Monday, August 31, 2015

Ready For Fall

For some reason, I am normally kind of bummed when summer ends. But this year is different. Maybe it's because I no longer have to start a new year of school (I suck at change). Maybe it's because the weather has been so harsh this summer. But for whatever reason, I am over summer. I need to move on to something new. And fall feels like the perfect thing to move into. This past weekend, we finally got some rain and cool temperatures, and it felt so amazing. So I figured I'd share my excitement for fall with you guys in hopes that it lifts your spirits a bit.

Reasons why I'm beyond ready for fall:

1. Fall clothing- scarfs, cozy sweaters, hats- you name it, I'm ready for it. I'm always so much more comfortable in tons of layers, especially since my office is always freezing no matter what time of year it is. There's something about snuggling up in some warm clothing that just comforts me.
2. Pumpkin spice goodness- ok this one is a given, but I always do get excited for the pumpkin explosion that occurs during fall in all grocery stores, farmers markets, and coffee shops.

3. Apple Picking/Apple Cider/Apple flavored anything- I love going out into the orchards for apple picking. There are plenty of nice, crisp days in the fall that are perfect for spending outside, and what's better than getting some fresh produce along with it? I'm also a huge fan of apple cider, so that is a perk of fall as well.

4. Leaves changing colors- it is always gorgeous when the trees are changing colors. It is the perfect change of scenery, especially when everything is yellow and brown from the lack of rain this year. I'm ready for some color to be back in my life.
 My silly pup blending in.

5. Football- GO BLUE! I'm not much of a NFL fan, but I do love to watch college football. My fiance went to Michigan, so every week during the fall we have to watch the game. Even if it sometimes means waking up at 9am to do it. There aren't many things that will get Dan out of bed at 9am on a Saturday, but Michigan football is one of them.
6. Our first Halloween with trick or treaters- I just realized that we will have trick or treaters this year! And we get to decorate! I'm not sure why this excites me so much, but it really does. I have even contemplated dressing our dog up in a costume this year. TBD on whether he will cooperate with this effort or not.

7. My best friend's wedding!!!!! The last weekend in September I'll be travelling back home for the wedding weekend festivities. I am beyond excited to spend some quality time with her and her family. She is awesome and already has a girls day planned with lunch and mani/pedis followed by a trip to the Italian American Festival (this wonderful festival our town puts on every year that is full of delicious food). Should be an amazing weekend all around!
8. Puppy snuggles- Scout has been extra snuggly lately! I know it's because he is just feeding off my body heat, but I still think it's cute to have my little guy snuggled up to me more often.
9. Enjoying time outside- this summer in Portland has been HOT. Tons of records were shattered. Here are some awful stats. Needless to say I'm ready for a change.

Hopefully some of my fall enthusiasm has rubbed off on you! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Homeowner Thoughts

To say the past few weeks  have been busy is an understatement. Between flying home to do some wedding planning, a work trip to LA, and having some friends over to visit us, we have been quite busy! Oh and add in the fact that we are still adjusting to having a home and all that comes with it. Here are some new homeowner thoughts that I've realized over the past few weeks. It has definitely been a fun, crazy learning experience!

1. Throwing get together with friends is so much easier! It's so wonderful to have plenty of space to have guests over without worrying about bothering the neighbors. While we still had a few large get togethers in our apartment, it always felt like we were cramped and hot (without AC having lots of people in a small space really heats it up!).

= Best game ever

2. Bugs are not my favorite, but I'm getting better at dealing with them. We had a HUGE fly problem a few weeks ago. Apparently they were getting in through the unfinished part of the crawl space. It was gross. Dan was a trooper and really helped out on this one. We ending up going to home depot and buying a screen to cover the open hole as well as added some plastic strips to cover the creases in the door. That seemed to stop the indoor problem, but we still have tons of spiders and cob webs on the outside of the house. We have Terminix come out every other month which does help considerably.

3. Watering everything takes up a lot of time. However, if you get few long hoses (100 or 200 foot one usually work best) it makes the process a whole lot easier. We originally only had one hose, so I used to carry a 2 gallon watering can to water the plants out of reach (including my hanging plants out front). Definitely not a sustainable process. Do yourself a favor and invest in hoses. It makes a world of difference, especially during those hot dry summers.

3.5- This relates to the previous comment, but DON'T plant hydrangeas in the dead of summer like I did. They are called hydrangeas for a reason- they want TONS of water. I water these guys every day and they still don't look awesome. I think they will pull through the summer, but I definitely will be more careful about planting things during the appropriate season.

4. Long laundry lists of things to do- there is always something to do. Whether it's something small like hanging up pictures or changing out a facet to the larger things like remodeling the kitchen, there is always a large list of things that we want to get done. We prioritized the things we needed to get done, but the list will always continue to grow.

5. Getting an awesome general contractor (GC) is SO helpful. That's probably the best advice I would have for new homeowners. We had a list of items from our inspection that we wanted to get done right away (rewiring the house, putting in a new electrical panel, adding AC, fixing the roof, etc) and our GC was able to help us with everything. If he personally didn't know how to fix it (i.e. he isn't specialized in roofing for example) he always knew a contact that he could send out to our house to help get the project finished.

6. Lots of little expenses adding up- while our overall mortgage payment ended up being slightly less than our monthly apartment cost, there still are a bunch of little expenses that seem to creep up on us. Between our trips to home depot, bed bath & beyond, and buying random gadgets from amazon, it really does start to add up. We are learning to keep an eye on that!

7. Being able to spend more time outside- I love being able to bring a cup of coffee out on our porch in the morning and watch the world wake up. It's one of my favorite times of the day, and I just love being able to enjoy it more often. Our dog Scout is loving the yard as well. It is so much easier to play fetch with our little guy when we have a yard right outside the door. We used to have to drive to dog parks, which was enough of a hassle that we only would do it once a week. Now Scout gets to spend a lot more time outside.

8. Make sure you have plenty of tools- I'm always glad to have work gloves, a measuring tape, paint brushes, a step stool, a shovel, a bucket, a dolly, and other basic tools on hand for those random projects that come up. Having a garage makes storage of all those items super easy!

That's it for now! I'll be sure to keep you posted on our first year as new homeowners. Have a good one :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Running Thoughts

Hello there! Today is everyone's favorite day: Monday! Ok so maybe it might be the most hated day, but I tend to think Mondays fly by faster than most days of the week, so at least there is that. I went on a long run yesterday in downtown Portland and I began drawing some interesting parallels between running and life in general. Yes kind of a weird comparison, but I was surprised of how many ideas seemed to flow between the two concepts. So get ready for a bit of a rant/mind dump.
  • Running like life is a contact sport. You can't live it through someone else. There isn't an app or a service to hire in order to log your miles for the week. You personally have to get out there and pound the pavement, not just live vicariously through that gym rat on social media that won't stop posting about how many hand stand push-ups they can do. 
  • You are going to have good runs and some really REALLY bad runs. It is humbling to have those terrible runs, no matter how much they suck. They make you realize that you can always challenge yourself to be better. Do better. The more pain you feel, the stronger you are getting. 
  • Overall, running isn't exactly a feel good exercise. It really can hurt. And when it doesn't hurt, it is very monotonous. Just like your day to day life, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  

But you do it for those highs- the moments where everything truly falls into place. When you hit your PR or when you cross that finish line at a race, you can finally see how the sum of small parts all slides together to support that overall goal.

  • Getting tips and advice definitely can help! I love talking to other runners or reading about other peoples experiences. It really helps you feel like your part of a larger community. I feel very similar when it comes to other things in life. When I can talk to a mentor or friend who has experienced something I'm going through, it makes a world of difference. Whether it's to wear body glide during your long runs or keep a list of achievements throughout the year to help you fill out your year end review, talking to people and hearing their experiences and advice really has helped me thus far. 
  • I believe that there is a balancing act in life. Now I'm honestly not a religious person at all, but I tend to find that the really good stuff tends to balance out the bad crap we have to deal with. The only problem is that the timing is usually off for everyone. There are times when tons of bad stuff keeps piling up, and you can't find a silver lining anywhere. Unfortunately sometimes you have to search and find the good stuff. It reminds me of running hills. Boy does it suck running up a steep hill a few miles into your run. It feels like it will never end. But there is always the reminder that what goes up must come down. Running down those steep hills on your way back always feels that much more empowering knowing what you had to do in order to get over them. 
  • Everyone goes at their own pace. You can't compare yourself to others without driving yourself crazy. I'm not a very fast runner, and that used to bother me in the beginning. But everyone is different- they have different experiences, traumas, battles, successes and failures. Forget everyone else and try to be the best you there is, because you'll never be anyone else. 
    • I've noticed that in our mid twenties, a lot of people are progressing in different parts of their lives faster than others. Some people are still in school, working towards a post graduate degree while others are working on stepping up in their jobs. Some people are getting married and taking steps there. Others are travelling the world and getting to know themselves. It's ok that everyone is moving at a different pace in different parts of their lives. Don't judge yourself based on where your peers are. 
  • Recovery is critical. Whether its getting over a breakout, sleeping until 2pm on Saturday after a long week, or stretching sore muscles, it is important to learn your breaking point and how to rejuvenate and recover. It's easy to be hard on yourself and continuously push to the breaking point, but you have to also be smart and kind to your body or else you won't recover adequately and it will affect your performance later on. 
  • Once you've past your prime in running (injury, age, fatigue), you begin to share your story with the younger generation in hopes that they can learn from your experiences and mistakes. 
  • In the end of both a run and life, everyone smells bad and doesn't look great. It's a universal thing. It's not just you. 
Not sure if this jives with anyone else, but these comparisons really struck a chord with me yesterday during my run. Have a good one!

P.S. Hilarious- Thoughts You Have On A Long Run

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Answer To "I'm Engaged! Now What?"

I honestly wish I had read a post on this topic before I got engaged. This is the exact reason why I'm writing this post. Getting engaged is such an exciting and crazy time, especially when you are the one being proposed to! At least the proposer has time to prepare for the day, whereas the proposee (yes I made that word up) is usually completely in shock and has a million things flying around their head. I'll incorporate some of my experience with Dan's proposal as well as some things I heard/read later that I found helpful.

Steps to take when you get engaged:
1. Make sure you take a moment to look around you and completely memorize the setting. You will be telling the story and remembering that moment for the rest of your life, so you mines well take note of the details while you can! Here's the beach that Dan proposed to me back in February.

2. Try to take a photo with your new fiance/fiancee. Although Dan's proposal was pretty private, I'm glad we took a couple of selfies and stopped someone to take our picture together. While they might not be the most beautiful pictures, you will always want to remember the pure joy in your faces right after that amazing moment. Here's Dan and I after the proposal! I'm so glad I have these pictures to remember all the details perfectly.

3. Take an hour or two to let it fully sink in. Then call/text/e-mail all of your close friends and family. Do NOT post anything on social media until everyone important knows you two are engaged, or else it will ruin the surprise for your loved ones.
3 1/2. Ok so now you can start telling people, but expect to be showered with tons of phone calls and e-mails. People are going to ask about how it happened, what the ring looks like, and if you know when you are going to get married. The last question always bothered me- I mean come on, I literally just got engaged, how the heck am I supposed to know when I'm getting married? I'm living in the moment people!
4. Revel in the day- it really is going to be one you remember forever.
5. Now you are allowed to share your news via social media. People will likely want to see pictures, so prepare appropriately.
6. Make sure you new engagement ring is insured! Also, if it doesn't fit, get it sized. Dan already knew what size ring to get, but we had to get in insured the following week. I was so nervous that I would loose it!

7. Sign up for the typical wedding websites- The Knot, Wedding Wire, Pinterest, etc.
8. Start talking about a timeline for the wedding, since people will start asking you.
9. Set a budget and start considering venues
10. Begin making a guest list (consult parents for their potential guests).
11. Relax! You have PLENTY of time to get everything together! I definitely wanted to rush into planning right away, but you really don't need to do that. You should share some time with your new fiance/fiancee and revel in the fact that you are getting MARRIED!