Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Paths Crossed Unexpectedly

It's always in the moments when you are happiest; the times in your life when you are moving forward that a million things try pushing against you. I moved to San Diego in December, have been making a new life for myself, found a fabulous church that I've been searching pretty much my whole life for, and even started dating again... finally.

But life is never easy. Life challenges the heck out of you, especially when you're going after your dreams. There have been a million times I just needed to pick up the phone and talk to my mom and what made it even worse was that I couldn't. There was no way around it. No amount of praying or wishing could make it happen. I just had to deal with it on my own.

Yet, in those moments of despair and grief and complete and utter frustration, if you just continue to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be at the time, the Universe [or God] will open doors along our path of life.

Sometimes those doors are opened through crazy "coincidences." I've had some interesting opportunities come up since I moved to San Diego. Lots of different people have been placed in my path and I know they have all been put there for a reason. This weekend, however, the one person I least expected was placed in my path...


Ladies and gentlemen, THE Stephen Strasburg - pitcher for the Washington Nationals [my number one team.] He's a pretty big deal. Selected as the first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft :)

We just casually bumped into each other at the PGA Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines this weekend. I honestly couldn't believe it. We walked past the 1st Hole, went over to watch the players on the putting green, and then I looked to my right and there he was. Didn't meet Tiger Woods but I met Strasburg. Couldn't have asked for more!

Also, don't mind my hair. For those of you who pay attention to sports, you probably know that it was a crazy foggy/humid day in La Jolla which resulted in suspended play throughout the day and eventually they called it around 3pm.



But aside from the fog in La Jolla and the fog in my life, I crossed paths with someone that I didn't even cross paths with back when I lived in DC. The fog cleared for a couple moments to remind me that, "Hey, you're on the right path, Chels. And here's a little something special to prove it."

It's the little miracles in life [like running into Strasburg at a golf tournament in San Diego] that remind you that you're exactly where you're meant to be.


To Be Continued...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't Look Back

If you guys ever want to get a lot of thinking done, just move away from all your family and friends to a new land. It's fun! My posts have been much, much deeper than in past months, as I'm sure you've noticed. I have really been finding myself and learning about myself from the core. 

Mentally
   Physically
      Spiritually
         Emotionally

My goal has been to purge all of my bad habits; all the things that have been holding me back in any of the above forms; and to grow. In order to do that, I have to start with the things from my past that I'm still holding onto that no longer serve a purpose in my life - at least, not a good one.



However, I recently started a 40-day journey toward creating miracles in my life, which I'd love to share more about later. In this journey, I'll be focusing on some major shifts toward a life of light and love. In order to do this; truly do this - I know I have to let go of what once was in order to focus on what is. That includes the pain and the unanswered-questions.

I know deep in my heart that everything happens for a reason. The time I otherwise wouldn't have had with my mom before she died is proof of that. God, the Universe, whatever you may refer to it as... has a plan.

Each step I take along this 40-day journey, the more I realize how a lot of the little things [in the grand scheme of things] we hold onto, keep us from reaching our truest potential. They keep our energy from focusing on the now. They keep us from reaching absolute happiness; bliss. 

I challenge you all today to think of those things you've been holding onto, that, when you look at the big picture, don't bring you anything positive. They don't help you grow. They don't lift you. Whether they're bad memories, what ifs, a toxic friendship, etc... join me in never looking back.

Everything I've been through was preparation for where I am right now.

What are you never looking back on?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Days That Are Harder Than Others

11:28 on a Friday night.
The night started off with an hour phone conversation with Dad about careers.
Then I had leftovers and one of my cupcakes from my birthday.
I painted my nails a shimmery shade of maroon as I watched re-runs of Say Yes to the Dress.
My mind couldn't help but think forward to the day when I will pick out my [second] wedding gown.
I texted pictures to my mom back in 2010 of the dresses as I tried them on and she was there in 2011 to lace up my dress and hug me tightly.
One year and exactly one month from my wedding day, she was gone.

She won't be there next time.

I can't look to her for approval and to see that little smile of hers.


[Exactly two years ago today, watching me get ready]

As the sadness began to overwhelm me, I reached down onto my coffee table and started re-reading a book from my dear friend Shayna called Motherless Daughters.


"But wherever I traveled, I carried within me a sadness I couldn't leave behind, no matter how forcefully I tried. Someone dies, you cry, and then you move on: This was no mystery to me. Far less clear was how the effects of this loss were likely to appear and reappear throughout the rest of my life."
I bawled.
I sat there on my couch on a Friday evening, sobbing.
Unable to control the sounds from my mouth and gasps for air.

I just need my mom.

I needed her when she lay there helplessly and hopeless in the hospital bed.
I needed her the week before she went to the emergency room.
I needed her when I took her back and forth to her doctors' appointments.

And then I suddenly became a 26-year-old woman, still trying to heal from my own heartbreak when she, my mother, my inspiration, my best friend... was taken from me. Never to give me a word of advice again.
And that became my life's biggest tragedy.

This is on my heart so often.
Learning how to live without my mother.
How to continue growing on my own as a woman without the one woman who was always there to guide me.

I know I'll never stop needing her.
I know her presence will always be missed.
I know my life has been forever changed.
I know the effects of this loss will appear and reappear throughout the rest of my life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home for the Holidays

I know, I know. You've been impatiently awaiting my Christmas blog post. Thanks for your patience :) As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to fly back to Virginia just two and a half weeks after arriving in San Diego. I don't know what I was originally thinking when I thought I'd be fine staying in SD for Christmas. It was the first Christmas without Mom and I knew I needed to be home with everyone.

So, it was an early morning shuttle ride to the airport where I said "see you later" to SoCal and off to DC I went!



Although it had only been a short while since I had seen him, there's something special about your dad greeting you at the airport during the holidays. [This was my first time flying home for the holidays. When I lived in Utah, I stayed in Utah.] There may or may not have been a little snow on the ground when I landed in DC. Whaaat?!

It was late so we grabbed a bite to eat and went back to my parents' house. I was immediately welcomed with the warm scent of "home" and beautiful decor everywhere. My dad did a wonderful job bringing my mom's decorations back to life. The below sign has always been my favorite [my mom got it for me since it's my favorite song!]


The next couple days were very busy, helping my dad with some Christmas shopping and getting all the groceries and recipes together. There was a lot to do that my mom had been such a natural at! Big shoes to fill. On Christmas Eve, my brothers and their families came over for our big celebration together.

I made stuffed celery and my deviled eggs for hors d'oeuvres and we had some other dips and cheese and crackers! My mom's rotelle dip is always a hit! Aubrey and I had a fun photo booth style photo sesh, then it was dinner time, followed by presents and dessert!








On Christmas morning, we finished wrapping presents [listen, flying across the country and not having a free second until Christmas morning causes things like that to happen!] then half of the family came over and we went to the cemetery to visit my sweet mom.

Aubrey is starting to understand that "Grammie" is in Heaven and understands that our cat, Missy, is there too. When we ask her, "Where's Missy?" she responds, "Heaven Grammie." Bless her little heart.


I didn't have enough time at the cemetery to get emotional about the fact that I was visiting  a plot in the grass to wish my mom a Merry Christmas. But it hurt. Oh, did it hurt. Not having her with us. Not having her hugs. Not hearing her voice. Not seeing her gallivanting around the house amongst all the commotion. Nothing was the same.

We went back to the house and my brother cooked us all "breakfast for dinner" and then we opened the last of the presents. I know she was there with us, but it just wasn't the same. 

[Trying on her vest from Aunt Chelsea and her hat from Papa.]


[Brother and Sister]

I spent some time with friends, saw a little bit of snow, said my goodbyes, and then headed back to San Diego for good a couple days later. It was actually harder to leave this time than it was when I moved. It was the finality of it. The uncertainty of when I'd be back. But I knew San Diego had become home now and I was so happy about that.

The DC area will always have my heart and I have one wonderful family to always go back and visit. I love them with all my heart :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Dreams and New Places

"It's the losing of love that makes us who we are.
The loss of a parent.
Who you thought you might be.
But it's also filled with promise and the possibility of opening your heart to new beginnings.
And new dreams and new places.
The city was no longer a fantasy.
It was real.
And I knew now I wasn't searching for something or somebody here.
I was searching for me.
Who I was.
Who I wanted to be."
-The Carrie Diaries


The last two years of my life have really throw me off balance.
The approaching time of year is especially difficult for me.
It's painful to look at the calendar and remember where I was this time 2 years ago [getting ready to be married] and last year [unknowingly spending the last month with my mom]
It still hits hard.
And I'm not afraid to admit that.

Losing the love that I lost changed me.
It grounded me. Centered me. Made me an even deeper thinker than I already was.
It changed my faith. My health. My expectations.

The truth is, I moved to San Diego alone - no best friends, no family. Just me.
I was at a point in my life where my job did nothing for me other than bring me down.
Many of my friendships felt unconnected and moving in opposite directions.
And while I had grown even closer to my family, I knew what I had to do.

I knew life was too short to put this dream on hold.
Or to jeopardize never even making it a reality.
But aside from that, I knew I needed to be alone.
To create my own life away from the comforts of my hometown.
I knew I needed to re-build the part of me that I had lost.
With new dreams and new places.

So, here I am.
I'm standing.
On my own.
Where I belong.

[San Diego]

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Feeling the Holiday Friend-Love

After my super successful day in Old Town San Diego that I talked about yesterday, I was almost set to get on a plane to venture back to DC. However, before I left for the East Coast, I got to experience a little West Coast Navidad as well :)


Sweet Brianna from Heart of Life is a total doll and sends me goodies JUST when I need them. Let's talk about the candle first. It's a Mara Mi candle in Woodland and smells like Winter perfection. Brianna says she got it at Target :)

She also gave me some coral and glitter e.l.f. nail polish! One of my biggest weaknesses [Coconut M&M's], recipe cards that were perfect because I wanted to write down some of my mom's recipes while visiting home, and that gorgeous hand-painted LEOPARD ornament! A girl after my own heart, yes? She is just the sweetest and it was such a nice surprise to see this package on my doorstep!

Later that week, I met up one evening for sushi with HollieTammyCara-Mia, and Jessica! These ladies are great and I'm so glad to have a little community here already! We caught up and chowed down on a TON of sushi! [Like, a lot.] Jessica also passed my Christmas scarf order off to me because she is a scarf-designing-genius!



They are gorgeous, right? I gifted one and bought the other for myself ;)

I had one more sweet package arrive on my doorstep. Santa delivered it early before I left!


My blog bestie, Holly from Running in Stilettos, is a doll and sent me this home warming/Christmas care package. [I mean, Santa sent it!] She sent me the yummy Slatkin & Co. "Snowed In" candle to remind me of Wintery Virginia in California. She gave me a little journal, my chocolate of choice [you know you have a chocolate problem when BOTH care packages contain this same item] ;), and this beautiful, custom-made ornament from Morgann Hill Designs.

The ornament shows my heart in Virginia and how it swept all the way across the country and landed in San Diego :) Is that something or what? So meaningful and so thoughtful!!

I feel so blessed to have friends all over the country who I haven't even met yet [and some that I have!] who are giving and loving and caring enough to think of little me and send me such wonderful house warming gifts and cards! I have the cards displayed in my living room to put a smile on my face during the more lonely days :)

I love you all! Each and every one of you have a spot in my heart and I am so grateful for the friendships we've made!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Festive Old Town

If I'm not behind in blogging about my life, then what am I? Let's rewind to about a month ago when we were all sipping on eggnog and apple cider and singing "Silent Night." Although I had only been in San Diego for about two and a half weeks, I had the chance to fly back home for about 6 days to spend the holiday with my family.

I wouldn't be arriving in DC until after dinner time on the 21st of December so I knew that my Christmas shopping needed to be completed in San Diego and able to be transported via United Airlines. I needed to be smart and creative. I bought a few things for my brother and niece and then just knew I had to go to Old Town San Diego to shop for my dad. So, what's a girl to wear while day shopping outside in San Diego?


Old Town is a place my family went to while here visiting my brother years ago during Christmas. I knew that venturing back there would bring back great memories of our time together. It's nice knowing I'm already familiar with so many places in my new city :)






I just want it to be known that I took this picture of the Christmas tree moments after a homeless man, his dog, and a rooster on top of the dog's head walked by. So, that happened...

Old Town San Diego is considered the "birth place" of California and is the site of the first Spanish settlement. Because of that, Old Town still has many of the original buildings and characteristics from the 1800's and is full of Spanish and Mexican influence! Since my dad studied abroad in Mexico, he has always had a connection with that culture and I knew I'd find his presents in Old Town :) I also came across a lot of other fun finds!



Good thing I had already finished shopping for my niece, Aubrey, because those dresses might just have made it home with me. Aren't they adorable?

Old Town is also home to the most haunted house in the United States, according to the Travel Channel. The Whaley House! We toured the Whaley House on our trip to San Diego in the past and let me just tell you this much... it's all very true. Walking through the narrow hallways and up and down the wooden staircase, my legs were so heavy; I felt as if I was walking through water. I kid you not, friends!



After quickly scurrying by the Whaley House, which was closed at the time, I was on the hunt for a delicious churro. Years ago, Old Town was also the first place I had ever had a churro and I never forgot it! I searched and searched. I finally found the place we had gone to before but was disappointed when I saw the churros were sold out. What?!

I continued walking and slowly starting admitting to myself that it just wasn't in the stars when, BAM! There was a "CHURROS!" sign right in front of me! I walked inside to a cozy little coffee/dessert place we have here called The Living Room. The girl complimented me on my pants... and then my necklace... and then said we must have the same style because she has the same Michael Kors watch as me. We're BFFs.

They made my churro and my new friend even brought it out to me. What awesome service!


They don't mess around with churros in San Diego! Yum.

And after finishing that scrumptious churro, I was headed back to my house. [Okay, so I might have made a stop by Home Goods first...]

I love Old Town so much. I am a total dork for old historical places and walking around, people watching, and enjoying the beautiful and sunny San Diego weather. And in case you're wondering, I ended up finding several Mexican-influenced/Day of the Dead things for my dad and a pretty sterling silver bracelet for my sister-in-law. Talk about a productive day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's Talk Nail Polish

Moving far away, living on your own, spending countless hours job searching and thinking about life can sometimes drive a girl bonkers. I've had a lot of deep thoughts lately. A lot. I'm pretty much the next Aristotle/Plato. On a side note, I have been slashing [ / ] everything lately. 

So, in the midst of all my deep thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, I started thinking about nail polish. I need your help. Here are my thoughts:

+Essie
[via]

At one point in my life, I was an Essie Queen.
Ranted & raved about it.
Now, I can't stand it.
It always goes on so thick & chunky and dries with bubbles.
Maybe it's just me. I think it might be.


+Zoya
[via]

I was sold the first time this polish hit my nails.
Love all the colors and the smoothness it goes on.
Also love that it's vegan!

+OPI

Badda-bing.
You put the OPI Top Coat on and your nails are set for weeks [pretty much]
Smooth.
Love the wide brush.
Are the names the best or what?

So, what's my dilemma, you ask? Well, I'm just curious what I'm missing out on. I've heard tons of good things about Butter London. Is it worth the price?

I want to continue expanding my nail polish collection but don't want to waste money on a color I love but whose texture or quality will later disappoint.

Tell me, friends! What's your go-to nail polish? What brand can you always rely on, that leaves you always wanting more polish? Spill!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Settled

About a month ago, I arrived at my new home in SAN DIEGO! The next few days were full of tons of excitement as well as tons of coordinating, unpacking, errand-running, etc. As many of you know, my dad helped me make the cross country drive and was able to stay throughout the weekend to help me start to get settled in. Isn't he a nice man?

Luckily, we did have a little time to explore before he had to fly back to the East Coast. Here's a little of what we did:




+Obviously, an In-N-Out trip had to be made while dad was in town.
You should be proud of me. It is still THE only time I've been since I moved here :)
P.S. How cute is that wrapper?



After making a Target run [where that snazzy palm picture was taken] I rushed home to get this TURQUOISE Brita filter set up. If only you had seen my excitement when I saw the turquoise filter on the shelves...




And that, my friends, is the majority of my belongings that got shipped out to me thanks to ABF! The joys of being a single gal!

No shame in some of my DVD collection. Yes, I do have two copies of Season One of The Hills. So?





Ocean Beach, on a cloudy day, is still such a fun place to go to.
When my brother used to live in SD, he sent us a picture at Christmastime of that same tree, all decorated with beach balls :)

We were headed for fish tacos at a place in OB called South Beach Bar & Grille but they were closed for renovations. Thanks to Yelp, I found a place on the other side of the street that not only had rave reviews, but also made it onto The Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

It was so amazing that it actually deserves its own post so you'll have to wait for that!

After our nice break at the beach, we headed back to my house to get things situated, went out to grab some coffee/milk tea, and then unpacked some more before finally crashing early.
The following day was full of more fun errands!




If you couldn't tell by looking at the furniture or the Swedish meal [free with purchases of $100 or more!] then I'm sure the last picture will tell you that I spent a fun afternoon at Ikea!
I can't believe that even the Ikea here is gorgeous! Look at those palms :)

I honestly don't know what I would do without my dad. He was such a huge help and his company was wonderful to have!
I wish we could have had more time to do some sight-seeing before he left but he's already told me he can't wait to come back to sunny San Diego for another visit!

I dropped him off at the airport on the Monday morning after arriving in SD with a long list of things still to do and places to see. The adventure was only just beginning...