For Your Convenience

Now that we’re all indefinitely confined, you’d think I’d have tons of extra time to write. But, that’s the thing about writing, the urge never comes when it’s convenient. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this: I feel the most inspired mid-day, mid-week, mid-work project. And, this is why none of my musings get recorded once my daily task list is complete. Interestingly, my career requires me to be creative at the drop of a hat. I don’t get to choose when I feel like designing. Luckily for me, I’ve trained myself to go into work-mode and crank it out successfully. But, that’s probably why at the end of the day, I have no more creative capacity to blog. On a broader scale, this got me thinking about how nothing is ever convenient. I promise I’ll get to the upside.

The elephant in the room – the state of the world – is in total panic. I choose to protect my physical health by social distancing, washing my hands, and limiting my exposure to the public. I choose to protect my mental health by turning the channel when the news does an hour segment on how Everything Is not Awesome.*

*Also helpful: CBD.

We just renovated our office and I was looking forward to enjoying that new space. Inconvenient.

I already feel lonely and was just starting to be ready to socialize again. Inconvenient.

How is anyone supposed to keep up their fitness goals when everything is closed? Inconvenient.

When I really thought about what’s making me so anxious in all of this, it’s that I don’t have access to all of my typical coping mechanisms – let’s be real: distractions – to stop me from worrying about what’s going to happen next. For example: Going shopping for clothes, trying on clothes, spending money on clothes.

I’m forced to think about things I usually try to avoid. I saw a meme this morning and it so accurately captured my current state:

I laughed, and then had a calming thought. Maybe it’s The Universe saying, “For your convenience, I’ve issued a mandatory retreat. Please use this time to carefully think about where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how incredible you’ve been at imagining an amazing life.  And don’t forget to enjoy your creations along the way. Thank You.”

It’s lovely that I get to work from home in this beautiful apartment all day without having to shower! Convenient.

Zoom and Skype and FaceTime and WhatsApp were created for this. I’m actually spending more “time” socializing with my friends because we’re making time to be together! Convenient.

Stress is lessening my insatiable appetite and those YouTube ab workouts are really good! Convenient.

Now, those are some thoughts I can enjoy waking up to.

 

 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Over Thanksgiving, I had the privilege of spending time with The Solider’s family. His 2 sweet nieces cuddled and played with me the whole time, and encouraged me to read We’re Going on a Bear HuntIt’s a totally cute book and I would highly recommend it for any child – or adult. At the time, I enjoyed reading the book, but now, one paragraph is really resonating:

We can’t go over it.

We can’t go under it.

Oh no!

We’ve got to go through it.

And, woah, did it hit me like a 500 pound brown bear.

That’s how we have to approach all of life’s hurtles: We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go THROUGH it.

Many times I’ve said that I just want to sleep until the hurt is over. Fast forward (Wavy blur effect accompanied by a dream harp sound) I’d be awoken by my adorable hubbs kissing my forehead from what turned out to be a quick nap…and just like Eminem’s surprise Oscar performance, I Snap Back to Reality.

But, think about it – most of life’s fun happens on the way through it. And I’d like to be awake as the whole thing unfolds. It’s kinda like that meme:

I can’t even imagine what outrageous, crazy, funny, over the top, oh-my-gosh-you-won’t-believe-it kind of things are going to happen while my next season is being written. Will an old character emerge from the past? Will a new cast member be added? Stay tuned.

❤ The Huntress

Word of the Year: 2020

Just when you think you have it all figured out, God intervenes. In this post, I said:

“…it’s time to slow down the momentum of “Are we there yet?” and coast into “It’s happening now!”…

*Sob* I really thought my table was set. The menu was serving all of my favorite things, the plates were so beautiful, and I didn’t even have to ask for silverware…but while I was deciding, the restaurant closed for the night. And I don’t know if, or when, it’ll reopen.

It’s like you’re so hungry that you’re on the verge of reenacting The Donner Party, being super picky about what you want, after perusing your options, you happily choose Chik-Fil-A. As soon as you decide to go, your mouth starts watering. You start fantasizing about the indescribable mix of flavors that would result in the best satisfaction, ever. The combination of salty and sweet, a little spice…and that crushed ice – which you didn’t even know you needed until you tried it, makes every other ice pale in comparison. On the way, you pass McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and even Taco Bell, but you know what you want. No Frosty or Crunchwrap Supreme could tempt you. The whole ride there you are envisioning your satiation of FINALLY getting to bite into everything you’ve ever wanted. But, as you excitedly pull into the lot, you sickeningly realize it’s Sunday – The Lord’s Day – and He says:

God: No, not today, this place is not going to satisfy you.

Me: (Hangry and shocked) But, I WANT it!

God: If you really want it, then you’ll have to wait.

Me: (Hangry and yelling) But I don’t want to wait…I want it NOW.

God: Do you really want it now? Or do you want something today that will nourish you longer?

Me: (Hangrier) Ugh…

God: Come on, take my hand.

Me: (Takes it, faithfully trusting that He’s taking me somewhere like Hall’s…)

Get the picture? I don’t want this to be my relationship story. I’d like to write a new book called “The Feast”, where I actually get to fully indulge in what I’ve been fantasizing about. A whole novel about the joy when I can finally finally finally bite into it, and taste it, and savor it, and still have more left over…that would be…amazing. So, I thought about that in December. And this brings me to my Word of the Year: 2020…Prepare.

God’s been saying to me, “If you want a real lifelong partnership, then let’s get you really ready for it. Let’s get you really hungry. Let’s let you sit with the pangs and be OK with just the water for now. Because I have what you’ve been after, and it’s taken a long time to simmer. But it’s ready – I’ve called ahead and your table is waiting.”

I know He’s been working on me for a while. Like, years. Like, a really long amount of years. Like, when you’re a kid on Christmas morning and you have to wait an hour before you can open your presents. A Christmas morning hour is basically equivalent to 14 years.

The first time I realized I was truly in love was November  2006. So, as of today, that’s (roughly) 6,955,200 minutes that I’ve been waiting to feel like my love is reciprocated. Seven MILLION minutes! My head just exploded. Now, I’m being *slightly* dramatic (and you’re not the least bit surprised…) I have certainly felt like love has been given back to me, but never in a way that was reciprocal. I’ve been longing for the kind of love and care that has felt like it’s equalled, or even exceeded, what I’ve felt for the other person. That’s not to say that I haven’t been loved, but I mean that I haven’t felt that the feelings were evenly matched from the giver and the receiver. Maybe this is the curse of having a big heart – where is The One who can match it? I literally hear God saying, “Umm, yeah, hello?? It’s me. I’m The Only One who can match it.” Still hard for me to comprehend that kind of love, but I guess I need to start there if I’m to believe that it’s possible to receive from anyone else.

This is my prayer tonight: Prepare my heart for the love I know I deserve. Prepare me to have all of the necessary tools and experiences to be the best teammate for my partner. Prepare my partner’s heart to accept the love they know they deserve. Prepare them to have all of the necessary tools and experiences to be the best teammate for me. And allow me to trust that You will bring us together when we are both fully prepared, and not a minute before.

 

 

 

Under the Southern Sun

“Do you know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn’t actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you’ve promised to cherish till death do you part says “I never loved you,” it should kill you instantly. You shouldn’t have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn’t know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth. Then fear just makes you so stupid.” – Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

I remember hearing this once and imagining the pain. Then I remember hearing it again and understanding the pain. Then I looked it up to post it and could physically feel the pain. The ending of any relationship you weren’t ready to end should kill you instantly. When people ask how you are, you can’t even begin to describe the way your insides feel. You can’t articulate that you don’t want to stay home but you don’t want to go out, you don’t want to talk about it, but you have to talk about it, you don’t want to be alone, but you don’t want to be with friends. You just want your best friend…

I’m swimming in my current hurt wondering how I survived my previous hurts. Literally thinking, “My God, how did you make it? Tell me, so I can live through this.” And my answer is you have to feel the desire for what you want MORE than you feel the pain of what you don’t have. 

I’ve been listening to TONS of Abraham Hicks on various topics…maybe some include, “How to Get Your Lover Back”…but, in an Abraham way: You’d have to believe they left in order to get them back…which brings me to another story. My mom visited me in the fall and bought me the most unique earrings from a local artisan at our farmer’s market. They both reminded us of my Aunt Cindy who passed away over 20 years ago. Every time I wear them, I think of her, and my mom and the love she has for me. So, 2 weeks ago, I packed them in a bag to wear for the weekend, and when those plans – and what felt like the rest of my life plans – totally fell apart, I lost all consciousness and, as a result, lost the earrings. If I didn’t already have enough to be devastated about, I now added the loss of my mom’s gift to my list. I kept thinking back – I remembered trying to figure out where to put them so they’d be safe while I was traveling and I tried various places before settling on one…which was still unknown to me. I checked all of the pockets of my pants, my purse, my coat, my car, my gym bag, my makeup bag, my work bag, and got excited when I felt something in a small jewelry bag, only to realize it wasn’t them. I’d been listening to Abe to help cope with my relationship status, and kept hearing, “If you keep thinking the relationship is lost, then of course you’ll never find it” and “You have to get into alignment, then the inspiration will come for the next step.” Hmmm…I wondered if I could apply this to the earrings? If I already knew they were there, then I could relax and allow the inspiration to take me to them. One morning at the gym, I was feeling good about my workout, had just taken a relaxing shower, and was getting dressed for work, when suddenly, I remembered there was one pair of jeans that I hadn’t checked. As soon as I got home from my office, I opened the drawer, reached into the pocket…and there were the earrings. I smiled, kissed them, and said knowingly, “I knew you were here somewhere!” You may think that’s silly, but I don’t care. THAT’S how you build your confidence in knowing that you can trust yourself. That’s how you build trust knowing that God and the Universe has exactly who and what you’re looking for, you just have to allow it. God would not have brought you this far to leave you hanging. He loves you too much.

Listen to what YOU know and what YOU feel. You get to love whoever you want! Giving yourself that permission is really wonderful, even if it’s painful. At this point, I can’t begin to imagine seeing any other face besides the face of the one I love. I replay every good thing that ever happened over and over while it feels good, and then stop when it feels bad, cry it out, and then start over. Who cares if I want that good feeling back? If it’s meant to be, then it will come back, and it will be improved, because of what has grown from the situation. If you want a relationship that’s 100%, then you have to let it be 100%. That means loving yourself even when it’s hard, that means someone else even when it’s hard. That might mean that you get hurt, that might mean that you take some time apart, that might mean that you both need to sort out your priorities separately so you can come together stronger. And if it’s not with that person, it will be with another person who is just as wonderful, and if they’re not, then they’re still hiding in the pocket of a pair of jeans.

 

It’s All Going Accordian to Plan

I have a good friend, Chris, who has this phrase tattooed on his arm, surrounding an abstracted accordion (obviously). I couldn’t help but think of how pertinent this mantra has been for me lately! Life has been really unfolding quite nicely recently. In fact, one of my coworkers said, “as soon as you started going to church, life really got good!” It did, didn’t it 🙂

In my usual vein of full disclosure – right after I wrote all of those posts about impending change, everything changed. My projects at work were wrapping up and my boss approached me and said that they loved me, but if I wasn’t planning on moving back to Philadelphia, then I should start building my life in Charleston. I have to admit, I was totally upset. I knew that I had been wanting this change, willing it, even, and I’d talked enough about being ready for the next step in my career, but when it was happening I didn’t feel prepared. In all of this emotional confusion in the morning, I met up with the wonderful man I’m seeing* that same afternoon for a work event his company was hosting.

*Side Note: I’m considering calling him The Soldier (named aptly for his current Civil War hairstyle that, oddly, I’m extremely into,…still debating due to our Union-Confederate backgrounds lol)

Anyway, as I was saying, after The Soldier totally calmed me down and got me excited for what was coming next, we made our way to the event. On the way, he asked me if I would like to make our relationship official. Squeal! Of course, I said yes! I had to laugh, because for YEARS my job has been the one thing that has remained constant, while my relationships have had a high turn over. And then the SAME EXACT DAY when my job ebbs away, I gain a boyfriend. Oh Universe…you certainly have a sense of humor 🙂

I’m so ready for this relationship to grow. Being with a man who treats me like a priority, balances friendship with romance, makes me laugh for hours, shares the same values and goals, and wants to spend quality time with me, make me genuinely excited for this new life that is blossoming for me in Charleston.

In other incredible news, through a series of networking events, I was informed about a job opening that could be a perfect match at a firm I had been eyeing for years. I applied on a Wednesday night, got a call from them on a Thursday morning, they set up an interview on a Friday, and sent me an offer by Tuesday. And I consequently cancelled an interview from another firm the same day. Talk about a memorable Memorial Day weekend!

So, now I have a boyfriend, and a new job, and incredible friends, and as an added bonus, this is all coming right at the tail end of my 32 years, and I’m SO excited to ring in 33 next week for my birthday with all of these joyful gifts pouring into my experience!

How has your month been?

❤ The Huntress

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Photo Cred: Julie Livingston Photography 

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of avoiding obstacles like “if I close my eyes, it will go away”. Yeah, me too.

I’ve been talking about change for the past few posts, and as exciting as it can be, it can also be a little scary.

Since moving to Charleston, I’ve felt ready to become more involved in the blogging culture here. I’ve been fantasizing about having fashionista girlfriends that wear flower crowns and post filtered group shots of ‘The Crew” wearing them on Instagram. I pretended that there were already so many bloggers here that it didn’t matter if I wasn’t one of them, so…I wasn’t one of them. But, then one Friday night, I decided to buy some new preset photo filters and was determined to install them on my phone, even if I wasn’t sure what the heck that even meant. And I did. And then I started following more bloggers and commenting on their posts.  And then other bloggers started reaching out to me and inviting me to events. And then I signed up for a flower crown-making event and found out some of my new blogging friends would be there. And suddenly, I’m with new fashionista girlfriends in a filtered group shot on Instagram.

After being involved in the Interior Design community in Philadelphia, I’ve felt ready to be more involved in the close-knit design community here in Charleston. I’ve been craving the kind of creative girlfriends that meet up at a new hotel just to touch the flooring to determine if it’s actually reclaimed hardwood or a fab laminate. So, I pretended that I didn’t work here anyway and all of my reps are in Philly, so these contacts aren’t helpful now. But then, my projects started wrapping up at work and the opportunity to start building my career in Charleston opened up. And then I contacted a group on social media to become more involved. And then an architect sent me a message saying her team could use some help with new projects and ‘could I send over some of my work?’ And I did. And then I signed up for the group’s networking event this week at a reclaimed wood vendor. And suddenly, I’m with creative women who are meeting up downtown to touch reclaimed wood flooring.

I moved to Charleston because although my career was in full swing,  I was ready for the rest of my life to begin. And now that it has, I’m ready to really blossom and bloom where I’ve planted myself.

 

 

My Top 5 Weirdest Beauty Rituals

Have you ever been so in your own head that you do something really bizarre around someone because you felt so comfortable you kind of forgot they were there?

Anyone?

OK, so, since I’ve given up dairy, I can’t have cheese (insert sobs here). My new boyfriend (insert cheers here) was kind enough to help me get rid of some leftover American by consuming several slices at a time. He assured me it tasted terrible and that I wasn’t missing out. While sulking in the kitchen, I suddenly remembered I had a dairy-free chocolate ice cream made with coconut milk in the freezer, so naturally, I burst out a guttural Louis Armstrong/Bill Cosby/happy Frenchman sing-song sound, roughly written as “mmm mmm mmm”. This caught the attention of the BF and he laughed out loud witnessing my pure, unhidden joy while I devoured the remaining treat. After we both cracked up, I realized that in my euphoria, I forgot I wasn’t alone! #againstcensorshipofjoy

The pint is, I mean, the POINT is, that we all have weird things we do that become so natural to us that we stop thinking they’re weird. This goes for beauty habits too. Here are my Top 5 Weirdest Beauty Rituals:

5. Must be fully nude while drying my hair

I’m pretty sure this stemmed from realizing that I shed like a golden retriever in summer and my hair will stick to any clothes I’m wearing like Velcro. So, Birthday Suit it is!

4. I have a strict shower sequence

Rinse, Shampoo, Wash, Condition, Shave. If I don’t follow this routine, I feel all out of sorts. It’s been rumored that I get my best ideas in the shower, so it’s likely I’d get in The Zone and forget to do one of the steps if I mixed up the order. So, for everyone’s benefit, and to prevent myself from being the main character in a novel entitled “The Girl with the Unshaven Leg” I’ll stick to what I know.

3. I use 2 mascaras

This isn’t weird, right? You need one “worn in” mascara that’s slightly dryer to create a good volumizing base, and then a “fresh” mascara that’s more liquidy for length. Disclaimer: These can be two separate brands/types or the same

2. I put Chapstick on my eyebrows to “hold” them in place

This often raises some eyebrows. Yep, lip balm is not just for that sassy mouth of yours!

1. I wear vinyl gloves to put on my foundation

This is definitely the one that gets the most quizzical looks. No, I’m not performing a surgery. No, I’m not trying to murder you. No, I’m not conducting a top secret experiment. I just don’t want the stay-forever foundation to get all over my hands and take-forever to wash off. May be my most practical thought I’ve ever had! Probably had it in the shower…

Do you have any unusual beauty habits? Please share to remind me I’m not alone. Not that that would stop me from squealing in delight, apparently…