Food & Travel category

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ABOUT ME

Hi!
My name is Courtney

Just a twenty-two year old trying to figure out what makes me happiest in life, starting with this blog. What about you?

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INSPIRATION

Inspiration category

All of my favorite resources for finding purpose.

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Inspiration, Oh F**k

Oh F**k

Moments with Jeff Seymour

“how fast can you get me out of here?”

Jeff Seymour is currently working for the Securitas company, manning the Lincoln building in Columbus, Ohio. There’s something about Jeff, a unique sincerity and genuine warmth that he exudes. This is what has allowed him to be on a first name basis with every person who walks through the front door of his building, never letting their name leave his lips without a comforting smile or a knowing head nod. When I first asked him to do an interview regarding his success story, he seemed a bit taken aback. He later explained his hesitation, confiding in me that he had never pictured his life story as “successful” and how he’d spent a good portion of the night before our interviewing racking his brain over what he was going to say. Little did he know that his success story was on the tip of his tongue the entire time, waiting for the right moment to be told. This is that moment. 

Oh F**k Moment

“Now, I have a few of those…” Jeff chuckles. 

It was supposed to be his senior year in college. As it happens with the majority of us, it didn’t look so good in regard to graduating on time. Jeff was lost. He explained to me how he’d gone into college ready to set an example, the oldest of his siblings, an heir of responsibility the others couldn’t quite understand. He had gone in with the intent of being an electrical engineer.

“My first trimester I dropped calculus,” Jeff started. Same, Jeff, same. 

“My second trimester I dropped physics,” he continued, shaking his head. 

By the time his junior year rolled around, Jeff was on academic suspension.

Fresh off his academic suspension, Jeff was back in school for what was supposed to be his senior year, well aware that he needed to get everything figured out. He needed to find the major that suited him, fix his grade point average, get a final graduation date set, all amongst the unspoken pressure of maintaining a good image for his family, who he did not want to disappoint. The happiness of others quickly shadows our own. Feeling confused, depressed and anxious (understandably so), Jeff knew he needed to get out of his current situation. 

“We had two landlines in the hallway of our dorm room. I went out in the hallway, sat down, opened the yellow pages up in my lap and grabbed the phone. I dialed the number to the US Airforce. No answer,” Jeff held up a finger, so I knew that wasn’t the end of it. 

“The next number I dialed was to the US Marine Corp,” Jeff said, a little smile on his face. This time, they answered. 

“How fast can you get me out of here?” was the first thing Jeff said to the recruiter on the other end. By that time the next day Jeff was no longer a college student. Rather, he was a new member of the marine corp. 

In his “oh f**k” moment, Jeff admittedly had no idea what he was doing. He knew he wasn’t happy and was willing to try anything in order to change his current situation. Coincidentally (or not so much so), Jeff was one of the top recruits of his class, quickly took on leadership positions in every role he partook as a marine and loved every second of it. 

Come to find out, his grandfather had also served, a fun fact his mother had never shared with him until after Jeff himself had joined. It had been a part of him all along. It seems he was bound to find his place, no matter what detours he took along the way. 

Moment of Success

“It was magical,” was the only way Jeff knew how to describe it. 

Working part time at his kids’ grade school, Jeff also volunteered as an assistant coach on his son’s flag football league. Listening to Jeff describe this rag tag group of six- and seven-year old’s out on the field was comical, as I know it all too well. Whether it was oneself or a younger sibling, we’ve all seen the attention spans of six-year old. Mix that with the undeterred passion to win of a head coach/father and we’re bound to have some fun. 

Jeff described how the team had made it to a pretty big game in their area in California. They all knew they were going in as the underdog team and found out last minute that the head coach and his son weren’t going to make it to the game. 

“So, these kids are on the field, knowing they’re the underdog, a new coach in front of them, no idea what to expect,” Jeff sets the scene. He got into the huddle with these little football stars, hyping each one of them up. Somewhere between the chanting and high-fiving, Jeff was able to pull an energy out of them that they hadn’t seen before. Their underdog team managed to pull off a big win that day and advance to the next game. 

However, this isn’t the moment of success for Jeff’s fleeting moment as head coach. This is where I would like to introduce Flint. Flint was one of the smallest boys on the team, his favorite position being anywhere on the field he was able to sit and pick grass. He’d been such a bother to the regular head coach that he had decided to put Flint right in the middle of the defensive line, alongside the biggest kids on the team. Jeff shook his head disapprovingly at this decision. “You don’t argue with the coach of your son’s team, though,” he said, hands up in resignation. 

In his moment as head coach, Jeff decided to pull Flint aside.

“Look at that guy in front of you,” Jeff said to Flint. “He’s big, round and slow! I know you’re so much faster than he is, so this is what I want you to do. I want you to speed around him as soon as you see the ball move and I want you to take not just one, but both flags off the quarterback,” Jeff directed. Flint looked back at him, blinked, mouth guard swinging from the side of his mouth. He headed back to his position on the field. 

“He sacked the quarterback four times in a row after that!” Jeff said, smile so big and contagious on his face that I could help but be just as proud as he was. He described Flint zipping right around the guy in front of him, sliding in from every direction and ripping the flags off the quarterback while everyone was high fiving and cheering. “It was magical,” Jeff said, wrapping up the famous victory for this little league flag football team.

After this, Flint’s mom approached Jeff. She thanked him for what he’d done, for giving her son a chance that the other coach hadn’t been able to. Knowing Jeff was only working part time at the school, she mentioned a job opening in security for the nuclear plant that her husband currently worked at. This turned out to be a job of Jeff’s dreams. He was still able to describe every detail of the building, painting a picture so vivid that I swore I’d been there before. That is, until I remembered I had never been to California. He could tell me every code he was made to memorize, describe every piece of his uniform, every position he held there.  

All from taking one moment to talk to flint. All from one moment of success.

 Jeff’s moments of success have nothing to do with monetary value. They have nothing to do with power or fame. They have everything to do with passion, pride and true happiness. 

This is the definition of success that we so often overlook, when in fact it is the truest form. Thank you so much Jeff, for your complete honesty and willingness to take the time out of your day to share your truly incredible, and ever so successful, life story with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have been able to hold this interview with you.  

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Oh F**k

Oh F**k: The Preface

The purpose of this segment is to talk about the word “success”. Not only do I want to talk about how we view it in the workplace and in our personal lives, but I want to change the way we discuss it in general. Success is not and should not be considered a one size fits all category. Speaking from the perspective of a working member of the United States, as well as being born and raised here, we seem to have the idea that if we are not what we culturally view as successful, then we are nothing worth celebrating. 

The reason I wanted to delve into this topic is twofold: 

I don’t know about you, but I’m so sick of people asking the question “what’s next?”. I just spent five years of my life working and going to school, finally graduated, and tied in first place with “Congratulations” is the question “So, now what are you doing?”. If we could change the discussion on progression, work or personal life wise, we could change the way we view our own lives, was well as others. Let me give you an example. Instead of asking the question “So, what’s next?”, I would ask the question of “What have you been working on recently?”. Not only does that question allow the other validation of the things they have accomplished in the past, but it allows them to go into the discussion of what’s to come on their own terms. 

I believe that in phrasing the question in this format, it would also reduce the negative thoughts that come with comparison. When you ask someone what’s next, it’s really all hypothetical. They can tell you just about anything, whether it be that it’s genuinely happening or that they’re just hopeful that it’s going to happen. With this comes the inevitable moment where we hear all about how perfectly this other persons’ life is lined up, followed by a swift kick in the gut of jealousy and anxiety over not being in that same position ourselves. When we ask the question “what have you been working on recently?”, or anything of the sort, we get to hear an explanation about the work they are doing, or have done, in order to get to where they are now, which allows for a much more realistic form of communication and decreases the chance that we can directly compare ourselves to that individual. This leads me to my second point.

Not only would I like to change how we ask about an individual’s success, but also, how we portray that success. Success does not have to mean you’re sitting at the dining room table of your massive estate, surrounded by hundred-dollar bills, maids and chefs at the ready. Although that may be some individual’s definition, some people view success as where you are right now. Whether you’re currently a college graduate, a doctor, a teacher, a janitor, a student, etc., there are people everywhere who would love to be in your exact situation. Let’s stop downplaying certain titles, such as the stigma surrounding only holding a minimum wage job. In order to break the stigma surrounding career choice, I want to talk to individuals of all career types that can be viewed as successful. Not only am I  going to celebrate the victories of how they got to where they are today, but I am going to highlight the moments where they never thought they would get to this very moment. The moments where their idea failed, they lost their job, they were told no, they had an unexpected turn of events, or plain old just had no idea what they were doing or why they were doing it. These are what I like to call the “oh f**k” moments, hence the title of the segment. 

I want everyone to be able to celebrate where they are in life right now, at this very moment. I want us to look back and see the things we have accomplished in the past week/month/year, rather than the things we failed to get done. I want it to be clear that every single one of us struggles in many different ways but still come out successful because we are still here, trying our best to be the person we’ve always dreamt of being. Let’s start looking at the similarities in our stories rather than the differences. 

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What You Need To Know: Dip Powder Manicures

What exactly is a dip powder manicure, you may ask. Great question. Even after seeing this technique become increasingly popular within the last year, I never paid much mind to it. As a habitual nail biter, I was forced into always having acrylics in order to not tear my own nails to shreds. Recently a new salon opened in my area (the salon is called the Blush Nail Lounge if you’re in the Columbus *check out bottom paragraph for more*!) that I was dying to check out, but they didn’t offer any services with acrylics. So, not really by my own free will and more so fueled by major fomo, I decided to try the dip powder manicure. Here’s what I learned…

The Process

If you’ve gotten acrylics before, you’re familiar with the tedious and time-consuming application process. This is nothing like that. Dip can be used on either your natural nail or with added tips. I added tips to a few of my nails to even out the length. After that two second application, the nail was buffed lightly with the electric buffer, just enough to create an even surface on the nail (nothing like the four different types of buffing that shave off most of your natural nail with acrylic application). After that a primer is applied, followed by a clear coat. Then each nail is dipped into the colored powder of your choosing. The clear coat and powder dip process is repeated two to three times. Then the final top coat is applied and you’re done. That’s it. Done. I’m not kidding I sat there with my mouth hanging open at how quick and easy the process was. 

Are They Strong?

Yes! My favorite aspect of the dip manicure is that it feels like your natural nail but a bit tougher. They aren’t as strong as acrylics. However, they are extremely light weight compared to acrylics, while still being stronger than your natural nail. 

How Long Do They Last?

Dip manicures can last up to a month! They outlast both acrylic and gel fills which is absolutely amazing if you’re like me and can only afford to splurge once a month. Earliest a fill should be needed is three weeks. 

Would I Get A Dip Manicure Again?

Heck. Yes. Again, I’ve been wanting to transition back to my natural nails for the longest time and I’ve found that this is the perfect compromise. Not only is the dip application process easier, but it’s also less harsh and damaging on the natural nail. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll be returning to acrylics anytime soon!

I want to give a special shout out to the Blush Nail Lounge in Columbus, Ohio for giving me such an amazing first experience with a dip manicure! The nail technicians were so helpful and patient, willing to answer any questions I had and even put in the time for the extra detail I wanted to add at the end. On top of the amazing service, their space is brand new and has one of the cutest interiors I’ve ever seen! Not to mention nail color options for days. Okay, done gushing over how much I love this place (for now). Hope this helps!

Food & Travel, Lifestyle

Bfast in Cbus

As I’ve recently discovered my incredible ability to spend an entire paycheck on breakfast & brunch in just one weekend, I figured I should put my taste testing to good use and share some of my favorite spots with everyone. As graduation is right around the corner, as well as nice weather and entertainment season in general, I wanted to give a few recommendations and (hopefully) relieve some of the event planning stress! If you have any breakfast or brunch places you absolutely love, please tell me!! As mentioned before, I have no qualms when it comes to spending money on food… I also attached the link to the menu for each restaurant, just click on the photo caption! One last thing, added a couple suggestions at the end if you have a larger party and might need a reservation. OKAY, I’m done, let’s talk food!

 
Brekki Shack

First up on the list is Brekkie Shack! Since it’s located in Grandview, it avoids the busy traffic of the short north/downtown area which is always a plus. I’m going to tell you right now that you will order more than you are physically able to consume because literally every single thing on the menu makes your mouth water. Bonus: they have a super cute neon sign that says “pancakes & dreams” that is definitely Instagram worthy if you can snag the spot!

Flowers & Bread

I had to include one of my all time favorites, Flowers & Bread. Not only can you order a whole loaf of fresh made bread (if you aren’t sold already I don’t think we can be friends…) but both the interior and exterior of the building is so aesthetically pleasing it brings a little tear to my eye. The menu is amazing and they offer both breakfast and lunch options!

Dough Mama

Allow me to introduce you to my newest love, Dough Mama. Y’all they have fresh made pies, need I say more?? The maple iced latte is a must, along with anything involving their cheddar biscuits. However, would not recommend for a super large group! Seating is very limited. Like one of those spots where it feels like you’re playing musical chairs, eyeballing everyones seat to see who will finish next and analyzing how fast you can move to beat out the other three people waiting for the same seat. But, fresh made pie….

Kittie’s Cakes at Bexley

Kittie’s Cakes is my all time favorite spot. Things you must order include a freshly made cinnamon roll, paired with the nashville hoodie to drink! It’s about a ten minute drive from the campus area but so worth it. The area itself is very old fashioned, slow paced and beautiful. Not only do they have a full breakfast menu, but also lunch and cocktails to accompany it!

Northstar Cafe

Mint. Iced. Coffee. I don’t even like mint and I can’t make it out of Northstar without ordering one of these bad boys. This is right in the middle of all the action of the short north district, with the option to sit and eat there or just as easily grab it to go. My favorite thing about Northstar (besides the mint iced coffee) is the fact that you walk away feeling good about what you just ate. Their options are rather healthy and fully satisfying!

I have so many more places I could add to this list but I’m going to wrap it up with these last two recommendations. If you have a larger party and think you’d need to make a reservation, I would suggest either Forno or The Goat (located in the short north & downtown area). They both have plenty of seating, give the option to make reservations, and (most importantly) have outstanding menus.

Thank you guys for reading my suggestions! Again, please let me know any recommendations you might have as well! Always looking for new places to explore.

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My “Feministic” Views: Addressing a Few Misconceptions

Don’t get me wrong, I love men. Some of my closest friends are guys and I value their relationships more than anything. I have many men in my life who I look up to and admire very much. I’m grateful for all of them and am so lucky to hold a relationship with them with such a mutual respect and understanding. 

However, just because I have guy friends and male figures in my life that I admire, doesn’t mean I can turn a blind eye to inequality amongst males and females in America. To be clear, me recognizing this inequality does not mean that I hate men in any way, does not mean that I think less of men in any way, and does not mean I’m unable to have open discussions pertaining to this inequality and/or lack thereof from any other person’s viewpoint. 

My viewpoint comes from years of observing, experiencing and learning about this topic. I still continue to learn about it every day. 

I wanted to address why I made a post the other day about a tweet that I saw. If you didn’t see my Instagram story, I put a picture of myself with a new short haircut and brought up a tweet that I saw saying “only women with long hair are attractive”. My response to that was “men ain’t sh*t, you’re hot no matter what”. I also mentioned the fact that, in our society, men are raised to view certain things as attractive versus unattractive. 

I got a response from a guy that said something like this: don’t generalize all men because of what one man said, understand his ignorance and move on.

After responding that I didn’t find it acceptable to stay silent on an issue that affects the way people feel about themselves and ultimately live their lives, I got a rather aggressive response that led to him stating the following: there is no pay gap between males and females, women deserve to be paid less due to pregnancy, there is no ideal woman anymore as this isn’t the 1900s, and to top it all off, white privilege doesn’t exist. 

Man. Oh. Man. To be clear, I did not address any of those issues in my story except for the image of an ideal woman on the most basic level. I was told that I was just trying to “make myself feel better” and that none of what I was saying was correct. When I tried to have a discussion about the issues he was addressing, I got berated and was told to “keep coming at me with your feministic views.” 

Here are the top two reasons I chose not to ignore this man’s ignorance: accountability and awareness. 

When I say that society has raised men to behave and to think a certain way, I am holding all of us accountable. I’m not blaming this one individual male who made one comment about a female’s appearance. In America, the image of the ideal partner, and the ideal self, has been formulating in the minds of every individual since they were children. We are shown images, told repeatedly, of what our society identifies as “beautiful”. The further we stray from these ideals, the more damaging it is to our self-perception and ultimately our self-value. 

My favorite example of how harmful this unrealistic standard of beauty can be comes from an experience by Dr. Brene Brown. She did a project with a class of hers that had three parts. The first was to bring in their favorite magazines and cut out images that fit their “ideal look”. She noticed how every participant was taking bits and pieces of different women in order to create one ideal look. The second part of the project was to find themselves in these magazines. After flipping through magazines and finding only bits and pieces of themselves (a similar haircut, skin tone, etc.) the students gave up in frustration. The final part of the project was to ask the students “how does being invisible feel?”. 

The answers that were given were all self-blaming. They said they couldn’t find themselves in these magazines because they weren’t good enough or, even worse, because they didn’t matter. They blamed themselves for not fitting the pictures they had created based on a learned idea of beauty. Based on a learned idea of value. 

In just one sitting, these students went from cutting images out of a magazine to convincing themselves that they don’t matter in this society. 

To go back to the tweet that said “only women with long hair are attractive”, I hope it might be a bit clearer the consequences these statements may have, and also why I chose to address it rather than to remain silent. We are reinforcing ideas that are demeaning to many individuals. We are reinforcing ideas that take away value from people who matter, which is every single person in this nation and on this planet. Beauty is, first and foremost, a cultural construct. Let’s work towards constructing a cultural view of beauty that looks at more than the surface. One that adds value to every individual rather than taking it away.  

I didn’t get to touch on a lot of other subjects that were brought up, so if anyone would like to discuss anything else with me, please feel free to reach out! 

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Graduation Dresses

Last Minute Edition

As I was putting all of my recently made reservations for graduation into my planner, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had successfully made all my reservations, had a plan in order for my family, had my final school work in order, everything was in place. Then I realized I was missing a pretty important piece to the plan: a dress. We’ve all worked really hard to get to this point in our lives and we definitely deserve to look and feel our best on such a big day. If you’re in panic mode (as I was), I thought I would share a list of my top choices to give some inspiration! Links are in the captions and there’s usually alternative colors if you’re just attending a graduation and need some inspiration as well. I varied completely in styles and price ranges, so there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the order of the dresses. With that, good luck ya little procrastinators ! (oh, and congratulations!!)

Lace Cami Dress / Abercrombie
Wrap – Front Cami Dress / Abercrombie
Donna Mae Playsuit / PrincessPolly
Molina Mini Dress / PrincessPolly
Katrina Eyelet Tiered Ruffle Mini Dress / Urban Outfitters
Ruffle Sleeve Mini Dress / Revolve
Petra Button Front Dress / Revolve
Peggy Dress / Sundae Muse

Lucette Dress / Sundae Muse
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Lessons Learned

I have too much I want to say about this past weekend. I tried to fit in all into one piece of writing, but it ended up being five pages before I was even halfway through. 

Instead, I’m going to share a story a day, until I run out of stories. 

I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt in a rut, stuck in the wrong place, stuck in the wrong mood. My birthday was one week away. I’ve always had an irrational fear of birthdays. Not the fear of getting older, but a fear of being behind in life. Of not hitting the landmarks that have been instilled in my brain I should have hit by the age of 23. 

This is what I needed to escape. 

I wanted time to think, time to be on my own. I opened Airbnb and typed in the date’s “March 29-31”, anxiously clicking the search button. Up popped a few options, a loft here, an apartment there. It wasn’t until I saw a red cabin on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina that I knew. That was exactly what I was looking for. 

Mind you, I have never traveled completely on my own to an unfamiliar location before. Ever. I’ve traveled many times with family and friends but seeing as I am usually a very cautious individual, planning my trips meticulously, I was in completely unfamiliar territory with this one. 

Confirmed: March 29- March 31. Check in 3 pm- 12 am. Pack your bags!

Just like that, I was off to Asheville. 

Since it’s a special occasion, I want to skip forward to my favorite part of this trip. Let me introduce you to Patrick O’Shea.

Upon my arrival, I was introduced to my host (and one of the kindest men I’ve ever met), Bob. He asked what I was doing there, assuming I was there to enjoy a weekend of fine dining and breweries, as many other guests had been. 

Funny question, really. I had no idea what I was doing there. 

“I like to write,” I said. I explained how I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my birthday coming up and really just needed a change of scenery for a second. I wanted to be able to collect my thoughts, hear myself think. 

“Well, if you need some inspiration, there’s the arts district,” Bob began. “It’s covered in art, graffiti. I would describe it as a new age, hipster, rich kid type area.” 

I visibly cringed and Bob laughed. 

“If you’re looking for more of a townie location, I would recommend Jack of the Wood. It’s the epitome of an Irish bar, live Appalachian based music and best bar food in town.” He had me at Irish bar. I was sold. 

I walked into Jack of the Wood and immediately began to smile. The majority of the crowd had beards and were sporting a leather vest and/or a cowboy hat. I was easily one of the youngest people there. Everyone had a beer in their hand and there was college basketball playing on the tv next to the bar. 

Perfection. This is exactly what I had been looking for all along.

I sat down at the end of the bar next to an older man, ordered a beer and leaned back in my chair to watch the game. A few moments in, I felt the older man next to me tap me on my shoulder. I turned, already apologizing if I had been in the way of the tv. 

“Oh no, honey, you’d have to be a few feet taller for that to be the problem,” he chuckled. Fair point. He motioned for me to look to my left and asked me how I felt about “man buns”. About a foot to my left was a younger man, sporting that very look. I laughed and explained that it’s not my favorite, but whatever makes people happy. 

“I’ve got to be honest with you, every guy I’ve ever met with one… asshole,” he said. “Complete asshole. You’re trying too hard buddy, just give it up!” he said, loud enough for me to hear but just below man bun’s level of hearing.

This is how I met Patrick. He was late sixties, a regular at Jack of the Wood, and stole more olives from the side of the bar than I could count. It was truly impressive how quickly he moved to grab them when the bartenders turned their backs. He still wrote and performed his own music every Monday night at this very bar. 

He asked why I was in Asheville, what I liked about it so far. 

“Honestly, I love the people. I’ve found that every person I’ve run into has been extremely nice and so open in conversation.” 

“Do you think that has anything to do with yourself?” Patrick responded. 

Seeing as he was insinuating that the way I looked had something to do with people being nice to me, I responded by saying I really didn’t think so. He laughed and gave an exaggerated “sureeeeee”. 

I knew what he’d meant. However, this is exactly why I had been looking for this crowd. Patrick wasn’t saying anything to try and impress me. When I asked him a question, he answered with complete honesty. He wasn’t trying to prove himself to me, to make me like him, to show the similarities between us. Many people my own age will say what they think you want to hear. Not Patrick. This was him, take it or leave it. 

As Patrick was on a first name basis with everyone who worked at the bar, I quickly became acquainted with the bartenders and servers. Before I knew it, I was on my third beer, the Purdue vs Virginia game had just been tied by a buzzer beater shot and all of us had bets on who was pulling through for the win. Even the bartender who claimed he “didn’t care at all for college basketball” was leaning over the counter, yelling with the rest of the crowd when their team fell behind. 

I asked Patrick how he’d ended up in Asheville. 

“My ex-wife moved here with the kids. It was a no brainer,” he stated, matter-of-factly. He told me what his kids were up to now, what they’d accomplished. “I’m just so happy their mom raised them,” he said. I asked if he thought they would’ve turned out differently being raised with him. He scoffed and informed me they wouldn’t be even half the people they were today, had their mother not raised them. 

The band began to play, and Patrick ended the night by scolding me for paying eighty dollars for jeans with holes in them. 

“It’s outrageous! Ninety dollars for these jeans, holes and little frills sticking all out from them and girls are paying for them! Bring ’em to me, I’ll grab a pair of scissors and do it myself,” he exclaimed, completely exasperated by the whole concept. I informed him that fashion companies were now laser printing wrinkles onto jeans, to sell them with a “pre-wrinkled” appearance. This almost pushed him right over the edge. We both laughed.

He’d stayed around longer than usual “to be chivalrous” he’d said. Another older man had entered the bar that he was not particularly fond of. 

“What a toad. What a complete toad,” Patrick said. I was dying laughing. “He’s just slimy. Maybe if he didn’t look like such a frog, people would actually talk to him,” he fumed. Patrick refused to leave until this guy left, insistent that he didn’t trust him. I appreciated it. 

After he’d left and I had eventually returned to my bed in the red cabin I had rented, I thought back to what Patrick had said. Did I have anything to do with the way people treated me here?

Yes. He was right, but not in the sense that he’d intended. It did have something to do with me. I had to be open to the experience. I had to be open to meeting others, to trusting others. I guess most people my age wouldn’t have picked this bar in the first place, but I noticed that even more wouldn’t have given someone like Patrick the time of day. 

Unfortunately, we tend to look past what’s right in front of us. 

Traveling alone allowed me to be open to others. It forced me to trust in people more so than I normally would. To be open to hearing their little anecdotes, each containing a vital piece of their lives they were excited to share, to teach you about. It’s truly incredible what you can learn from a complete stranger. 

When I listened to myself, felt where I was truly comfortable, I found exactly what I was looking for. If I trusted myself, I could trust in others. If I trusted myself, I would end up exactly where I was meant to be. 

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My “Feministic” Views: Addressing a Few Misconceptions
April 23, 2019
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On My Body
March 22, 2019
Inspiration, Lifestyle

On My Body

I didn’t have much time to write this (aka pls don’t judge me for how poorly it’s written) but I did want to take a minute to acknowledge something really important to me. 

The female body has been viewed and commented on by so many. Opinions fly from every mouth about what it should look like, what it should dress like, how it should act. 

I started doing yoga at a young age. When I first started, I enjoyed the physical challenge behind it. Twisting and contorting my body in ways that were unfamiliar to it, attempting at every class to be able to move on to more challenging concepts. I was completely focused on the physical feat behind it. I wanted to master my body at this point in time. I wanted to be able to control it, be able to push it to its furthest point. 

I took a break from yoga for a while when I began college. A break makes it sound like I took a week off but if I’m being honest, it was years before I got back on a mat. I just recently came back to it, breaking myself in with a hot yoga class. The class hit me, and it hit me hard. However, I found myself being able to do things I hadn’t been able to do, even when I was trying my hardest and practicing regularly. As I hadn’t been to a class in a while, I had to start fresh. I had to listen to every word the instructor was saying, watch the other members of the class, listen to myself as I exhaled deeply through the pain of starting over. This time around, I had focused not on pushing myself, but on listening to myself. On talking to my body, moving deeper into poses with each exhale. 

I accomplished much more in the exchange of talking and listening to my body, than I ever was able to when I was just telling my body what to do. Having a conversation with it, telling it where I wanted it to go but allowing it to lead me there at its own pace. I didn’t rush to get to the end, to master the pose right away. I took my time in getting there, acknowledging how my body felt at every single moment throughout the process. 

It takes time to learn how to listen to yourself. It takes time to acknowledge the fact that your best and most beautiful version of a pose, will look completely different than someone else’s. It took me years to wrap my head around what seems to be such a simple concept. I grew out of the idea of only picturing myself at the end. I now take the time to appreciate where I’m at, every single day. I acknowledge that it doesn’t matter how you look, but how you feel.

Listen to what feels right from the inside, not to what people tell you is right from the outside. Enjoy the strength that you find within, recognize the power that your body uses to push you through every day. That power is so much more valuable than any other person’s opinion.

This is just a small reminder to anyone who needs it.

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Peach & Raspberry Sweet Potato Toast with Whipped Cottage Cheese

I recently came across Abbey Sharpe’s cookbook, The Mindful Glow Cookbook, and immediately fell in love with the recipes. My first attempt was on her recipe for Peach Melba Sweet Potato Toast with Whipped Cottage Cheese. I won’t lie, the name sounded extremely intimidating (I really only understood the “toast” part) but the recipe ended up being extremely easy and so satisfying! If you don’t like sweet potatoes, stop after the broiled peaches. I honestly could eat these peaches drizzled in honey every day for the rest of my life.

Ingredients

  • 1 peach, sliced into 14-16 thin wedges
  • 1 tsp pure liquid honey (I used a lavender honey, highly recommend)
  • 3/4 cup 2% or 4% cottage cheese (I used 1% and everything was fine!!)
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 4 slices lengthwise about 1/4 inch each (make sure to scrub clean first)
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons sliced unsalted natural almonds, toasted

Directions

  • Preheat broiler too high. Lay the peach slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of honey. Broil just until caramelized (about 5 minutes).
  • In a small food processor or blender, puree the cottage cheese. Coarsely chop four of the now caramelized peach slices and add them to the pureed cottage cheese. Blend until smooth. Add honey to your liking!
  • Place the sweet potato slices in the toaster and toast until tender and golden, about 3 to 4 rounds each, depending on toaster settings.
  • Place a generous amount of the cottage cheese mixture onto the toasted sweet potato. Top with slices of broiled peach, fresh raspberries and sliced almonds.

Tips

  • I couldn’t wait for peaches to be in season to make this recipe (I was too excited), but it’s very easy to overcook the peaches!! Keep an eye on them and take them out before or at the five minute mark, no later!
  • Our toaster is about five years old and was twenty dollars from Target.. if your circumstances are similar, it will definitely take more than 4 toaster rounds! This is totally fine, just be sure to check the texture after each round.
  • I am not a fan of cottage cheese in general, but this combination makes it heavenly.
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Inspiration

To Whom It May Concern

Long before we met

I already knew it to be true

Home would always be with you.

Your eyes sink into me in a way

I’ve only ever felt

When looking at a body of water.

Your laugh like a lullaby

Something that was sung to me a million times

Before I was aware.

The warmth of your embrace

Reminiscent of the warmth of the fireplace 

I can remember every detail of.

It all resonates as familiar 

Even though it’s brand new

Because home was always with you.

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