Categories
Uncategorized

2019: A Year in Review

2019 – damn were you a year. Like everyone else on the planet, there were highs and lows and days that just felt fine. 2019 brought me lessons, laughter and my fair share of tears. 2019 brought me travel and adventure with the people I care about. So before 2019 melts into the other years, I want to reflect on what happened and what I learned.

Travel

If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably understand the role that travel plays in my life. It’s always been important to me, but it’s importance grew during my first two years of teaching. I wasn’t able to find much joy in my day to day life, so I escaped by planning trips. Maybe it’s my vice or my coping mechanism, but honestly, I’m okay with that. 2019 was a travel heavy year for me.

In January, my husband and I wrapped up our road trip through Texas, during which we learned that pick-up trucks take a LOT of gas and that creative pursuits are worth spending time on. This year also brought me to New Orleans with one of my best friends, where I saw my first Banksy piece and binge watched too much Yummy Mummies.

Studio Be in New Orleans
Obligatory beignets in New Orleans

I had two trips out to Denver to see another best friend of mine, one of which had me gambling for the first time (I lost a whole $10). The other trip brought me to New Mexico to see the hot air balloon festival, which absolutely blew my mind.

The hot air balloon festival in New Mexico

For spring break, my husband and I ventured to Italy, where we ate some delicious charcuterie boards, but were overall not that impressed. We did get some dope matching tracksuits and made some pasta from scratch though!

Vintage tracksuits, vintage building (!)
Pasta making classes

During the summer, we traveled to Singapore, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Of those places, New Zealand is the spot that truly took my breath away. As my husband says, cities are cities are cities. New Zealand, however, had nature that we don’t get to see very often.

The black sand beaches of New Zealand
Marina Sand Bay, Singapore
Kawaii photo in Japan

I rounded out the year with a trip to Spain with my mom. It was great to be able to spend quality time with her, especially as I grow older and life gets busier. While we did get on each others nerves, it was a trip that I will hold dear to my heart.

Mama y yo in Barcelona

Work

2019 was the year that I finished my first year of teaching outside of Teach for America. It was the first year I didn’t hate what I did. When I decided to teach for a third year, I was nervous. What if it wasn’t where I was teaching that I hated, but just teaching in general? Thankfully, I discovered that I love teaching. I love working with kids and seeing their excitement when things click for them. I finally can say that I love what I do. I am so grateful for that – how many people can claim the same for their jobs?

My first day of my fourth year

I was unsure if teaching was the right path for me, so I completed a fellowship on career choice this spring. While a lot of paths seem interesting to me, the fellowship reinforced my decision to stay in the classroom, at least for now. It was great for me to be able to have dedicated time and space to really think out my career plan. To be honest, I don’t have much of a “plan” at the moment. All I know is that I am happy teaching right now, so happy I will remain!

The fellowship I was so damn grateful for

2019 was also the year that I bit the bullet and got my real estate license. My husband had been encouraging me to get it for quite some time, and I finally sat down and did the damn thing. Working with real estate on the side allowed me to work skills that I don’t generally have to work while teaching – like talking to adults! While I didn’t do much with it this year, I look forward to what kind of endeavors it brings in the future.

Relationships

The older I get, the more important quality relationships mean to me. This year, my husband and I celebrate four years of marriage and five years of being together. I would say that this year brought us so much closer to one another, through the hard times and the good times. Leaving 2019, I feel more confident than ever in my relationship with my husband and excited to see what the future holds for us and our growing family.

My incredible husband

In terms of friendship, I invested in the relationships that mean the most to me and drew myself back from those that did not bring me joy. The older I get, the more I realize that one or two solid friendships is all I need. If I’m not truly thrilled for a person when good things happen to them, then I know that I can’t be a true friend to them. 2019 is a year that brought me a tight circle whom I truly trust and care about.

Self-Improvement

I worked on myself a lot this year. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I felt comfortable in my skin. I attribute a lot of that to hot yoga. One of my friends convinced me to give it another shot and I fell in love. The fact that in one hour, I can sweat, meditate and grow stronger absolutely amazes me. The funnest aspect of yoga is watching myself improve. To see my body move into positions that it previously couldn’t made me think about how incredible the human body truly is. While I’ve had to take a break from hot yoga during the pregnancy, I am excited to head back in 2020!

My happy place
My form isn’t perfect, but damn was I proud of my body

In 2019, I also invested in my health in other ways. I (very casually) took up meditation and mantras, and found peace and relief through acupuncture. My body and mind had gone through quite a lot this year, and I am grateful that I found coping mechanisms to help me rise above it. Listening to and making music helped put my soul at ease. Books helped me get lost when I needed to escape the most. Writing played a role in my self improvement as well. While few people may read this blog, every time I post, I feel relief. Writing makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I hope to do more of it in 2020.

Cupping therapy

Overall, 2019 has been wonderful to me. I had new experiences, both good and bad. I felt low so that I could feel really high. I surrounded myself with people I love. I became a better version of myself. 2020 has a lot of changes in store for me (cough motherhood cough) and I’m excited for it all. But for now, I pay respect to what 2019 brought me. Cheers to 2019, and to 2020 vision.

Categories
Sparking Joy

Don’t Give From Your Cup, Give From Your Saucer

Is your cup half full? Half empty? I want neither. I want a cup that is so full, that it overflows onto the saucer beneath it. With the self-love, respect and energy that overflows, I want to give to others.

I recently heard this quote on a podcast. People always say you can’t give unless you give to yourself first, and I whole heartedly believe that. When I am at my best – excited about life, energized and healthy, I am the best teacher I can be. I am noticeably more excited about the lessons I deliver, and the kids are equally as invested. On days or weeks where something is getting me down, the energy in my classroom mimics that. We don’t get through as much. There are more arguments. Less laughter and less smiles.

The same rings true for the other people in my life. I am a better wife, friend, sister and daughter when my own cup is filled. I have the energy to be all that.

Some would say taking care of yourself first is selfish, but I disagree. How can I care for anyone else if I don’t care for myself first? More importantly, how can I make sure that I am taking care of myself?

I’ve noticed a few things ensure that my personal cup is full. When all of the following are happening, I’m able to spill into my saucer.

I need to be healthy – which means I need to be eating right. I feel my best when my diet consists of lots of vegetables, some meat, some fruit and tons of water. When I move a lot, whether its a lot of walking or consistent gym visits, I have more energy. I need to be sleeping at least 8 hours a night. Which means, I may not have time for late night dinners with friends or conversations past 7pm.

I need to be excited. I need to have things on my radar that invigorate me and thrill me. Personally, that’s usually a trip on the horizon that I can plan for and dream of. It means I’m reading and learning about new things, and having new ideas constantly floating through my head. It means I’m writing about all of it.

I need to be calm. When things are disorganized and chaotic, I am not at my best. My cup lacks. I need to know that my calendar is organized, that my lessons are planned and that my outfits are laid out the night before. I know myself as a person who does not work well under pressure, so I plan for that. Instead of doing a big project all at once, I divide it into manageable chunks.

I need time for myself, as well as for others. I love my husband, my friends and my family. I appreciate the conversations I have with them, and grow from them. One of my favorite parts of the day is the 20 or so minutes before sleep, when my husband and I are in bed chatting. Sometimes about nothing at all, sometimes about something one of us learned. Sometimes we discuss our plans for the future and sometimes we reminisce on what we’ve done so far. When we have these talks, I go to bed with a full heart. Same goes for the discussions I have with others that I love. And while I love conversations, I also need time for myself. In this time, I think. I play music. I read. I energize myself for the conversations I want to have with others.

I need to feel like I am growing, professionally or personally. Preferably both. Right now, I am pursuing my real estate license, which is making me feel like growth is on the horizon, which is helping to fill my cup. Personally, I am searching for hobbies. Hopefully, when the right one comes along, I will feel growth in that department.

When I do all of that, I feel good. I feel energized and ready to give. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, regardless of what that means for you. Don’t look at someone else’s self-care plan and mimic it exactly. Think about how you feel when you do things in your daily life, and the things that bring you joy, calmness and ideas are the things you should incorporate more.

When you do that, when your cup is so full that it overflows, your saucer will be ready for others.

Question: What do you personally do to fill your cup? How do you know when your cup is overflowing?

Categories
Five Thangs Friday

Five Thangs Friday #2

It’s been a crazy week! We packed up our old house, closed on our new house and moved. I’ve also been working on my new part time job and learning the ropes, which has been taking a good amount of my time. Despite all of the life changes, I’ve been trying to stay true to my goal of being more mindful and more present. Without further ado, I present my FIVE THANGS FRIDAY!

#1. Books on books on books on books

One of the fun (or maybe not so fun) parts of moving is remembering what you have. My husband and I are huge bibliophiles. We dream of the day we have a library in our house, filled with walls of books and dark leather chairs. We were packing up our house this week, and realized we had 20 boxes of books. 20 boxes guys! I am so excited to find a home for all these books in our new home. Stay tuned to see what it all looks like!

#2. Green juice!

Eating healthily is a bit more difficult when moving, with limited food and all of our utensils in boxes. I was at Costco this past week and saw that they were offering these Suja green juices again! They tend to sell them during the spring, when people are getting ready for their summer bodies. These were delectable and much needed, after having eaten a diet consisting of falafel for a few days! If you see them, check them out! It’s hard to find true green juices that aren’t loaded up with fillers like apple juice!

#3. This podcast!

My hell yes/hell no mentality applies to my relationships as well. If I feel like a relationship is not giving me energy, I don’t want anything to do with it. As of lately, I’ve been thinking even more about what friendships are, and their cycles. I found this podcast last week and it was great! This episode in particular, really spoke to me and confirmed the decisions I’ve made for myself in regards to friendship. The women who host it are real and raw, and the topics are all so interesting. I can’t wait to listen to more of these!

#4. Valentine’s Day notes

Guys – how freaking adorable is this note? (Side note: he wrote identical ones for all the staff who work in our classroom). Valentine’s Day is special when you’re a teacher. I still see all the students nervously hand Valentine’s cards to their crushes, and we still have fun passing candy out in class. One student gave me some chocolate covered strawberries, and it absolutely made my day.

#5. This man (:

While we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I do appreciate and love this man a little more each day. We got married when we were crazy young (I was 21 and he was 23) and have grown so much since then, both together and as individuals. I couldn’t imagine life without him – my adventure buddy, my support system and the love of my life. Moving this week made me reflect further on how much our lives have changed since we got married, and I appreciate and recognize all of the amazing, selfless things he does for me, and for our relationship.

So there it is folks – my five thangs Friday! I hope ya’ll have a spectacular weekend! Peace out, girl scouts!

Categories
Thoughts

Turning a House into a Home

It’s been a long week. I’m the type of person who thrives on 8 (preferably 9) hours of sleep a night and that has just not been happening. Granted, big changes have been underway for us, and they are totally worth the sleepless nights.

Yesterday, we moved into our big kids house – meaning not a one bedroom apartment. It’s been a long ride here but I’m so thankful we were able to take it!

Us, in all our chaotic glory

I’m so excited to be here, but I’ll admit I cried a bit leaving the old apartment. It feels like a new chapter in our lives have begun, and I need to store the memories from the three years we spend in our apartment away. It was our first home, which we bought when I was 22 and my husband was 24. Then, it was a dream come true that we were even allowed to purchase it! It was a good home for us. We grew up there, together and on our own. We hosted our first Thanksgiving there. We (half-assesdly) celebrated three Hanukkah’s in that home. We laughed, cried and laughed a million more times there.

The day we moved into our first home

Growing up, my family moved around often. We moved around on the island for a while, then moved to Washington, then back to the island. Finally, we moved to Illinois – where we continued to move about 5 or 6 times. The house my husband and I lived in was the first house that really felt like a home to me. It was ours, and it was special. It still is special.

How adorable is this though?

But nonetheless, I’m elated to be here, in the new home. I was unpacking a box yesterday, and something fell. My first thought was “Fack, I hope I didn’t wake the neighbors.” Then, I remembered I no longer have neighbors. SCORE!

This is the home that will soon, hopefully, be filled with the sounds of children laughing and playing. This is the home that we will continue to grow in and make memories in. This is a new chapter for us.

We have our work cut out for us. At the moment boxes are sprawled everywhere. There aren’t any window treatments or closet storage installed. We’ll be living in chaos for a bit, but I’m okay with that. We’re building a house that is a home and that takes time.

Shout out to the South Side, for being our first home