Friday, March 29, 2013

March Summary

You guys have been on a wild ride with me this past month and I'm a little bummed to say goodbye to it.

If we look back to March's Eight Great Goals here's how I opened up my eyes to the month:

Ah, March – what do you plan to bring?

More responsibility, more puppy fun, more photos, more love, more smiles, more silliness, more laughter, more improvement, more sleep? I honestly hope all of the above!

And seriously - ALL of the above were fulfilled and exceeded.

  • I realized what I am made of with the new responsibilities and weight on my shoulders at work

  • Matt was home - that's never a bad thing. Proof here & here.

  • The food around this joint was un-believable. Take a look for yourself!

BreakfastBrownies - Steak - Soup - Cake - Spaghetti Squash

  • I accepted a blogging award - thanks! And Dan received an Employee of the Quarter Award! 

  • Dan treated me to a Blazers game and we splurged on a Shamrock Shake!!

  • I met little miss Olive and more importantly was able to catch up with her beautiful mom, Tanna!

  • I'm pretty sure that Dan and I didn't eat out more than 5 times - but I sort of definitely lost track! Twice we may have eaten popcorn at Cinetopia for a meal - I haven't decided if that counts? Not Accountable

  • As of today, Friday morning - I'm still leading my NCAA bracket

  • I'm constantly reminded of how wonderful my boyfriend is

  • I got some time on this inspiring girl's website sharing my food prep with her followers - she's studying to become a registered dietitian

The last 29 days haven't been perfect, but I feel like things are looking up and they will only get better from here.

And once again as we leave the month, I'd like to repeat that I thank you for all of the well wishes, thoughts, notes and letters wishing us well after the loss of a wonderful woman. We miss you Granny!

heart JE

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: For the Best Dad

Happy Half Birthday, Dad!!

{A little something you'll enjoy knowing about our family is that we celebrate half birthdays. The golden sisters actually celebrate "monthdays", and us humans celebrate half birthdays - admittedly some more than others. Ahem, me!}

Dad, it seems like just yesterday we were out on the porch grilling up your birthday dinner in September while you, mom and Bailey waited for me to snap photos for the post about it. I know that you don't like thinking of yourself as 6 months away from a speed limit - but think of it instead as days you can count down to your retirement. A  countdown to when you're no longer limited to the time you can spend at the beach, the mornings you can wrestle with the puppies or trips you can plan to go visit Mattman. For the next few months you can start to count down to a life of choice and freedom - just like mom's been rocking happily for a few years now.

I want to take today to thank you for a few things that I don't think I've thanked you enough for:

  • Thank you for driving me to countless softball practices and pitching lessons

  • Thank you for taking many of those pitches in the knees / shins over those 10+ years of practices

  • Thank you for teaching me how to drive a stick-shift

  • Thank you for encouraging half birthdays!

  • Thank you for doing my taxes year over year (I swear I'll do them someday)

  • Thank you for understanding when I wanted to stop playing basketball my sophomore year of high school

  • Thank you for teaching me how to check my oil and the importance of auto-maintenance

  • Thank you for being a loving husband to mom and a loving son to your parents

  • Thank you for allowing/suggesting that Dan move in with me

  • Thank you for protecting our country

  • Thank you for always working hard to support our family

  • Thank you for being a handy fix-it/do it all-man around the home and recently at the beach house.

  • Thank you for doing everything you can to keep mom happy

  • Thank you for always volunteering to help however you can to make our lives easier

  • Thank you for finding my newest sister, Bella

  • Thank you for giving Matt and I your height!

  • Thank you for doing all you can think of to help me feel safe in my home

  • Thank you for your wit, sense of humor, playful attitude and surprising silliness

  • Thank you for passing on your gentle, humble, quiet and observant nature

  • Thank you for making me proud to call you Dad

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to us by a father who has always been a great role model, a wonderful father, a loving husband, a thoughtful son... and previous owner/rocker of a classic 'stache.

Thanks for being the best, dad!

heart JE

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Favorite: Spaghetti Squash

I've seen all the craze about spaghetti squash on my instagram feed and the foodie/fitness blogs I follow so I decided that I'd give it a try myself. Not only would I see what it was like for myself, I wanted to put it through the ultimate taste test - Dan!

When I bought these two I was a little bit skeptical of being able to extract noodle-like strands that would rival spaghetti out of this dense yellow gourds. I watched a few YouTube videos and got after the following steps to see what it was like for myself.

And what do you know - the finished product is delicious! At less than 50 calories per cup, this is the perfect vegetable to satisfy a noodle/carb craving and can be guiltlessly topped with sauces, meat, other veggies and even cheeses says Dan!

Here's two ways that we've enjoyed it so far in the home:

Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and grilled chicken.

Or how I enjoyed it at work yesterday - with lentils, grilled chicken and my ultimate favorite - sriracha!

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? How do you/would you eat yours?

heart JE

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Liebster Award

After such a tough and heavy last 7 days from me I was happy to see that my lady Brooke nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award.

 A what?

In my own words, the Liebster is a peer-given award for up and coming bloggers who are extra cool people just starting out, typically don't have sponsors, don't blog for a living and who you'd like to give a little boost in readership. It's like a fist bump from blogger to blogger.

Name of the Game

  • Play along! The nominated blogger should answer the questions the tagger has set for them.

  • Choose new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.

  • Create eleven new questions for the chosen bloggers.

  • Go back to their page and tell them about the award.

  • Each blogger should post eleven random facts about themselves.

  • No Tag Backs!

Brooke had questions - I've got answers! 

1. Boy Meets World or Saved By the Bell?

Ah, I remember being so excited for the T.G.I.F lineup when I was younger and have to admit that the life lessons Cory, Topanga, Shawn and I learned from Mr. Feeney were some of the best. To share, here's 18 things we learned from Boy Meets World and I can't wait to see what Girl Meets World is all about!

2. Who's going to win the NCAA tourney?

My unpopular choice according to my bracket is Louisville beating Indiana 62-57 in the final. I say unpopular because I'm drafting up an all Adidas final. Yikes.

3. What was your first car? 

My first car was one that was passed down from Granny to both my brother and I to get our teenage mileage in. It was a light blue Buick Skylark that we later sold to a woman lived in the neighborhood. For the last 7 years its been parked across the street from my house every day - but in the last week it's nowhere to be seen and the woman has been driving another car. This may be a good time to say rest in peace to the "Buick" too.

4. Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish?

Sour patch kids because I enjoy stripping the sugar off of them and then slowly dissolving the gummy part. I also know that I have no portion control with swedish fish so I avoid them when I can.

5. The last time you laughed really hard?

I am blessed because I laugh really hard each and every day living with Dan. Whether its running out of toilet paper, a silly story from the office or something great we found on the internet, it never ends. We find humor in some of the simplest things and love how he never ceases to keep me laughing.

6. Favorite show on TV?

I have been hooked to AMC's The Walking Dead since the first time I watched it with my parents three years ago. The story is so captivating and you can't take your eyes off the real-undead zombies roaming around in the background and up-close in gruesome gory scenes. Get in on the action - rumor has is they are showing a three season marathon to gear up for season 3 finale on Easter Sunday.

7. Best recipe you have ever made? 

This doesn't help Brooke to learn a new recipe, but her and Anne's family secret salsa has been all the rage at our home. It's so easy even Dan can recite the ingredients and is always hungry for a bowl of fresh veggie salsa. We typically sub extra jalapenos for the tomatoes and only use 1/2 of an onion.

8. Do you like the new Justin Timberlake CD?

You have no idea how much I like the JT 20/20 Experience CD. It's in my car with the bonus tracks included and I haven't turned on the radio since. It's a sweet easy listen and gets me in a playful mood for either going into work or coming home to relax for the evening.

Dan swept me off my feet to dance to this one just last week: Strawberry Bubblegum

9. What do order when you go to Chipotle?  

I actually get anxiety when I go into Chipotle because there are so many options that I know will taste so good that I can't make my mind up when it becomes my turn. I think most often I order the burrito bowl with rice + black beans + chicken + fajita vegetables + corn salsa + romaine lettuce - which gets us to a cool 585 calories according to their nutrition calculator.

10. What book are you currently reading?! 

I'm constantly reading blogs after blogs after blogs - about fashion, fitness, life, photography, etc. Once I get acquainted with a writer I'm unable to stop reading - which I hope is the same for how my readers perceive me! However, I'm hoping to start Jillian's Slim for Life soon - it's already saved on my Kindle.

11. What keeps you blogging every day?

It's been a challenge to keep up with the schedule that I've made for myself - one post each day of the week, published by 8am, and full of content I'm proud of. I keep it going because it's been a great outlet for me to share more about myself, get my thoughts out of my head, write more than just work emails and an excuse to practice taking beautiful photos with my still new to me camera.

Phew - Now time to fulfill my end of the bargain and share 11 random tidbits about myself:

  • I've lived in the same 25 mile bubble my entire life (travel not included)

  • I skipped a grade in elementary school

  • I have three college degrees

  • I can't be trusted with a bag of raisin bran - all you'll get out of it is the bran. Same goes for lucky charms, granola, trail mix, etc.

  • I've only had three guys I've officially called a boyfriend in my life.

  • My biggest fear is a papercut in the eye

  • Speaking of eyes - I'd like laser eye surgery in the next 2-3 years

  • I'm an introvert

  • I believe in karma

  • I have a love/hate relationship with painting my nails

  • I haven't drank soda since April 24, 2000 / haven't had french fries since December 29th, 2001

Now for the ladies I nominate and the questions I give them to answer in their own free time and share the fun:

Erin at Hey Hey, Erin May

Marisa at Uproot From Oregon

Jillian at Sprinkle Massacre

Justine at Anything and Everything

Amanda at Rose City Romance (who has a birthday coming up?!)

My Questions, if you dare:

  1. What was your first job?

  2. What's your #1 relax-yourself tip?

  3. Best beauty tip?

  4. What quality do you admire the most about yourself?

  5. Best movie for a rainy day?

  6. Chat over a cup of coffee or over a glass of wine?

  7. Vacation on the beach or in the mountains?

  8. Favorite blog out there besides your own?

  9. Best PDX restaurant in your opinion?

  10. Hard-cover, paperback or e-book?

  11. Favorite holiday & why?

Have fun!

heart JE

Monday, March 25, 2013

Family Weekend

All of a sudden its Monday after a long weekend and somehow I feel that it was just the right amount of time.

The service on Friday was beautiful and it was great to see the faces of family members who had come from near and far to attend. The flowers were beautiful, the service was just as she would have wanted, the casket was pristine and couldn't have been more natural than in the church she attended most of her adult life. I enjoyed hearing the stories about the woman she was in the 1940's and 50's from two of her daughters, the stories from my cousin who painted the perfect picture of what a day with granny looked like, and admired the courage of everyone who was able to get up in front of the family and share some fond memories. I found myself laughing through tears streaming down my face and being proud to be a product of an amazing role model.

The rain cleared away for a short thirty minutes which was just enough enjoy the beams of light at her final resting place overlooking the city of Portland. I feel lucky that the cemetery is within 15 minutes of where I live as I expect to stop by often with flowers from her very own garden.

The after-gathering was at my parents home and there was so much food to eat and conversations to enjoy that it really did feel like a celebration of life - the life that she had given to each of her children. We always talk about how unfortunate it is that we only see each other all together at weddings and funerals - hopefully we can find a way to change that and in the meantime I will continue to share a peek into my life to try to connect with everyone else. Having readership from the family also really took a lot of pressure off of Dan since the family had already technically met him through the words and photos they see here!

Saturday morning after a quick run in the neighborhood, we met up again for breakfast and enjoyed a little lighter conversation than the day before - such as how my brother Matt is doing, sharing photos of his fairy tale city and how sweet mom and dad's golden retriever puppies are together.

Saturday afternoon my weekend took a turn for the best when I enjoyed a 90 minute massage from Maggie who worked out the past three months of stress out of my neck alone within ten minutes at the end of the session.  I repeat - if you want to pamper yourself go see her - she's been my savior for the past year and a half and can't remember how I used to function without her.

The rest of the weekend was spent watching upset after upset in the Men's NCAA tournament while I remain tied for 1st place in my no-bets bracket. Running, meal prep and catching up on blogs were all taken care of on Sunday so that I was able to relax and enjoy the visits by Bailey, Bella and Dad - and also cook up a tasty meal for our friend Austin who stopped by to partake in watching the bizarre evening games Go FGCU!

heart JE

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 11: Cohabitation

Did everyone fill out a March Madness bracket?

I did, along with Dan, and don't have any money on the line for my picks {read: guesses}. As I edit this, we both have 13/16 picks correct and didn't even consult one another in the draft process. We both haven't paid enough attention to any sports seasons this fall/winter to really "care" and the only thing we watched loyally and without distraction has been The Walking Dead and The Biggest Loser.

Going in blind to the bracket creation process really relieved a lot of the stress and worry about scenario play-outs that I would have experienced if I even knew the school colors of my selections. I know nothing except seed and I was able to call the Oregon upset over Oklahoma state, much like many of my native Oregonian co-workers.

I didn't get much running in this week but when I was able to I had a clear mind along with me. So clear that I finally took a moment to capture and share this stretch that always puts a smile on my face. Go home, sidewalk! You're drunk!

Speaking of feeling a little wobbly, Dan and I have found a new favorite location if we're ever arriving in the neighborhood early on a Monday through Friday. Last weekend we learned that there were margarita's for $1.99 at La Carreta on weekdays from 4-6pm so on Thursday night when we were passing through at 5:27 he suggested that we stop. As soon as we bellied up to the bar to watch an UNLV upset we were able to squeeze a few limes into a few margaritas and call it a good night.

This was a great week for Dan (and Batman) because if you didn't know any better you'd think this was my boyfriend from his facebook photo. He's in love with this combination of two of his favorite things besides me and golf - Batman and Nike. I can see this living in our home someday soon - have any preferred vendors who would make an amazing poster, canvas transfer out of this one? I'm thinking CostCo.

Dan had a lot of time on his hands this week as he planned to take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off from work. A co-worker became sick and rather than allowing their newest teammate to be left alone, he volunteered to swap out Wednesday's day off for Friday instead so that he could attend granny's funeral and be there to support me and my family. I was really proud of decision, not only for the family circumstances but also for his integrity to help out a co-worker in need. He always reassures me of what a good, kind and caring heart he has.

The funeral service for granny is this afternoon at 1pm and I'm lucky to have a manager who is flexible and understanding of how important it is for me to attend. As she turns it into a labor of love, mom was on point to arrange beautiful flowers for the service. Pink, granny's favorite color, will surround her in her last moments in the church before she descends into the ground for eternal sleep.

Thanks again for all of your support this week - we are really looking forward to being surrounded by family and love this afternoon and the entire weekend.

heart JE

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Rain Rain, Time to Play!

How did the first day of Spring fare for everyone out there? If you're located in the Pacific Northwest as I am you experienced highs of 52 and lows of 37 with peculiar weather in between.

Every time I looked outside I saw a different scene:

  • In the morning the ground was dewy and the rain was misty.

  • In the early afternoon the skies were overcast and gloomy.

  • In the mid-afternoon hail was rattling against the windows outside of the office.

  • Soon after the hail, the clouds broke apart to reveal a beautiful ray of sunshine, accompanied with puddles of rain collecting from the light continued showers.

Since I was desperate for a run to clear my mind after the events that have transpired this week, I was happy to be fully prepared with a rain jacket, shorts, pants, two pairs of shoes and a great attitude. I stepped out of the office in shorts and a rain jacket to plan for the worst but hope for the best. As my strides hit the freshly wet pavement I found myself beaming at the realization of how light the air felt, how refreshing the scent of spring can be and how this time of year is a beautiful reminder of life, love and beauty.

The first five miles of the run I was greeted with the warm sun against my face, happy runners and walkers getting their fitness in and a sense of clarity in my mind and my heart. The sixth and last mile of the run was what I was anticipating and what re-charged my batteries. It was in the last mile that the skies opened up and raindrops like tears flowed down my face, into my jacket and soaked into my soul.

Water hydrates, nourishes, replenishes and brings life to every living thing on this planet.

The next time you see rain out your window {no really, go look!} throw caution to the wind and invite the raindrops to transform you with their rhythmic and steady symphony.

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little giggly girl who has never minded the rain, especially in the company of a big furry chipmunk.

heart JE

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rest in Peace, Granny

I thanked you for your thoughts and prayers yesterday and echo it again today - this week has been a fog for our family and we take all the virtual hugs we can get.

A special woman left this earth on Monday and I want to take a day to remember her and her beautiful smile.

Just short of 99 years old, we said our goodbyes to the lovely, beautiful and strong woman I've known my whole life as "Granny".

I spent much of my youth in the careful watch of my grandmother and learned so many things from her that I will never forget. From her I learned patience, the joys of a simple life, how to choose the sweetest raspberries off the vine, how hard work pays off,  how to be a lady, the secret that you're never too old to get your hair done and certainly never too old to bring more love into your life.

Even in her later years she reminded us that if you want breakfast in bed, you have to sleep in the kitchen. Clever one, she was!

She took the time to teach me how to play this song on the piano, even if it was the only thing I could play. I would pound those ivory keys with delight and pride. She set her mind one day on teaching me how to properly use a big-girl toilet and proudly handed me back to my parents fully trained. She always had cookies in the cookie jar for when the children and grandchildren would visit, and always would have written letters in the mail on their way to pen-pals and relatives.

While she was and forever will be granny to me, she was a faithful wife, a loving mother, a kind spirit and always a lady.

I made a special trip today to Bi-Mart where she would visit most every day to stay active and bought the cookies that she would have in her cookie jar every time I would visit. I had an odd feeling when I was pulling the boxes off of the shelves, thinking to myself how many she enjoyed herself when we weren't around, what she would say to us today if she was still here and just how proud she would be of the good decisions we've made and the good people we've all become.

Her service is Friday the 22nd of March where her family will gather to celebrate nearly 99 years of a beautiful life. I have volunteered to be a pall bearer along with seven other family members to carry her to her final resting place where she reunites with her late husband at Lincoln Memorial Park. She will be forever overlooking the beautiful lights of the city of Portland while she watches over her surviving seven children, 29 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

We love you, Doris. Sleep well, pretty lady. <3

heart JE

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Food Share

{Thank you everyone for the sweet notes and condolences for our family - we appreciate you}

I've wanted to share this one with you for a few weeks now but haven't found the words. I don't know that there are words, maybe just a dangle of drool down the side of my face.

This was the breakfast we enjoyed on Sunday morning at the coast two weeks ago when my brother was in the states. It was a family affair where I made the pancakes, mom made the scramble and the boys helped us clean up to ensure that there were no leftovers remaining. They didn't disappoint and neither did our brunch!

The scramble is filled with eggs, turkey, ham and Trader Joe's Healthy 8 Veggie Mix - the pancakes are Trader Joe's multigrain and the whipped cream was delicious!

The following St. Patrick's Day inspired cake is the dessert I made for Dan on Saturday while he was away playing basketball. There's nothing clean about this one except for maybe the spinach I added to get the authentic green color. The mix looked promising - made with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Flavor, and I had all of the other ingredients already on hand to make it happen in no time.

The trick for making it was that I baked it in my new muffin-top only pan to get thin, individual servings to aid in portion control. I had to adjust my cook time for these thin mini cakes since there was no way it would take 40 minutes like the box instructions called for. I quickly threw it all together, got my photos taken (in surprisingly good light) and waited to see what I would pull out of the oven.

I allowed the cakes to cool and had the mini-cakes frosted, sprinkled and finished by the time Dan walked in the door before our Blazer game plans.

Taste test approved and we still have some left over!

heart JE

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend of Ups and Downs

This weekend brought many ups and a few downs for Dan and I - I'll start with the happy times so that I don't fall short on the events of the weekend.

Friday night after the work week Dan and I went to see Oz The Great and Powerful and loved it! I highly recommend that you head to the theater to see it if you have the chance. Oz the Great and Powerful is the prequel story to the Wizard of Oz and enchanted us for the entire 2 hours and 7 minutes in 3D. The Wizard of Oz is a classic film that you couldn't imagine being enhanced upon but this was creatively made and so well cast that without knowing you'd honestly believe that it was made before the 1939 classic.

1. Spring has sprung - the cherry blossoms are blooming in the neighborhood and I stopped to take twenty photos on my Saturday run

2. Dan scored 9th row Blazers tickets to their win vs. Detroit on Saturday night with Club level tickets <3

3. I baked a shamrock cake on Saturday - you'll see it tomorrow!

4. There were $2 Guinness cans at work on Friday as employee appreciation for St. Patrick's Day so my work team took advantage.

5. The Blazers scored 100 points in their win, so we got a Chalupa coupon which can be used at Portland's best food cart KOi Fusion as well!

6. Friday night ended with spontaneous margaritas at Dan's suggestion while we were driving home. His best idea in a while!

We finally caved and treated ourselves to the real deal - the Shamrock Shake from McDonald's.

You can see the excitement and surprise that Dan had when the following things occurred:

1. I wasn't having anxiety going through a drive-thru A story for another day

2. Was agreeing to the drink since I've been re-creating healthier versions and pushing them on him

I wish that this is where I could wrap up my weekend update, but I need to share the real, the sad, the human part of the weekend that sours the joy we had.

Saturday I heard the news that my 98 year old grandmother had a fall that broke her hip and sent her to the hospital in an ambulance. Her health has been declining recently and as you'd imagine of any person that age her bones are fragile and her mind has been wandering for a few years. It was sad to see her on Sunday afternoon laying in a hospital bed, helpless, seemingly gasping for oxygen and only comforted by the medication and the breathing assistance she was receiving from modern medicine. It was heartbreaking to see my aunts standing by her bedside, and especially seeing the emotion on my dad's face knowing that this was a sign that she's near the end.

We are wishing her a comfortable and peaceful week - hoping that she is able to eat, rest and enjoy the company of family members at her side.

Hug your family and friends love them with all you have.

heart JE

Friday, March 15, 2013

Week 10: Cohabitation

As I sit here writing this post (hint: Thursday night) Dan is in the kitchen making us NY Strip Steak, sauteed veggies and we're both sipping wine from a new bottle we sampled today at Trader Joe's. Life is good Great!

This was a big week for both of us so let's focus on only the happy moments!

This week Dan celebrated his five year anniversary with the company of his dreams. When he was congratulated by a round of applause from his peers, he was then presented with a peer-voted Employee of the Quarter award for all of his hard work and passion for his work.

It'll be two more years until I get my very own plaque:

We grabbed coffee from our local coffee shop THREE mornings this week which always puts a little pep in our step! Normally when we make it into work we have a couple minutes to spare and those are spent resting on each other's shoulders to have a little more 'us time' before we are sentenced to 8-10 hours of non-stop work. The coffee puts us in the parking lot a little closer to go-time and it just plain tastes good!

Wednesday night we had a special visitor at the house! Mom was going out at night to meet with a long lost friend and we had the privilege of keeping an eye on the sweetest little girl. Bella has the sweetest temperament, the gentlest eyes and the softest coat of hair! She was a sleepyhead for most of the night as was I and fell asleep on my feet while we tried our hardest to stay awake for mom to come in after curfew ;)


This is dinner and drinks tonight, don't be jealous!

Weekend plans? No way!

Dan plans to run with me Saturday morning before getting 18 holes of golf in. I plan to run as far as my legs will take me and dream as far as my mind will let me travel. Maybe a pedicure too - what are you guys up to?

Oh right, St. Patty's Day! I hope you're wearing green! I can see us grabbing a pint of Guinness to celebrate but other than that I'm laying low. I think it's important to call out that last year I spent St. Patty's morning DIY-ing with Brooke and Erica where we made these pinterest gems: Bracelets & Shoes

Sorry to end this short, but my man's calling me to dance with him in our living room to some new J.T.- have a great weekend, everyone!

heart JE

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Let's Adapt

How well do you adapt to change?

Do you get frazzled when the weather is not what they predicted, fussy when a meeting gets moved - or out of sorts when the outfit you'd planned to wear is wrinkly?

I think back to some of the times in my life where I've been dealt a bad hand and thought "why me". The path and the plan were laid carefully one way on a yellow-brick road in my mind, but the direction I was steered was the gloomy, dark and spooky road... and I've come out it shining every time because I adapted.

Take softball - many of you may not know that I grew up playing softball and earned my way through college with a scholarship for being a pitcher. In the 'glory days', pitching was my life and it was my identity. Without it I don't know what my life would look like today and I'm so thankful for every opportunity it provided me with. Pitching was my livelihood - but would you have ever guessed that when I started playing at the tender age of 5 all I wanted to do was be the catcher? I was strong and I had a great understanding of the game from watching my brother play so it was a natural fit.

When I turned 8, I left my eye appointment with my first pair of glasses and was quickly told by my coaches that I couldn't be a catcher anymore. As much as the mask comes on and off of a catcher's face, they didn't want that liability and therefore they told me to pick something else out.  I huffed and puffed, but decided that I wanted to be a pitcher because if I couldn't be catcher I'd be the next most important player on the field. From adversity I found my calling, a passion and an outlet to earn me three college degrees - I'd say that's success.

This is the way I'm seeing my current career path - I started a job three months ago where I was excited to be mentored and taken in under the wings of my teammates to develop my skills. Two months later and still naive to the reality of my decision I found myself out in the rain having to discover solutions on my own, pave my own path and guide others down a road where I'm not sure what lies beyond. This is growing up, right? I have confidence in myself to overcome because I've proven time and time again that I can shovel manure and come out smelling like a rose.

I'm a planner and I like to have a vision for the future, but sometimes life can throw you a curve and you need to be open to letting the universe point you down the path of self-discovery instead of dwelling over circumstances that are out of your power. You are better than you give yourself credit for.

So am I.

Today's Throwback Thursday is brought to you by showing up, gearing up and being ready to take the curve-ball.

heart JE

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sometimes Better is Best

Is Tuesday the new nap day around here?

The last two weeks Dan and I have arrived home, dropped our bags on the counter and followed each other to the place I think we both like the best in our home - the bed! No fuss, just sleep - and we find ourselves woken by the bustle of traffic leaving the neighborhood in each other's arms and wishing we could just sleep through to the morning.

I remember a point in my life where that was an option - a time after college when I no longer had homework due, a time before I brought my work home with me, a time before blogging (no offense!) and a less stressed version of me. That Jessi was motivated by success and development, but she also knew that having the perfect balance of work and life was where she could find and create happiness. The Jessi today is over the moon in her personal life, but feels like the world rests on her shoulders all other hours of the day.

Let me share a little bit about me - I take three steps backwards by being the worst critic of my own handiwork. I stress and plot over work that needs to be done to make sure that I've thought of everything rather than jumping in and being okay with enlisting others who have knowledge to share. I'll over-work myself while striving for perfection when often the end product is viewed as only a fraction of the importance I placed on it. Was working late worth missing my run? Was it worth staying up late, or responding to an email over the weekend? Probably not - but every time I do hit a home run I make people happy, I prove my value and I get an ego boost that just can't be expressed in words.

When my expectations exceed reality of what I can do while remaining happy, that's a sign for me to take a deep breath and do the best I can with the resources that are in front of me. Time is a resource, energy is a resource and even lately patience has become a resource. Time is non-renewable and patience wears thin over time.

My point is that sometimes we strive to be the best; we try to have the greatest photos, the best workouts, the prettiest clothes, the most exciting blog content, the fastest response, the best weekend, the biggest story and the happiest relationships.

Let's all stop trying to be the best and instead - be better.


Trying to be the best can create insecurity within ourselves that immediately makes us vulnerable and sets us up for failure. With my March Goal of finding the strength to say "no" when it's necessary has allowed me to see a different side of myself that understands that I can't do it all and won't be able to sustain a healthy emotional state by signing up for it all.

Dan and I had a heart to heart this weekend about how we can help one another around the house to alleviate stress from our time together. We've already resolved to partner up on laundry, rely on the food we made over the weekend for dinner and he's even offered to help with blog photography & staging to make it a shared process (especially since I talk about him so often on here)!

Whatever you do, do it better. Stop worrying about being perfect and especially don't place your worth in the same bucket as others' opinions of you.

heart JE