25 things I’ve realized in 25 years

In honor of turning 25 a few weeks ago, I thought I would sit down and go through just some of the life lessons I have learned/realized along the way.  I would like to think that there are more than 25 things too.

I would also like to point out that although I have realized these lessons in life, it does not mean that I am good at remembering them or accepting them.

Image (94)

One: Mornings are wonderful. This one is a relatively recent revelation. I certainly have not always been a morning person. I’ve learned that there is something wonderful about early mornings. Plus, you just get so much more done in the day (usually,calling myself out for all the lazy days I still have).

Maggies 1st_00004A

Two: Lazy days are good. Lazy days are important. Sometimes I feel like I need to spend my days off working on a to-do list a mile long. I am learning to let myself enjoy lazy days, and know that sometimes your girl just needs them.

Christmas 1994_00009A

Three: Friends are really hard to come by,especially good friends.  Love the ones you have. Cherish them, and remind them of how important they are to you. Don’t let the good ones get away.

Maggies 3rd_00016A

Four: With that, it is okay to let friends go. People are forever changing. Don’t keep bad friends in your life or people that bring you down. As hard as it is, it is important to remember that not everyone is meant to be in your life forever.

Christmas 1996_00004A

Five: No matter what you do in life, there is always going to be someone that does not agree with you, and there are always going to be people that just don’t like you.

Maggies 5th_00002A

Six: Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Take more of them. Not all memories last forever.

Kid Pic Prep 1998_00002A

Seven: There is so much beauty in this world. Take the time to notice it.

Maggies 7th_00004A

Eight: Cherish the little things. Look for the good in every day.

Summer 2000_00034A

Nine: Smile more. I admit 100% that I am a person with major RBF (Resting. Bitch. Face). It is a terrible habit. I am trying to work on that. One smile just might make another person’s day.

first-day-of-school-2001_00002a.jpg

Ten: You are the only person you can truly rely on. You can have the most amazing people in your life, but at some point, probably multiple points, they are going to let you down. They just are.

100-0022_IMG

Eleven: You are going to let yourself down too. Don’t be to hard on yourself when you do.

100_0011

Twelve: Say yes more. Say yes to new experiences. As someone who lives with anxiety, it is hard to say yes to new things and new experiences.Heck, sometimes it is hard to say yes to things that I have done many times. Just say yes, it’s really not that hard.

100_0027

Thirteen: Know that it is also important to say no. No can be a completely valid response. Don’t be afraid to say no when it is.

100-0024_IMG

Fourteen: Holding a grudge is not worth it. The only person that it hurts is yourself. Learn to let go.

100_0005

Fifteen: Forgiveness is important. Forgiveness is not for the other person/people, forgiveness is for you.

100-0003_IMG

Sixteen: It is okay to go out in public with no makeup. I’ve never been a full face of makeup kinda gal, but I used feel like I had to at least throw on some concealer and mascara before heading out the door. Now I’ll roll out in mismatched clothes with absolutely no makeup on and be totally okay. Don’t like how I look? Don’t look at me!

100-0024_IMG (1)

Seventeen: Sometimes you just have to eat a cheeseburger, french fries, a large pizza, and a gallon size bag of sour patch kids. And don’t freak out when it happens. Eating healthy is so important, but ya gotta live people, ya gotta live!

100-0052_IMG

Eighteen: Life is not fair. Bad things happen when you least expect them. Try not to let the bad things bring you down more than they need to.

P1000355

Nineteen: Planning for the future is so important. Especially when it comes to saving money. Just don’t let that take over. Remember to live in the moment.  Don’t get too caught up in the future.

Christmas 20111 010

Twenty: Be kind to everyone you meet.

003.jpg

Twenty-One: You never know what people are going through. Everyone goes through tough stuff, no matter how good they are at hiding it.

20130730_191150000_iOS

Twenty-Two: Drink LOTS of water. You can never have too much water. Actually, I’m pretty sure you can, but let’s not get too technical. Water is so good for you, drink up my friends.

20140807_004620000_iOS

Twenty-Three: Alone time is good for you. So much of our time is spent around other people. You have to take time for yourself.

Maggie 2015

Twenty-Four: Life is full of serious stuff. Don’t get too caught up in that. Remember to laugh, be silly, and have fun.

20160531_004008479_iOS

Twenty-Five: It is okay to not have your life all figured out. I thought that by 25 I would have my life all together, I really did. I thought for sure I would be married, have the best job ever, and a few kids in the mix. I am currently 25, not married, no kids, and I have a good job, but not the best job ever. People at 105 don’t have their life all figured out. I don’t think anyone ever does. That’s okay.

20170604_002455665_iOS

 

Super Simple Plant Name Tags

It is that time of year again ! The time for planting, flowers, and vegetable gardens, oh my!

I decided to spice up the garden a bit this year with some plant name tags. They are super simple, as well as super inexpensive (some of my favorite things!).

Supplies You’ll Need

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Paint in a color that makes you smile. I was choosing between a couple of blues and went with the one called Summer Sky because that just seemed fitting.

Paint stir sticks. One for every plant, unless you want some of them to share a name tag. (You could also use Popsicle sticks or tongue compressors if you are looking for something smaller)

Paint marker (You could also use a permanent marker)

Paint brush of choosing

Paper plate or whatever else you want to use to put your paint on

Protection for your work surface (I opted for paper towels since today was the one time I did not have an unnecessary newspaper dropped off on my driveway). Or if you want you could just get paint all over, you do you.

Bonus: Peppermint essential oil

 Step One: Get Your Paint Ready 

For an added bonus I added a few drops of  Peppermint Essential Oil to my paint. Disclaimer- this part was totally an experiment. Peppermint oil is a natural bug repellent so I had the bright idea that it could possibly help to keep some bugs away from my plants and eating them as a late night snack. And yes, I am still using leftover plates from Thanksgiving.

Step Two: Paint your sticks. 

I did two coats on the front where the writing will be and one coat on the back. Do as many coats as you’d like to reach your desired look.

Step Three: Let the sticks dry.

Be patient! You don’t want them to still be wet when you go to write on them.

Step Four: Get to writing!

The first coat of writing with the paint marker was super opaque. I wrote on the first couple sticks three times. After the first couple, the marker realized what it’s job was and started working much better. The final stick only took one coat of writing. Bravo to the paint marker, it dried super fast.

Step Five: That’s all. You’re done. Admire your work. Give your plants their name tags. Or throw them away. Whatever floats your boat. 

I told you they were easy peasy lemon squeezy. Okay, I totally did not. But I did say they were super simple.

Happy gardening! Hope your plants love you even more since you gave them a name tag and they will grow even better now.

From not caring to caring too much.

I used to not care what people thought of me. Of course, in certain ways, I totally did. That is all part of being human, really. In the grand scheme of things though,I was proud of myself that I was not overly concerned. I was not overly concerned with how others viewed me. I did my own thing, and if people did not like it, then that was their problem.

Somewhere along the lines, I’m not really sure what happened or how it happened, I started caring. Not in the normal, part of being human way. In the sometimes it is all I can think about way. I began caring way too much. I hate to admit that. Actually,scratch that. I do not hate to admit that. I just hate that I feel this way at all.

Thinking back on it now, as much as I remember being proud of myself for not really caring;  I might have always cared way too much. Maybe I just tried to convince myself that I did not. It may have been a front.

There is no more convincing or fooling myself. The front has ran away and I cannot catch it anymore.

In pretty much every single thing I do or say, I am thinking about what others might possibly think of me.

I care about other’s opinions when it comes to the big things, things that most anybody may care about.

Unfortunately I also care about the opinion’s of others when it comes to the small things. And when I say small, I mean small. Things that most people probably don’t even notice nor care about. But in my mind, they totally do notice, and they are most definitely judging me or thinking negatively of me for it. And then I proceed to overthink whatever they may or may not have saw me do/say for the next 10 days, but that’s a whole other story.

I realize that I am not that important for people to care or think about me that much…

Yet I cannot stop. So often it feels like I am a prisoner to others. The funny thing is that these people do not realize that they have this control over me. It’s actually not really that funny, but ya know what I mean.

I am hoping, so many hopes, that one day I will go back to how I thought I used to be. Hopefully one day I will stop caring, and I will begin to be myself again, no matter what people think of that. I’ve heard that this is something that comes with age, and I am crossing my fingers (pretty much to the point of my fingers being black and blue) that this will be true. If I did not have to wait until I am that much older to adopt this trait, that would be a nice bonus.

 

Long distance relationship: Some say crazy, I say crazy good.

I met my boyfriend right at the end of high school, as in a few days before graduation. We had both went to different high schools and it was one of those things that people always tell you about, how you will often meet “someone” when you least expect it and are not looking. That was totally me. To be honest, I had every intention of making it a summer fling type of thing (don’t worry, my boyfriend knows this). We know how life works, though, it does not always go according to plan.

Summer came to an end and I went away for college while he stayed home to attend a community college.  The choice was made to try this whole long distance thing, whatever that meant.  Long distance relationships were super foreign to both of us. Long distance relationship was not even a part of my vocabulary. We both had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to. As they often say, loves makes us do crazy things.

P1000651

Speaking of crazy, that was the response I got so many times when people would find out I was in a long distance relationship. It was also a common theme in Facebook statuses of my friends, and things that I would stumble upon looking for any support throughout this long distance phase.

Just a few tidbits of things that I would hear or read:

Long distance relationships never work.

Actually, they do. 

We were wasting our time.

You’re wasting your time by telling me that. 

One of us was going to get hurt.

People get hurt in relationships all the time, not just long distance ones. 

Didn’t we want to enjoy our time in college?

I enjoyed my time in college immensely.  Having a boyfriend, long distance or not, would not have stopped that. 

What’s the point of a long distance relationship, anyway?

Everything. 

Isn’t that only for military couples?

No, no, it’s not. Couples all over the world are in long distance relationships for various reasons, not all of them related to the military. 

Blah, blah, blah. 

Thankfully among the negative comments and lack of support, we also had so much support. I also found support through blogs, twitter accounts, and so on. Things may have been different had every single person in our lives told us we were crazy. Maybe all of them thought it, but at least they kept it to themselves.

I can 110% say that having a long distance relationship was one of the greatest experiences. Crazy, right? I would not change it for the world.

I am not going to sugar coat it and say that it was sunshine and roses the whole time. It definitely was not. It was hard. Sometimes it felt like a roller coaster ride. Often times it felt like we were both on different parts of the track. Occasionally we were both riding on two totally different roller coasters.

Yes, it was hard. We also learned. My long distance relationship taught me more than I ever thought that it would (hint, look for another blog post soon). Our long distance relationship made our relationship stronger than I ever realized it would.

The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. There was a lot of all of that. It was all worth it,though.

That crazy long distance thing lasted for 5 years, with different moves and different distances apart. We made it, though.  From long distance to living together. What a change, huh?

I am not going to tell you to go out looking for a long distance relationship. I also will not say that they are for everyone because they are not.

What I will say is this: don’t be afraid of a long distance relationship. Don’t run away from it. It will be hard. I can promise you that. If you both want it, you can fight harder and make it through. It can be worth it.

Meal planning game changer.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe healthy,planning, money-saving part of me has been a fan of meal planning for quite awhile. The idea of having this perfect schedule, staying on track, and making healthy (let’s be real though, not all meals are going to be healthy) every night sounds pretty appealing, right?  I thought so.

To be honest,I was all over the place when it came to meal planning in the past. I would go weeks feeling on top of my meal planning game, and the healthy meals just would never stop. Then weeks would come where either I did not meal plan at all, or the whole thing just went out the window and we would eat out every single night (exaggeration, but sometimes it did not feel like one).

I would make my meal plans according to each specific night. For example: Monday would be chicken and veggies, Tuesday would be taco Tuesday, and so on. Suddenly, with it written down on paper, my meal plans would become this tight schedule that had to happen that way/that night, or no way/no night at all. Sometimes this would work. But let’s get real, life happens. Not every meal is always going to happen on it’s given night, it’s just not.

About a month ago this revelation came to me that I was looking at meal planning all wrong. It really does not need to be this all or nothing type of thing.

The way I meal plan now is a bit more flexible. I pick 4-5 meals for the week, and write them down. One of the most important parts is then to get them approved by my boyfriend, even though I have the final say.  The grocery list is then written up and the supplies are all bought. Each night I make something from the list, whatever sounds good that night.  It then gets crossed off of the list. This trend continues until all the meals are gone. At this point, either we have leftover night, make random meals with extra supplies in the fridge,  or have the occasional dinner out. Then it all starts over the next week. If for whatever reason, a meal did not get crossed off the list, it finds its’ way to the next list. That’s all there is to it. I know, life changing, right?

Another tip/trick I’ve let myself adapt to is that not all of my meals need to be fancy and new. It is so fun to try new recipes, whether from my cookbooks, Pinterest, blogs, etc. I like to throw recipes like that in to the meal plan every once in awhile. However, the whole meal plan for the week does not need to be full of all of that. Super simple, no fuss meals are great too.

Bottom line, meal planning does not have to be strict. For some people, it totally might be. For you, the flexible route might work better. Let meal planning work for you and make your life easier, after all, that is kind of the point.

That one time I didn’t spend any money for a month

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Let’s backtrack to the end of March. I opened up my phone like I do so many times a day, and went on to pay my credit card bill. The bill was about the same that it is every month, no idea how that always works out to be. Every month I pay the whole balance, no matter what. Team good credit. But this time it felt different. My heart actually hurt when I hit “submit payment”. I cannot even explain it; but I just felt annoyed, defeated, and over it. Over paying this chunk of change at the end of every month and not even remembering where all that money ran off to.

Right then and there I set my heart on a challenge to give myself $40 for ANY “extra” for the month of April. Anything beyond groceries, gas, and necessary bills that you cannot just put on hold for a month because you feel like it (like rent, utilities, and insurance) were an “extra”. I told my boyfriend and texted my parents my plan. All about having accountability and support, right? That was that. All of my credit cards were put away, and I gave myself 2 $20 bills in my wallet. For this Target, Amazon prime, Tjmaxx loving girl, I felt like this was going to be the longest month of my life. I felt excited, but I also felt scared.

I had given myself this $40 budget, but I knew that I didn’t even really want to spend that. I often have this all in, go big or go home type of attitude towards changes I am wanting to make or in challenging myself.

Of course we are halfway through May now, and I can happily and proudly say that those 2 $20 bills were still sitting in my wallet by the end of April. Some days were hard and I wanted to run to Target and rummage through the dollar spot without a care in the world. Most days were easy, though. I had thought this no spend month was going to be the longest month ever, but in reality, it flew by just like all the months tend to do.

So reflecting back on my month of not spending, I learned some things along the way. Am I a changed woman? Probably not. Will I still have days where I go in to Target for 1 thing and come out with 10? Absolutely.  But here are just a few things that I can reflect on:

  1. Retail therapy is real. I have a seriously bad habit of running to the store after a bad day to make myself feel better. Most of the time it does work. Usually only for a moment, though. Swiping the credit card is not the end all be all to a bad day, it’s just not. 
  2. Just because it is cheap, doesn’t mean that I need it. I am a hardcore bargain shopper and clearance junkie. That can be such a great thing, but it can also be trouble. Just because it is on sale and “such a good deal”, does not mean that I need to actually buy the thing.
  3. Little purchases here and there add up, and they add up fast. 
  4. I need to focus on buying for what I “need”, not what looks good after 20 minutes of roaming through a store. If it was not what I came in to the store for, I don’t buy it. I’ve started making a list for every single time I go to a store, not just for the grocery store. Is this always going to work? No, but it is a good habit to start. 
  5. Spending money can be fun. Saving money is even more fun. That house I want in the future is not going to buy itself. 

All in all, it was a good month. Cheers to saving money and learning some things along the way. Looking forward to the next no spend month I am sure to have later on this year.

I have a chronic illness, my chronic illness does not have me.

When living with a chronic illness, so often it becomes a part of our identity. A huge, usually massive part of who we are. It is something that we carry with us wherever we go. We don’t get to just leave it at home when we don’t feel like having it around. Our illness affects our every single day in some way or another.

So many days Crohn’s disease likes to whisper in my ear that it has control over me and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  Some days that whisper is the only thing that I can hear, and I begin to believe it. Some days.

Other days, I am able to ignore those whispers. Some days my voice of strength and courage overcomes those whispers and I can barely hear them. There are even some days that my best friend Crohn’s is feeling rather nice and doesn’t even bother whispering at all. Those are good days, really good.

One of the many things that I have learned and discovered over the past nineteen years of living with a chronic illness is this: Yes, I have Crohn’s disease. I cannot deny that. I cannot change that. One thing in my life that will never change.  But no, Crohn’s disease does not have me.

I am more than a disease, much more.  I could bow down to my disease and let it take over my life. I could. It would often be really easy to do so. But I have not ever done that, and I will never do that. I wake up every day and continue to fight. I am not going to lie, some days I have to fight harder than others.

Some years I have had to fight much, much harder than others.

100_0001

Luckily, there are even some days that I really do not have to fight at all. No matter the intensity of the fighting required, the important thing is that I do it. I fight, and I fight hard.

So the next time your chronic illness is whispering in your ear that it has control: choose to fight. You are forever more than your illness, you are always more than your struggles. Keep up the fight, no matter how many bumps or bruises you receive along the way.