Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One Year Ago...

One last look at my old apt.
August 23rd, 2013 was one of the days my life changed.

See here before reflecting with me.
(You might also want to grab a snack because this is a long one...
but reflecting usually takes some time :-)

I've been on my own for a few years. I'm a very strong woman who takes care of herself, so I'd also say I have this independent thing down pat. I wanted more for myself; I wanted better; I wanted something new and different. When I was in high school I'd always say, "When I graduate I'm never coming back!" Ask my mom...lol. That could've just been the teenager in me talking, but over the years I equated success with not being in or around my hometown. I'm at a point where I can pretty much do whatever I want whenever I want so it seemed like a better time than any to pick up everything and move away from the comfort zone I knew so well.

The Yards
The farthest from home I'd ever been was when I was in college; it was about 2 hours away. No matter where I was I could always make day trips to see my family and friends. Being honest, day trips seemed to always turn into extended stay trips...LOL! Not being able to do that has been one of my biggest challenges to deal with. I mean, sure 5 to 7 hours can technically be considered a day trip but when you're used to trips being 30 minutes to 2 hours long...a 5 hour drive is a different kind of beast. I can't tell you the many times I've driven home in monsoon storms, or been in extreme traffic after leaving straight from work and getting home at 1 or 2 in the morning; or been so tired after the drive but had only one full day to try and see and spend real time with everybody. Yeah...weekends aren't really that long when you're squeezing so much in so it's been hard!

Joe's Crab Shack for the 1st time
Over the past year my relationships with people have changed. Some for worse, some for better. I must admit social media plays a part in hindering my reach out efforts. Free time is like a unicorn! When I get it, I'm guilty of having a list of things I need to do but doing absolutely nothing! What can I say?! Being an adult is exhausting and I love my rest! As much as I say I want to do better with reaching out to people, I don't always do as much reaching out as I'd like. Sure that works both ways, but I can only account for what I do.

It snowed so much here last winter
Social media makes me feel like I'm keeping up with everybody because it makes things easily available. Through social media I still feel like everybody is a hop, skip, and a jump away. Face Time has helped me feel like I'm sitting at home in the living room with my family many a time. So, it's served it's served a purpose for me. However, it's also left some feeling disconnected whereas in my introverted mind, I'm thinking things are good and we can pick up where we left off whenever we get back together! Some of that is because of social media and some of that is because of growing up and apart. There should be a balance there regardless and I know I'm not alone when I say that's something I need to work on it.

Reppin' NC at work
I started my job a year ago today; August 26th, 2013. I've grown in my professional life this year and I feel as if I'm on a good track to keep moving up. Knowing I planned to move away, I prepared well for the transition. I'd just accepted a promotion, so my resume was nice and still is! The most important professional goal I have is to keep moving up. I'm not saying this in a ruthless manner, but I don't want to accept any position I feel is lower than what I'm doing now. I want to take in as much as I can and learn everything that's put before me. I'm a hard worker and I excel because I can. I want to continue to prepare myself so I'll be ready when an opportunity presents itself.

This year has been an eye opener. I won't say I have any regrets about anything I've done. I feel like experiences are lessons. Going through something first hand is the best teacher. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't have preferred to learn some of these lessons by word of mouth...lol...but sometimes you can't firmly grasp things you don't actually experience yourself. I get that.

The Washington Monument during Memorial Day weekend
I have desires and dreams for my personal future, like I'm sure the rest of you do. They're my biggest motivation. I make decisions for my present based off things I know I want for my future. I'm not one to try and force things to happen, or manipulate people or situations so the outcomes will be in my favor; neither am I one to settle. So as much as I see this picture of the future and how wonderful it'll be, I'm here for the plan God has for me. I can desire, plead, and beg all I want, but it can't match anything God can do!!

SO, as frustrating as things can get, as homesick as I can get, as much as I can want to be in the presence of my family and friends...I can go on and on with this stuff...lol! I know there's a design for my life and I know God's the designer. The best I can do is be grateful for the life He's given me, be grateful for where I am in my life and for the things He's done for me thus far (if I were to go into detail about how I got my job right now, you'd know how real He is)!!

Nationals Baseball
I've enjoyed DC. I've had a great time. I've enjoyed my relationship; the beautiful scenery; my job; the new people I've met; the activities I've gotten into; and the person I've grown into. Now that I've gotten into a "comfort zone" of sorts, I hope to get out of that in this next year. I hope to make my house more of a home, to see more of the city, and to create even more meaningful relationships here (top of the list...finding a good church home! lol). Last but not least, I hope life is gracious to me and sees fit to grant me beautifulness because there's nothing wrong with wanting what you want! I know everything will be alright. I have faith!

DC Living

Will I be here forever?!
But I aim to continue enjoying myself while I'm here!

Peace and Love!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Bad News

Remember this?! Remember how I didn't want to be in the 71%?? Well, I failed the challenge!! Let me explain.

I was going strong...

Then life happened! LOL!! I had a very busy week preparing for my sister's baby shower, packing for an extended weekend trip home for the baby shower, cleaning the house, exercising, etc! I missed day 59 and didn't even realize it until day 60! We spent all day decorating the venue for the baby shower, preparing the food, getting the games ready, etc. I'm not even mad at myself for forgetting!! It's completely understandable. I thought for a quick second that maybe I should go back and try to pick it back up, but the point of the challenge was to make a post every day. I didn't...so, I failed!

However, this does not mean that I fail at 'happiness'. Like I talked about here, some times you have to live life off the grid to actually enjoy it. I must say having to find something to take a picture of every day was taxing! You go through the whole day wondering if you should take a picture of xyz and post it...or wondering if you should wait to see if something more exciting happens that day. To be honest, I was kind of relieved when I realized I wouldn't have to participate in the challenge anymore! Posting a picture every day just isn't my thing.

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know I've continued to post things that make me smile and that make me happy:
~ I watched my mom's best softball game this year with 2 home runs and a triple (leading her team into the tournament).
~ My family and friends celebrated the upcoming birth of my niece, Ms. Jordynn Aubrielle Newborn.
~ My softball team was 2nd place regular season AND 1st place city-wide tournament champs!
~ I'm campaigning to help Jeremiah raise money to go to the best school for autism in his area (you can still donate by clicking here).
~ I helped on my very first DC friends celebrate her birthday!
~ And I'm steadily making gains with this weight lifting thing!

So, you see...even though the challenge was fun, I didn't fail! I don't have to post a picture every day to enjoy life...

I'm too busy living!

Enjoy your weekend guys! Live it up!! :-)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Exercise Update

This is a better time than any to do an exercise update! I've been going hard, but I must report that I've still only been focusing on my legs. I feel like my upper body looks good and I could always work on it later!

Squatting 135 pounds...call me Squatzilla!
Here's what's new:
  • squats w/ bar: 155 pounds, 1 time
  • stationary front lunges w/ bar: 95 pounds, 10 times
I had the opportunity to get to an actual gym facility this past week so along with a few exercises I found on YouTube I added a few machines:
  • leg extension (machine): 85 pounds, 18 times
  • leg curl (machine): 50 pounds, 18 times
  • horizontal calf (machine): 150 pounds, 13 times
  • burnout leg press (machine): 90 pounds, 25 times
  • standing side leg raises: 45 times
  • kickbacks: 36 times
  • stationary side lunges w/ bar: 55 pounds, 12 times - each leg
  • stationary back lunges w/ bar: 45 pounds, 6 times - each leg
Unfortunately all the regular squat racks were taken at the gym so I had to work out in the crossfit room. I'm not throwing any shade but I don't do crossfit!! I point this out because the weights look a lot different than normal weights!

Case and point!
Now that I'm doing this first update, I think I should report more than how much weight I'm lifting. I want to increase body mass as well as strength, therefore I'm probably not going to go much higher with the weight lifting, but who knows?! Maybe I'll be lifting 300 pounds before I know it!

I'm not trying to gain weight per se and I'm definitely not trying to lose any weight. I'm actually maintaining a steady weight, so I can't use that. I've measured the width of my thighs as well but they seem to be staying in a stationary position for the time being. I'm at a loss!!

What do you suggest I keep track of along with how much weight I'm lifting??

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Boatneck OOTD

It's Monday! Why not start the week with a little fashion?!

I found this dress during a let-me-stop-in-here-right-quick kind of trip!!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Side Flat Twist

Hair Inspiration

Everyone who follows me, in some sort of capacity, knows what kind of place I'm in with my hair! I've finally gotten fed up about feeling this way and I've made the decision to do protective styling for several months...if not a year!

I've talked about doing protective styles many times before but I've never followed through. I'm more serious than I've ever been at this point. I talked about my first protective style of choice in this post and I made arrangements to have this done! The problem is I've had two appointments scheduled and canceled due to circumstances not my own. Thanks to these unfortunate happenings, I'm still having to find things to do with my hair. Out of unfortunate circumstances and limited time came creativity!

I follow a lot of people, groups, and entities on IG for hair inspiration and I just so happened to come across this style on IG @bummblebee7. It's just like the normal twist out I always do but it has a flat twist on the side!

I liked this style because the right side of my hair isn't as full as the left side, so the flat twist disguises that. With this style, I brought the part down lower on the left side which allowed my to fling more hair to the right side. It all just worked out!

Where do you get hair inspiration from?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We Are The Champions

Remember this post?! Well let me fill you in!

We played the three makeup games and won all three games (Game 1: 13-7, Game 2: 22-9, and Game 3: 13-3)!! Winning those games put us in 2nd place for our league! It felt great to have accomplished that because I knew our team was one of the better teams in our league. Honestly speaking we deserved 1st place, but that's another story for another time. We hit a mid-season slump after having 2 bye weeks back to back and we had a very hard time climbing out of it, but as you can see by those scores above...we made it!

The tournament was this past Saturday...ALL of Saturday! We had four one-hour games scheduled so I knew this day had the potential to be a long day (if we kept winning). Our games were scheduled for 10, 11:15, 12:30, & 2:30. These were single elimination games, so one loss would have had us a one-way ticket out of the tournament for good!

Since our first game was so early, I thought we'd have a nice, cool morning of softball ahead of us...WRONG! I was nowhere near ready for the amount of heat and humidity we had to face all day long. It was already hard enough having to get up that early on a Saturday morning but add to that having to competitively active and you've got yourself a challenge!

The first game was really close. I'm sure I wasn't the only one having trouble with having to be active that early in the morning because none of us were hitting like we normally do. I was nervous the entire first game. My stomach was in knots and I was shaking terribly! I'm super competitive but not in a showy way; I internalized all that anxiety and couldn't get rid of it no matter what I did! I'm sure nobody likes to lose, but I don't like losing when I know I (or we in this case) are capable of winning! A game that we should have won by a landslide we won by the skin of our teeth.

After barely making it out of the first game alive, we have about 10 minutes before our next game. Even though we couldn't get our bats going, we played the best defensive game we'd played up to that point so we were on a high. It was time for our game to start but the other team was nowhere to be found! This was such a blessing! We had the opportunity to rest, get hydrated, get some batting practice in, sit around and relax and cut up...like we normally do...so we could get our heads wrapped around being competitive yet still having a good time.

The next two games we played were tough, but we made it out champions. We got over our slumps and arrived at the end of this journey greater than we were when we started. We meshed as a team and showed DC what we could do!

This has been a great season and I've met some wonderful people who have created an interesting summer for me!! I've grown a lot as a softball player and I still have a lot of growing to do to become more consistent as a player. I can't wait to see what we do next year. I know they're are some teams out there gunning for us...but they're going to have to work really hard if they want to dethrone The Authority!!

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