefs and simply accept and not push her own is becoming an obstacle in our friendship. I know that there is more to it, and I could go on, but it’s something that’s been slowing bothering me over the last several months and it’s a tough thing to recognize and move through.

If we were having tea..

I would tell you that I still feel so torn about what the heck I’m supposed to be doing. I feel very conflicted at times in regards to my employment and my living situation, and how that might have to change soon, that it might not be what I want it to be. I recognize there will always be change in my life and right now especially but it’s hard to deal with that constant anticipation of complete unknown.

If we were having tea…
I would tell you that I really feel like I am really enjoying my amateur bird-ladyness. I’m seriously considering purchasing a bird guide so I can more easily identify what I see on my daily walks. And so I consult Google a little less.

If we were having tea…

I would tell you that I’m totally on a book kick. And when I visited Target’s book section, all my recent readings are contained in the Young Adult section. And that I am not ashamed. Also, I’d probably go off on the fact that 10-15 years ago, if I read a book and there was a sequel, I might not have any idea. But now I can follow my favorite authors on email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. That’s nuts and also awesome. When I see some of my favorite childhood authors hanging out it’s just darn cool.

currently, #4

reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I started it Tuesday night I believe.. and I’m well over halfway at this point. It’s just lovely and delightful.

app I’m using: MapMyFitness
I walk 4-6 miles a day and I like something that tracks my mileage/time splits to see if I’ve progressed and as a way to challenge myself! I used to have MapMyHike but it started going all wonky so I deleted it. And with the dawn of better weather and my desire to start tracking and challenging myself more I did a little research on a good mileage tracking app for FREE. Cause, I’m really not going to pay for that.. I found this in my research. So this past weekend I booted it up, did a quick sign-up and used it – and I must say I love it so far. Granted I’ve only used it the last few days but it’s been pretty darn accurate as far as mileage and I love the split, time announcements (it’s basically similar to the MapMyHike but I have a feeling they upgraded a bit since I used that one. I definitely enjoy the activity feed aspect too – it allows me to see my notes/comments on previous jaunts!

keeping my eye on: Garmin Vivofit
I’m not gonna lie, when my brother got a Fitbit awhile back all I could do was roll my eyes. Especially since he went for the more expensive one (apparently not so much). So I was seeking a mileage tracking app recently (as mentioned above) and for some reason I just started googling the Fitbit, it sounded kind of neat but the reviews were iffy and I take my reviews seriously. So I did a bit of research on other activity trackers – and found the Vivofit. And oh man, I would love to have this thing. Gone are my rolling-eyes at my brother buying one and instead they are replaced with the need for this snazzy doodad. The idea of getting all those numbers and always challenging myself each day?! Amazing. Someday, someday.

eating: Ham and swiss on wheat wraps with horseradish sauce (and maybe some greens)
I used to lurrve chip chop ham on white bread with miracle whip back in the day. I also loved bologna and butter sandwiches without the crust, and smushed salami sandwiches sans crust. I had weird sandwich loves as a kid. I will just say my Grandma fed my Dad these sorts of things so I think that’s how I ended up loving them. I also ate spicy mustard on bread. Odd. haha But lately I’ve been super into a grown-up version of my beloved ham sandwich – yum!

loving: This cake
I made this cake on Monday evening by myself while listening to The Lumineers. Honestly it was the loveliest thing. My Mom was out and about, and I just had a few hours where I took my time and made this lovely cake while listening to that album like three times I swear. It was so very worth it. It doesn’t hurt that we have leftover ganache either. It’s delicious on a spoon.

appreciating: my Mom!
Last but certainly not least. Of course I always appreciate and love her for all that she is.. but this week I have been reminded of her genuine sweetness and love. I got my taxes done this week (insert super sad emoji here) and well I owe a bit of $$, which was a lot more than I really expected SO I was a bit down. We went to the store afterwards and after thinking of nothing but cantaloupe like all weekend, I enter the store and there is not a single one. I was bummed and said it was no big deal. Flash forward a few hours, my Mom had went out of town for a church thing – came home bearing a cantaloupe from the grocery store just for me. It’s the little things, kids.

the quiet

I love the quiet. The quiet after everyone’s gone to sleep, the neighborhood is calm besides a few random cars going up the hill. The birds have gone to sleep. And there’s just you, and a book. Your phone’s away, the tv’s off, your computer’s shut down for the evening. It’s just you and that book. And you head. It’s so quiet you feel like you’re alone in that little world and it’s the loveliest thing.

I’ve been getting up earlier in the mornings, even going to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and enjoy that little bit more of quiet before the day begins. Everyone’s about in their homes making way for the day, but I can just savor that quiet for a little while longer. The birds are chirping and chattering, and my goodness that’s such a welcome sound after a long hard winter. The tv’s not yet on, the computer is not either, and your phone is not yet beckoning you to check those silly notifications. You can brew your tea, put those dishes away, and wash up last night’s cake plates. Set down with your book, a hot cuppa, some cinnamon toast, and just be.

lessons learned

Some things I learned (or was simply reminded of this week):

1. I need to be more aware of the opportunity that I have surrounding me.
Right now I’m working at a small start-up, we’re looking to get funding – which means I work more hours than I really can be paid for right now. It’s not much, especially when school loan statements come barging in each month. BUT it is more than I was earning there almost a year ago, and it’s slowly grown and become fairly steady. The money bit can be stressful and make me question whether I should leave the job. BUT, I think (and I realized this this week) that I need to take the time every so often to embrace and appreciate this opportunity that I have right now. My boss told me this week that he is essentially giving me the reigns as far as our Marketing/Social Media goes. That’s kind of terrifying but also incredibly awesome. Most people my age with the little experience I have would not most likely have that opportunity. So I need to be grateful for and take advantage of it. Learn a lot and help to grow our awareness and reach as much as I possibly can.

2. I actually would not mind having a mentor.
I don’t know why this randomly popped in my head this week, well it might have been that I often feel like I’m not at all qualified (or I didn’t learn half of this stuff in school) so I feel a bit in over my head at times.. So you know what would be nice? Someone who has a bit more experience that I could take with or get guidance from – how to do certain things or just have someone to discuss it with. Sure, I have my boss and an intern, but my boss doesn’t know all there is to know about marketing and my intern will soon be leaving. How will I find this mentor? I have no idea. But months ago I would have had the thought, now I’m open to the idea.

3. I will change my mind every other week.
I am realizing how incredibly indecisive I am lately. I think it’s just the general uncertainty with my life right now (and isn’t it always that way?). What I’m saying is, last week I wanted to find a new job, this week I feel like I should embrace it and take this opportunity for all its worth. I’m sure next week I’ll want to change again. This time in my life is incredibly confusing, scary at times, and the not knowing does not leave me at ease. When you’re in school you know what’s coming next, in the ‘real world’, not so much. I think I am still adjusting to this, and it must take some time.

4. Life is darn uncertain. And I need to just accept it.
I have no clue what tomorrow will bring, or next week, or six months from now. Although I’m pretty sure tomorrow involves my usual long Saturday walk with my Mom. ;) Really though, I need to stop worrying so much at random times about how I’m going to deal with these loan payments or how I’m really not saving any money. This job thing might work out, some other fantastic job might just spring itself on me, whatever it may be, I need to be patient. I gotta embrace the uncertainty and just be.

5. Be more mindful, aware, and appreciate.
This is probably most important. I read and watched two different things this week that reminded me I need to be better at all of these things. Just being more present, enjoying things as they are happening, paying more attention to silly eccentricities or quirks of a loved one, how the toast smells when it’s fresh out the toaster, the first sip of a darn good cup of tea, the unique tune of a bird on my morning walk,.. all of these things are lovely in their own way. To recognize them, take them in, and appreciate them is important.

currently, #3

watching:
Divergent -
You guys. I finally had the chance to see Divergent this week. I went with my sister to the bargain showing after work (woot woot!) while I was there visiting/working in the city for a few days this week. First off, the music started and Beatrice started narrating and my gosh I felt so weirdly emotional like 5 minutes in. Sure I’ve seen plenty of beloved books come to life on screen (i.e. Harry Potter, obviously) so I don’t know why exactly I felt such an emotional response so soon but it was the loveliest thing. I was really quite surprised but pleasantly at how great the movie was! Sure they changed a few things but for the most part I really didn’t mind the way they did it, and felt that it added well to the movie version. I do wish she’d actually cut her hair – cause that was the first book, right? Right. Right? Anywho. Shailene Woodley was shockingly good. Her previous stint on he pregnant teenager show (as I non-affectionately call it) left me a bit worried about her as Tris, but guys, she was so good. Her emotional range, man. I want to go see it again!

watching (part 2):
About Time -
My sister was kind enough to lend me her Netfix DVD before mailing it back..
This was the best and sweetest movie I’ve seen in a long while. Go rent it! You won’t be sorry. It’s not some cliched rom-com at all (which I try to steer clear of) It’s more focused on life, love, and family rather than just some goofy guy trying to get a girl fall for him. It tells the loveliest story and tugs at all your heartstrings and inspires it its own way. I’d buy it and watch it again. Plus you have the guy who played Bill Weasley, and Bill Nighy. It doesn’t get any better.

eating:
Flufflernutter! 
I know I can have them any time of the year but Lenten season makes me relish in the fact that I can have them for lunch every Friday! It makes me feel like a kid. Nom. At least now I pair them with some wheat bread, right?

planning:
Friend time!
My best friend and I are going to meet up with one of our good friends from college this Sunday! I have not seen B in forever (last August?) and I miss her so. I met her my senior year through my best friend and she’s probably the only person from college (besides my best friend) who I still talk and stay in touch with, on a fairly regular basis. We’re meeting up halfway between our two cities for some shopping at the Outlets and dinner! Let’s hope for warmer temps/nice skies!!

wearing:
Candie’s Nail Polish in Strawberry Field
I also have the Black, Peri Twinkle, and Aqua Denim. I just purchased the La La Lilac to replace my old shade of lilac.
I had some Kohl’s cash burning a whole in my pocket so I had to make some purchases this past weekend. What a shame, I know. Well I got some kickass new Nike workout gear (once it’s actually warm enough to wear it maybe I’ll review it!) and well Kohl’s changed their free shipping minimum to $75 (laaaaame) so I had to come up with like 6 bucks in something to get me over the limit – I refuse to pay those costs. So I bought nail polish, obviously. And I got 2 for the price of one! Score. I randomly bought this nail polish brand awhile back with some Kohl’s cash in which case I got it for free (this time I did pay for it, sad face) BUT it’s completely worth it. It’s probably the best nail polish I’ve used in a long time. It goes on smooth and is long-lasting!

other notables:
I appreciate Jessica’s honesty. I felt this way all last week with work – and yet come Monday I returned to those same projects and actually felt like I created something that didn’t completely suck. Yay for little wins.

Because, Friday. And it makes me giggle every time.

I want to make this, thisthis, and this. Apparently I’m really into cherries and chocolate this week.

 

 

currently, #2

reading:
Champion (A Legend Novel) by Marie Lu
I’ve put The Two Towers on the shelf so to speak for now. I’ve had a hard time getting back into it, SO I dove into a book I’ve been wanting to read. I didn’t think I’d like this series as much but man I got sucked in. I’ve been reading the last in the trilogy the last few mornings and it’s got me. Perhaps I’ll provide a short review on the series once I’ve finished! Another blog series to keep me on track? I think so. :)

website I’m hooked on:
Goodreads
I joined back in 2011 apparently but then promptly forgot about it. And never gave it much of a look. Well, a week ago I was looking at another blog and it was mentioned so I thought I’d revisit it. Well, I’m glad I did. I’m back on it, and actually keeping track of books I’ve read on it! I’ve kept a journal of every book I’ve read since 2006 – so to have a digital version of this is kinda sort of awesome. I’m still keeping that journal though, no matter how dorky it may be! I just wish I’d tracked pre-2006. But hey, that’s life. Follow me if you like! A virtual book club is about all I’ll get right now.

eating:
I made this two nights ago. It’s almost gone. Go make. Now. It’s also on the ‘My Favorite Recipes‘ tab, check it out! And I’m making this repeat offender for dinner. Ermergerd, guys, I never thought I’d even like Salisbury Steaks but they’re amazing.

other notables:
- A girl after my own heart.
- As a quiet one, I adore this.
- My Pinterest account got hacked this weekend! Funny thing – I went to pin something, saw a ‘Weight Loss’ board come up as the most recent item and was all, ‘huh???’.. I am not the girl with a Weight Loss board, let’s be honest. I’m the girl with 95% food boards. I mean, come on.
- I’ll probably most likely be sharing my Pinterest link soon. I mean, I gotta share this love, right? Be aware of major dessert pin-age when that does happen.

 

nature walks

running up that hill

I am very fortunate to have grown up and live in a town that boasts miles and miles of scenic walking, hiking, and biking trails.

It wasn’t really until my college years, or real after that I really took the opportunity to take advantage of the bounty of nature that was literally down the road from my childhood home. Nowadays I live across town from the trails, but that doesn’t stop me from walking across town every morning (except when it’s -30 windchill, those days I reluctantly stay home). For the last few years, they have become my oasis. And honestly I hate the idea of ever leaving them. I know there’s other towns and cities with these scenic trails – but I wonder if they’re as secluded and quiet as my hometown trails are.. Plus, I know them like the back of my hand. Sure, I haven’t explored ALL the hiking trails have to offer because well that’s quite a feat but I still find myself discovering new bits each time I venture out.

Why am I talking about this?

Well, I went for my usual walk this morning and it was just one of the most pleasant and positive walks I’ve had in awhile! I typically see the walks as a place to clear my head and the walks calm me in the best way possible. Birds, deer, bunnies, water fowl, the flow of the creek surround me and I find it incredibly stress relieving. Most often I find the deepest sense of clarity about things that have been bothering me or things that were stuffed back in the recesses of my mind suddenly become so clear as to why they things happened they way they did or why what went wrong.

But today, I found it was not only clearing up a cloudy brain, but in trying not to think about work or worry about the future – I actually found myself brainstorming ideas for my job, this blog, and my dream bakery cafe. The ideas kept flowing and it wasn’t at all stressful but completely lovely and zoning out about books and bakery ideas was one of the most pleasant things I’ve experienced in a long time. The air was warm, the sun was shining, and I was thinking such productive thoughts.

I came home and made a list of all the random thoughts of mine and actually started working on these things. And you know what, I feel a little bit better.

The end of last week and the beginning of this week felt very off for me in terms of work. I’m slowly (or maybe not so slow) becoming aware that most often I no longer like what I am doing. I find myself dreading Monday, and I dislike that feeling. I work from home for goodness sake, I shouldn’t dread that of all things. I can have random dance parties, and take time out of my mornings to go for walks. And yet what I do 90% of my workday is not something I enjoy doing. I am so grateful to have that realization now and not continually disregard it and keep on feeling so less actively disengaged. But finding the right way to get to the place where I am actually enjoying my work is quite the process. I know full well that at my young age, it’s destined that I won’t necessarily like 100% of my job 5 days a week. But gosh, I sure hope I like it enough that I don’t dread the idea of it every Sunday evening and find ways to avoid its daily activities by escaping through Pinterest.

I’m not sure if I’m coming to any conclusion at this point, but it’s nice to recognize when you feel most content and right now apparently it’s long nature walks dreaming of that bakery cafe.

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