Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's OK

{Pemaquid, Maine. Summer 2010}

It's OK...

...that I'm still struggling with the fact that it's Thursday...My brain and to-do list were left behind somewhere around Monday. realize you have somehow accumulated three different crock pots in the last two least they are three different sizes?

...that you are so excited that it's almost March, you could do cartwheels! That means spring is right around the corner.

...that you were thisclose to passing out halfway through bikram yoga the the other morning. Note to self, make sure you hydrate and eat before you sit in a 105 degree room for an hour and a half.

...that you are still trying to figure out Photoshop after a week of fiddling with it. dream Kate Middleton is your best friend and wake up thinking that it's still true. Our girls' weekend in the Caribbean last night was top notch. think that New England has had enough precipitation in the last few weeks in the form of snow/sleet/rain to last us until summer.

Its Ok Thursdays

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

~William Shakespeare

{My first header that I very proudly made. Taken watching the sunrise over the Mediterranean in Valencia, Spain after a night spent dancing with my friends.}

My blog name.

Made up on the couch one night after a glass and a half of vino, a mind full of dreams and ambition, and a determination to do something truly extraordinary with my life.

After college, I moved home to New England after four wonderful years in the land where the wind comes sweeping down the plain - Oklahoma {STATE! I already love you if you got that}. I was feeling slightly crushed that I hadn't landed my dream job, but still wildly determined to find my place in life. 

A few people I knew had started blogs as their creative outlets, and I thought maybe, just maybe, this was something that I too could use to express myself, pursue my passions, and spend a little time daydreaming about the life I knew I wanted for myself. I always wanted to take time to share the little things in life that make me happy, smile, or touch me in in profound way.

The word "extraordinary" has always been a favorite of mine. I remember my Great Aunt Betty using it to describe everything from life-chaning moments to the seemingly normal or little things in life. It wasn't until I was older that I realized just how marvelous and truly extraordinary those little things that I normally wouldn't think twice about really were. Life was made up of those little moments. Hugs and kisses from my parents, smiles from strangers, snuggling up with my dog when I was feeling down. Those brief moments I usually cherish just as much as the "big" events in life. 

Life is made up of extraordinary moments, whether we realize it or not. 

Sometimes it takes days, months or even years to realize what those defining moments may be. I know that I always want to pursue and extraordinary life that fills me with happiness, adventure and excitement. Chasing the Extraordinary was chosen because I never want to forget my passion, drive and desire to live a life that is truly spectacular. 

The Vintage Modern Wife: Say My Name Link Up

I hope you're having a wonderful week so far. To any new visitors, thanks so much for stopping by! :) 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Early Bird

{Sunrise over the Cape Cod canal last weekend.}

Happy Tuesday!

Wait, where did Monday go? 

Actually, where did my weekend go? You mean tomorrow's Wednesday?

I'm a little behind, as you can see. 

Maybe it has something to do with seeing a few too many sunrises in the last few days.

But then again, daybreak is my favorite part of the day. It makes me feel inspired and motivated and ready to take on whatever may come my way. It's funny how I've turned into an early bird after living most of my life as a night owl. In college, I thought nothing of regularly staying up till 2 AM, laughing with friends, writing papers, or socializing at the local watering holes. Now, I can barely keep my eyes open past ten each night. I consider it a victory to make it through prime time television. However, I usually pay for it the next morning when I'm craving that extra hour of sleep. 

At the ripe age of 25, I feel like I'm going on 80 some nights. Actually that paired with the fact that I look forward to my oatmeal and tea for breakfast each morning at work makes me feel more like 85. A snappy and hip 85, but still an old geezer.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday's Letters

{Flathead Lake, Montana - August 2012}

Dear Belize: Only four short months until I will be basking in the sunshine on your sandy shores. Dear little brother: I am so excited that you are coming home this weekend. After six weeks in the Caribbean I'm sure you can't wait for the arctic temperatures up here :) Dear Cape Cod: I can't wait to spend some QT with you this weekend. It's been far too long. Dear Oklahoma: I can't wait to be back in the land where the wind comes sweeping down the plains in less than two weeks. Dear life: You have been pretty kick @$$ lately. It amazes me everyday how blessed I am. I can't wait to being the new adventures ahead of me!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's OK

{Gorgeous White Birch trees while snowshoeing through Vermont.}

It's OK...

...that your heart stops beating every time your phone rings or your "you've got mail" notice sounds. Waiting for news on how you will be spending the next two years of your life can cause momentary heart failure followed by a surge of adrenaline.

...that no matter how much you try, you still can't stand the taste/smell/sight of onions. think dinner full of laughter with your girlfriends is the best medicine.

...that you want to marry Josh Groban.

...that despite your best efforts, you always fall asleep halfway though Modern Family.

...that all the colorful, spring clothes really intensify your already terrible case of spring fever. still burn Christmas scented candles because, let's face it, winter in New England is still going strong.

Its Ok Thursdays
Thanks for visiting! I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hold the Phone


Searching for love.

One of the most frustrating, gut-wrenching experiences. It leads to all sorts of anxiety, anticipation, and disappointment {that is until we find the one}. 

A few weeks ago I read this NYT discussion about how Facebook, Twitter, and social media in general is too accessible, and it is inhibiting our awareness of the numerous romantic opportunities we encounter each day. 

Say what?!

Example in the discussion: In check-out line, a guy is unabashedly staring with interest at a girl in line. What does she do? She whips out her iPhone and posts a pity party FB status about her lack of boyfriend.

 ...for every moment that you're checking your Twitter feed, or your so-called friends' updates on Facebook, you're missing another opportunity to connect with somebody in real life … which could be another opportunity to fall in love.
~David Wygant

As a single girl who isn't necessarily on the hunt for Mr. Right, but wouldn't object to meeting him, I was appalled to read this. What kind of girl would rather tweet than throw a couple of flirtatious looks in the direction of a guy who is clearly interested?

Oh, crap. That's me.

Sometimes. Every so often. Occasionally.

I admit it. I use technology as a way to try to avoid awkward conversations. I use it as a defense mechanism to ward off people that might engage me in {dare I say it} conversation if I did not appear otherwise preoccupied. I am guilty of this tactic. Most of us are. We cling to technology like Linus clung to his blanket in every Peanuts comic strip.

But why?!?!?!

A good question. One for which I don't have a good, or even decent, answer. All I can think is that society today would rather retreat to technology than face real-world, real-people problems, encounters, and emotions. 

I posted a video earlier this week showing several unsuspecting strangers forced into conversation and ultimately a common friendship and camaraderie. Their initial awkward exchanges were quickly turned into disbelief that they had common interests, experiences, and even missing teeth. Though none of these turned into romantic encounters, they came out of the situation probably a happier mood than when they first began speaking. I know I always appreciate the casual conversation and well wishes for a good day from a complete stranger at Starbucks. Who knows when that informal comment about the weather or disbelief that the Red Sox lost again could turn into something lasting. We will never know if we don't seek out and take advantage of getting to know our fellow coffee drinkers, grocery shoppers, etc. 

We just have no idea that these friendly, possibly even romantic, rendezvous are even on our radar. Instead of taking the plunge, stepping up and growing a pair, we retreat to the comfort of staring at a LCD screen, scrolling through status updates and creeping on the new baby photos of some girl that was in your high school homeroom freshman year. 

I, for one, don't want to be handicapped by technology.

I want to cherish the small moments in life and give others a reason to smile because it might be the only smile they have all day. This morning, I think I'll even strike up a conversation with the same man who stops for coffee at exactly the same moment I do each day. 

Let's get out there and make a new {maybe momentary} friend today.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Some Happy {Tears} for a Monday

Happy Monday! I had a lovely weekend of sleeping, making some yummy meals for the coming week, and spending time with my family. The older I get, the more I cherish these laid back, and sometimes lazy, weekends. I could do without the few inches of white stuff we seem to get every morning, but spring is just around the corner :)

Enough of me, I want to share two sweet, and somewhat emotional, videos that I've recently discovered.

I found this video from SoulPancake via Betsy Transatlantically, and it made me smile all day long. It also made me much more aware of the people around me. As I sit in my usual perch at the coffee house, I find myself wondering about the dozen or so strangers around me that all have a story to tell. Watch it, it will make your day and make you realize you can't take everyone at face value. And just maybe it will inspire you to turn a stranger into a new friend, even if only for a few minutes.

A few weeks ago, I also found this video and it made me absolutely melt. This video will break your heart a little bit, but it shows the true strength and love of a family. Get the tissues out, and at the end, you will be so thankful for the family in your life. 

A little too deep for a Monday? Sorry about that. I tried to balance the happiness with the heartwarming/heartbreaking.

If you need a more excitement to help you jump-start the week, head over to visit Meg's Mingle Monday!

Mingle 240

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's OK {Valentine}

{Sunrise over the Mediterranean. Valencia, Spain}

It's OK... be relieved that you don't have a Valentine this year. Pepper would be jealous anyway.

...that your favorite part about Valentine's Day are the sweet cards from your Mom and Dad.

...that you always think of February 14th as your mother's birthday first and as Valentine's Day second. have a ferocious craving for a Chipotle steak burrito bowl after you gave up meat for Lent. constantly daydream about tropical beaches and drinks that are served in coconuts. wear Uggs everywhere so you don't ruin any of your other shoes in the snowy slush that covers all sidewalks and parking lots {thanks, Nemo}. still wear the same slippers for five years because they are so comfy and you can't find any that are quite the same. accidentally put on two different earrings and not realize it until you get to work. have the best intentions to read every night. However, after a week, you are still only on page 3. Sleep always conquers. 

Its Ok Thursdays

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Coffee House

Happy Valentine's Eve!  

While some of you have plans for a romantic night out {or in} with your sweethearts, I have plans to celebrate my mother's birthday with my family and snuggle with my little furball tomorrow night.

In lieu of the traditional Valentine's post, I thought I'd share something that I wrote last June. Last June, you ask? Yes. It was a few months after ending my 6 year relationship. I had just found out a few things that drove away any doubt that I did the right thing in ending it. I spent a few weeks in tears learning of these events, but then woke up one morning feeling completely and utterly happy and content. I had my mourning period - delayed three months and only lasting two weeks - but I had a new sense of clarity. This post is empowering for me, and I hope any of you single, brokenhearted friends out there find some kind of comfort in it. The heart-wrenching pain I felt then dulls in comparison to the happiness I have found in being true to myself and my dreams.

I'm sitting at my favorite spot in town. It's a coffee house that used to be an inn. Huge and open with beams and the coziest fireplace, this is where I go when I need to concentrate. Something about the sound of the espresso machine and happy chatter makes for perfect white noise. Maybe it brings me back to the hours I spent in my favorite coffee shop in college writing papers, studying, and more often than not, laughing the afternoon away with my friends.

The funny thing about a building is that so much can happen under one roof, without anyone else being any wiser. My life changed in a big way at this place, and until now, only one other person knew that. His life changed in a big way too that day, in this place. 

It was the last coffee together. The last attempt to have a decent conversation. So much had been said by now. Words that couldn't really be taken back, despite promises that they were never meant to hurt. So many actions that hurt more than words ever could. This was last chance to see if what we had a few years ago had even a flicker of life left in it. 

It didn't. 

We both knew it, knew it for months, but neither one of us would admit it. 

So much had happened, had changed, and our lives were on two very different paths. The life he pictured for himself was one with which I would never be content. The life I am so determined to live was one that he resented. We had nothing in common except for each other.

As I sit here, in the coffee house, looking out the window to the table on the porch where I last went with him, I am having a lot of trouble concentrating, which is the opposite intent of me being here in the first place. For some reason today I can't stop thinking about him, about us, and what we might have been. 

But then I think of what would have been if we had stayed together, and I smile to myself, knowing that my choice to end that chapter was the beginning of a lifetime of adventure.

That day I was hit slapped with a big reality:

True love will not resent and limit your dreams.

Remember that ladies. Or gentlemen. Or whomever might be reading this blog. It is something I already knew, but I didn't fully understand the magnitude of it until that moment.

That day at the coffee house, I finally let my brain and my heart work together, something that I had been preventing for a very long time.  I think my biggest and only regret is that I let myself stay in a situation that was less than desirable for so long when I knew what I should have done months, maybe even years, before. Words can't express the relief that I felt leaving him that day, knowing the fighting, resentment and cutting words were over. Words also can't express the heartache I felt watching him walk away, knowing he would never hold me again or watch me walk down the aisle one day. 

This post isn't at all what I intended to say when I began writing it. I hadn't any intention of sharing anything about my breakup with him. I hope, in some small way, it inspires you to listen to your heart and never settle for anything less than your dreams. 

Be true to yourself, not matter how hard that might be. In the end, the initial pain will dull in comparison to the pain of a life not fully lived. - Michaela's Philosophy of Life, written after hours, days, even months of thought on the matter.

Today, I am happier and more determined than ever to live my extraordinary life, which is what this blog is all about.

Sending you all my love this Valentine's Eve.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love is...

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

{Playing in the snow that Nemo left behind over the weekend. I'm a child at heart.}

This was one of the readings at church a few Sundays ago. I thought it was the perfect timing for this reading. Not only because Valentine's Day is drawing near, but because our world seems to be in desperate need of love lately. So many terrible events that have claimed lives, ruined lives, and caused unimaginable pain and anguish. However, after all these terrible events, the continuous outpouring of love and compassion is always astounding. Love like this should be shown and practiced on a daily basis, not necessarily reserved for times when tragedy strikes.

These verses are also a constant reminder of the love every person deserves. No one should ever settle for anything less. Relationships and people are never perfect, but unconditional love is truly perfect. I've come very close for settling for something that resembled love, but during times of trial {sometimes during everyday life too} it never lived up to this simple description. 

I sat in church smiling last Sunday, because though I've heard this reading dozens of times, I finally understood it. Something so simple held a new world of meaning. It tells me how to love in every aspect of my life. Not just romantically, but towards my peers, my friends, and strangers. It's funny how a few words can open your eyes and your heart. Especially when it's something that you've listened to over and over but never really heard before. My goal for this year is to love. I think my heart was finally ready to understand how I will make that happen.

God works in funny ways.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Things that Make Me Smile

1. A cherry almond chip cupcake for an afternoon treat.
2. Listening to Pepper fake bark in her sleep. I always wonder what she is dreaming of.... 
3. Snow covered houses in the countryside.
4. Spending the evening around a fire catching up with family.
5. Cozy pillows and blankets for a winter day.
6. The slate path at my Grandma's house where I spent many an afternoon playing during my childhood.
7. Neighbors that have a sense of humor and made a watermelon out of a downed tree in my Grandma's yard.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dear Blizzard?!

{The Halloween Blizzard of 2011. Using my little ragamuffin as a measuring stick.}

Dear Blizzard: I honestly thought you'd be here already. But as I gaze out my window, the only sign of you is the cloudy, grey sky. I have prepared for your arrival in the form of trail mix, Goldfish, a few bottles of wine and lots of clean sweatpants. Dear fellow New Englanders: Please stay safe in the next few days. Dear power: Please stay on. A week without heat and hot water is a very daunting thought. Dear little brother: I really enjoy getting the random text from you while you are at sea. They always surprise me and make my day. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks. Dear cozy bed: I can't seem to climb out of you right now to start my day. I think I'll stay for just a few minutes longer ;)


Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's OK

{City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain - I miss this place every day.}

It's OK... eat that third slice of pizza. It's thin crust, so fewer calories, right? Exactly.

...that a movie can make you shed continuous tears {P.S. I Love You gets me every time}.

...that a commercial involving one pretty adorable Clydesdale can also make you tear up.

...that the previous two items make me sound like a hormonal looney bird.

...that no matter how hard you try, getting up at 5:15 is impossible lately. 5:55 is a much better time.

...that your every intention of making it to a yoga class for the last week has been trumped by work/errands/exhaustion.

...that even though you are tired of winter, you are welcoming tomorrow's blizzard (17-20 inches!) with open arms because you get to work from home. prefer luggage-sized purses, even though all your chapstick and pens seem to disappear into their black abyss.

Its Ok Thursdays

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snowy Mornings

I snapped these a few weeks ago after an overnight snow storm. I had the pleasure of working from home that morning, and as a sat at my dining room table amongst various spreadsheets, binders, and notebooks, I paused long enough to glance out the window and realize how truly beautiful this new blanket of snow made our little corner of the woods. 

That little moment changed my foggy, slightly frustrated mood into humble thankfulness that I get to live in such a gorgeous place. I truly love New England.

Spend a moment today taking in the world around you. Look for the beauty, whether it be obvious or beneath the surface.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Backroads: Newfane, Vermont

A few weeks ago, my mother and I spent a few days in gorgeous Vermont with some of my aunts, uncles and cousins. The two-ish hour drive to the mountains brings you through some of the most picturesque and quintessential New England towns. These towns are so small, sometimes you only see a few hundred feet of buildings before you are in the woods again. Newfane always takes me by surprise. The town common has four gorgeous old white churches, all with green shutters. It is just lovely driving by the snow covered green and seeing these beautiful old buildings. There is also an adorable general store that has all sorts of goodies to satisfy everyone's curiosity. One of the reasons I love living in New England so much is that you can stumble upon these beautiful villages just by taking a few hour drive. 

Can you imagine going off that ski jump?! It is much bigger in person!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Early Spring + Something Totally Awesome

{Early spring?}

I love Saturday mornings. It's the first day of the week that I get to sleep in past 5:30, eat breakfast at the table instead of at my desk, and lounge around in my PJs until whatever time I please. I can run to the coffee house and grab a creamy chai latte. I catch up on news I might have missed during the week, play with Pepper, and watch my favorite shows. 

Saturday morning are me time. Catch up time. Slow down time.


This Saturday also brought Punxsutawney Phil out of his burrow to bring good news to all: He did not see he shadow, so we will have an early spring! 

Music to my ears. Winter has been wonderful, but this girl is dreaming of some sunshine and the beach.

Also on this fantastic Saturday morning, I found this fun link up with: 

Chantillysongs Blog hop

Check it out and join the fun! And and to all visiting, thanks so much for stopping by my little space!

Have a wonderful Saturday!