Beautiful Chaos – A Year of Growth

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since my last blog post.  Life has been kind of crazy – both good and bad – especially with the Holidays.  I am so ready to say ‘see you later!’ to 2016.  Overall, 2016 was a very difficult year for me.  I’ve lost people that I love.  I’ve received horrible news on more than one occasion.  I experienced panic attacks, and overwhelming sadness.  I began to doubt myself about things I once felt extremely confident in.  I felt like one bad thing was happening after the other, and I began to feel defeated.  And honestly, I felt somewhat sorry for myself.  I had never truly experienced genuine hardships in the past.  At least, nothing compared to the past six months.  I didn’t know how to handle my emotions.  I became annoyed with myself when I couldn’t just “get over” it.  I grew frustrated when my anxiety began to rear it’s ugly head – wasn’t I past all of this?

What I did not realize six months ago, though, was that my feelings were normal.  When something bad happens, of course you’re going to feel sad.  I’m  so sensitive, and extremely empathetic.  I like to be able to fix things and make people feel better, so when I was unable to do that for my loved ones, it upset me.  My anxiety was also normal (which I think I actually knew, deep down), I just did not want to deal with it.  I was very hard on myself during this time, and looking back now, I wish that I gave myself a break.

Before I go any further, I do want to say that this year was not entirely awful.  I had some huge moments this year – good ones.  For one, I moved in with Saul, in May.  (I had basically been living there since February, but May we made it official.)  I absolutely love living with Saul – what’s better than having a sleepover every night with your best friend?  Saul turned 30 this year, so for his birthday (and Jordan’s) we traveled to Punta Cana for a week.  It was so amazing.  I had never been anywhere tropical, nor I had ever stayed at an All-Inclusive Resort.  I had such a wonderful time.  I had fun nights out with my girlfriends,too.  (Like the night I owed Jena $60 for taking a Lyft from her house in Lynnfield back to West Roxbury.)  Jessi’s Bachelorette Weekend was such a blast – definitely one of my favorite memories of 2016.  I also had my ten year high school reunion (I feel so old!) and I had a really good time going out that night as well.  I saw friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it was so nice to reconnect with them.  My bond with my loved ones grew stronger, too.  So no, not everything was bad.  But that’s how life goes, right?

I feel like this year was a year of growth for me.  I do feel like I’ve “grown up” a lot.  I am a year older (hello, 28!), and though I’ve clearly been an “adult” for awhile, it didn’t always feel that way.  I think in the past six months alone, I’ve grown tremendously.  And when I look back to five years ago, I can clearly see how far I have come.  I am no longer the same girl that I was at 23, 25, or even 27.  I’m maturing and growing everyday, and understanding myself better along the way.  And for that, I’m glad, and thankful.

Although I’ve learned a lot, I’m still learning.  When I started writing this blog post, I was actually going to title it “AN EYE FOR AN EYE WILL ONLY MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND”, and it was going to be about kindness. (My brain had other ideas when I began typing, clearly.)  I do want to talk about kindness though, and a lesson that I learned recently.

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I will not name names, or go into great detail, but recently, I received a “gift” from someone that I found to be really offensive.  It was a self-help book (which I didn’t really realize until later) , and it basically talks about not taking things personally, etc.  (Kind of ironic how personally I took it, LOL.)  If I had received this gift from my Mom, or someone else really close to me, I don’t think I would have taken it so personally.  But to get this book from someone who is not close to me – it actually seemed like a dig, to be honest.  Why is she giving me this?  I wondered.  It made me think something was wrong with my character.  At first, I brushed it off.  But a week later, when I was in Barnes and Noble, casually browsing every aisle, I came across the book, in the self-help section.  I immediately became infuriated – who was she to give me a self-help book!? I was so mad.  What I decided to do, I’m not proud of now.  At the time, I didn’t really think anything of it.  When this person’s birthday rolled around, I gave them a book, too.  It was a book about being kind.  And I actually thought it was a good idea, until I saw the look on their face when they opened it.  And I felt horrible. It was at that very moment that I realized – “getting even” did not make me feel any better.  Yes, I felt bad about myself when I received my gift.  But making that person feel bad, too – well, that just made me feel terrible.  I told Saul the story right after it happened, and how giving that book didn’t make me feel any better.  “Well, I could have told you that,” he said.  I asked him why, and he replied, “Because you’re a nice person, Erica.  Doing something like that is not in your nature.”  And he is absolutely right.

From now on, I will always choose kindness.  Getting revenge is not who I am, and neither is being catty or petty.  I will take the high road, always.  Kindness is always the best answer, even if at the time, you don’t think so.  I don’t want to feel bad about myself, nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings – even if they’ve hurt mine.  Like Ghandi says, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”- and he’s correct.

I probably won’t post anything else in 2016, so I guess this is a farewell blog post.  Farewell to a year filled with loss, love, heartbreak, laughter, change, growth, confusion, happiness – a year filled with a billion different emotions.

Farewell to 2016, a year of beautiful chaos.

 

 

 

xo

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content!

Sunday

 

 

I had so many different topics I had wanted to blog about this week, but I was seriously exhausted every night after work.  I also did not want to be anywhere near a computer screen after staring at one for eight straight hours every day.  Going back to work was rough after vacation.  I had a lot of catching up to do.  I was really excited to see Kirsten, though! All in all, it was just a super emotional week.  By Friday, everything was good, and I was thrilled that things seemed to be getting back to normal.

I had a relaxing weekend.  (My favorite kind. 😛 )  I really didn’t feel well Friday (I’ve been getting horrible headaches….I don’t know if it’s allergies, or the fact that I need a new prescription for my glasses, or that I never wear my glasses…or all three), but I ended up falling asleep at 7:30 PM on Friday night.  Accidentally.  I woke up at 6:15 AM Saturday so confused.  I spent the entire day on Saturday at the beach, which is always my favorite.  I am so looking forward to Fall, but I am going to miss beach days.

Today (Sunday) I spent with Melly.  We went shopping.  Like I just said, I’m so excited for Fall!  Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING is already starting to come out.  Halloween decor has  been on display in majority of store windows.  Mel & I went to Home Goods in Westford, it was seriously amazing.  I found the cutest fall decor.  I got new organizational items for my office, which I’ll talk about in another post!  I also have been scouring Pinterest for cute fall outfits, and then trying to replicate them.  (I got the most amazing sweater today, that I plan to wear with skinny jeans and my new boots (that are currently waiting to be picked up at DSW) when I go apple picking.

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Anyway, I’m really getting off track here.  (My ability to focus on anything at all this past week has been horrible.  Easily distracted would be an understatement…especially by pretty things.)  My point of this blog post is, that “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content!”  I’m ready for a new week, a fresh start, and to accomplish some goals.

 

Weekly Goals

 

1.  Go to the gym twice!  (This may seem like a lame goal, but I’ve been making excuses as to why I “can’t” work out.  So yes, two times for me this week, Tuesday & Thursday to be exact, is a reasonable goal for me right now!)

2.  EAT HEALTHY! STICK TO WW.  (This should be easy.  I’ve prepped my meals, and Saul is making our own version of “South West Chicken” in the crock pot for dinner this week.  It’s healthy, and I love it!)

3. Write, write, write!  (I have been slacking.  With blogging, and my book!)  A good goal for this week would be to write two blog posts, and to write two chapters of my story. 

4.  Read three chapters in the book I’m currently reading.  (I’m reading The Girls, by Emma Cline.  It’s disturbing right now.  But I’ve read great reviews on it, so we will see.)

5.  Make a cleaning schedule.  (I want to come up with a weekly cleaning schedule, that way when I go to do my “deep cleans” on a Saturday it won’t feel like so much work.  I just really hate doing house work during the week!  I’m okay with little tasks, like a load of laundry or the dishes, but the last thing I want to do when I get out of work is clean.  I just feel so much better when the house is sparkling.)

6. Create a budget.  (I’ve been saying I wanted to do this for a while. Every time I attempt to, I realize I’m poor, and then I don’t want to face reality so I ignore it.  But I need to do one this week.  It’s time!)

That’s pretty much it! I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

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Vacation Recap

As you know,  I was off this past week from work.  I had such a nice, relaxing, fun week.  It was exactly what I needed.  Rest, relaxation, sun, and some adventure.  I couldn’t have asked for a better week!

 

North Conway

Saul & I went to North Conway on Monday, and stayed over for the night.  I know I mentioned this, and I also mentioned how we were staying at Merrill Farm Inn, which I thought looked “cute & cozy” after reading Google reviews.  For anyone considering a trip to North Conway, do not stay there!!  There was nothing cute and cozy about it.  It was super creepy, actually.  It was an old barn, and I’m pretty sure it was haunted.  When we checked in, the guy at the desk hands us over our key to room 223, and says, “There is something I need to tell you about this room.”  I looked at Saul, my eyes wide.  I honestly thought he was going to tell me someone was murdered in that room.  He didn’t.  But he did tell us that Room 223 had no windows, and if we wanted a room with windows it would be a hassle because they didn’t have any more rooms with king sized beds.  Um, really?  When I booked this room, do you think I would choose a windowless room?  If we were staying any more than one night, I would have demanded a new room, a discount, or I would have gone elsewhere.  But since we were only there for the night, I sucked it up.  The room bugged me out immediately.  I seriously felt like I was at the Hotel Cortez in American Horror Story.  I pictured hands coming up out of the bed at any given moment. Of course, Saul thought I was being dramatic, as usual.  But, I knew he felt the same way when we got back from dinner that night.  When we had arrived, it was like a ghost town.  When we got home from dinner, around 10:30 PM, there were lots of cars in the parking lot.  “I’m glad more people are here,” I said to Saul.  “It’s less creepy.”  Saul agreed, so I know he felt the same way.

Besides staying in a Haunted Barn though, I had a lot of fun in North Conway.  We went to Horsefeather’s for lunch, and then walked around and went to some of the little shops in the center.  I love those stores, they always have the cutest little trinkets.  Penny Lane’s Boutique is my favorite, they have everything.  Sister Crows Native American is also a really cool store.  They had very pretty home made dream catchers.  (I was too cheap to buy one, seeing that they one I loved was $26.  I’d rather make my own.)  But they had a lot of unique stuff, it was interesting.  For dinner, we went to Vito Marcello’s, which was amazing.  It’s a really cute restaurant, and they have wonderful Italian food.  They also make a fantastic espresso martini.

I did not go on the Conway Scenic Railroad, like I had thought I wanted to.  After being in the car for three hours, the last thing I wanted to do was hop on a train for another two hours.  I also did not really research my surroundings that well before we got there.  I had no idea that the White Mountain attraction area, where I had wanted to go, was an entire hour away from where I was staying.  So we decided against that, too.  We did do some exploring, though.  I’m not really a nature girl, but I will admit that it was very pretty.  Would I go back to North Conway?  Definitely in the winter.  I had a blast at Adventure Suites.  But for the summer, I would not.  I like Maine better!  I still had a fun time with Saully, though.

Nantasket Beach

I love Nantasket Beach.  Saul and I went on Wednesday.  Neither of us wanted to drive far, so Nantasket is perfect, because it’s only about 45 minutes away.  We tanned/swam all day.  I got burnt of course.  But it was really nice and relaxing.  I love the ocean.  I just feel so calm and serene when I’m there.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.”
E.E. Cummings, 100 Selected Poems

 

 

Ogunquit Beach, Maine

I went to visit Patty in Ogunquit on Friday with Jena and Amaritta, which was a blast.  I hadn’t seen Patty in a while, so it was so nice to see her!  I missed her.  (Patty is Jena’s mom, FYI.)  I also met Patty’s boyfriend, JJ, which was really nice as well!  I got to see the motel they run, and it’s adorable.  Her house is adorable, too.  Patty and Jena need to start an interior decorating business together, they do such an amazing job!  We had brunch at Splash, and it was really relaxing sipping a Mimosa while overlooking the beach/ocean.  Jena got a Bloody Mary to cure her hangover, and Amaritta was “Tanned Girl Wasted” off of her spiked iced coffee.  (LOL, inside joke.) I really had such a great time.  It was the perfect beach day.  I love being with my girlfriends, we always have fun being so silly together.  I cannot wait to go back!

Splash

Now my vacation is slowly, but surely, coming to an end.  I’m not ready!  I want one more week.  I know I have to get back to reality though.  And I don’t think I could afford another week off – I spend way too much when I have so much free time on my hands.  In between my travels I obviously went shopping.  I always buy the most useless stuff at Target.  I browsed the Square One Mall one day (gross, I know), but I did get three dresses for $50, which is a steal.  And I can wear two of them to work/in the fall, so I’m okay with that purchase, it was worth it.  I’m also excited to get back to Weight Watchers.  This was a bad week eating wise, and I’m so ready to restart my healthy eating!  I also missed Kirsten so much! It was so weird not seeing her for a week! I can’t wait to catch up.

Hope you all had a lovely week! 

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TOP TEN | Favorite Females

 

 

  1. Britney Spears

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“I’m miss American Dream since I was 17” – need I say more? Brit is absolutely fabulous.   For someone who is constantly in the spotlight, her every move being scrutinized and critiqued, she is so sweet and modest.  Brit is known as the “Princess of Pop”.  She has won a plethora of awards – a Grammy, six MTV VMA’s, MTV”s Lifetime Achievement Award, ten Billboard Music awards, the Billboard Millennium Award, and a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Brit has sold 100 million albums worldwide, and over 100 million singles.  Talk about an accomplishment!

To See Brit struggle in 2007 was heartbreaking. I’ll never forget seeing her picture on the front page of some stupid tabloid, shaving her head.  My heart broke for her. She was clearly going through some personal struggles-  couldn’t everyone just leave her alone and let her be?  I couldn’t even begin to imagine my life under a microscope like that.  It makes me anxious to even think about it.   Despite her hardships, though, Brit bounced back, like all of her true fans knew she would.  Even while she was going through her own issues, she released Blackout in 2007, her fifth album.  To this day, it’s still my favorite album of hers.  It’s like a “I don’t give a fuck” album.  She was at rock bottom, and she still slayed.

Since 2007, Britney has only risen and grown in everything she has done.  She has full custody of her children, who are adorable and clearly love their wonderful mom.  She’s released 3 more albums, with a 4th on the way! (You can pre-order Glory on iTunes now!  It comes out 8/26/16!)  Her Vegas Show has been nothing but extremely successful, and I couldn’t be prouder or happier for Brit!  She’s amazing.  I admire her strength, her ambition and her dedication.  She is truly an inspiration.

 

 2. Ashley Graham

 

 

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I didn’t really discover Ashley until the Fall of 2015, though she has been modeling since 2001.  In 2016, Ash was the first “Plus Size” (hate that term!!) model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.  Since I started following Ashley, I’ve been a little bit obsessed.  She exudes self confidence in everything she does.  She promotes self-love and body positivity.  She is exactly what this generation needs.  She looks fabulous in her bikini, and she shows girls everywhere to be proud of your body, regardless of your size!  Love her!  Fuck yo thigh gap. 😛

 

3. Iskra Lawrence

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Like Ashley, I recently discovered Iskra Lawrence through Instagram, though she has been modeling since 2008.  Iskra is most famous for modeling for Aerie, American Eagle Outfitters Lingerie Line.  I love Iskra because she is all for Body Positivity, and has no problem calling out body shamers.  She refuses to retouch her Instagram photos – they are Au Naturale, just like her.  I love how real she is.  She doesn’t refer to herself as “plus sized.”  She’s beautiful, confident, and she doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not.  Iskra is a refreshing face in the modeling industry!

 

4. Selena Gomez

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I love Selena Gomez. I’ve loved her since she played Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverely Place.  When she began her singing career, I quickly fell in love with her music, too.  After listening to Revival, I realized how much I truly admired Selena’s talent.  Revival was raw – she just let it all out there.  It was beautiful.  I think that she is a great role model for younger girls.  I look forward to seeing what else she accomplishes in the future.

 

5. Chrissy Teigen

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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 10: Model Chrissy Teigen attends Variety’s 2014 Power of Women Event in LA presented by Lifetime at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety)

Chrissy Teigen is someone I would want to BFF’s with.  She’s hilarious – she tells it like it is, and holds nothing back.  Her relationship with John Legend is so cute – absolutely love that pic of them when they’re in the pool, and Chrissy’s balancing a plate of chicken wings on her butt and John’s eating them.  Could you guys be any more perfect?  Their daughter, Luna, is adorable too.  They’re just such a cute little family!

Chrissy is best known for her modeling career.  She’s also a great cook, and her cookbook, Cravings, was released this year.  It was instantly a NY Times Bestseller.  I also really admire Chrissy for how open she was during her whole process with IVF.  It’s not an easy topic to talk about.  She slammed any judgemental haters as eloquently as possible.  Her bravery for speaking up for herself is truly inspiring.

 

6. Jennifer Lawrence

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I have loved JLaw since I first laid eyes on her in The Hunger Games.  Not only is she an amazing actress, but she is so real and genuine off-screen, how could you not love her?  She’s very outspoken, down to earth, and funny.  She doesn’t take herself too seriously.  She’s like the girl next door that everyone is able to relate to.  She is a huge advocate for feminism and gender equality, which is amazing.  She has openly admitted that she is pro-choice, which gives her more points in my book. She is the founder of the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, which supports various charities and organizations.  She uses her fame for good – she truly wants to help people.  If more women were like Jennifer in Hollywood, the world would be a better place.

 

7. Emilia Clarke

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Emilia Clarke is best known for her role on Game of Thrones, as Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons.  It wasn’t until I saw her play Louisa Clarke, however, in Me Before You, that I truly noticed her.  Emilia was amazing in the film, and I was surprised I hadn’t really seen her before.

Emilia has debuted on Broadway on Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in 2015.  She was also named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive the same year.  She was offered the role of Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey, but she declined, due to the amount of nudity that was required.  I believe that fact alone says a lot about her character and the kind of person she is.  Emilia is beautiful, inside and out.  She’s a fabulous actress, and I’m excited to see her in more films in the future.

 

8. Reese Witherspoon

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Reese Witherspoon has been acting since 1991.  I feel like I grew up with her, though she’s 13 years older than me.  Majority of my favorite movies star her, however, and I’ve always thought she was just the cutest, sweetest, Southern Belle.  Not only is she a fabulous actress, but she’s a wonderful mother, too.  Reese owns her own production company, Pacific Standard.  She has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and the Critics Choice Award for best actress, along with others.  She also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Not only is Reese extremely successful, but she is really involved in children’s and women’s advocacy organizations, which I love and admire.  She is an avid reader, which just makes me love her more.  Reese is adorable.  She is always looking for ways to help.  Her positive attitude is refreshing and lovely.

 

9. Lana Del Rey

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I started listening to Lana Del Rey’s music in 2013, and I instantly fell in love.  Her voice was phenomenal, her lyrics were beautiful, and they had so much power and meaning behind them.  Growing up, she wanted to be a poet, which is something I can relate to, and immediately made me like her even more.  Lana has volunteered at homeless youth and drug & alcohol outreach programs, which I also find admirable.  She is kindhearted.

Her musical style is unique, and her songs really speak to me.  I can listen to her music no matter what kind of mood I am in.  I’ve said before, I feel like I relate to Lana on a spiritual level.  I read quotes of hers from magazines, and I just get her.  She’s a sad soul, in a way.  But it’s beautiful.  I adore her. She had a quick rise to fame, but that fame never got to her head, the way it does to so many others.

 

10. Lady Gaga

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Last but not least, is the Lovely Lady Gaga.  Lady Gaga is an absolute Queen.  She does whatever the hell she wants, and she doesn’t care what you think.  She wears her heart on her sleeve.  She’s real, she’s genuine.  She is passionate about her beliefs.  I went to her concert in 2014.  I was so inspired. I love how much she promotes gender equality.  Listening to her at her concert, I realized why so many people loved her so much. She was just so amazing, so understanding.  She truly loves her fans!  It was so beautiful to get to see that.

Not only is she an amazing singer, but she absolutely slays at acting. She killed it in American Horror Story last season, and I cannot wait until the new season premieres in September!  She recently broke off her engagement with Taylor Kinney, and she posted the saddest Instagram shortly after, about how they believed that they were soul mates, but they were going through some stuff.  She’s human, like the rest of us.  She’s not afraid to share her feelings or show her sensitivity.  I think that is a truly beautiful trait in person.  Lady Gaga is entertaining, a fantastic performer.  You’re crazy if you don’t like her! 😛