Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s in my voice.

I had a totally other topic planned. But after today I couldn’t get my mind on anything else. Today was ducking amazing. (Yes my phone now autocorrects every f bomb to this so why not? ) There wasn’t a ‘oh my god I won the lottery’ or ‘oh my goodness something amazing just happened’ kind of day. It was just a day that clicked. Don’t you love those?

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Where to even begin. I got a very unique opportunity to be part of 8 females chosen within my company to be part of this newly formed group. It has to stay under wraps so no need to go into details but what it allows us to do is get more personalized executive interaction. All under the framework of finding  the female voice in the workplace. I didn’t think it was a topic I was particularly jazzed about, but being hand picked for this was such an honor.

I went into the first meeting where we were speaking with one of the top female executives in the firm not really knowing what to expect. In the span of that hour, I broke down every wall I had built since starting the job. I spoke up more than I ever had since being there. I have never felt more passionate than I did when I left. And overall, I have never had more to process.

She started from the beginning of her life sharing stories about how she got to where she is today. The discussion quickly grew to all of us sharing those insecurities we had with showing up in the workplace. This has never been something I thought was a big battle for me. I thought I had always let the authentic Alex command a room. But since being at this job, I realized I hadn’t. I couldn’t pinpoint it though. Why did I struggle to see my own gift and that power? Why did I shut down in this setting unlike how I normally had shown up in my past? What I kept seeing was this cowering high school Alex I had once been.

Excuse me as I continue to jump around and make no sense at all…

Today during my final presentation I felt on fire. I dug being up and commanding a room. I loved walking away from that presentation feeling proud and determined to keep that momentum up. I went right from that to this meeting. My mind though was still on that presentation. I was baffled at how great it felt because it was the first time I let others see oh shoot, now that is the business Alex that knows how to work a room. Rather than the behind a desk, head down, do what she is told associate. In this meeting though, I let my guard down and really explained how I felt like the ‘work’ Alex wasn’t a true picture of who I was. I mean I keep telling you all that I rarely mention running and just didn’t know how to display my hard work. Hilarious since I can’t stop talking about it 24/7 here. I am a shell of a person at work sometimes while all I really want to do is be that presenter Alex, with confidence, with poise and with a genuine sense of self.

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Transitioning to a professional setting is tough. Especially in a role with many superiors and with an environment of great talent. What I know about myself, is that my fall back tends to be that shut down mentality. With that, I lose who I am at my core. I struggle to claim that self voice.

A big point that we talked about is how females tend to claim their successes and achievements as due to luck while males own their triumphs. Lean In by Sherlyn Sandberg speaks directly to how females can gain workplace empowerment and will be a focal point of many of these meetings. Sounds feminist right? Wrong. It is all about not pointing the fingers at men but pointing the fingers back at ourselves, what we can do to claim our power by choosing to show up.

I could go on. Obviously. The video below is who spoke to us, who I am so amazed I get to work with. I walked away from our conversation wanting to show those around at work who I really am. To be continued of course…

Read here. 

Loud Mouth: Go Time

I won’t be spending too much on this. Most of the night will be spent talking to myself and getting my outfit planned for tomorrow’s presentation. Tomorrow is go day. eek. My neighbors think I am crazy because they see my pacing my apartment talking to myself. Whoops. I wish I could have done Amanda’s theme but to be honest, I have way too much to say on it. I would rather spend more time on a quality post – I swear it will come soon enough.

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… a huge weight will be off my shoulder after today. I can’t wait to go straight to bed after work. No lie. Anxiety just makes my sleep whack so with nothing on my mind I have a feeling it will all just hit.

… I am slightly obsessed with R. K. Lilley. Ok not just slightly, like seriously LOVE this author. Her characters are spot on and her series have sucked me in. I am plowing through books like it is my job. Currently on book 21 since January 1st. Whoa man.

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… I am not going to North Caroline in March like originally planned. You know that trip I talked about that me and 10 other coworkers won? Yes, I totally thought I was going. I took off Friday from my real job (hello so many PTO days to use) and took the weekend off the running store. Full intentions of going. Well it really hit me like a ton of bricks at how much I didn’t want to go. I just am not close to the people I went in with. Yes we are nice acquaintances but outside of work they all hang out together, something I was just a tag along accessory to if I was even invited. I just knew it would not be a good weekend if I constantly felt left out of the loop. So instead I am NOT going to sign back up to work but rather take three glorious days off in DC. It will be after two weekends of racing and it will be my first ever days off when I am actually in DC in a row. Hilarious.

… on that note, I still have the gift from my boss for a massage at the Four Seasons. That Friday you better believe it I will be having a free spa day at that beautiful place. My friend also invited me to horse back ride with her on that Sunday afternoon. Holy cow I have never been on a horse before so of course I said hell yes.

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… for the first time since working at the running store, we have to pass a test. Like really? So next up, studying for that thing. Darn.

… the trailers for Divergent are killing me. Can it be out yet? Ironically that same weekend. Hello best weekend ever.

… Dug running this week. I say the slightly warmer weather or just a need to clear my mind made it that way, but whichever it was, I liked it.

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… I realized this is the first time I have wanted to be in DC on the weekends. I totally give credit to my running store friends and A for that. I just have been having a blast and get major FOMO (fear of missing out) when I am not with them. Such a great feeling.

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Jesus, that was long. I need to get back to work. Hopefully I won’t be talking to myself too much on my run tomorrow morning as I practice my speech as I run. It ‘s really the only time I can talk out loud without judgement to myself. ha!

Question: What is your Thursday thought? 

Spill It: Bookworm Nerd Style

Well, duh this theme was my jam this week. I just couldn’t pass it up. Even as hard as I tried. And even as late as I am. Plus, lately I have just been really good at ‘spilling it’. Not sure if that is a good thing (you can ask my friends that) but sometimes you just need that spill. Even over books.

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Favorite Novel of all time: Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech with a close tie of Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  • Chasing Redbird follows Zinny as she rediscovers a trail, taking the clearing of it on her as a coping mechanism for dealing with the death of her aunt. It is hard to put my finger on what I love about this book but I just do. It captures that forgiveness we all want with that obsession that sometimes clouds reality. At the time I read this, I was doing a project for school and picked this as my book report. It wasn’t until I read it right after the death of my Jidoo that I rediscovered why at such a young age I was so drawn to it.
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie as he enters high school after the suicide of his only friend committed suicide. Charlie himself just draws you in. His thought process is unqiue and full of quirks, but yet his emotions are raw and insecurities relatable. A book I could read over and over.

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Favorite Genre: Not-Your-Average Romance

  • Never. Ever. Would I peg this genre as something I would quickly fall in love with. You know all those books I am eating through? Totally what I would call Not – Your – Average Romance. I am struggling to actually give this type of genre a name. What I mean is that they are romantic, but always obstacles in the way of the lovey dovey romance you think of. These are not all lovey dovey. Sure they have their moments. But most are full of the bad boy trying to get the good girl, or the person dealing with their past in order to fall in love – a super modern twist to romance which is what draws me in. I won’t lie, some are a little racier than others. Hey, kill me ok. We are all human. I did read the 50 shades series this January. Another recent series is Ross Siblings series. I actually went out of order because I had no idea there were as many as they were and still I got sucked in.

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Favorite Childhood Novel: Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket

  • I had trouble with this question because I could pick a more recent series that I loved but I thought I would go back to a classic that I lived for when I was younger. These were actually pretty devastating books yet I could not get enough of them. I think it is the one series I bought every single book of.

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Favorite Series: Divergent Series – Veronica Roth

  • Another unexpected one that came out of this year’s reading spree. It was a combination of the characters and who setting that made me unable to put this series down. But you already knew that…

Which book would you hope future generations will consider a classic? East of Eden- John Steinbeck

  • What started as a forced read for school and soon began one I read probably every year just because. A book that explores the struggle for acceptance with the self destructive path it can build could not speak more directly to a trend in our society. The themes are universal and relatable. A must read.

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Fun huh? Gosh I just love to read. Nerd status.

Question: What is your favorite book to date?

Trade em Up: I go La La La

Those four day weeks that magically turn to five the next week are such a tease. You get used to one thing and then poof, back to the grind. It is a big week though at work so my mind is fully in determined mode.

I would NOT trade… pep talks. Nothing like some via text pep talks. Wish they could be in person but you can’t ask for everything.

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I would NOT trade… my final presentation this week. Big day Thursday. I will be doing my final presentation for my internship and couldn’t be more nervous. There is nothing like presenting to the who leadership team of the that position you really want to get moved to. Eek. Heart in throat.

I would trade… laundry. Because no matter how many times I do it, I still have so much freaking laundry to do. I blame running.

I would NOT trade…the starting of March. March is just plain crazy. Bethany coming one weekend. Rock N Roll the next. North Carolina trip the third week. Dear god I will be busy. Add in extra running store shifts and coffee will officially be my best friend.

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I would trade.. my strange attraction to this song. No idea why but totally enticing. Probably because sometimes when you hear things all you want to say is ‘La la la’.

I would NOT trade.. my friends birthday celebration this Saturday night. Dinner out and then hitting the city. Oohhhh it will be a great night.

I would trade… the temperature dropping like whoa. This weekend was such a special treat and just like that BAM we have potential snow and 20 degree weather.

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This week is a go.

Question: What would you trade this Tuesday? What wouldn’t you trade? 

Escape Plan.

This weekend was plain awesome. Sure, total got only about 10 hours of sleep but instead I got one low key night with friends, one hilarious out of my body experience night out, one solo warm one, one long trail run that will leave me sore for days and two days of running store hours that flew by. Wait can I rewind?? Luckily next weekend has the same sort of entertainment that won’t disappoint. All of this craziness got me thinking.

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I don’t know what it is about 2014 but it has been busy. And that is an understatement. Yet, for the first time I feel busy but grounded. Two words I never thought I could put together. I am a firm believer in really looking at what made that change? Why now? Why a different mindset?

I realized a lot of it is due to finding my escapes. I think everyone consciously or unconsciously has their non negotiables. I have talked about those before but really those things that you know may be a bit selfish but are what keep you sane. Those activities, those physical things that keep you chugging along despite the chaos around you. I have always been pretty good about setting ground rules for my non-negotiables. Like morning runs. A gym membership. One night a week of me time. Early bed times. You get it. I feel like mine tend to be less tangible and more patterns of behavior.

But the idea of escapes was one I struggled with. For so long, I couldn’t find that release. I was so tightly wound despite staying true to those non-negotiables. I still sometimes had that suffication feeling and anxiety that just couldn’t seem to die down. Maybe I didn’t see the importance of these escapes until this new year or maybe I finally realized my busy life style couldn’t keep going without some kind of give. I define escapes by those out of body out of mind times that just make you disconnect. Momentary disconnect of course but a disconnect that leaves you to come back even more engaged and alert. Almost like a momentary shut down that rejuvenates you so that the turn on is even more clear.

So what are mine?

  • Reading – For so long I was a slave to tv. I thought that is what would calm my mind and just shut it off. If anything, it did the exact opposite. Reading has been a lifeline for me these past few months. My books tend to be ones with characters I can relate to one some level (although not always perfectly) where you follow their lives. I won’t lie, lately I have been sucked into some romantic type novels that have a hint of adventure entwined in a love story. Sappy, I know, but the best freaking escape.
  • Running – This is a major duh but running has always been that escape. However, I am very clear for it to be an escape and not a run from problems. This one takes a lot of honesty, a lot of is this avoidance or is this helping me flush out my problems. More times than not it is a way for me to process everything. A crazy night dream. A packed day. A weird interaction. My mind goes everywhere but if you ask me what I was thinking about after I would have no idea. Glorious.
  • Friends – Who would have thunk this would be one? But lately this has been all I have needed. Just being with people almost every night this week shows how much it has become my crutch now, that thing that gets me out of my head and more in the moment.
  • Writing – Now, I refrain from saying blogging because reading blogs does anything lately but act as an escape. I mean the process of writing. Even writing this post. Or writing drafts I never publish. Lately it has just clicked. Planning posts are now a thing of the past because those glorious 30 minutes I take each night to write are exactly what I need after a day. Sometimes sarcasm comes out, sometimes emotions pour out, but always in the moment.

As you can tell, I don’t have a ton of escapes right now. It is still something that feels so new and overly selfish to indulge in. Obviously something I want to change but a mind block I am still working on moving past. For now though, these escapes help though. Immensely. I have more room to be with others (because I am not constantly bombarded by my own thoughts). I have room to build relationships. And I have room to build a practice around being a happy busy person. That is all I can ask for.

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Question: What are your escapes? 

Snack Attack: Yasso Me

Thank goodness for the weekend. I just wish it was a bit less crammed but hey, you work with what you got. I should probably just jump right into the delicious part…
Yasso was a company I first discovered at the Falmouth Road Race. They have been sponsors for the last few years and never disappointed in that department. Probably the only company that gave out coupons and free bars before and after the race. Nothing, I repeat nothing tastes better than a nice cold greek yogurt bar after a sweaty hilly 10 am race in August. Nothing.
Yasso was created in 2011 by two long time childhood friends who ironically grew up in Massachusetts. They became the first ever frozen greek yogurt bar to hit the market and have only grown from there.
Their original flavors had won me over but when I saw the new flavors come out, I knew I wanted to share them with you. Added to their Strawberry, Raspberry,  and Blueberry flavors – they now have Mango, Vanilla Bean, Coconut, Chocolate Fudge, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, and Sea Salt Caramel. They had me drooling. Like all their original bars, they contain only natural ingredients, 7 g of protein and made with rBST-free milk.
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For me, it is the texture that makes these bars delectable. They are creamy and rich without being too heavy like traditional ice cream bars. They practically melt in your mouth when you eat them with a not too overly sweet flavor. I think it is the natural ingredients that make them not  too sickly sweet or overwhelmingly tangy. Of the newest flavors, I am a sucker for Coconut. Like wow. The first time I tried it I had no idea what to expect and almost expected it to be way too coconut-y. (yes that is a thing…) Instead I found it more of a subtle flavor that was just enough to smooth coconut taste.
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I could rave about these for days. My mom knows when I come home to visit to always have these on hand. Always. She has even converted my dad to eating them, one of his favorites now.
Check out their website and get your own. Because I won’t be sharing mine.

What’s my ‘gift’?

I have been all over the place this week. I blame the hormone crazies but also just a busier than normal schedule. I am beyond ready for the weekend but have had some thoughts on my mind.

Failure. Doesn’t that word just send chills up your spine. This week I attended an associate development series class (yes perfectly free and totally up to us if we want to attend – yes I know, I love my job) that spoke directly to failure.

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Our generation is one runs from criticsm rather to it. Let’s see how better to explain this – every kid gets a trophy, every person in the class gets a Valentine’s card, etc. You get the picture. This isn’t a bad thing. No one likes to be a failure. But a big part of life is that lesson that MAN you suck at some things. We all suck at some things. Running to criticsm allows you to embrace those other gifts you have, those things that bring you passion and that you are good at. I could go on and on about what this speaker presented. I was literally hanging on every word. I won’t though. I did want to bring up these three big points that just struck me.

Like you all out there (or the majority of you), you are in your 20s, trying to figure out what your gift is to the world, trying to climb that ladder of success, trying to map out what your life will look like. These are all good impulses and actions to be working on. He kept saying the 20s is the time to not give a crap and keeping trying out new things, keep trying to climb that ladder like a crazy weezle and moving that ladder from one building to the other. Soon that ladder will be on that building that you have passion to climb.

Back to those three points, he said that he sees three ways to find your so called ‘gift’

  1. Ask yourself when were you your happiest – Seems like such a duh but how true is this? When did I actually feel my best both mentally and physically. What was I doing in my life at the time that brought me to that mental state of pure bliss. Human nature is that we are happiest when we are doing things that we are good at and getting recognition for those good actions. This one I have literally been racking my brain over.
  2. Ask yourself what is that thing that is really you? What do people associate with you? – You know those moments where you are doing a project and someone says, oh you should totally be in charge of that, that is so you. Pretty self explanatory but these skills that you show expertise in and find that mental happiness when associated with them.
  3. (My personal favorite and new challenge to myself) Find the verb not the noun – The noun is such a square box you are creating for yourself. Because it may not necessarily be that one job but rather the actions in the role. He used the example of what he always thought was his gift – to be a consultant. In reality, he should have used the verb of what he actually was doing – crunching numbers in an excel workbook till his eyes went blue.

This applies to so much more than just careers. So much more. For me, while this did hit home with all my current career aspirations and movements I am making internally, I found it to apply way more directly to my life right now. You probably can’t tell, heck most people can’t, but I have forcing this dark cloud over my head for some time. For no reason in particular. Over nothing in particular except maybe finding that things just are not clicking like I would like. But listening to this I had this moment where I realized it is because I wasn’t allowing failure. I wanted everything to just magically feel right rather than feel out what didn’t and find what did. Sure, I have been doing that try new things. I am glad I am doing that. But it is the after I am not handling well. That level of unease, those mind games of wondering is this really what I wanted.

Hmm. Take what you want from this. I will be diving deeper for myself. For sure.

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Question: How do you think you can find your gift? 

Freaking Boo Hoo.

Thursday already. Now that is the way I like a week to go. More hours needed in the day or a faster week? Easy pick I guess.

All I have in me is a good ramble, thanks Amanda for this one. Per usual.

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…I have a good laugh. So apparently a new promo at our running store is when someone buys $100+ dollars of Brooks shoes/apparel they get a VIP porta potty pass. Yes, I said that right. It is access to those VIP porta potties at Rock N Roll Races. (Ps still $10 off if you use ALEXRUNSUSA – have you signed up yet??? Come on I want to see you there!)

…I swear I am spending less and less time in my apartment. Between work, classes, activities, I barely step foot in my apartment till 8 pm or later.

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… Someone needs to put a ‘no’ sticker permanently attached to my forehead. I struggle to use that word. I may or may not have picked up five extra shifts of the running store in March. We just had a coworker leave meaning everyone was scrambling and having to give a little flexibility. Three Monday nights and two Friday nights along with weekends will be my norm in March. Eek.

… I had a major black ice fail on Wednesday morning. I am super careful, I really am. But it may have been a combination of rocking out to jams, a faulty street light and a sitting police car that caught me off guard. Any ways, I went sliding flat on my butt pretty hard. What a show for that police man at 4:45 am. Not even a wave from  him.

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…I listened to Wicked all day at work yesterday. No idea why but totally in the mood. I hadn’t listened to it in ages.

…Logan has created a monster. She is queen of finding those hidden gem races. Races that I really should run to get my confidence up and also test my limits when it comes to trail racing. She doesn’t even have to twist my arm anymore. Another race added for April (a random distance of 11.03 miles too) and pretty stoked about an early trail run Sunday morning we are hitting up for free.

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…Free lunch from Shop House yesterday. Thank you marketing man who visited our office and gave my coworker and I free lunch tickets. Nom.

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…Another book down. 16 on the year. No looking back.

…I think I am turning into a spaghetti squash. Pretty sure my diet staple right now due to its cheap prices and ease of cooking. No spaghetti squash is safe near me.

…warning girl problem ahead. Switching birth control is a bitch. Just saying. Back to normal programing.

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… the majority of the body pump teachers now at my gym are pregnant. Pregnant but still kicking our ass in every way possible. I don’t think I have sweat as much as I did Tuesday night. I got another class tonight to just set in that soreness.

Phew. Today flew by. Run. Work. Mentoring. Errands. Get back at 8:30. Crash.

Question: What is your Thursday thought?

Spill it: Shuffle Edition

It has been a while since I have done a music post huh?

Now this is a way into my music loving heart. How could I pass up the opportunity to show my crazy sense of music? I’m a few days late but blogging is that only aspect of my life where I feel behind the eight ball constantly. Type A Alex gets to cut herself a break here.

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I don’t have an iPod. Or even a loaded mp3 player. I don’t listen to music except from my ancient iTunes account that hasn’t been updated since my freshman year of college. The only other form of music is the radio/pandora/spotify that keeps me going during runs and at work. All of which I set to the most basic stations like top hits keeping me up to date on the current jams. (And don’t forget those guilty pleasure stations like accapella, body pump track releases and musicals… dear god I have no linear style)

With this in mind, I decided to play around with this Shuffle style. I am going to do current shuffle style – those jams that pop up on those radio station (primarily Kiss 108), and shuffle style – those iTunes hits I just can’t seem to get out of my head but are pretty old school. Let’s be real, this is just an excuse for me to listen to music, such a great escape. Roll it.

Current Shuffle Style – basically those songs that come on my run and I just starting singing… no shame

  • Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo Featuring 2 Chainz (you can’t not dance to this one)

  • Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (will. never. get. enough)

  • Counting Stars – OneRepublic (just yes, could listen to this on repeat)

  • Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (can I say duh?)

Playlist Shuffle Style -

  • Starstrukk – 3Oh!3 (this was my ringtone for far too long…)

  • Bom Bom – Sam and the Womp (thank you Body Pump for this one)

  • Up in the Air – Thirty Seconds to Mars (obsession with this band)

  • The Cave – Mumford and Sons (these guys won my heart with their whole album)

  • Bang Bang – K’naan (such a classic)

  • Sure Shot – Yellowcard (Hello middle school emo days)

  • Defying Gravity – Wicked (I will always be a musical buff)

  • Thnks fr th Mmrs – Fall Out Boy (don’t you just want to scream this at the top of your lungs sometimes?)

  • Such Great Heights – Postal Service (in other words the whole Garden State soundtrack)

  • Dosed – Red Hot Chili Peppers (the first band and forever favorite band I listened to)

  • As You Sleep – Something Corporate (what a throwback)

  • You Know How I do – Taking Back Sunday (I have all their cds and know every word to their songs, rivaling with RHCP)

  • Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind (my running inspiration in high school)

  • Everybody – Backstreet Boys (the first band I created dances for with my sister and friend)

I could go on forever. Stop me now. Because I have a thousand more coming to my mind.

Question: What song comes on first with shuffle? 

Trade em Up Tuesday: Coffee Me.

Just a four day week. I can totally do a four day week. Chugga chugga chugga

This weekend was exactly what I needed. A combination of seeing/talking to good friends, sleep and lack of sleep, sunny runs and time to myself. It is funny how much I seriously cherish that day I don’t have to work both jobs. It is like a treat from the usual 7 days a week of work, a treat I never EVER take for granted.

But I’m ready to trade.

I would trade… the DC clean up. Come on DC. We didn’t even get hit that hard compared to the rest of the country but still side streets are unplowed, sidewalks are a mess and pure ice is everywhere. I am lucky that my runs this weekend were all in the sunlight but I may have to stick to the treadmill until it warms up and melts because 4:30 am dark runs just can’t be trusted.

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I would trade… the lingering fear of my upcoming races that yesterday’s post reminded me of. Do you all remember last year? Pretty sure 3/4 races I ran I puked a majority of them. Can this year please be better? Pretty please?

I would NOT trade… blowing through another series and starting yet another. I am finally keeping track of all the books I have read in 2014. I am on 14 so far and quickly moving through more. I have to say reading rather than being on my computer is such a better way to spend my time. I feel like I have been pretty distant in commenting on blogs and even in social media. I just can’t help the fact I would rather read 50 pages of my book then comment on blogs, sure I read them but my time is almost 3/4 less than what I used to do. Sucked into books right now. Sucked in.

I would NOT trade… getting to catch up with an old college friend and back home friend over the phone this weekend. Gosh, I know I suck real bad at staying in touch but I told you, 2014 was all about relationships. It felt amazing to hear their voice and see how happy they are right now (and of course vent about all those less than stellar parts). Nothing like friends that you feel like you can just start back up where you left off. Ideal.

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I would trade… weird ass dreams. Don’t ask me why. Or why now. But man has it been making my sleeping less than stellar.

I would NOT trade… finally getting a new comforter. I kind of love how cheap it was and also love how it isn’t as ratty as my old one. Just a nice fresh pop to my apartment. I swear that dinner party I keep talking about will happen. It really will.

I would NOT trade… some new faces in my building. I don’t think they are new residents but I met a guy who apparently lives on my floor. Oddly, I have run into him three times in the last three days after not seeing him at all since October. Not a sight for sore eyes if you know what I mean…

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I would NOT trade… 60 degree weather on Thursday heading our way. Why isn’t it Thursday? I ask you that.

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I would NOT trade…  making a big step in my life. I’ll explain this later but it is the first time I just decided to put myself first and ask for what I needed. Not an easy ask but one I know will be worthwhile.

Ok week, back to chugging along.

Question: What would you trade this Tuesday? What wouldn’t you trade?