Monday, September 30, 2013

A Timeless Family Locket

Nearly one year ago, I was preparing to leave my hometown in the DC suburbs to move to San Diego. I spent one morning going through a bunch of my mom's belongings, to decide what I wanted to take with me. I found beautiful vintage jewelry she had worn back when she was my age, her bracelet from the hospital when she was born, and this...


A golden locket with pictures of my mom's beautiful mother and her handsome father. The two grandparents I never had the chance to meet. I often think about what they would have been like. I've always looked in awe at the few black and white pictures I've seen of them because, although they're family, they're so untouchable. All I'll know of them is those pictures. I'll never know the sound of their voices or how they hugged me.

My mom's mother passed away suddenly when my mom was only 13 but from the pictures I've seen, she was absolutely beautiful. Her smile was so radiant and contagious and reminds me so much of my mom's. I wonder about the dreams she had for her only daughter, my mom. I feel such a special connection to her. A desire to be just like what I imagine she would have been like. I know she was there to embrace my mom last February and I know they're up there now, sitting together, watching me and smiling.

This post was surprisingly very difficult for me to get through. I didn't think I'd be struck with such grief upon discussing the two grandparents that were gone before I was born. But they remind me of the loss of my mom. They remind me of how precious our time here on Earth is. How precious our time with our parents truly is. There are so many questions I wish I could ask my mom. There are so many moments I didn't get to share with her. I know how deeply the loss of her mom wrecked her and completely uprooted the rest of her life here. I know the peace she had as she passed into the next life, knowing she would finally be reunited with her own sweet mother. And that helps. To know that although we lost her, she gained her mom by her side again.

One day, I'll gain my mom by my side again. And I'll finally meet her mother and father, and I'll finally know their voices and feel how they hug me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Embracing the Sad and the Happy Moments of Life

Since moving to San Diego, I've taken a lot of time to just be. To be alone with my thoughts, and with nature. I suppose that's how I managed to truly find myself here. Today, I'm writing from the same spot of sand on Mission Bay that I have frequented a lot over the past almost-year. While I'm here, I take in my surroundings. Whether it's the sound of the palms whispering in the air next to me, the water as it laps at the shore, or the sights of the beautiful seabirds I have the pleasure of sharing the Bay with, I'm constantly reminded of the simple beauties in nature and the world around us. I find myself smiling as I watch this gorgeous pelican dive into the water and then gracefully take flight again. Or the seagull as it walks past me, making eye contact and stopping for a while as we both bask in the sun.


I understand now why some of the greatest authors, poets, and songwriters go to nature for their inspiration. To just sit here in the middle of it all, observing. Breathing. Hearing. Smiling.

I guess it's no coincidence that when I sit here thinking about what makes me happy and what makes me sad, they both involve animals. Nothing in this world saddens me more than animal cruelty. I'm a huge animal rescue advocate. I will never forget the day I brought Stella home and saved her from being killed. She has been the greatest addition to my life and has loved driving cross country with me during my moves. But hearing the stories of the unfortunate ones, the animals whose time "expired" -- it's just not right. In addition to all of the millions of pets without homes, there are the animals being ruthlessly killed around the world for their meat, milk, skin, fur, fat... you name it. The second I started watching the documentary Vegucated, I knew my life was being changed yet again. My heart breaks. I will always stand as a voice for the voiceless.

The loss of my mom will always sadden me, too. How it all happened in the blink of an eye. It turned our lives upside down and I've seen how it's changed us all forever. Seeing how quickly something can literally take over your entire body like that; how it can suck the life out of you in mere hours -- that changes the way you live. Yet, when you watch firsthand as your mother passes from this life into the next, you have to find happiness in the little things. I still wonder how I didn't just go off the deep end after she died. The waves of life kept hitting before I had enough time to come up for air.

So, you do the only thing you know how... You hold your breath and pray for the sea to level out just long enough for you to get back to the surface. And it's when you finally come up for air -- that's when everything is bolder in color. You feel the ripples in the water more defined than ever before. You feel yourself rise and fall with the constant bobbing of the ocean below you. You feel life all around you.

That said, it's in the little moments that I find happiness now. The moments at the start of the day as the sun peeks through the window and Stella reaches out her soft, little paw to touch my face as her way of saying "Good morning." The moments driving with the sunroof open as the wind dances through my hair and my favorite song bounces through the speakers. The moments of feeling butterflies jumping through my stomach after a surprisingly nice date.  The moments of tasting the refreshing sweetness of a perfectly ripe pineapple after a hot, Summer day. The moments of comfort snuggled under a blanket with a steaming cup of smooth apple cider on a crisp, Fall evening.

Life is to be lived. Life is to be felt. And whether it's a moment of sadness or the endless opportunities for moments of happiness, I embrace life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty Review

Having adopted the vegan lifestyle again means making some new adjustments not only when it comes to what food I eat, but also what products I use. I spend time now reading product labels on everything: Hairspray, face wash, eyeliner, sweaters, etc. I check to make sure that a) the product has not been tested on animals and b) that there are not any animal bi-products in the ingredients. It's kind of crazy just how many ingredients used in make-up and other beauty products come from something you'd probably rather not know about.

So, I started doing some research on vegan-friendly brands! There are a lot of great options out there, you just have to look for them. I've been a fan of Alicia Silverstone and all of the efforts she's made for animals so one day, when I was on her website The Kind Life, I read about the line of vegan beauty products she has with Juice Beauty. Originally, I was going to try the chamomile cleanser first but ended up going with the Simply Nourishing Moisturizer. After all, I've spent a LOT of time this year in the sun.





I apply a very small amount onto my fingertips and gently smooth it along my face, focusing around my eyes and forehead. First of all, let me tell you that the scent is divine. It's a refreshing smell that relaxes me just before bed which is when I apply the moisturizer after washing my face. I've noticed how smooth my skin has felt and, more importantly, how radiant my skin looks now in the morning when I wake up!

The best part is that I know the formula I'm applying to my skin is 100% organic and vegan. Here is a list of its awesome ingredients such as organic acai berry, passion flower, and organic sunflower oil. As described on the website, "Organic shea and cocoa butter kiss your skin with hydration, while powerful champagne grape antioxidants renew and leave a silky finish." Amazing, yes? YES.

Online, the product retails for $36, and coming from a girl who loves her drug store bargain finds, you're totally getting what you pay for with this product AND a little bit goes a long way. Do yourself a favor and check out Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty. Not only will you be doing yourself some good, you'll be doing good for the world too! And who doesn't love that? :)

You can check out her full line here. It used to be carried at Ulta but last time I went in, it was just the regular Juice Beauty collection and not hers. I'm seeing the same thing online at Ulta.com so I'm not sure what that's about but you can buy directly through the Juice Beauty website.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Life Lately


If I'm being completely honest, I'm at a crossroads right now in life. A big one. Life in San Diego was developing, with its constant ebb and flow. One of the factors in my life continued getting worse and, as I briefly mentioned in my previous post, made me really uncomfortable time and time again. Well, as I'm sure many of you know, when you continue to allow something to be a part of your life that shouldn't be, the Universe is going to pull it right out from under you.

Was the timing ideal in my eyes? No. Is it ideal in the Universe's eyes? Of course. But now I'm stuck here trying to make sense of it all and trying to figure out what's next. I have a lot of little dots and one day I'll see how they all fit together.

In other news, I was little by little easing myself into the vegan lifestyle again and one day, just pulled the trigger and committed to it. The past month has been filled with raw veggies, fruits, and green smoothie goodness! And I must tell you, my body has never looked and felt so good! My skin is clear and has a natural glow! I have great energy and sleep like a rock! I feel full and satisfied after every meal.

Along with my vegan, plant-based lifestyle, I have been exercising about 5 times a week doing cardio and focusing on free weights. In less than a month, I have shed water weight, eliminated all bloating, and fat in my abdomen and back have been zapped and replaced with lean muscle! My arms are easily my most favorite thing to work on at the gym and have never been this toned! :) When life hits you with difficulties, take it all to the gym! I put Katy Perry's "Roar" on repeat and have at it. 

The time since I moved to San Diego has flown by. I feel like I have grown in so many ways. San Diego has challenged me. Moving here with no friends, family, or boyfriend/significant other really put me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be 100% independent. I'm grateful for that. But there are still many missing pieces to my puzzle and I trust that the Universe is doing what it must to get me to find the other pieces.

So, really, a lot of life lately is just up in the air. Which, if you know me, you know I'm not typically a "go with the flow" type of person. I like to have things planned. I like to know what I'm heading toward. For now, it's just one day at a time as I see how things unfold.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Comfort Means to Me

To me, comfort is a state of being. It doesn't just pertain to one or two of the senses, it applies to them all. When you have comfort, you have your safe haven. Your place and time when and where all is well.

Almost one year ago, before I left the comfort of my home state for the second time.

"From the comfort of your own home."
"I'm here to comfort you."

No matter which way you use it, the word comfort provides a feeling of safety, security, refuge. We live in a world where we are constantly put into uncomfortable environments. Environments that challenge us to get outside of our... comfort zone.

Sometimes in life, we don't have comfort. We have discomfort. And it's in those moments that we have to find the little things that make us comfortable if even for a moment or two. Here are some of those things for me:

Apple cider
My warm slipper boots
A cat's kisses when you least expect them
The sound of the waves crashing
Trader Joe's Swiss 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate [for the vegan chocoholics]
A frothy raw green smoothie
The idea of walking in Old Town Alexandria on a crisp, Fall evening and hearing the sound of your heels click among the fallen leaves.

Can we tell that this San Diego transplant is lusting for her favorite East Coast season?

Picking up and moving here has completely put me outside of my comfort zone. This is probably the most uncomfortable I have ever been. But it's made me a better person. And I think that's another thing about comfort... we wouldn't know what it meant had it not been for the moments and times and years of discomfort.

So, I'll leave you with this: I've never been so uncomfortable in all my life as I am right now. Then again, I guess that means I've never been so alive...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Relive A Day With Her

When asked to choose a memory I'd want to relive, the only person I can think of reliving a moment with is my mom. I wouldn't even be picky about which memory, as long as it was with her.


It's weird. Now that she's gone, I miss her during the tiniest moments. Every. Single. Time I am in DSW or TJ Maxx, I lose it. Yep, there's Chelsea the girl with tears in her eyes trying on shoes in the middle of a DSW aisle. And the second I hear a girl in the TJ Maxx fitting room say, "Mom, what do you think about this?" yep, I tear up.

My mom and I didn't talk much about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. We bonded through running errands together and dancing in the car. Going to Barnes & Noble, grabbing a Starbucks, and browsing the aisles for books was our thing.

So, as much as I'd want to pick the first time we went to Disney World or our annual Virginia Beach vacation or that Christmas that I got my pink Barbie Corvette, I think I'd choose a day of errands with my mom. And then we'd come back home and [just to please her] we'd lie on the couch in the living room while she'd replay that day's episode of Oprah, Dr. Oz, or Dancing with the Stars for me because I "just had" to see it ;) Oh, Mom.

I swear I miss her more as time passes...


Monday, September 16, 2013

Dear Future Husband


I sit here today, wondering who you are. The color of your eyes, the texture of your hair, your favorite food, and how many siblings you have. I wonder about your biggest dreams, your fears, and the sound of your voice.

I get excited thinking of learning the little things about you. You know - how you sleep at night, what kind of pizza you order, and what advice you'll give when I start to feel sick. I look forward to our first several dates and the excitement that will build as we hold hands for the first time and share our first kiss. 

I know when the time is right, you'll come into my life. You'll show me why this crazy path I've been on happened the way that it did. You'll help me realize why it took so long to get to you. And I'll be grateful for it all. Because at that moment, that moment when you ask me to marry you, I'll know it's forever love.

I know you'll keep me safe.
I know you'll be true.
I know you'll love me. Truly love me.
I know you'll show up for me.
I know you'll be my backbone when life's tragedies hit.

But most importantly, I look forward to being each other's best friend. To how proud I'm going to be that I'm the one who gets to be there by your side looking up at you. Because of you, I'll know what it feels like to finally find my soul's mate and share a bond deeper than I can even find words for.

One day, it will be you in the space next to me as I sleep. It will be you sitting next to me as we drive. It will be you next to me in pictures. It will be you whose voice whispers, "I love you." One day, our hearts will be connected, your hand will be in mine. And our souls will join forever.

All my love,
Your Future Wife

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Rockin' Self Portrait


Bright pink lips.
Mom's smile.
Tousled hair.
And a big cat.

Ready for a rock concert.
And that's just where I went.

What's your "rocker" style?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How Blogging Has Impacted My Life

1. The Community

Chances are when I'm talking about my "friends" to someone in real life, I'm talking about someone I met through blogging. The cool thing about the blogging community is that that's exactly what we are. A community. We live in different neighborhoods and towns and even countries, and have our own style or team we cheer for during football season, but we're also like-minded in that we're bloggers. We're a special breed. We have our own inside jokes, hashtags, and names for Starbucks drinks. I was in a sorority in college (and have even found sisters from across the country. ASA's, where you at?) but the sisterhood of the blogging community is unlike any other. It really is too bad we can't all live in the same neighborhood and have PLL viewing parties.

2. The Friendships

In addition to #1, the greatest part of this community has been the friendships that have developed. Not only have I "met" so many wonderful women around the world and been inspired by their stories, but the connections I've established are incredible. I've connected with some of you over our joint love for Pretty Little Liars (I mean how many times can I mention it in one blog post?), or us making our dreams happen no matter what it takes, or even over the losses of our moms. Shoot, you know blogging friendships are the real deal when you meet someone via blogging, happen to move to the same state as them like a year later, and in no time can call them one of your best friends. Not to mention the picture collages that will happen:

If you don't already know Ashley, stop by her blog and get to know her. She's one of the realest, funniest, genuine-est people I know, yo. (I threw in the "yo" for Ash because we're homies!)

And if you're in Southern California (or even Northern California!) and we haven't met up yet, boom... let's make it happen.

3. The Writing

Writing has been my passion, always. I cannot imagine life without writing, similar to how I almost cannot imagine life now without blogging (even if the posts aren't as frequent anymore.) But blogging is more than just writing. It's sharing and connecting. Blogging was there for me when I went through two of the most heart-breaking times in my life that I will ever go through. Not only was I able to express my thoughts and emotions through words, but people like you were there to read those words and to offer me your support.

4. The Realizations

Most importantly, I saw how my experiences and lessons I've learned have struck a chord with some of you, whether you're a friend, a former schoolmate, or a complete stranger. To know that reading about something that's been on my mind lately or about one of the struggles I had to get through has actually helped some of you... that has changed my life.

At the end of the day, all I want is to help make this world a better place. And if I help by giving someone the support they need when they reach out about an abusive relationship or the loss of a parent or how the heck to move across the country alone, well... what more could a girl ask for? :) Blogging helped me re-find myself, my passions, and my purpose.

Blogging. It's changed my life. For good. And for the better.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 | Twelve Years

No matter how many years have passed, September 11th will always be a day of remembrance for me. It was a day that shook our nation and shook my community deeply.


Most of the day is a blur.
I was in Spanish class.
A classmate mentioned a 'bomb' at the Pentagon, the place where many of my classmates' parents worked, as it was just a few miles away from my high school.
Our teacher allowed us to turn on the radio before class even started.
They were in New York City where there had been a "plane crash."
I remember hearing sirens in the background and fear in the voice of the commentator.

Our school was put on lock-down.
No one could enter and no one could leave.
I can't remember much after that other than absolutely no TVs being turned on in my classes.
I don't know what time it was when I got home (and I didn't have a cell phone yet at this time) so I ran into the house where I met my mom in the living room, staring at the TV.

"I saw the second plane crash into the other tower!" She was still in shock.

I remember visiting the Pentagon that weekend. The smell of jet fuel still stuck in the air. I remember looking up at the Pentagon, the strong, powerful building I was so used to seeing right there on the edge of Virginia and DC. But it was so different this time. As I stood there looking at the American flag that hung along the blackened and collapsed building, I knew our country would never be the same.

So, today, I am grateful. For the United States of America. For the servicemen/women, and civilians who were heroes that day and for all the heroes who've fought and fight to protect our freedom everyday. Never forget those lives lost and those forever changed. And never, ever forget that this life we live is precious. Take a moment to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Peace and love.

Last year's post, looking back after eleven years.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On Being the One Percent - INFJ

Last week, I mentioned how it wasn't until the past year or so that I finally found out who I really am as a woman. Yep, it took me that long to fully accept and embrace my true self instead of always trying to fit into the box that society, or my mom, or my friends, or peers tried to put me in. I never felt like I fit into that box but it wasn't until now that I realized it's really okay. I had taken the Myers-Briggs profile questionnaire more times than I can count through high school and college and honestly, I can't remember what I "was" back then but I can almost guarantee that it started with an "E." Why? Because I figured all normal people were extroverted. I was cheerful, full of energy, and loved performing in front of people, so I had to be extroverted, right? Wrong. But it wasn't until 2011 that I found out I was really, truly, no questions asked an:

INFJ


Introverted | Intuition | Feeling | Judging

Without fail, every time I take that questionnaire, I get the same results now that I fully know, understand, and embrace who I am and how I act, feel, plan, etc. I had no idea the questionnaire for this Blogtember prompt [you can take it here] was one that yielded Myers-Briggs type results. So, when I saw those four letters, "INFJ" I smiled to myself :)

I am introverted in that I enjoy spending time alone. Don't get me wrong, I love get-togethers and having fun but it always gets to a certain point where I feel myself quickly becoming drained. Am I anti-social? No. Am I reserved until you get to know me? Yes. And you better watch out once you get to know me because I am quite the goof ball! I just value my "me" time to re-charge and when I'm with others, I prefer a smaller group of people whom I trust.

I am intuitive in that I am deeply led by my strong insight into people and situations. Since a young age, I've had a pretty spot-on, extremely strong intuition and instinct. If you ever heard my story about what I jokingly predicted in first grade, you might be a bit freaked out. I think maybe my sixth sense just runs in the family :) 

I am feeling in that everything I do is usually through emotion. I recently read this about INFJ's: "We do not sympathize. We do not empathize. We literally feel exactly what you feel. Even if you are trying to hide it or don’t express your feelings, somehow we still know." Additionally, I make many decisions based off of how something makes me feel. I tend to take things personally. I feel my way through life.

And I am judging in that I prefer to have closure, whether it's a conversation, a project at work, or plans for the weekend... I like to have things figured out and completed ahead of time. That is how I best move forward in situations. I believe that there is (almost always) a right way and a wrong way to do things and I prefer the right way :)

As I read here, "INFJs, making up an estimated 1% of all people, are the most rare type. They are introspective, caring, sensitive, gentle and complex people that strive for peace and derive satisfaction from helping others. INFJs are highly intuitive, empathetic and dedicated listeners. These traits tend to act as a "tell me what's wrong" sign on their forehead, hence the nicknames Confidant, Counselor or Empath. INFJs are intensely private and deeply committed to their beliefs."

Fun Fact: Fellow INFJs are two of my favorite people - Adam Sandler and Oprah!

That's me, in a nutshell. Which makes me even more excited to write about something important that my future holds. One day, my friends. One day :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

More Afraid Than I've Ever Been

Being afraid. When am I not afraid? I'm afraid of everything - thunderstorms, tornadoes, turbulence, spiders, loud noises. My fear of flying has slowly been conquered but the turbulence part will always give me white knuckles. Lately, I've been doing a lot of work on letting go of fear-based thoughts and limiting beliefs. In doing that, I've been made more aware of what exactly it is that I'm afraid of. I'm now better able to handle my fear and turn those thoughts around. However, there were some instances in life where fear completely consumed me and I'm about to tell you about the worst instance:

I stood in the hallway where there were a few couches and chairs because the dark, cramped up waiting room was too much to bear at that point. I texted my boss at work, keeping the office up-to-date. I saw countless tweets come through, strangers reaching out to me. I texted my best friends with updates. I sat down, stood up, leaned against the couch, and leaned on the shoulders of my family.

We all took turns. While some of us waited there at those couches, others went upstairs to visit. Then, my phone started to ring. It was my brother who was upstairs at the time while I waited. 

"We need you to come up here," he said.
"What's wrong?!" I asked in a panic.
"She keeps trying to tell us something but we don't know what she's saying and you're the only one who can understand her."

Before I could even hang up the phone in time, I rushed to the elevator, pushed the button, and ran into the room where I saw my brother, his fiancee, and my dad all distraught, in tears. I looked at my mom and back at my family, standing around her hospital bed. This wasn't good.

I took her hand as I knelt down close to her side.

"Mom? What are you trying to say?"
She was frustrated, exhausted, as she tried again to communicate with what little oxygen she had left.
She kept trying to tell us that my dad needed to go get something that was green. Something particular. Her words were muffled, twisted, and didn't make much sense.

It was at that moment that I started to see her go.
It was the first instance I could really see the life in her dissipate, rapidly.

With concerned eyes, I looked over at my brother who was at my mom's left side.
He looked at me, nodded, and said:

"It's time to say your goodbyes."


After that short moment that we shared, my mom said a few more things that I'll never forget. They were very spiritual moments for me. They were symbolic to me of her being ready to pass into the next life. I lost all control of my emotions. My heart sank deep into my chest and my knees buckled. It was happening. She was dying. Mere hours after receiving the prognosis.

Life stopped for me right there in those moments. Looking back, all I can see are flashes. I remember my mom telling us it was time to go. I remember walking back to the elevator with my brother and his fiancĂ©e. She wrapped her arms around me in the elevator as I cried the deepest cry my soul has felt. It was the moment of acceptance that my mom was really going to die soon. That I would soon be without a mother. That she was forever going to be gone from my life on Earth.

--

My mom lived for another twenty-four hours, enough time for her brother to fly in and for her best friends to visit to say their goodbyes. Enough time for her to tell me one last time,
"I love you."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Lesson of Loving Yourself First

Growing up, my mom always had little phrases and teachings that she'd say. I'm sure I'd always roll my eyes and stomp my moody teenage feet up the stairs. But ever since my mom passed away last year, I'm constantly reminded of those little phrases and teachings I'll always remember. One day, I'm going to write them all into a blog post and even better, one day I'll get to pass them onto my own children.

My mom was my biggest critic. While, yes, she was very supportive of many of the things I loved, she was also the first to critique me. Long story short, I didn't have the greatest self confidence starting in middle school all the way through college and even after. So, whenever I'd jump into a relationship and start to fall head over heels, my mom was always less than thrilled. She saw the strength, independence, and tenacity in me ever since I was a young girl and then as soon as a guy would enter my life, I'd lose myself. My happiness would depend on the relationship.

I remember my mom telling me in some form or another that before I loved another, I had to love myself. Yet, I'm sure at the time, I'd hear that, roll my eyes and stomp my feet back up those stairs. Of course I loved myself!

But I didn't. Because I didn't even know who I was. There were so many boxes I felt as though I was being forced to fit in. Pressure from the outside world to be somebody that wasn't really me. Oddly enough, it wasn't until the death of my mother that I figured out who I really was. And I found out what it meant to really, truly love myself.


Whether you're single or not, it's such an important lesson to love yourself first. Create your own happiness. Take yourself on dates. Learn something new. Nurture your own health. Love yourself completely for your past, your flaws, your wrinkles, your scars, your strengths, your natural talents. Understand that you can rely on your own heart and that you yourself... you're enough. You're complete.

So, it's true... mama always knows best. And I'd like to think that she's proud of the woman I have become today and that she is excited (finally) to see that I'm ready now to love another... because you better believe I love myself ;)

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Three Months Away From My Life

Three months to do what ever I'd like. Wow! The things I could do. The people I could see. If I had three months to get away from the life I currently live, I would definitely have to travel. Three months, three continents! Here they are in no particular order.

africa


If you've been around here lately, it's probably no surprise to you that I plan to go to Africa. I don't know when. All I know is that I feel a push to go there. To love the children and families who have nothing and to be inspired and changed forever by their love. Their hearts of gold in such horrible conditions. I know without a doubt that it will be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. While I'm there, it'd be wonderful to experience and see the wildlife in their own, true habitat, although, I don't want to impose on them so the idea of a safari isn't the route I will take. I'll keep you updated on that...

Africa inspires me so much, even this far away. I look forward to the day when the emotions of my surroundings there will fill me. If you haven't already watched one of my favorite YouTube videos ever, about joyful, jubilant children in an orphanage and their beautiful song, please head over to watch it!

australia




Australia has always been on my list. Mainly because I have family there which means there is no excuse for me not going to visit one day. Maybe on my honeymoon? I'd visit my family in the Brisbane area and explore the beautiful Gold Coast. Then, I'd head down to Victoria where I'd spend some time in Melbourne and then off to Bells Beach I'd go to watch some epic surf! Have you heard my Australian accent yet? It's pretty awesome :)

scandinavia


I remember my mom's dream of going to see the beautiful people of Scandinavia. From an early age, I dreamt of that area of our Earth and what it'd be like to experience those cultures. I've been to several countries in Europe and Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland are next on the list! How romantic! Maybe I'll go here on my future honeymoon instead? I can hear the echo of my heels on the cobblestone on a brisk, Fall evening. Swoon!

I'd spend about a month or so on each different continent, getting to know the culture, the people, the food, the stories, the sights. I'd soak it all up. Let it sink in. It'd be life-changing! And to me, that's what life is all about. Stepping outside of your comfort zone. Connecting with strangers through love. Seeing all that is out there to be seen.

Have you visited any of these places? What would you do in your three months away?

Sources:
One | Two | Three | Four



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where I Come From

Alexandria, Virginia. The city I was born in. The city I frequented on hot, muggy Summer nights and crisp, chilly Winter evenings. It's the city (one of them) I went to school in and the city where much of my mom's side of the family is rooted and also buried in. In August, when I went home, it had been the longest since I had seen this town that borders Washington, D.C. and sits right on the Potomac River.


I fell in love with it all over again. The cobblestone streets, the rich history in every brick building you walk past, the stories that have been passed on to me about my ancestors. In the twenty-some years I lived in Northern Virginia, it changed and transformed every year. Trees were knocked down, government buildings were put up in their place, houses built one on top of the other. But I knew, for the most part, I could go to Old Town, Alexandria or into the Nation's Capitol and I'd see the sights I knew I could always count on.

I come from a mother born in the same town as I, and a father born at the Jersey Shore. My family, with our imperfections and all, come from a place of love and the belief to always do what is right.


I come from a neighborhood where we'd play outside until the sun went down and the lightning bugs came out.

I come from a home on a hill flooded with sunlight, surrounded by trees centuries and centuries old.

But most importantly to me, after all these years is that I come from a family with wonderful memories. Through all of life's ups and downs, its celebrations and losses, I have beautiful pictures to look back on, stories to laugh about, mementos in my childhood home that remind me that where I come from... it makes me who I am today. And for that, I am forever grateful.


This is the first entry of mine in the Blogtember series, hosted by Jenni. I hope you'll stop by again throughout the month of September :)