Friday, March 29, 2013

Spiritual Reminiscing

I found this old picture recently, and the timing couldn't be better. 

I stumbled upon this cross made of flowers four years ago in a square in a sleepy neighborhood of Valencia. I often wandered the little, windy streets of the city during my time studying there. I never grew tired of the charm and character of that ancient city. As in most cities, there is always something new to see and places waiting to be discovered.

I didn't think much of the neighborhood that so lovingly adorned this cross with flowers. It seemed typical, quiet. A place the Valencian people used as a retreat from the constant energy of the city. I found myself walking, thinking that I should have chosen another route for my daily wandering. But then I saw it.

Seeing this cross brought tears to my eyes. 

It was so beautiful. 

So unexpectedly placed. 

A symbol of light and beauty among the shuttered windows and graffiti. Much how God seems to be in our world. He is everywhere, even in the places we least think we will find him. And that revelation meant the world to me. It fulfilled me in so many ways that I can't even begin to explain. It brought me a simple answer to a question I had been thinking as I roamed the tiny side streets.

It brought me peace.

Over the years, I have come to truly believe that God sends you what you need, when you need it. No matter how much you think you know better or wish for a different outcome. I had been searching for months for answers to questions on faith. Struggling to understand what God had planned for my life. Studying in Spain turned out to be a spiritual journey for me in many ways. This moment was one of dozens that helped me grow closer to my God.

This Easter weekend, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist etc., I hope that you are full of peace and love.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winter Walk

There is nothing more peaceful and calming to me than walking along my favorite beach.

Even if it's -2398423 degrees outside.

My spring fever has become nagging lately. After 60 degree days in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, I find myself staring longingly at my spring dresses when I really should be looking for a parka and snow boots.

All in good time.

If that good time was tomorrow though, I'd be OK with that.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's OK + Obligatory Bloglovin' Love

Rest in Peace, Google Reader. 
Truth is, I don't really use it a lot myself...but I love all my Google Reader followers so much! I don't want to lose you along the road, so I'm making it super easy for you to find me elsewhere.
Click here to follow Chasing the Extraordinary via Bloglovin {pretty please}!
See, how easy was that?
Easy, peasy. 
I've been absent on the "It's Okay" bandwagon lately, so I thought I'd join the fun again :)
It's OK... have that third slice of pizza. practice sucking in your stomach for your friend's wedding in two weeks because reality is you won't quite hit that weight loss goal {I'm looking at you pizza}.
...that a "quick" shower still takes 20 minutes. have a renewed appreciation for the comfort and coziness of your bed after a few nights away. be slightly resentful of the snowstorm that decided to visit on the eve of spring. prematurely start swapping your winter clothes for your spring clothes in your closet when you are completely aware that the outlook for the next week is a little bit of snow and temps in the 40s. think your doggy is the cutest thing on the planet.
Happy Thursday!
Its Ok Thursdays

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Valkyrie - Brady District, Tulsa

I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours of my friend's bachelorette party at Valkyrie in the Brady District of Tulsa a few weeks ago. My friend knows the owners/managers of this charming establishment, so we actually paid them a visit earlier in the day to say hello.

This place is genuine, ya'll. 

If you are looking for a seriously scrumptious craft beer or cocktail, this is the destination. The ingredients for their cocktails are prepared fresh each day {you watch them peel the lemon twist for your cosmo right in front of you}. They will also craft a cocktail especially for you. I was completely undecided on what I wanted to drink that night, and after a brief conversation with the bartender, he whipped up a truly sensational cocktail that I couldn't stop talking about all night.

I could go on and on about the killer drinks, wonderful aesthetic, and fun crowd. If you are in the Tulsa area this is my advice for you: run, don't walk, to Valkyrie. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tulsa Snaps

{Yes, that is Hello Kitty sushi.} 

I've never been to Heaven, but I've been to Oklahoma {name that song}.

I am still in recovery mode after my whirlwind weekend in Tulsa last week, a very long work week, and a weekend of playing catch-up. Is that normal at 25? Probably not. Maybe at 75, but I'm an old soul.

I can't wait to get back to Okieland in a few more weeks for the big wedding And to see more friends, spend the majority of my time laughing, and enjoy reminiscing about our silly college days.

I will probably be caught up with life when it's time to leave again in 15 days. That's OK because I love making memories with the people I love.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catch Up

{A winter walk on Cape Cod}

After one amazing weekend in Oklahoma,
two airport delays,
several long flights,
six hours of sleep {over 72 hours},
and two very long work days,
I am easing back into everyday life.

My time in Oklahoma last weekend was truly special. I cherish the all too short time spent with friends so much. I am so blessed to have some truly phenomenal people around me.

Sorry for the radio silence over here this past week...normality will ensue {hopefully} later this week.

I hope you all are having a truly wonderful day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snow + Friendship

{Taken behind my house - AKA the backroads of New England}

Oh, hello, snow. I'm so glad you're back. All our snow had almost melted, so a fresh few inches is just what I like to see in March.

Enough sarcasm. This is a happy day.

Tonight I'm jetting off to enjoy the lovely, warm weather in Oklahoma for a long weekend to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of my dearest friends. This trip is long overdue, as I haven't be to OK since I left after graduating from OSU almost three years ago. Though my friends and I have various girls' weekends, vacations and {many} hours long phone calls over the last few years, it's so tough being far away from all your best friends.

I was recently so touched by this post from Nadine and this post from Sami {fellow OSU alum - Go Pokes!} on the reality of growing up and {not} growing friendships. I moved back home to my beautiful New England after spending four seriously amazing years in Stillwater, Oklahoma, constantly surrounded by my childhood best friends, new college best friends, sorority sisters and a whole bunch of other really terrific people.

 {Editor's note: Oklahoma State is probably one of the friendliest schools you will ever find. Ever. I mean it.}

 I was so looking forward to moving home and being closer to my family {and then-boyfriend}. As much as I loved my school and the people that had been my family over those four years, I couldn't picture myself staying in the great state of Oklahoma for the rest of my life. I was an East Coaster at heart, and it was time for me to move home and begin my big girl life.

The first few months I was home were wonderful. I took the summer off and spent it at our cottage on Cape Cod. I had a constant stream of Okie visitors for at least six months. I was soaking in time with my parents, brother and boyfriend. Life seemed pretty perfect back in the land of Yankees. Well, after three or four months the honeymoon effect wore off. I became frustrated with job searching, my relationship wasn't blooming into the happy-go-lucky tale that I had daydreamed about for the past four years, and visits from my friends were becoming scarce as they all settled into their own lives.

Reality had hit home. I couldn't take a five minute walk or ten minute car ride to see my best friends when I was sad, happy, crying, frustrated, joyous or just feeling silly. I felt like part of me was missing. Alone. Despite my wonderful support and love of my family, I dearly missed my friends.

Now, nearly three years later, those feelings are still here, in a way. I have my own life that I've settled into that always seems to be going full speed ahead. However, I've found it's unimaginably hard to make new friends as a grown up. Between juggling a demanding job, volunteering, family obligations etc., meeting new people is a huge challenge. Sounds silly, right? Luckily I have all those things that keep me busy and happy, but the void of having your true friends nearby is always there. True, they are a phone call away, but it's not quite the same as sharing a bottle of wine together. I have learned to truly cherish every minute of the time I get with my friends.

This weekend will be perfect for me, and I hope it's full of friends, fun and love for you too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


{Corporation Beach - Dennis, MA}

I swung on this swings every summer of my childhood. Once you swing high enough, you can see the Cape Cod Bay over the grasses and prickly bushes. If it's a clear day, you can see the dunes on the other side of the bay and Provincetown at the very tip top of the Cape. I remember swinging here with my brother and cousins - each of us trying to swing higher than the other. 

It was a very serious competition.

I love visiting this place in the winter. The serenity that encompasses this little strip of seashore during the off-season is hard to imagine on the simmering days of July and August. The summer months have become seemingly more crowded than the summers of my childhood. The swings are always crowded, the beach is full to the brim with little space between chairs and umbrellas. 

But on this grey, wintry day, this place was so peaceful. There were some retirees taking an afternoon stroll, a man playing fetch with his dog, and people like me just taking in the muted beauty. I sat on these swings, remembering the happy evenings I so often spent here. I must have looked like a complete loon smiling to myself on the swing seat that does not accommodate my derrière as easily as it used to. But it's good for the soul to spend time at your happy place every so often. So many corners of this beach are filled with memories, but my afternoon on the swing set made me remember the childish, innocent and carefree feelings that are so easy to forget, but remain somewhere deep inside us.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mumblings on Time

{NYC at Christmas. Last week December 2012}

Doesn't it seem like just yesterday it was Christmas? Now I find myself in complete disbelief that we are in the early days of March. I constantly find myself saying "a few weeks ago..." when really the interesting and witty story I was leading into actually took place three months ago.

Time has been something on my mind a lot lately. I often feel like I don't have enough time. Or if I do have enough time, I spend it doing things other than what I really need to do. 

Case in point: I spend at least two hours of my day driving after usually working for a solid ten or eleven {sometimes 15+} hours. By the time I get home, there is laundry to do, food to make, puppies to play with...the list goes on. But I usually find myself heating up a Lean Cuisine, popping open a bottle of vino, and falling asleep halfway though my glass. I am usually thankful for the much needed sleep {I'm one of those people that needs a solid 8 hours every night}, but the next day I feel so behind and disorganized because my lunch isn't made and I don't have clean socks.

It's a vicious circle. Finding that balance between doing what is necessary versus what makes you happy and relaxed can be, I find, a struggle.

This year, I've been making more time for myself, trying to stay more organized an on top of things so if some parts of my life are going full speed ahead, it's not magnified by the chaos of a piles of laundry, unmade food, and a stack of unread mail. The last few weeks, my life has slowed down quite a bit, though I know it will pick up again in the coming days. So, I've been focusing on the little things that make such a huge difference when added up. Like preparing meals on Sunday night for lunch during the week, stopping for gas at night instead of rushing in the morning, and taking 30 minutes to make sure my work clothes are steamed and ready to go over the weekend.

I get all these things done in a few hours, and that leaves the rest of the weekend for relaxation and fun. It may sound ridiculous, even childish, but balancing the demands of work with the desire to relax, socialize and enjoy time off can be harder than you think. Those little things add up and can bog us down. I've leaned that making the time for the small, necessary things allows me to have more time overall to relax and enjoy life. My "me" time isn't spent worrying about all those things I should be doing. Weekends and nights off are short enough as it is, so I'm learning to make the most of every moment I have. And I, for one, believe those free moments should be spent in laughter, joy and contentment.

Monday, March 4, 2013

White Mornings

There is something so surreal about waking up to a snow covered world. Driving to work the other morning was like driving through fairy land. The sun was just rising, the trees were all white, and the world seemed to be in a quiet peace. A truly beautiful, glorious start to the day.

I hope you have a beautiful start to your week.