I bought a new laptop today.

This may seem insignificant. In many, many ways, it probably is. Will I remember, thirty years from now, the process I went to in order to buy this new device? Will I recall the feeling of turning it on, peeling off the protective plastic, and booting it up for the first time? If my digital footprint reminds me – as, it seems, most social networking sites like to do these days – then perhaps, yes. But more than likely… honestly, hopefully… no, I won’t remember this particular part about today.

So why bother bringing it up?

Well, there’s a weird significance to this new purchase, one that is certainly more of a personal milestone than anything else. In fact, I’m not sure that anyone will even care, and yet, I’ve felt compelled to blabber about it on the Internet nonetheless.

That milestone, for those of you still curious, is that, for the first time in a long time, I decided to do something for myself as a writer.

That’s the whole purpose of this purchase, after all.

I mean, sure. Part of it is to ease any issues that might arise if my work laptop fails. Part of it is to provide a lightweight, easy-to-travel-with alternative to hopping on a plane with a piece of company property. Part of it is just straight consumerism, and undeniable impatience with my aging and slow Macbook.

But for the most part, I bought this laptop to provide myself a brand new motivation for writing. Buying this laptop made me feel official, as silly as it sounds. I can now spend hours in a coffee shop, typing away, without feeling like a fraud, or like a fake. Sure, I could have done that with my old computer. I could have – and did – try to do it with my tablet. But it never felt quite right. I needed something that worked, that responded, that signified to everyone exactly why I was there.

Is it a silly, superficial need? Absolutely. Do I feel completely empowered and excited to write regardless? You bet.

You may have noticed that I changed the layout of my blog… again. That was intentional… again.

I’ve spent so long trying to figure out my niche. Trying to become the blogger that I’m not. And, quite frankly, that whole attempt was a little pointless.

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I’m not a blogger.

Nope. Sorry – both for announcing it to the world and that it took me so long to realize it.

No, I’m not a blogger. I’m not a huge fan of rambling about my purchases, my trips, or my recipes. Sure, I like to share those things. It can be fun, and even useful, and that’s why I haven’t gone to quite such drastic measures as deleting all of my content.

However, I finally decided to just allow what I actually am to shine through. It’s what I’m best at, after all.

You see, I’m not a blogger.

Or an influencer.

I’m a writer.

I write. It’s what I do. Sometimes, it’s stories, which end up sitting on my Google drive half-finished for years. Sometimes, it’s a novel, which is actually finished but has not seen much of the outside world. I write poems, snippets, articles, streams of consciousness. I write whatever feels right at the time. And I was doing myself a disservice for not utilizing my platform to showcase whatever it is I felt like writing at the time. For thinking I needed to fit into a predetermined “blogger box,” if you will.

So, there you have it. I’m not a blogger, and I’m sorry for trying so damn hard to be one. Someone should have stopped me. I’m pretty glad that, eventually, my own awareness did.

I’m not a blogger, but I’m not going to stop blogging. I’ll keep posting here, and I sincerely hope you continue to follow along. Because I’m not a blogger, but I am a writer.

A writer with a brand new laptop and a renewed love of words. I can only hope that it’s enough.

I’ll confess this upfront: I didn’t plan this recipe out. This is very much one of those whatever’s-in-the-fridge-that-sounds-good recipes… and it turned out to be so good, I just had to share it.

So, I present to you my new favorite weekend morning meal: Breakfast Quesadillas.

I realize these aren’t revolutionary. I’m pretty sure you can get them at every good brunch place in town. But they’re good, and better yet, they’re easy. So when you don’t feel like waiting forty-five minutes for a table and a mimosa, here’s a recipe you can enjoy in the comfort of your own kitchen — and pj’s! — with a mug of coffee in hand.

Ingredients (makes one, so multiply as necessary for whoever’s in your household):

  • Eggs (This is a deliberately unspecified quantity. I went with 1 egg + 2 egg whites because that’s how I like ’em, but you do you.)
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1/2 Roma tomato
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • Pinch of salt + pepper
  • Shredded cheese of your choosing (Again, I’m not about to tell you how cheesy to make your quesadilla… but I suggest very cheesy.)
  • Optional: Salsa / guac / hot sauce / Other toppings of your preference

Directions:

Chop up your tomato & throw it in a frying pan. Give it a little toss, let ’em warm up, and then throw in the spinach.

While the veggies are cooking, scramble up your eggs.

Combine with the veggies and cook ’em up.

When your eggs are slightly less cooked than you’d normally like them (that’s important!) take them out of the pan.

Butter your tortilla and put it in the pan (butter side down, in case you’ve never made a quesadilla before).

Sprinkle half your cheese on one side of the tortilla. Add your eggs + veggies on top, and add the rest of the cheese.

Fold over the other half of the tortilla.

Let cook, flipping occasionally, until both sides of the tortilla as deliciously golden brown.

Slide out of that pan and onto a plate add your fave toppings — and a side of fruit if you’re feeling it — and enjoy!

There you have it. To quote Jack Sparrow: “Simple, easy to remember.” As any good weekend meal should be.

Holy COW guys – how on earth is it February!? Part of me feels like January was the longest month in the history of… well, ever. Another part of me feels like time continues to slip by too quickly — as if I blinked, and the calendar has flipped pages (virtually, of course, because who has an actual calendar? It’s all about whiteboards and paper planners, am I right?)

The past month has been a calm one, and honestly, I am so very grateful for that. The last little bit of 2018 was a tad overwhelming. I traveled a lot, I did a lot, I generally felt like life just was a lot. It was a lot in a good way, but a lot is still a lot. Does anyone else ever feel that way?

Anyway, I’m rambling. The point is, the first month of 2019 has been a much needed reprieve. I’ve spent a lot of time taking barre classes, a lot of time watching Netflix, and a lot of time generally relaxing and reestablishing a routine (something I have learned that, apparently, I thrive on… but more on God’s lesson for me in that department a little later).

The rest of 2019, however, promises to be busy, exciting and… well, full of the word “yes.”

I’ve never seen that one movie where the guy says “yes” to everything, but I can certainly say I understand the concept.

This year has a lot of Big Things happening. I turn 25, my mom and I are taking a trip to England & Scotland (insert overly excited “eeeeeeeek!” here), my parents are moving out of the house my siblings and I grew up in, and the boy WILL be passing his CPA exam.

When I began the year, I thought this would be a year of saving for said big things. But then the opportunities, the adventures, started rolling in.

I wouldn’t consider myself the most spontaneous of people. I like to have plans, I like to know what is happening. But I recognize that, sometimes, that can be to my detriment. Sometimes, that means I would be inclined to say no to things “not in the plan.” And 2019 had a clear plan: save, save, save until September, then go back across the pond.

But here’s the thing — I am in an incredibly stable place in life (thanks be completely to the Lord for that blessing), and I have some breathing room. I know that yes, I do better with routine, but I also go stir crazy if it’s all routine. I need some blips on the radar.

So, I’ve started to say yes. Yes to that unplanned trip to Disneyland. Yes to last-minute happy hours, to dog sitting, to working on an extra project.

It’s okay to have routine — and I recognize that I need it. But I also need to allow a little wiggle room, to “ease up,” to recognize that what’s being offered to me right now may not be offered a few years down the line.

So here’s to 2019, to the year of yes. I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

What are you saying “yes” to this year?

If you’re new here, or if you haven’t been following along over on the ‘gram, then you probably don’t know that in the latter half of last year, I fell head-over-heels in love with barre. More specifically, with barre3, a full-body workout that focuses on doing what you need to do for you.

Now, before you write this post off as a rambling love letter to a workout class, let me say one thing: it is, but it also isn’t.

What this post is intended to be is encouragement, more than anything. So I implore you, stick with me.

January, I often feel, can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of messaging out there during this time of year that essentially is telling you that you aren’t good enough as you are, that you should grab hold of this new year with a vengeance and make changes so that you become “better.” And, in one way, I understand it. I mean, I work in PR and messaging is my life, so of course I get it. But, in another way, I absolutely detest what this messaging is essentially saying.

This year is the first year that I’ve gone into without feeling even the slightest bit inclined to give in to that “you’re not good enough” messaging. I owe so much of that to barre3, and the confidence, strength, and empowerment that I have found since becoming a part of this community. Barre3 focuses on that idea that you ARE enough, exactly as you are. It emphasizes that you are in this workout class for you, not for anyone else.

And I absolutely love that mindset.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for taking steps towards a healthier you. But I’ve learned that the key is doing so in a healthy way, a balanced way, a way that is not reliant on anyone else’s approval. You already are enough – for yourself, for God, and for those who love you most deeply. Once you accept that as your primary mindset, the rest seems so much easier.

You want to eat better because you feel better… you alsowant to have a piece of that brownie because sometimes, the soul just needs some chocolate. You want to move because your muscles thank you when you do; you want to be a lazy bum and finish a book in a single sitting because our minds love that kind of adventure.

More importantly than fitting in that 30 minutes of cardio or eating only salad for a week – take the time for you. Whatever that may be.

Thanks in large part to barre3, I’ve started to look at workouts, and a lot of other things, as my time to fill up my own cup, and I’ve started to see a difference in how I approach the rest of my life as a result of it. For that, I am forever grateful.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to do this by going to a barre3 class… though there is a January challenge I’d be happy to help you sign up for ;). I’m not saying you need to do this by finding ANY specific workout class, actually. I’m not even saying you need a change in mindset.

I’m simply encouraging you to take a look at the goals you have set for yourself this year… the resolutions, for those of you who do that (I don’t). What motivated you to decide upon any one of those in particular? Was it because someone told you that you weren’t enough without striving for that particular achievement; was it because someone else said you need to do that to be better?

My wish for you, through any future goal-setting or effort to change, is to know that you are enough exactly as you are, and that the changes you make on behalf of your own self will be so much more significant, so much more meaningful, than anything you do because someone wrongfully told you that you aren’t good enough.

Trust me, you absolutely are.

Okay. Time for me to own up to the obvious: towards the end of 2018, this blog slipped a bit in terms of its placement on my priority list. For my faithful readers (my mom, my grandparents, my best friends…) I’m sorry for my silence, but you are also among those who know how absolutely nuts the last couple of months of the year got for me. Work was overwhelming — in the good way! — and between that, travel, and spending precious time over the holidays with the most important people, and babies, in my life, it just all went a little wonky. 

So, sorry about that. I fess up. But honestly, I’m not all that sorry because – you know what? – life happens.

(I also do realize that this is very similar to every rambling apology for a hiatus I’ve ever given before. That, I’m not so sorry about either. There are, after all, only so many ways that one can announce “I’ve been busy.”)

That said, I do want to make this blog more of a priority in the coming year. I’m not the resolution type, but I do like to goal set. Tangible goals, that is. Goals that are measured not by their ability to be completed in an arbitrary 365 trip around the sun, but just in general. Goals like “journal regularly,” “be more present,” and “blog more.”

In case you were wondering – yes, those are my 3 goals for 2019.

Now, you might be asking (I am) how the second and third goals work together. How can I be more present if I’m also trying to blog more? The long and short of it is that I want to bring this blog back to what it was intended to be – a place for my own self expression; a place to ramble about things I just might think some other people could care about, things like friendship and love and family. Yes, that means you’ll see less product reviews. Let’s be honest – I don’t spend a lot of money and am subsequently bad at those. No, that doesn’t mean I won’t post recipes or restaurant reviews when I think there’s one in particular of note. And no, it definitely doesn’t mean the travel diaries are going away. I’ve got some good trips coming up this year, one in particular that I am tingling with excitement for, and Lord knows I love those travel diaries, if only for my own self-reflections. And speaking of the Lord (was that a passe way to transition?) you’ll still see me talking to Him, about Him, on here. I can’t promise the regularity with which Testimony Tuesdays once appeared, but I can promise that it’ll happen enough. 

Okay, expectations aside, I’m now here to say what I really initially hopping on to say:

Happy New Year, friends. May the coming 12 months be filled with positivity, grace, love, and accomplishment – especially for those of you who, unlike me, actually are resolution-setters (I admire you).

As for me, I plan to spend the next 12 months working on, as I said, being evermore present, evermore thoughtful, and evermore diligent about documenting all of the good – and some of the bad – that is inevitably to come.

Cheers, 2019.

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Let me preface this with the obvious: ideally, friendship is not something you have to “fit in” to your schedule. However, life is funny, and inconvenient, and uncooperative sometimes and in those cases, friendship, just like anything else, can take some work.

I feel like this is especially the case as us twenty-somethings start to tackle adulthood head-on. Every time I talk to people lately, it seems we’re answering the question “How are you?” in the exact same way: “I’m busy.”

Busyness is certainly something to be acknowledged in our culture, but that’s probably a blog post for another day. Whether it should be this way or not, there’s no denying that our age group is consumed by the concept, the allure, and the stress of being constantly busy. I’ve done a lot of thinking on this lately, and I think it’s a combination of being physically busy, and never turning off. (That said, I’ve made a pact to do “switch-off Sundays,” during which I turn my phone off and take a bath and read a book, a sort of digital detox to start my week off right. It’s done wonders for my mental clarity.)

Anyways, I’m getting off subject.

The point is, we’re all inherently busy, and as twenty-somethings, I think we’re still smack-dab in the middle of the required learning curve for dealing with said busyness. That can take a toll, on ourselves, and on our friendships.

One solution?

Fit friendships in. 

It doesn’t sound natural to have to schedule in fun but, let’s be honest — between work meetings, workouts, church commitments, date nights, and family time, it can be easy to let something slip.

My pro tip: don’t let it be your friendships. 

Community is so important. Time with your best girls keeps us grounded, and offers important perspective we might not get from the people we see each and every day. And as much as I love my group texts, nothing replaces laughing together over some charcuterie and sav blanc.

Or FaceTime. Can I just give Apple a huge shout out for enabling us to stay in face-to-face contact so unbelievable easily? (Actually, I suppose that shout out really belongs to whomever invented the first video chat, and giving the kudos to Apple is akin to thanking Kleenex for creating facial tissue. Man, branding is a tricky business.)

Ramble about video chats aside, I really am so appreciative for them. Sometimes, it’s just not physically feasible to get together in person — for example, due to a certain Shining Twin living a few too many states away. And while that might not be the best example, considering her and I literally work opposite schedules, when we do get a time to connect via video, it’s the biggest blessing. And if that’s what it takes to fit friends in, then by all means, I’ll do it.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect at fitting friends in. I’m an ambivert by nature, so while I love, love, love socializing, there are certainly times when I’d prefer to block out the word in favor of curling up on the couch with some tea and Netflix.

But I always feel better after some solid friendship time. After all, spending time with loved ones is just as important as eating well, getting exercise, and sleeping enough.

So fit it in.

If anything, you’ll never be sorry for spending a little extra time with the people you love the most.

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Hey, guys. It’s been a while. If you think I didn’t notice, believe me: I did. But sometimes, you can have grand plans for things — like this blog — and life will just get in the way. That’s certainly what happened on my end. I have a plethora of saved blog posts, series I planned to launch, and a schedule I had hoped to keep to.

And then, well, life just got too busy.

But you know what? That’s okay. 

It’s something I’ve had to preach to myself often during this blogging journey. I find myself frustrated that I, quite frankly, haven’t made the time to get this little platform of mine to where I’d love for it to be. But then I remember that the reason I haven’t been as diligent about setting aside time for the blog is because I’ve been so busy doing other things, things that I’ve deemed as a bigger priority. All year, I’ve been trying to focus on balancing what’s work and what’s fun, what’s necessary and what’s a bonus, what’s rewarding and what’s stressful. I never wanted to look at this blog as a job, something I had to do. So, yes, sometimes, that will mean I disappear for a month. It means I’m not quite so good at that blogging planner my best friend bought for me. It means I won’t post as much on Instagram.

That’s perfectly, 100% okay.

So anyways. Long rambling reasoning for my temporary absence aside, here I am.

It’s Sunday morning, and it’s a little chilly outside, at least for Arizona. I haven’t opened the windows yet, at least. The tree outside our apartment is finally shedding some leaves and turning a proper orange; I’m loving it. Currently, I have a pumpkin candle lit and some pumpkin creamer in my coffee. It’s finally feeling like fall.

So, naturally, I decorated for Christmas last night.

Before you all jump on me with “it’s too early!” or “Thanksgiving first!” — I just gave you all examples of how the pumpkins have decidedly not left yet. I just added some Santas and a Christmas tree to the bunch.

Needless to say, the holidays are my favorite time of year. Christmas is my number-one favorite, but Thanksgiving is a close second. Partly because I always go home. Partly because there’s stuffing and mashed potatoes. Mostly because it gives me a chance to look back and reflect on what I’m most thankful for this year.

This year, I’m thankful for the little lessons.

I’m thankful for the growing pains. It’s been a year of transition in some ways. The boy is hard at work studying for the CPA exam, and at some times, that’s been a little taxing on both of us. On top of it, there’s definitely been moments when I’ve unfairly taken my own stress out on him, whether that’s with snippy words or general disinterest. But we’ve continued to learn and grow through the more challenging seasons, and in the end, we’re learning to love each other better. I know this is a natural progression of a relationship, and I know that we are stronger for it. For that, I’m ever so thankful.

I’m thankful for distance. I won’t lie — it’s hard to have your best friend live several states away. It’s hard to not be near the majority of your family. There are times I wish I could just show up at my Grammie’s house, or call up the Shining Twin and demand a chips and salsa-fueled Friends marathon. But as I get older, I realize that there’s a level of effort that goes into maintaining relationships over distance. This is something I used to take for granted, especially when it comes to my family. Yes, family will always be there, but you’ve got to work at it like any other relationship. I like to think I’m getting better at managing the distance. Who knows if that’s true? But I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from it.

(And, of course, this isn’t to discount my friends & family that are here. I’m of course so thankful for the immediate family that is nearby; not everyone’s so lucky to have their parents, siblings and brand-new niece less than 30 minutes away.)

I’m thankful for stress. This sounds weird, I know. But I mean it more of this way: I’m thankful to have a job I care so much about to be so stressed about sometimes. Granted, it’s not always stressful. It’s less often stressful than it is not, really. But there are certainly times, as with anything we care about, where pressure mounts — whether that’s to hit a deadline, to prove you can do it, or just to get the job done. However, I do think that a lot of my own pressure is self-inflicted, and I know for a fact that I do it because I want to excel in this position I love so much. Ultimately, that’s a wonderful thing.

Three simple things, and three big lessons I’ve learned this year.

So while I do apologize for not being as consistent with this blog as I might ideally like to be, I don’t apologize for the reason behind it. I don’t apologize for learning to be more present when I need to be, I don’t apologize for spending more time Facetiming than doing Instagram photoshoots, I don’t apologize for setting aside my side hustle for my main one. Life is about prioritizing sometimes, and in different seasons, different things will be important.

This blog is still my outlet, and I hope to have more time to devote to it once life calms down a little. For those who are hanging in there: thank you. I’m endlessly thankful for you, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.