Because you might need to read this today…

I know my blog has been a happy place for a while now, when I do make these fleeting posts. But, I know, life isn’t always a happy place. And that is precisely why I’m so grateful for these days, for these people, for this sunshine, to feel loved – by family, by friends, by new people who bring such light into life with just their refreshing presence. I feel like my appreciation for this time, for these days comes from the times when it wasn’t exactly there…and it’s not that the love wasn’t around me, but you can’t always feel it. It wasn’t an absence, it was more of an invisible barrier between me and all that positivity. And sometimes darkness creeps in, and it’s so much harder to see the light that’s peeping from under the cracks. It’s a battle to fight the inner demons that so badly want you to just give in. I know what those times are like when it’s hard to remember the days that have a light an airy weight in living, laughter that flows freely, and a clear mind. And oh those battles are so difficult to fight, but I’ve been thinking lately, (especially over the past few days with the loss of Robin Williams and the social media world abuzz with mental health discussions) about the feeling of exuberance that washes over me when the curtain is lifted and light shines again after times like those…

I guess I just didn’t want to keep letting these thoughts float around in my head without sharing them. How everyone is fighting their own battle each day, and you might not have any idea what those around you are dealing with on the inside, and they might not have an idea what you’re dealing with either…but you’re not alone. And there is hope. And there is light.

A few years ago when I was doing a series on the blog called “Spend Less, Give More” spotlighting my favorite give-back organizations, I featured one called To Write Love On Her Arms. (You can see my original post, here.)  There’s a shirt my parents gifted me with the following quote from Jamie Tworkowski,

 

This past week I’d seen the quote from Rob Bell on Twitter: “It is as if the smallest amount of light is infinitely more powerful than massive amounts of dark.” which just instantly resonated with me, and I’ve thought about these words each day since then. When I get to my dark place my coping mechanisms for life usually have to do with writing, reading, prayer, music, and movies. Art. Creating. But what else I’ve found? Big changes happened to my life when I started letting people in. When I started saying yes, when I embraced who I was and I met people who not only accepted me for myself, but appreciate what makes me, me. Coffee, putt-putt, scary movies that make me squeal in the theatre, hanging out with a friendly acquaintance that could turn into a great friend, phone conversations that make you feel love despite distance, spontaneity…openness, that vulnerability can be so so worth it in this life. We do need other people, and when we find the right people, man it’s like more lights turn on in the world.

I guess what I’m getting at here, is that if I felt on my heart strings that I needed to put these words into the universe, than there was probably a reason for that. Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of, or kept secret, or to write-off. You know how you can scroll through someone’s instagram and it’s all happy pretty stuff? (Here I’ll point out my own: flowers, sunsets, icecream, smiles, puppies, music festivals,…all the good stuff.) But in between all the really great little moments that make life so darn beautiful – the soulful conversations, the forehead kisses, the friendly “good morning, how are you?”s from people that you encounter each day, the joy that comes with singing along to your favorite song with the windows rolled down and a breeze on a summer day, a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven, a text message that puts a smile on your face, bear hugs, hand written mail, tired lungs and legs from a long run outside, laughing ’til your stomach hurts, cotton candy colored skies…in-between all of these absolutely wonderful things can be some really rough times. Days when your friends feel far away, or you don’t feel like getting out of bed, or listening to your favorite song, or really doing much of anything…They might not show up the way the good stuff does on our social media networks, but there’s no avoiding that the twisty-thought days are there.

So I guess I’m saying, don’t be afraid to talk about it, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help (resources)…Sending so much love and hugs into the universe right now…

National Hopeline Network: 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255)

 

Throwback: The Weekend my Peter Pan Heart Turned a Year Older

I’ve been slacking on the updates, I know so I thought I’d do a little throwback to my birthday weekend. For the first time in a long, long time my birthday didn’t fall on the same weekend as Thanksgiving so I decided to make the most of it and roadtrip to Athens! The Cherry Blow Dry bar in Tallahassee was having a grand opening special, so that Friday I decided to get my first blow out. OhMyGoodness all the people who rave about them on Twitter aren’t lying. It’s fabulous to feel like…put together for a snippet of time.

The drive to Georgia that afternoon was just what I needed. There’s something healing about those country roads, even if you’re not broken.

When I arrived, Kaylynn and went to get dinner at Taco Stand. It’s this little mexican restaurant that’s super random, but really delicious. And it worked well for our pre-going out meal the last time I’d been in town. (Under much better circumstances this time, not in a state of turmoil over pending transitions in my life – though there were still plenty of transitions to come.) Afterwards we went next door and hung out with her neighbor Brady and his younger brother Drew. We jammed out to some Billy Joel (I’m not even kidding – how reminiscent of sophomore year of college is that?!) and some country music while we played Cards Against Humanity (my first time!) Later on we went downtown, which just turned into an epic evening, even if it started raining on us. We bar hopped, we celebrated one of their friends finding out he was having a baby, and of course birthday celebrating ensued. We rode UGA’s version of Night Nole, and there was a group celebrating a guy’s birthday and the bus broke out in song and also football chants. I love spirit like that. We laughed, and drank, and ran around town talking and dancing. It was one of those nights where we stayed up til 5am. When we got home there was a random kid’s debit card with us? Who the heck knows. The next morning started off kind of rough when I poured Kaylynn’s chemical solution in my eye and freaked out I might go blind. But it’s nothing a little Bojangle’s breakfast couldn’t remedy. We took the dogs out to play in the parking lot, and the poor neighbor’s dog accidentally knocked it’s tooth out on the curb! See what I mean about the types of ridiculousness that automatically ensue?  Later on we tailgated, and made delicious mixed coffee drinks and mingled and played corn hole. Then we borrowed the neighbor’s student ID, and I went to my first UGA football game. That was a totally fun experience. Then we went downtown and stayed up late into the night again.

It was a weekend that was full of my favorite things. I love meeting new people, but feeling instantly connected – like you’ve known each other forever. I love walking in groups on city sidewalks, and I love laughing til my stomach hurts. I love great conversation, the kind where you can say “oh my gosh! You too?!” rambling on about vinyl, film, running, and all aspects of life. These are the kind of times that make me feel totally alive. It’s the most simple, purest way to inject love into life. It was one of the most fun birthdays I’ve ever had.

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This was my hair post blow-out. Thanks, Cherry Dry Bar!

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Love those Georgia roads.

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Classic: The Taco Stand.

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The Blue Moon sampler pack my dad gave me!

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Story of our lives. (Big/Little pic.)

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This is Drew! Pretty sure I took this when we went back to Sand Bar after we temporarily lost the group. (Brady went to get pizza by himself!)

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It was a Snapchat filled weekend.

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Bojangles!

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Beautiful fall foilage.

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Perfection: getting to hangout with my little AND my grandlittle in the same day. Happy heart.

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Family line photo.

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Bob – love this kid!

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Kay got me a cookie cake!

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Tailgate randomness with the dogs.

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Brady and I at the game.

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Me, Kay, and Drew at the game.

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Another Snapchat.

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Group photo!

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Snapchat snapchat snapchat.

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Kaylynn showed me the magic of a curling wand.

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And to close it out, the gorgeous sunset on my drive back to Florida.

It turns out, this year my birthday happens to be the week before Thanksgiving once again! We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into then, but this was a fabulous start to kick off 26!

Lighten It Up

And in the sake of showing y’all I haven’t completely lost my mind, and just need the blog as an outlet sometimes, let me liven it up a little with this fabulous quote from the great John Green I came across yesterday:

True love is when you’re standing in line for Chipotle, and you say, “I shouldn’t get guacamole,” and the great love of your life says, “You know what, just get the guac.” And then you go home, and you watch TV together while eating burritos. That’s true love.

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: BKD Wedding Recap

Happy third of July y’all! After an afternoon doctor’s appointment, I’ll be hitting the (rainy) road to the beach so I’m sure my posts over the next few days may be a little sporadic. I guess that’s not new though, right? Today’s is a different kind of “Wanderlust Wednesday” post, a little reflection on last weekends roadtrip to Destin, Florida! Ohh man, the wedding weekend was great fun. 

On our way to Destin we stopped at an exit in Bonifay. We both needed a bathroom break, and maybe a snack. Of course there was a line, and then we decided to buy icecream (umm I know great roadtrip breakfast right?) and the woman working locked herself in the employee breakroom on the phone before she checked us out at the counter. Awwwkward. Then we hit crazy traffic on the way into Destin. So, I attempted to practice guitar. Then we went on a jacket hunt adventure at the outlets, (and of course a visit to JCrew was due because the whole store was 50% off!) Finally, we met up with my brother and his girlfriend for lunch at Harbor Docks. What a quirky, delicious little restaurant. I kid you not, the menu had photos of the cooks on it, and they served seafood, thai food, and sushi. You would think that’d make for weird service, but no I totally recommend it. Megan asked me about Bonnaroo so of course, lunch convo was fun haha. Luckily we were able to check into our hotel smoothly, and I literally got ready in about fifteen minutes, and we were still able to make it to the wedding early! 

It honestly was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever witnessed. I’m not an automatic wedding crier, and this one brought me to tears. I was so proud. Not to mention they’re a beautiful couple, and their love for one another is so visible it’s impossible not to smile at. The reception had so many personal touches to it, as well. Very sweet and great fun! It’s not very often that I don’t know a first dance song at a wedding (since you guys know I’m such a music freak,) but theirs was “My Love” by Third and Union and oh.my.goodness. SO SWEET. I have listened to it on Spotify multiple times now because I’m a dork like that. (And the six flower girls all huddled on the floor together watching the dance? Ohh, my heart.) Katie’s dad’s band sang a song (how cool!), and they had a really good band playing all kinds of music. The food was delicious, they had a cool teal signature drink called “Swamp Juice,” and our table mates were fun. (Ohh more, convincing conversation for me to head out to Portland. GAH!) Plus, it was so great to be reunited with my pirate friends. You know, as we get older the times where we’re all together in one place at the same time (under celebratory circumstances,) occur less often so I’ve learned to treasure them each time the opportunity comes. All the hugs are a little tighter, the laughs a little deeper, and the moments a little sweeter.

I’m not going to bombard you, but here are a couple of my favorite photos from the weekend (sorry about the bad iPhone photo quality, that’s why I switched to my camera!):

Okay, Okay I guess a little bombarding. I couldn’t be happier for these sweet friends starting their new adventure in life together! And to all of you readers, Have a Happy Wednesday!

PS: Look at this awesome rainbow on the drive back to Tally!

Georgia Roads Bring Us Home

Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read

Seeing as I just mentioned a few posts back on Meg Says that I will admit to judging books by their covers, today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is very fitting! These are in no particular order, and this was hard enough to narrow to what I did even including an honorable mention section. I’m even typing this post early so I won’t be tempted to scan all the link-ups and pour over the ones I missed.

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I’ve Read

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
While I don’t own this edition of Little Women this is one of my favorite covers. I love this whole reprint Penguin did of classics. The scissors though, and what they represent? (Remember when Jo chops off her hair?) Understated but beautiful.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
When I think about books and covers I remember from elementary school this one comes to mind. You’ll probably notice a trend of either summer/water/love related covers attracting my attention. Plus, the pops of color and the fact that it looks like a watercolor artwork or something? Swoon.

The Help by Kathryn Stocket
Kathryn Stockett is a Phi Mu Alumna (my sorority) and our symbol is the quatrefoil. That little purple design the title is in? Love the simplicity of this cover and the fact that everywhere I went while this blew up the best sellers lists, I was reminded of my sisters.

Paper Towns by John Green
Even though Paper Towns isn’t my favorite John Green book, I absolutely love this cover.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It doesn’t matter that this isn’t really how I picture Belly, Jeremiah, or Conrad in this story. I am a sucker for sun bursts. You know, by this cover that there’s an epic tale of romance brewing underneath and before I read this story every time I walked in a book store or the library I was immediately drawn to the cover.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I love the simplicity of this cover as well. I know that lime green book from anywhere, it’s always easy to snatch it off the shelf too. It may sound stupid but I refuse to buy the edition with the movie poster cover art.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
This screams of the things I’ve already told y’all I love. Bike rides, summer romance, the beach. I pre-ordered this one (not based on cover alone, but my Sarah Dessen love. I admit though that the cover increased by anticipation ten-fold.)

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Clearly

This was one of my favorite books growing up, and so while the cover isn’t anything fantastic, it brings back sweet memories. It was one of my go to stories. Rainboots, hello!

The Jolly Mon by Jimmy Buffet
This story, and Trouble Dolls have some of the coolest illustrations, ever.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

I feel like this is just an iconic cover. I love it and everything it makes me think of as soon as I see it on display.

BONUS because duh!

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
I would love to own like every cover edition of this novel, but luckily I do have one that looks like this old and weathered that I found at a library book sale.

Honorable Mention:
(A few more covers though I can think of about fifty-seven that I want to add!

I was looking for that other Ramona cover and found this, and oh my goodness I’m in love.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Not only is this story incredible, (and has one of my favorite quotes) but the cover has a snow globe!

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Another classic cover. I remember my mom reading this one aloud to us.

The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Tera Elan McVoy
I love ice cream, and hot pink and teal are two of my favorite colors. The title involves the word “summer.” This one was a no-brainer.

Bloomability by Sharon Creech
This story holds a dear space in my heart as well, and the cover gives me the warm fuzzies. It SCREAMS adventure!

OK, OK I am limiting myself to just ONE more:To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I imagine Scout looking like this, so I think that’s part of why I’ve always loved this particular cover of TKaMB.

Friday Favorite

Okay, okay I’m trying to scale back on the Maroon 5 coverage. Tumblr is awful for obsessive habits, but last weekend since I couldn’t get up and run in the morning and I need a few more minutes to be able to get ready to go to the gym (where you actually have to bring stuff and can’t just hop out the door) I laid in bed for a few minutes. Of course I found myself perusing YouTube and of course I started watching all these Maroon 5 music videos. Wellll, I just wanted to share with you the one for “Daylight.” This will be my Friday Favorite. Look, I’m able to be concise today! Also, who really cares if the radio plays this song like multiple times a day? Not me! Every time I go, “oh! This was just the song I wanted to hear!” haha. So much for “overplay.” Anyway, this is a really great project – kind of in the vein of the “It Gets Better” campaign. It made me smile, it made me feel feelings and get all emotional, but it’s just really cool and totally worth 9 minutes of your time. Yeah, yeah I’m a little behind the times but better late than never: