My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Archive for the ‘Life’s Little Awesomes’ Category

Colorado-versary: Celebrating Six Incredible Years

sanddunes

Damn, Colorado. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun.

It was at about exactly this time six years ago when I crossed the state line, my little VW Bug packed to the brim with everything I owned (give or take a few discarded cups of coffee and empty Twizzler wrappers).

I remember having a conversation with my sister two nights prior while watching The Office. I randomly looked over at her [with a mouth full of Doritos, probably) and said, “You know what? I think I’m gonna move to Colorado.” There was no defining “Ah-ha!” or moment of clarity that led me to the decision of literally packing up my life and starting fresh in a state clear across the country. It was just me, Michael Scott and some stale potato chip product. If that’s not inspiring as fuck, I don’t know what is.

As I stepped out of my car, my legs stiff and my eyes heavy from driving over 22 hours, these questions–and so many more–were running through my head on the repeat.

I was terrified.

But I was also incredibly happy. Like, eating a giant ice cream cone on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a park full of puppies, happy.

Taking in that first sight of majestic Rocky Mountain goodness in front of me, I felt like I was home.

When I decided a little over six years ago to take a giant leap of faith and make the big move, I really had no idea what was in store for me. I did something so very unWendi-like and jumped without looking. I stuck a giant middle finger up to any kind of plan, any premeditated form of action. I felt, and I did. I didn’t have a job lined up, I knew just a handful of people and wasn’t even sure if I would like living in the Mile High City. All I really knew for sure was that if I didn’t try, if I didn’t take this chance now, I might never get the opportunity to do so again. I also knew that if I fell back on that fear of things not working out, if I chose instead to remain forever in my comfort zone, there would be some serious regret-age going on.

And if there is one thing I have learned in my 30 years thus far, it’s that regret is no friend of mine.

So I jumped.

Shit, I jumped hard.

And that by far has probably been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made to date.

For six years I have been lucky enough to call Denver my home.

For six years, I have been able to call the mountains my playground, my weekend escape. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets imaginable, I’ve hiked some of the most challenging and breath-taking trails, explored the urban jungle that is downtown Denver and tasted some of the best food (And beer! Yes, I am now a beer fan! Well, getting there anyway) that I’ve ever had.

Professionally I’ve had some very challenging and rewarding opportunities that have really helped to shape not only me as a social media/writer/boss chic, but also have served as a reminder that I’m damn good at what I do, that I love what I do, and to never, ever never stop pursuing that dream of mine no matter what obstacles may get in my way. I’ve worked with some strong-willed and big-hearted people, have helped to inspire some incredibly talented and motivated students, and have learned and grown from each and every one of them.

Personally, I’ve broken out of this silly shell I’ve been hiding behind. Moving somewhere new by yourself kind of forces you to put your badass self out there and meet people, no matter how you end up doing that. I’ve met some incredible new friends, have reconnected with old ones and have made too many memories to count.

marathon

14494783_10101042251598092_9167796255684409642_n

dodgeball

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 9.26.24 AM

12650827_10100847064704192_1150450999139077525_n13450220_10100948402407622_2372310606698475506_n

softball

12187851_3208015394245_4398955844907124288_n

The late-night conversations, the too-close-to-call softball games, the good first dates and the ones you wish you could Ctrl Alt Delete. The summer baseball games at Coors Field and Packer games at Badgers, the bike rides, snowball fights and Harry Potter movie-marathons. The pool parties, happy hours, road trips and barbeques.

The smiles.

The hugs.

The uncontrollable laughter.

These past six years have made my heart so incredibly full, nearly as full as my ever-shrinking apartment—the number of books I’ve accumulated since I’ve been here is embarrassing, guys. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next 2, 5, 10 or 15 years to come.

I’ve come a long way since making the decision to start this grand adventure—over 8,000 miles and an immeasurable amount of self-growth, courage, spontaneity and a ‘You only get one life so you better damn make it the best possible life there is’ mentality. If I can take just one thing away from this is that it’s never to late to make a change, to face that fear or worry and do the damn thing! You’ll never know the amazingness that awaits you on the other side if you never try.

Cheers to six years, y’all!

Advertisements

To the person who leads with their heart

Favim.com-girl-photo-summer-sun-sunset-field-200469

 

When you think about the person who has a big heart, who cares deeply and cares hard, it probably conjures up a lot of assumptions.

They cry at movies and get weepy at commercials (this Google Chrome spot has the ability to turn anyone and their second cousin’s best friend’s uncle into a blubbering hot mess) without concern if someone is looking. They care about strangers more than you thought possible, light up at the possibility of helping someone–even if they have nothing to give them in return–and feel things so strongly and so deeply, that those feelings often make their decisions for them.

They lead with their heart instead of their head.

You might mistake this person for being impulsive, for a ‘leap before they look’ kind of guy/gal. And in a way, you’re right. Because the head says ‘wait’ but the heart says ‘go’. And they’re not the kind that can ever sit still when their heart is telling them to run somewhere.

But painting them simply as someone who has too many feelings and too big of a heart, who doesn’t have enough of a head on their shoulders to really think things through isn’t giving them enough credit. It’s writing them off as someone who is just feelings. As if feelings aren’t valid or strong or worth noting.

The truth about the person who leads with their heart instead of their head that you’re probably too afraid to admit? They’re braver than you.

The person who leads with their heart instead of their head isn’t afraid of the possibility of failing. They’re too busy chasing, loving, and giving to worry about the repercussions that may come back to hurt them. They’re more concerned about doing what feels best to waste time weighing and outweighing options that may never even see the light of day.

They’re too busy loving, and in turn living, to unnecessarily linger on the possibility that something might be the wrong choice.

The truth about leading with your heart is that it’s the scarier choice. It’s the riskier option. More can go wrong when you leap instead of look, when you love instead of hold back, when you feel instead of giving into fear. It’s the bolder choice; the choice that leaves more open to come back and smack you with negativity and pain.

Which is why it is a choice that should be commended, not shamed.

So to those who lead with their hearts and not their heads, who are constantly giving without expectation of receiving, who unapologetically have those hearts on their sleeves for the world to take a piece of: I commend you. 

You are brave in a world that so often tries to make souls like yours afraid of what they’re feeling. You take risks in a world where doing just that is an act of rebellion. You put yourself out there when everything realistically is pointing at you to do exactly the opposite.

You remain loving in a world that is often so unkind.

Never apologize for being that person. Never make your love smaller to protect yourself. Never repress what you want to shout from the rooftops.

Because you are someone who leads with their heart and not their head, and that is brave.

And that is beautiful.

And the world needs more people

just

like

you.

The Heart of the Matter

 

14670641_10101063182207982_1189901110771331681_n

I was recently asked by someone if I had ever been in love. When I was forced to admit my honest answer, no, it made me think.

Granted this conversation was after one three glasses of wine, and Moscato has a sneaky way of making me get just all of the philosophical. I once had a two-hour conversation about the deeper meaning and lessons behind the Monty Python films. Hint: it involved a lot of me talking in a terrible British accent and Spam. I wish I was joking.

I’ve been on this beautiful Earth for almost 30 years now, and I’ve had many incredible life experiences, but what this particular person made me realize was that I’ve never really experienced the feeling of “being in love.”

Sure there was Kody Kremsreiter, my first “love.” We were both five, lived across the street from one another and both had the same obsession with Saturday morning cartoons, The Berenstain Bears and chicken nuggets. In 5th grade, it was Jason Kopp. He shared his War Heads with me on the playground and always picked me first when playing kickball in gym class. Guys, if that isn’t the making of true love, I don’t know what is.

I’d like to say that my dating style improved as I got older, but that was not the case.  My middle name is awkward (actually, it’s Joe, but potato poe-tah-toe) and I never aced the whole flirting thing. I still haven’t tbh. I never really had a steady boyfriend. Sure, there were guys who I dated in high school and college and even within the last few years, guys who definitely gave me the butterflies, who I would stay up late talking to on the phone eliciting all the nervous laughs and palm sweats, guys who I thought were “the one.”

But the truth is, I’ve never had that deep down, feel-it-in-your-toes, over the moon, head-over-heels, soul-gripping and down right amazing love feeling. This isn’t to say that these guys weren’t wonderful people. They were incredible! Funny, kind, smart and big-hearted. This also is in no way a rumination seeking sympathy, and it isn’t to reflect on some kind of deprivation. My life has been anything but deprived. In fact, this is just the opposite. It’s the appreciation of how full of love my life has been.

I think what my friend was asking was if I had ever experienced that stereotypical romantic love, the kind of love that makes you reminisce over who said “I love you” first, the kind of love you hear about from grandparents who’ve sustained their relationship for over 50 years, the kind of love that makes you cross continents just to be with someone. No, I’ve never personally been in this kind of love…yet. But just because I’ve never been in love, doesn’t mean I haven’t been surrounded by it.

And when I say I’m surrounded by love, I’m not necessarily referring to seeing friends getting engaged, or sending my parents an anniversary card every year (HI MOM AND DAD!!!). I’m referring to the non-stereotypical, unromantic, and yet completely unconditional love that has helped to make my life complete. I’ve never said those three magic words, “I love you” to an SO, but I have said them to people who I do in fact love, and I think those three words hold just as much meaning whether they’re said romantically or not.

I know without a doubt that this romantic love is indescribably fantastic–I’ve seen it in my grandparents, in my parents, in the relationships that my friends and other family members have.  I’m sure that there are others who are both younger and older than me who have never truly had it, but that doesn’t make their life any less complete than those who have. Don’t assume that the absence of romantic love makes the presence of loneliness that much more apparent. I don’t feel empty because I’ve never loved someone romantically, I feel grateful because I have been lucky enough to have loved and be loved in so many other ways.

When romantic love has let me down, unromantic love has been there to pick me up. When a friend understands you better than you understand yourself, that’s love. When a parent endlessly supports your passions even when you question them, that’s love. When your sibling consoles your broken heart even if theirs is hurting too, that’s love. When your dog or cat rushes over to you, tail wagging after a long day, knowing just how to cheer you up with a sloppy lick of the face, that’s love. Y’all, my life is full of love, and while it may not be romantic, it’s whole.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly excited to feel those feels one day. I think anyone would be. Being in love is an amazing thing, it’s one of the things that drives us all.

But until that happens, I will cherish the love I do have in all the different ways it presents itself. 🙂

#DearMe

If you could give your younger self any piece of advice, any at all, what would it be? That’s the premise behind this really cool YouTube campaign which encourages people to upload a video letter to the site, addressing their younger selves and the issues they faced growing up. Coinciding with National Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th, #DearMe is an empowering and inspirational campaign that asks the question, “What would you differently?” More importantly, it is a strong reminder that you, yes YOU, are enough. That you, yes YOU are amazing and beautiful and smart and all around kick-ass. I absolutely love this idea, and don’t feel that it should be just directed at women alone, but everyone in general.

Every one of us has our own insecurities, even the people you least expect. I think it’s up to us to help this next generation who is beaten down by bullying not to just accept who they are, but also to love who they are.

In observance of this really cool initiative, I wanted to do my own #DearMe entry. Here are just some of the things I would like to tell the younger me.

1. #DearMe, happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to others and celebrate your rocking individuality.

B_Qpyq-WkAAvP8I

2. #DearMe, Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try. Try again.

3. #DearMe, you may not be able to change the world, but you can surely try.

4. #DearMe, when you smile, smile with your whole self. When you laugh, laugh from your whole soul. When you love, love with your whole heart.

5. #DearMe, learn that it’s okay to say, “no.”

6. #DearMe, crimped hair would be a good thing to say a big, “Heck NO!” to.

7. #DearMe, your value has nothing to do with a silly size or any number on a scale. Nor does it have anything to do with the clothes you wear, the makeup applied or the way you style your hair. You are beautiful; freckles, scars, sweatpants and all.

8. #DearMe, not everyone is going to like you. And that is OKAY.

9. #DearMe, sometimes it’s okay to spoil yourself so grab that book, that bubble bath and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and go to town!

10. #DearMe, don’t ever take for granted your family and your friends. Call them just because. Pop on over to see them. Tell them you love them as much as you can. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life who love, support you [and make you laugh and smile] unconditionally, don’t ever let them go.

11. #DearMe, just because you are an adult, doesn’t mean you can/should eat ice cream for breakfast. HAHAHAHAHA!! Just kidding. Of course that’s what it means!!!!

12. #DearMe, you will fall in love, you will get your heart broken, you will doubt if you will ever be able to fully heal. Don’t worry. You will. You will eventually meet someone who is the peanut butter to your jelly, the chocolate chip to your cookie, the Jim to your Pam. And when you do #DearMe, enjoy every damn second. When you smile with and because of this person, smile with your whole self. When you laugh with and because of this person, laugh from your whole soul. When you love and love because of this person, love with your whole heart.

13. #DearMe, relaxxxxxxxxxxx. Stop trying to plan everything, to control everything and just…be. Everything will work out. You’ve just got to have a little faith and a lot of hope.

14. #DearMe, don’t ever change. Be brave. Be strong. You got this, girl!

B_OlImKUsAEmrIe

If you could tell your younger self anything, anything at all, what would it be?

Life’s Little Awesomes: Making Someone Laugh When They’ve Got a Really Full Mouth

images

For a moment, a brief and fleeting second, it looks as if they might burst.

Lips clenched, eyebrows raised, they’re shaking their head and looking away to avoid choking or spraying burrito guts all over the table. You know you dropped a good line when their face turns red and they start frantically waving the “Please stop! Please stop!” signal with both hands.

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Old School Sugar Cereals #tbtstyle

Let’s go back, shall we?

Sandy pink streaks coat the sky as the sun peeks over your backyard fence and shines on the peeling linoleum of your kitchen floor. The fridge murmurs and hums, the oven burners wobble and pop, as you spend a quiet moment alone with a box of cereal. Now anyone who knows me knows I am a cereal fan, a cereal junkie, a cereal aficionado if you will. With the amount of Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch I put back, one could say I am a cereal killer (*insert terrible but totally necessary cereal pun here*).

I could eat cereal all day, everyday (and often times, I do).

It’s just one of those things that never gets old, that is always super delish and never ceases to put a smile on my face (I double dog dare you to try and eat a bowl of Fruit Loops while maintaining a frown. It’s nearly impossible.)

Let’s count down ten of the greatest sugary cereals we as kids (and let’s face it, as adults) loved to dip our spoons into:

10. Corn Pops. The delayed time release technology would allow sticky yellow chunks to remain in your molars until you needed energy for later in the day. This was super handy because sometimes in the middle of math class, you just gotta have your pops!

9. Trix. I always felt bad for the rabbit. Frankly, it seemed like the toddlers were kind of jerks. “Silly rabbit,” they laughed with their beady eyes, right in his face. “Trix are for kids.” Come on now guys. The poor fellow only wants a bowl of cereal. I think these must be the same punks who stole Lucky’s Charms.

8. Sugar Crisp. Did anyone else think Sugar Bear was related to Chester Cheetah? Think about it–the sunglasses, the long strides, the sneakers. Both are chilled out dudes who ditched the jungle living for the big bucks of Hollywood. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were roommates.

7. Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or Count Chocula. These bowls of chocolate were like speed for kids. You had to pour extra milk so you could guzzle down the glimmer chocolate milk afterwards. it was like, double dessert!

6. Grape Nuts. Okay, this isn’t a sugar cereal, but didn’t you always have a stale box kicking around from that time Grandma came to visit? Nobody could ever explain what a Grape Nut was either. We’d just quietly pass the box around on those cold and dark mornings, when the sugar ran dry and we all took our colo-rectal health seriously for a day with Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, or All Bran. Yes, Grape Nuts made us dream big dreams about tomorrow’s Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They’re on the list because they made the next bowl taste that much sweeter.

5. Honeycomb. Remember the TV commercial where the angry Viking biker storms the kid’s forest hideout and starts a group sing-along with a dancing robot? Combine that with some Smurfs episodes and you’ve got a pretty trippy Saturday morning. “Honeycomb’s big…yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small…no, no, no!”

4. Lucky Charms. First off, the gang at General Mills redefined marshmallow to mean rock-hard bits of dyed, packed sugar. And the result was ahhhmazing! Plus, they reinvented new shapes all the time which was equally ahhhmazing! Do you remember pink hearts and yellow moons? These days we’re chomping on hourglasses and shooting stars while doing our best Irish accents. Of course, we can’t forget that Lucky Charms still turns milk magically deliciously orange.

3. Cap’n Crunch. My friend Tyler didn’t know how to spell ‘captain’ until he was twelve. On other news, Cap’n Crunch was one of few cereals to feature an arch nemesis in their ads. Yes, first there was Jean LaFoote and then The Soggies came around and tried to prematurely dampen your cereal. To stop them, you had to scarf down your bowl in forty-five seconds and completely shred the roof of your mouth for the rest of the day.

2. Cookie Crisp. Honestly, it was just a big box of cookies. If your mom fell for this, do you think she’d let us sneak into an ‘R’ rated movie and borrow her car too?

1. Honey Nut Cheerios. Most kids had a good five year run with this faithful classic. Smooth corners made for easy chomping, you could toss a handful in a baggie for a takeout snack and they were healthy enough for parents to keep buying year after year. Of course, like many other cereals, Cheerios were famous for that glimmer patch of sugar powder at the bottom of the box. Remember to play it safe on that last bowl or you could end up polluting your breakfast.

Depending on how you grew up, eating some sugary cereal might have been a little bit of quiet time before the day began. While parents rushed around and the radio blared traffic reports and the weather, you read the back of the box over and over, fished around for the sticker at the bottom, and read about the competitive spirit inside Tony the Tiger and the tragedy of the Trix bunny.

Sure, old school sugar cereals weren’t the healthiest thing we could have eaten, but those vitamin-fortified sugar punches made for mighty fun childhoods (and let’s face it, adulthoods.)

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Laughing at a stranger with another stranger

images

They’re on every bus we ride, sitting in every doctor’s office, and standing behind every take-out counter. They’re beside us on the sidewalk, in front of us at the ballgame, and behind us at the movies.

Yes, you all know who I’m talking about.

Weirdos.

Weirdos are holding kittens on leashes on the bus wearing giant fur hats, weirdos are talking gossip on their cell phones in the library, weirdos are wearing headphones and singing the Step By Step theme song.

And you know how I know weirdos are everywhere?

Because we’re weirdos too, my friends.

I’m a weirdo. You’re a weirdo. So let’s just accept it and move on.

Nothing’s more fun than spotting a weirdo and trading the classic “Do you see what I see?” look with another stranger. When that connection snaps, it’s like you’re suddenly surrounded by a close friend and chuckling at a little absurdity in the middle of the big absurdity of it all. Laughing at a stranger with another stranger makes your sighting a little more real, a little more funny, and a lot more…

AWESOME!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: