10 things I LOVE

With Valentine’s Day now over I just want to keep spreading the love for the rest of the month and give you some more insight into my life. Anyone who knows me, understands that I use the word “love” a lot. I say, “I love that movie,” or “This song!! Oh, I love it,” or maybe even “I love this food so much I could eat it everyday for the rest of my life.” I just love LOVE. It is a pretty magical thing. I’m not talking just about romantic love, but loving as in being happy and present with life.

Without further ado, here are (some of) the things I love in no particular order.

1. My dog

You have heard this one many of times from me, but I can’t help it! She is so cute and pretty much always on my mind. She mainly is now because she is sitting right next to me, chewing on her plastic teething toy (even though she isn’t teething) as I write this post. My favorite part of her? Every morning, she HAS to get her cuddle time. I typically have two alarms in the mornings and she knows that once the first alarm has gone off, it’s her cuddle time. She will come up right behind me and try to big spoon me with her face right on top of mine. She won’t whine or cause a fuss, but she will just lay there, smothering my face. As annoying as that sounds, it’s actually the best part of my morning and sets it up really nicely for me.

2. Food

I would definitely like to consider myself a foodie. I watch the Food Network, I enjoy reading food magazines and I like to pretend I am a sous chef when I make food. The best part? Eating food. I really enjoy eating. I like all kinds of foods from sweet to salty, healthy to indulgent, and even the crazy international food. Want to know a secret? I used to be EXTREMELY picky. To a point where my parents were concerned that I wasn’t eating enough. Until one day that all changed.

My family and I were vacationing in the woods and we were pretty much MILES from any town. The nearest one was 30 minutes away. In this town there was ONE restaurant. Another 30 minutes and we would hit the Walmart. It was a Cajun restaurant and I had never tried that before. It seems like a big pile of “yuck!” My dad got so fed up with me when I said that nothing sounded good and I wanted something else. (Obviously this couldn’t happen since I have no idea where the next restaurant would be). He sternly said to me, “You can’t say you don’t like it until you try it.” I ate a bite of his jambalaya and oh my world had changed forever.

Since then, I have been trying all the foods. Literally, all of them. Some don’t agree with me and others I try to keep control of and everything in the middle I enjoy every single bite.

3. Creativity

There is something about the way that people are when they are creating. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Some get frustrated, others show such joy. It gives me happiness knowing all the people in the world can create. Whether you think you are creative or not, you can create and be creative in something. This doesn’t have to be art. It can be technology, speech, architecture, math, science, what you are having for dinner tonight, literally whatever. I love being able to share my creative outlet, photography, with the world. I love that I can also be creative in so many different ways. Making food to how to organize my office to how to put away my laundry.

I remember growing up and being in elementary school and just believing that art class was where you used your creativity. And let me tell you, I sucked at it all. I can’t draw to save my life, I can paint, but it probably looks more abstract. I didn’t believe that I was creative because of this. It wasn’t until I heard the phrase, “Figure it out, be creative, think outside the box” when I realized that it doesn’t have to be art, it just means to think of different ways to do something and not just the way that everyone else is doing it.

4. Taking care of myself

This is something new that I have started implementing the past year. I got so fed up with how much I stopped caring. I felt miserable and I really didn’t take care of myself. I had to do something about it.

Once I finally put to mind that I needed to get in check I was so determined nothing could stop me. I knew I was terrible at sticking to a workout program but I was pretty creative when it came to making food. So I knew of a program through Beachbody called 80 Day Obsession. I thought if I can do this program 80 days through, then I think I can really set myself up. And boy, did it. I did the 80 days of workouts and kept my diet pretty healthy with indulgences. I had kicked my soda habit and was so proud of myself for doing it. I had bought the online On Demand package so I had access to ALL of the programs. I chose the next one because it would be perfect right before I left for Europe. Then started a brand new program Liift4 when I got back and I cannot stop. It’s probably my favorite to date.

Throughout this whole time I have learned how to eat healthy while on a budget. You just have to learn to not be super picky and be imaginative. I go through the ads every Wednesday/Thursday and play a game of what can I make with the items I have in my pantry and with whats on sale this week. I meal prep EVERYTHING, snacks, breakfast, dinner and lunches. Now I eat the same thing every day throughout the week. So you do have to have some discipline and just suck it up when it’s the same thing every day for 5 days. But, the results have spoken as I am 20 and counting pounds down from the start of my journey.

I will say, nothing really beats this when it comes to feeling good in my clothes again and just feeling confident again.

5. My boyfriend - Zech

Allow me to get a little sentimental on this one. I cannot believe how wonderful this man is. When I was growing up, I always thought I knew what love was just based off the movies I had watched. I believed something that RARELY even happens. Nothing in life is that easy. I would search and search for someone to love me that way and I what I was searching for was something non realistic.

When Zech came into my life, he was just a coworker. Matter of a fact, he was dating someone else. Then he dated someone else right after that. I was just a friend. We were in the same friend group from my coworkers and it was like a fun get together after work every weekend.

I left Bloomington and about two years later, my junior year of college during spring break, I came back down to visit. I just had a couple of days to come down and see my friends since I had to work the rest of the week. It was during that time when Zech looked at me from across the pool table. We were at a local bar playing pool with our friends when our eyes met and he gave me the look that sent my heart racing. It was the “I see you” look. That look made it very hard to breathe.

We hit it off and now almost 5 years later, I could not be happier. He lets me be my own person and supports all of my crazy dreams. Zech helps bring me back to reality. I could go on with everything but to sum it up he is my other half. He gets me. If I were Phoebe off of Friends I would say, “He’s my lobster.”

6. My loving family

I don’t even know where to begin with them. For those of you that don’t know, I have my mom, my dad and my two younger twin sisters, Savannah & Paige. Growing up, you could say was very much a war zone. Being the oldest, I was distraught when my sisters decided to come into this world and take all of my attention. And there were TWO of them, so more attention could be given to them. Since then, we hated each other and were constantly fighting for attention.

Take a few years away from home and plus some and you would never guess that until we all got together and we told you ALL of the stories from our childhood. Like the time my sisters tricked me into getting into a storage container “because there is no way you can actually fit in it” and I had to prove them wrong. So they snapped the lid on and started carrying me to the stairs to through me down them as I was screaming bloody murder in the container. Or the time I thought I would play hairdresser in a large box that was very dark and cut my sisters long, bleach blonde , curly hair in so many different directions. And my mother proceeded to take them out in public like that. Let’s just say we were pretty cruel towards one another. And as a kid, you don’t ever want to be seen with your parents and they made the rules so they were the enemy.

Fast forward to today and I will tell you I call one of my sisters and my mom at least once a week just to chit chat. I always go to my dad for advice and we even have our annual Covered Bridge Festival trip we take together. When we all get together, we act like we were never against each other, but family. I could never be more thankful and grateful for that.

7. Optimism

Seeing the positive in life is kind of my life motto. I choose to see the good in people and choose to be happy because I don’t see the point in life to just be mad or upset or “woe is me” all the time. I do like to play devil’s advocate and see both sides, don’t get me wrong, but I prefer the optimistic side. I have a quote on my desk that I really believe in and that is “You will be exactly as happy as you decide to be.” I fully and whole-heartedly believe this.

8. Traveling and exploring

I put both of these in the same category because you don’t need to travel to explore and you can explore by traveling. They are one in the same to me. I LOVE to get out and see new places whether that be near or far, domestic or international, I want to see the world. From everyone’s perspective. As a photographer, I want to show people the world. Especially the ones that don’t have that luxury to see it for themselves. (I highly recommend trying though because it is SO thrilling, adrenaline rushing and breathtaking).

Ever since I went on my trip to Europe by myself, I caught the traveling bug. I knew I had always wanted to see the world. I was just so terrified of all the things that could happen. (I may be a Positive Polly, but I am also a Nervous Nelly just as much if not more). It was so liberating to go out all on my own into the world. I did that. Me. I gave my fears a kick in the behind and said good riddance.

I cannot wait for my next adventure. Suggestions, please leave in the comments.

9. Continuous learning

Learning will always be a part of my life. I honestly really loved school, to a point where I wanted to go to grad school since I loved it so much. I didn’t. But I really considered it. Instead I have been reading books, taking classes and constantly trying to find ways to learn more. Just because I am not in school doesn’t mean that I can’t keep learning.

I try to read a book, listen to podcasts and even take free classes through Edx.org. It’s something I really have been enjoying. This is one of those things I highly recommend because it’s at your own pace and completely free unless you want to add a certificate once you have finished the course.

10. Organization

If you know me, you know I like things to have order. Things have a purpose and a place. I like to color code almost everything. If something doesn’t match, I get a little uneasy about it.

If you were to walk into my office today, you would see binders for each and every aspect of my business with tabs for each new section/new paper source (i.e. blog posts printed out, emails from business tips, etc.). You would also find three different filing cabinets. One is for office supplies, another is for personal things and extra paper and the third is for everything for my business. I even have a binder just for my taxes and have been doing so ever since I started filing them.

Somethings that would make me super happy to receive as a gift would be organizational and office supplies. Literally. Maybe even a Staples/Target/Office Depot gift card and I will use it all on organizational items. I even have color coded my calendar so I know what’s going on.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me. Let me know the things you love in the comments below.