You know when You have Thoughts and then those Thoughts keep going…

It’s one of those things I have started to wonder about, now that I’m getting into the second half of the first year of a serious relationship. You know, wonder about the future, wonder how long the giggly honeymoon phase lasts, wonder if this will really kick off or is something else going to come up, and wonder about that pesky L-word. Some people take the idea very seriously, while others just let the feelings and the time flow.

I usually consider myself as the latter choice, because I don’t believe allowing myself to stress/overthink emotions is something practical or even necessary to do. You feel what you feel and just go from there, right? On the flip side, I’m older now; any relationships/flings/romances/relations I had in the past were from a time where I was younger, less mature, less practical, less serious. I let by-gones be by-gones and I never held on to anything with serious intentions. I always told myself that if things didn’t work out, move on to something else.

I still think that for many things now, although I have learned to put more serious and focused work on things that matter NOW. My career attempts, for example, is a goal I feel very strongly towards, now that I have found a field I enjoy and desire to develop within. Quite frankly, I almost stumbled on the idea by sheer chance, but I wouldn’t change the moment for anything else. I also take living and caring for myself much more seriously; I have change my dietary menu (vegetarian), I have learned to shop and save with or without coupons (Aldi’s and Costco also helps), I have learned to take care of bills, charges, taxes, making appointment, tending to car maintenance, fixing things in the home, etc. I have learned to live like a proper adult and take responsibilities as expected, so in that aspect, I consider myself doing a job well done!

*pat on the back*

Back to my original thought, the whole relationship factor. This time, after some flops in the past, I took a different route based on advice from a friend: online dating.

Whoa.

Anyways, I figured the worst that could happen is… well, a lot of things honestly, but I went ahead and chanced it. After some trials and fails, I landed a rather likable male who was suited according to my interests (omg he knows how to make conversation, omg he has a real career, omg he pays his own bills and owns a car….), and 6+ months later, it appears to still be working out pretty successfully. I like this guy. A lot, probably.

So that L-word. I went around and ask some friends when they started dropping it to their significant others and the average result I got was 4-5 months into the relationship. I questioned my findings and pondered on people’s desire to say the word with the right meaning behind it. I was curious what made people make the change from like to love, and I listened to stories of newfound loves and tragic romances (typically not by choice). I, then, took a look at myself and what I had going on.

I didn’t really come to a solid conclusion on myself, but I know what I have going on is something special and quite frankly, rather dear to me. I like where things are going and I am just going to keep it at that.

Father Time Is Here to Beat You.

Time.

Time is something that I realize will continue weighing heavily on my mind for the rest of my life, starting after I graduated from college two years ago. I always seem to find myself speaking with the starting phrase, ‘Back when I was… (insert place, age, reflective memory, etc)’ in response to another person’s story. Honestly, I don’t even think about it when I’m saying it either.

For example, with my part-time (the other job), there’s a younger girl there who was talking about how excited she was to start college this coming fall. I immediately got excited because college was such a fun experience with so many happy memories for me; I started my response (again, without really thinking about) as, “Oh, I remember back to my first semester at college!” and carried on with some of my personal advice on how to keep your head afloat and don’t do dumb stuff, but you probably should accomplish some dumb stuff so you’re aware that it’s dumb.

Drinking 3 beers with 10+% alcohol content is sometimes dumb. Especially alone. While your companion drinks one beer that’s 5%. Jerk.

In the midst of my reflective ramble, I suddenly realized that I was speaking of an event (leaving for college) that happened almost six years ago. To some people, I understand this may not seem like a long time, but someone like myself… it’s a little rough, haha. As I steadily cruise through my 20s, I understand that I’m in a crucial period of making it or breaking it. Of course, anyone can make any changes they want at any point of time in their lives, but let’s face it: You run through elementary and high school like it’s nothing major, jump in the college boat for a couple of years to grab a degree in something, and then once you get off the boat into a ‘New World’… suddenly, you’re actually truly, positively on your own.

Dinner will be waffles! With nutella! And strawberries and bananas! This is what adults eat, right? RIGHT?!

In the past couple years, I learned how to not only take on all mandatory and extra forms of responsibilities, but also how to create myself into the type of person I really would like to be as I continue to age. This is your chance to be the person you want to be, you just have to do what it takes to get it. Everything worth having usually takes some effort on both sides to make it work. I wanted to work in a library real bad but had zero experience, so I decided to volunteer while working two jobs and finally score a job in the midst of that, allowing myself to replace one of the jobs. Just recently, I was upgraded into a better position at a separate branch with much more responsibilities and as well as room to continue learning more. This ordeal took about a year, which might seem fast for some, but it definitely took a lot of effort and networking on my part to get where I am right now.

I also grew my hair long, drastically updated my wardrobe (still a continued process), lost some of that good ol’ college beer gut, switched into a healthy, slight organic vegetarian diet, and finally got myself to read, blog, and draw! I feel much more like myself and who I have wanted to be now than I have in a very long time.

Love, happiness, and Battleship

However, back to the time and age issue. The reason this cropped up into my mind today was because of a certain website called Buzzfeed. If you are not familiar with this media website, it’s essentially a social content website with various posts on… well, anything! Like, Dogs that Look like Pandas, Animal Photobombers or Things that Don’t Make Sense, to name a few.

The one… THE ONE that got to me was this: 48 Things That Will Make You Feel Old. Now, about this particular post, it might be specifically applied to those who fall under the ’90s kids’ generation A.K.A. primarily those in their 20s right now (such as myself). However, the concept of it can be applicable to all ages; so if you were to compile a bunch of items and events that occurred in the 1980s and showed them to all those in their late 20s and 30s, it would more or less have the same effect.

One example in the Buzzfeed post, The Spice Girls’ album, Spice, was released 15 years ago in the U.S. during early 1997 when I was 8 years old. I specifically remember how much of an effect  the Girls had on me though in ’97 and ’98, as they were the powerhouse for ‘girl power’ with myself and other girls at the time, which is why saying this occurred 15 years ago suddenly seems like a punch in the gut. This memory that seems so strong and unforgettable happened that long ago?

N*SYNC went on ‘hiatus’ 10 years ago. This was a band that cruised through and took over pop music (alongside Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Boyz2Men, and other groups) since their formation in 1995 up until their hiatus in 2002. For myself, the late 90s and early 2000s were my teeny-bopper, preteen, and start of teenage years so you can guess that I was madly-stupid-crazy into boy bands (and Spice Girls) at the time. They were good-looking! They could sing and dance! Sometimes they were similar outfits! They were good-looking! I still remember their videos and appearances on MTV’s TRL afternoon line-up… you know, back when MTV still played music?!

I hope you just got whiplash from all these flashbacks I’m throwing past you.

Too intense… confusion and distraught! MADNESS!

Times carries on and things change, music change, clothes change, attitude change, people change. I’ve always accepted this, certainly, but I couldn’t hide the fact that I was experiencing some serious nostalgia for my dear, sweet, innocent childhood days of questionable pop music. Rihanna is a nice singer and all, but I understand too clearly what she’s looking for… anybody can get it.

This is my advice to those struggling with the flow of time and gaining a year: Just grow with it. As you age, you continuously have the ability to make the changes you desire and carve yourself into a better person. You might be getting a little older, but is that going to stop you from accomplishing what you want? NO! I used to spend all of my teenage years drawing, painting, crafting all sorts of things. I took every single art class, in additional to community art classes, all through high school and one additional one in the first semester of college, where I feel I completed some of my best work.

Piece of a metamorphosis project. Only a fond memory now…

After that, I stopped. Why? I got too caught up with the college lifestyle, with the stress of major classes, with the excitement of moving to the main campus (it’s huge!) with all my friends in year three, with my social life and the ability to do anything I wanted. After I graduated, I moved to the big city and realized that I needed to work, and work hard to make money to pay for everything. After some initial struggle, I ended up with two jobs I didn’t like (nothing to do with my major, of course) and volunteer work (that I loved). As I explained earlier in this post, in the past year turned into what I have going on now (one job that I love and one that is kind of eh).

My Beautiful Other Home

So what happened to my passion for art? Well, I’m bringing it back! I have all of my supplies from high school in a big box for me to use, I’m going to my city’s big Arts Festivals (there will be a post for this, I’m sure) in the next month, I bought a pair of coupons to do a painting class with a friend at a bar (clever, methinks), and finally, I signed up for a kind-of-pricey drawing lab class for July and August. It’s going to be a little rough to get back into, but I’m not letting time remind me of that. I fully intend on grabbing back my original passion for it and bringing it together full force.

Halfway session of a Round Robin Canvas Pass-a-long

I will also say that this blogging adventure I’ve been trying to pursue has also helped with bringing back my creativity in all forms: art, writing, and reading. I’ve read so many blogs and posts of such inspiring thoughts and ideas and I continue to crave more. 🙂 These are some of my favorites so far (forgive me, I’m still looking for so many more to read!):

A Beautiful Mess (Crafty, cute, fun!)

Books and Bowel Movements (The love for reading… ahh, I love it!)

into mind (Fashion and thoughts)

love library and Lupine Librarian (Librarians! My dream!)

bornattwentyfive (Inspiring about life and happiness! So sweet!)

The Shy Comedian (Oh my goodness, I can’t tell if this girl’s humor strives from unfortunate events or what, but she is so clever and witty with her views… so funny)

Photoblog by Jay J. Manalo (A cute photoblog, something I wish I was better at… I’ll keep trying!)

What About This? (Just things in life and having fun, but I love the Friday’s Fresh Five posts, she lists so many great things!)

My only real goal with blogging to eventually come to a point where I will be able to share something that will inspire another. I understand that this blog is super young, unformed, unorganized, and needs a lot of legwork to make it something readable, but I’m willing to make it happen.

I support you in your turnip-y dreams

Will time let me achieve that? Of course, because I’m not going to let it drag me down. 🙂 Thanks for reading and many thanks for each one of you for being inspiring individuals.

Please, if you would like, share with me your thoughts in the comments below on time, flashbacks, and what inspires you to achieve what you want, no matter what age you are. What are some things you may have forgotten, but have been wanting to bring back?

Who Took My Peanut Butter?

Now, I’ve been trying to be a dedicated, healthy vegetarian for about three months now, which I think I’m doing fairly well, I’m also well aware that there are still a lot of changes I can make to do it better. (Helpful suggestions for a newbie? I’m kind of cheap too so I can’t be getting too fancy). I still eat seafood though… it’ll be a slow process for me to completely take that out of my diet because tuna is really cheap and delicious (I know, I know, lame excuse). It’s even harder when eating out; I didn’t realize how much of the menus would typically contain some kind of meat in the options. I usually just end up picking something with seafood or one of the few ‘vegetarian’ options they may have, haha.

Or I make my friends go to vegetarian-friendly places instead.

So far, they haven’t fought with me.

Yet.

For example, I went out to a Bravo’s with a friend for their brunch specials without realizing that the majority of their options would include sausage and bacon. I mean, of course, it does, but I went in with high expectations of a classy meat-less meal haha. I ended up getting Crab Cakes and Eggs (seafood, I know!), which contained: Jumbo lump crab cakes served atop sautéed spinach and artichokes, paired with poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce and BRAVO! breakfast potatoes.

My excuse was that I felt fancy. Ignore my friend’s meaty entrée

Sometimes, when I come home late at night after a long day of work, errands, and mindless responsibilities to tend to, I have moments of distraught for food that my dinner would end up being this:

Don’t judge me, I love cheese with a fiery passion!

However, I’ve been doing a lot of small things with fruits, my sweet love! And believe me, I about died when I saw strawberries and blueberries back in season! Especially so I can avoid getting ‘bad’ sweets, no matter how pretty they might appear, like this:

To be fair, I bought these for my co-workers, not just me.

In order to steer myself in a better (right?) direction, one type of snack/lunch I’ve been doing are variations of peanut butter sandwiches. I have a fond love for peanut butter (almost as strong as my love for cheese). I can’t say exactly when it started, or which brand I prefer (as long as it’s smooth, not crunchy), or if I have any traumatic episodes that made me almost turn the other way, but the love is strong. After doing a continuous stretch of peanut butter and honey on English muffins for breakfast, I thought, ‘Oh, why don’t I just make sandwiches for lunch?’

Cue light bulb.

The first type of sandwich I did was peanut butter and banana. I know, I know, pretty standard stuff. I tried to make it a little more exciting by adding honey, but even that seemed boring. Any ideas on how to spice it up a bit?

My next expedition with peanut butter sandwiches was peanut butter (whoa), apple slices, honey drizzle, and cinnamon. Now, maybe I was having a moment, but this was pretty amazing. I would always pair my pb with apples as a snack and just the sheer idea of putting it between two slices of wheat bread seemed genius to me.

Paradise on bread. No?

The next, more commonly used, peanut butter snack I tend to make is a peanut butter yogurt dip.

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup flavored yogurt of your choice (I tend to pick strawberry, blueberry, or just vanilla)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Throw it in a bowl or container, stir it up nice and smooth, and ta da!

Best Midnight Snack Ever

Get another bowl, chop up the fruit you want (usually apples and bananas, but no need to hold back), and start dipping (with or without a fork). I think the dip is so good, I end up eating it by itself by the spoon, haha.

But don’t do that, you’ll get sick from too much.

I have a feeling that my next food/fruit-related post will be about strawberries. Prepare yourself.

Thanks for reading! Any suggestions, tips, or peanut butter ideas, please deposit them in the comments below. 🙂

Ideas, Inspiration, Motivation!

Ahh, I can’t believe how lazy I have gotten in trying to keep up with this blog. I have a habit of just getting caught up in the moment of things; when I finally get home, I’m just tired and want to crawl in bed. However, I don’t have any real excuse for that. Today will be a discussion of happy things and good news.

I finally got myself to go on a (short) run this morning before work with my sister’s dog. It was nice to get outside and feel my body trying hard to keep the pace, but unfortunately, the dog has a habit of just being all over the place. Hence, the tripping, the confusion, the general annoyance followed and the run was only for ten minutes. (You can just simply imagine a stick figure awkwardly tripping over a large dog through a ditch on the side of the road for the most likely imagery) So, all in all, it was a failing success. It definitely gave me motivation though, so HOPEFULLY *crosses fingers* I will try to keep up with it. I thought about keeping some running clothes in my car but I like to wash my makeup off beforehand, so I would have to carry facial cleaner and I’m not even sure where I’d end up jogging if it was somewhere not at home. I would need my water bottle with COLD water and possibly a towel… I would look like a hoarder (not that my car doesn’t already express that).

Moving along, in one month, I will be finally moving to a new place with a friend of mine! It’s a small duplex, but it’s nice inside and we have the liberty of painting, gardening, hanging stuff, etc. It’s also much closer to my work, closer to a lot of friends, closer to downtown of the city, closer to alternative transit systems (rail trolley and buses, so to speak), closer to just a lot of things I’ve been wanting to be closer to.

Newly redone. I love the little lamp and the stone outlining the door.

With that in mind, I will be looking for a new weekend part-time job to replace my old one since it’ll just be too much of a drive to get to. I got time to hunt around, but I’m hoping that I don’t end up with something that makes me want to yank my hair out! My library (full-time) job is just so nice because the people want to be there! They want to talk to you, want you to help them out, want to read books and learn, participate in community events, and just simply enjoy life more than sitting on your couch watching MTV marathons of Jersey Shore. The sad thing is that it’s not quite enough money for myself to live by so until I get further into the field, I’ll still need some extra income on the weekends. On the plus side, I genuinely enjoy working…. so whatever job I may pick up, I will find reasons to like it. 

There’s a thrift store called Avalon Exchange in my city with two neighborhood locations. Basically, it’s like your Goodwill and Salvation Army, but it’s specifically aimed at a younger crowd (AKA people like me) with the type of clothing they promote. The clothing options are usually better than the various Plato’s Closets we have here (another ‘younger aged thrift store’), so it’s pretty nice be able to find a pair of jeans in great condition for $12!! I’ve been reading many other blogs on here about how other ladies (and gentlemen, I suppose haha) work with what they have, shop below their means and use creative ways to make something old into something new. While I do like to clean out my closet every couple of months, I have been trying pretty hard to see what sort of combinations I can make first. 

Being open-minded with the clothing…. a new goal for me this summer. And shop cheap. Why do I need to spend $45 on a new shirt at AE when I could get one for way cheaper and of basically equal quality some place else? 

One other personal resolution I’ve been working hard to keep is my vegetarian diet. While, personally, I don’t find it horribly difficult to negate the meat out of my diet (admittedly, I still eat seafood…. it’s a slow process), I’m realizing that there’s so much I could experiment with the produce, pasta, breads, cheese, spices, etc that I already have. I plan on hitting up a local Farmer’s Market sometime in the next week and stock up on some goodies (soooo excited!!), plopping myself in the kitchen with a couple of vegetarian cookbooks and see what magic I can create. Or ruin. Regardless, I’ll still eat because I would feel awful for it to go to waste. 

This is a quite a long post with not very many pictures. Sorry about that, I just wanted to get a lot of happy thoughts and resolutions I’ve been working on, off my chest and into this blog. The next posts are going to be way more interesting, colorful and picture-iffic. 

Questions for you guys! Got any vegetarian tips and secrets? What kind of house-warming parties should I throw if I decide to do one? What sort of motivation do you guys use to get yourself into an exercise routine? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Plan. Create. Live. Smile.

I’m a pretty firm believer of making your life something you can enjoy. I want to live every day thinking, ‘what can I do to make this day a little more awesome?’ Usually I try to meet up or at least chat with a friend (in person, on phone, via chat on Gmail, Facebook, etc.) to gain my comfort in socializing, but I also like to try to find a new topic or activity to explore. One of the many reasons I enjoy working at the library is that there are always surprises to be found, whether it’s a new book to consider reading at a later date (because I’m such a slow reader anymore) or something a co-worker talks about or new projects that I get to take over (…. or continuing with the projects I still have to finish, haha). I love the different types of people that come in every day, the interactions I get to have with them (conversation topics range all over the place, I  never know what to expect), and the things I get to see. Since it’s essentially a non-profit community center, there’s always events and activities for people of all ages to partake in; a lot of them which I get to participate myself.

When I’m not at work, I always crave an adventure. Even if it’s just taking a walk in a different direction I never gone before… what’s down at that end of the street? Maybe it’s a store I never seen before or maybe it leads to a nice view? Do you know? No? Why not check it out, right? However, I can understand the busy life a lot of people have. My weekends typically invovle working from 9 am to midnight for two jobs, which means I don’t have a weekend. And for that, I spend a lot of my free time during the week catching up on errands, laundry, bills, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc etc etc. Despite all that, I still like to make time to have a moment of enjoyment because I think I deserve. Actually, I think we all deserve moments of happiness in the midst of our busy lives.

In order to get myself a little more motivated (as well as giving myself a reason to write stuff down with the horribly poor memory I have), I bought this awesome little gem of a planner at Barnes & Noble:

Motivation! Yeah!

It’s a planner (monthly and weekly), contact list, notepad and sketchpad with inspiring little quotes thrown in it at random. I would say this is one of the best random purchases I’ve made in a long time. When I have this out, it makes me want to actually do something worthwhile to write in it. (Also gives me a reason to write, period. I love to write, but I can’t get myself to sit and do it, haha!) For example, say I decide to meet up with a friend for lunch, why not try a new place we haven’t been to? If I decide I want to take a walk on a nice day, why not try finding a park, walking path, or just another neighborhood to browse through? There’s one area I love going to on a really nice day because it has such a pretty view of the city across the river:

Pretty City across the river 🙂

Either way, the planner has been a great motivational tool in the past few months. Every time I look at it, I constantly think ‘What can I do this week that would be as well as sound really awesome?’ Heck, just hanging out with a friend and doing a puzzle is more than enough to make me happy and find it worthwhile to remember. What do you guys do to motivate yourself to enjoy the little things in life?

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