Category: Uncategorized

Just Bein’ a Homeowner

Hello, strangers! I have been blogging about my health and fitness journey over at The Fit Life Series, but, I thought I would check in just to let whomever might be curious… We bought a house! The adorable hammock in the back yard, mason jar chandelier, country livin’ house is alllllllllll ours. 🙂 It was a stressful process at times but of course it was SO worth it!!! We signed the paperwork and got the keys on Friday, so I spent my weekend painting. Taping and painting to be exact. I feel like that’s seriously ALL I did for 48 hours. That’s a huuuuuge exaggeration, of course. I am all for the classics, so I picked out a nice neutral (Natural Linen to be exact) for the living room/dining area andddd boring ole WHITE for the bedrooms. The rooms are currently 1) CRAZY blue (little boys room previously) 2) Teal, pink, green AND blue (apparently indecisive girls room) and 3) a light blue in the master. All three rooms are going to be redone (need new closet doors and flooring) so I’m just going to play it safe and go with white. Maybe eventually I’ll redo them, but honestly… probably not. I love the classics! I love to pull color from decorations, not crazy wall colors.

Anyways, that’s been my life for the past month and a half. Endless conversations with the realtor, the bank and insurance agents kinda made me want to be a lifelong renter at times; but, it all paid off and now I’m a homeowner! There are SOO many things I want to do to our house! Pinterest is officially my favorite hobby. (Anyone who has read this blog before knows that this has always been the case- shh!).

Come check out what’s going on over at my new site, The Fit Life Series. I’m blogging about my attempts to get healthy and fit and to stayyyy that way. Spoiler alert: there’s occasionally pics of my bootayyyy! ;P

xo,

Amanda

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A New Chapter

Hello, all. I have neglected to post anything as of lately because I have been busy BECOMING A HOMEOWNER! Well, trying anyways. We have been touring homes and spending more time than I would like to admit on realtor.com. Our conversations kept going back to one house in particular; and after viewing it for a second time, we decided to put an offer in. Fast forward through an afternoon of stress and blonde moments (I may have locked my keys in my running car… in front of the realtor) and we got the call that our offer was accepted! Now we are going to spend the next 45 days worrying about: the inspection, money, the appraisal, money, making a 30-year commitment, money and probably, money. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited. There has been an obvious increase in my use of Pinterest and HGTV. (P.S: house hunting is nothing like HGTV told me it would be. Nothing).

So now we wait and worry. Hopefully it will all pay off! We have already decided that if this not does pan out, we will be renters for another year; so I am praying that all goes well! I keep picturing myself cooking meals in the kitchen, laying in the hammock out back (in 6 months when it’s nice enough to do so) and having friends & family over. I am trying to be rational about everything; so if for some reason one of the million things that could go wrong, does, I know we will be okay. What will be, will be. I am only 24 after all; we have time. 🙂

I’ve been thinking more lately about the original purpose of this blog. When I started it, I was 21 years old. I was living out of a tiny bedroom in my boyfriend’s cousins house, trying to get through college, working a minimum wage job and man, did I think I knew EVERYTHING. In reality, I was just starting to figure things out. I was living off of a shoe-string budget but I had some big dreams. I dreamt of graduating college, starting a career, getting married and buying a home. It all seemed so far away, so unobtainable.

Spoiler alert: I am well on my way to accomplishing my dreams. I graduated. I’ve been working in the field of social work for a year this Tuesday. I may not be married (in fact, we have been engaged, broken up & back together for 2 years since then!) but we have solidified our relationship and have a come long way in our decade of dating. Marriage will come. And now, we are buying a home. I am no longer the unsure, slightly unrealistic twenty-something that I was. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’d say I have a fairly good grasp. It seems as if my blog is no longer appropriately named; I don’t feel like it is me vs. the world. Then again, I am only 24. I will likely look back in a few years and laugh at myself, thinking again that I had it all figured out.

Life is funny like that. We are constantly gaining perspective, learning new things. At this point in my life I can honestly say that I am happy, I am healthy and I am excited for the present. I used to always be on fast-forward; trying to reach the next milestone. Now, I am pleased with where I am right in this moment. I don’t need to rush through my life because I am already blessed.

Possibly brain-storming new blog names & content. I think it is time for a shift. I am ready to embrace new subjects and new challenges. I hope my readers will come along for the ride. Stay tuned!

xo,

A

House Hunting: The Twenty-Something’s Edition

We are officially full-fledged house hunters. Wahoo! We applied for a mortgage early last week, right before the holiday so it’s still being reviewed, but we have been searching the internet for houses! We’ve driven around our local neighborhoods, scouring for “for sale” signs and turning our noses up at quite a few homes that look WAY better online than in person. We’ve seen multiple foreclosures that clearly had pissed off owners; broken windows, spray painted walls, ripped up flooring. -_-  Playing the waiting game (AKA obsessively checking my email for notifications!) is difficult for me, the world’s most impatient person, but it’s also a really exciting time! We’ve found a small handful of homes that we are really interested in, sans spray painted, and I can’t wait to start the process of actually touring them!

I’m not 100% that we will be taking the plunge into home ownership; there are a ton of factors that we need to consider first. It’s definitely an awesome time in our lives, though. Just to know that we are capable of taking that HUGE next step is a great feeling. I’ve been watching HGTV a lot more, too. 😉

I have to say that potentially buying a home is a really great way to cut down on senseless spending. You know what I’m talking about. The $15 sweater you don’t need. The $20 movie. The $10 clearance shoes. The chapstick value pack. The this, the that… it’s all unnecessary, random, CRAP. Now that we are waiting on our pre-approval to come through, I feel guilty every time I go to buy something that I don’t “need”. (Other than the $7 Christmas rug I got at Kohl’s on Black Friday. I NEEDED that. Duh!) It’s definitely been padding my bank account.

I’m looking forward to this next chapter of our lives. I really hope we are one step closer to that finished basement, wrap-around porch, fenced in backyard dream that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

xo,

A

From 18-24: The Horrors of Renting

When I was around 17-18 years old, I started really planning my first apartment. I mean, I would spend hours upon hours looking at PB Teen catalogs (first red flag) creating an online shopping list, just daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to live on my own. By “on my own”, I mean with my boyfriend and 1-2 other roommates- I made a hair over minimum wage how the heck was I going to afford rent? (Second red flag). All logic and reasoning aside, it was going to be great.

Fast forward to my first apartment. We moved into an apartment complex with questionable colored carpet and no central air. (Let me give you some background info here and say that then men in my life do not fare well without central air.) We hauled in our belongings; donated furniture and a box of dishes/pots from good ole Walmart. Sorry, PB Teen. You just weren’t in the budget. We fought about how to arrange the furniture for awhile and then sat in the glory that was our first apartment. I think it took all of 5 minutes for the first “I’m bored”. We didn’t have an appointment to get cable set up until the following week, apparently we weren’t all that into drinking (our roommate was 21 at the time, so by all means, we could’ve played Circle of Death or something) and after paying first month’s this and that, we surely didn’t have any money for anything else. So, the boys played video games and the girls power-read through the entire Twilight series. All 4 books, one week. It was amazing and traumatizing all at the same time. (Team Edward4Lyfe.)

We lived in that apartment, eating ramen noodles and perogies; so many perogies; for two years before I finally got sick of the doors that wouldn’t shut, the landlord that was probably plotting to kidnap me and the neighbors downstairs that argued like it was their job. I don’t think they stopped yelling for two years. So, we moved out of our once beloved apartment with the same shitty belongings we moved into it with. We hadn’t exactly moved up in the world as far as careers go; I was still working retail, he was delivering pizza.

Our next move was into his cousin’s house. We crammed all our belongings into a teeny, tiny bedroom in her trailer. Now, there is nothing wrong with trailers. I grew up in one most of my life; however, whoever first designed them decided that whoever lives in the second bedroom is likely a toddler that will never age. I mean, once we put our modest-sized bed in the room, that was it. Forget nightstands or desks, or even a TV stand. We had a bed. Looking back, I think that house promoted a general lifestyle of laziness for us, but was it really our fault? Our bed was our couch, and our couch was our bed. It just screamed, “Lay down! Relax awhile!” *4 hours later- still there.*

It didn’t take long for that to get old. At this point, my boyfriend had been studying to get his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and had passed his test. He had been job hunting for roughly a month or so before he interviewed for his current company. (I feel like it is pertinent to point out that I was a Junior in college at this time, not just selling clothes at the mall). A real job with an actual paycheck meant looking for our very own first apartment by ourselves! No roommates! No hand-me-down furniture! DISHES MADE OF GLASS NOT PLASTIC!!! At 21 (me) and 23 (him) we were finally in our first place that felt like home. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, matching furniture… ahhh, it was fantastic.

For the first year.

And the second.

Then there was the third and it was like, “eh, I’d like a house that doesn’t have a shared wall with other people”. Duplexes are a failed idea, just saying.

Now we’re set to begin year four if we renew our lease in February. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my house. It’s taken this long to get it decorated and set up how I’d like, and it’s still a work in progress. We still have the same shitty metal bed frame that was given to us 6 years ago, a broken dresser, (p.s. apparently I did bring hand-me-down furniture into this place. oops!), a plastic 3-drawer bin thingy as a makeshift end-table, etc. You get the point. We aren’t quite full blown adults yet, basically. Being a full blown adult is way more expensive than I had originally thought, so groceries and car inspections and life just generally get put higher on the priority list than my online shopping cart at Ikea. It may not be the grossness that was my first apartment, but I’m still ready to move on. I want the house on property with a finished basement and a wrap-around porch.

So now I’ve moved onto the world of mortgage rates, down payments, PMI, school districts and property taxes. But that’s likely all the moving I’ll be doing in awhile.

As it turns out, buying a house is even more of an annoyance than renting.

Figures.

 

Xo,

A

 

 

The Struggle: Narrated by the Lyrics of Taylor Swift

Baby, I know places we won’t be found, and they’ll be chasing their tails trying to track us down. Cause I know places we can hide. -Taylor Swift “I Know Places”

I might be over-interpreting here, but I think Taylor Swift wants us to run away from our adult responsibilities. I mean… seems pretty clear to me. Excuse me while I pack up my office and high-tail it out of the world of time sheets and alarm clocks. 🙂

Seriously though, am I the only one that likes their job but in the same respect wants to turn in their grown up card for a good session of binge-watching Law & Order? (SVU, of course. In case you were wondering). It’s like a completely equal mix of “this isn’t that bad! What a fulfilling work day” and “Oh my god, I have to do this EVERY DAY? Until I’m in my 60’s?” It’s a bummer to go back and forth between half glass full on Monday and “half-full, half-empty… who cares, just add vodka” by Wednesday. I know that in a way, this is completely normal. I mean, no one loves the monotony that is adulthood all the time. Have you ever heard someone be like, “well, yes, I would LOVE to do that super annoying task that is not in my job description. In fact- I’ll do it for FREE! Just for kicks!” No. No you haven’t. (If you have- don’t trust that person. If YOU’RE that person… none of your co-workers like you. Sorry, but it’s true). On the flip side, though, it kind of sucks. Is this life post-college? Work is ok, then it sucks, then it’s the weekend (whoo!), then work is ok, then it sucks…

You know that saying, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”? Bullshit. I’m pretty sure even Taylor Swift, the multi-millionaire, award-winning, owns a house in every country, megastar isn’t all “I LOVE THIS!!!” all of the time. Yet, somehow, there’s still this pressure that you have to put on this act that your job/life is just completely blissful 24/7 or it just wasn’t “worth it”. I’ve had many instances where I’ve said something like “man, what a crazy day. I had to insert sucky thing here” and I’ll get some kind of response akin to “well, YOU picked that major” or “told ya not to go into social work”. Well geez, that escalated quickly. I said a portion of my day sucked, not that I wanted to flip my desk and set my degree on fire. I think it’s kind of a grown up rite of passage that we are allotted a certain amount of bitching; like how kids get to complain that they’re “bored” all the time.

Back to obsessively listening to Taylor’s new CD. Some things never change, no matter your age. 😉

xo,

A

There’s Nothing Special About Today

sunshine

Today is an ordinary day. I woke up, tired still and not quite ready to face the rest of the world. I am going into work later than usual today, so I drink my coffee and watch talk shows. I peruse on Pinterest. I read the news. I am content here on my couch. Soon, I will get ready for work like I do every day; albeit, with a bit more enthusiasm as it is no longer dark outside. I will go to my office and stare at the paperwork mountain on my desk, the motivational quotes on the walls. I will work with youth; we will discuss domestic violence prevention today. We will listen to stories of battered women, scared children, families affected by violence. We will talk about what we can do to curb violence. I will come home and wipe off my kitchen counters. I will throw a load of laundry in. Maybe I will paint. Maybe I will stay up late reading because tomorrow is Friday.

No, there is nothing special about today. I’ve lived this day many days before, in fact. Slight changes, of course, maybe I had tea instead of coffee. Maybe I took kids on a college tour, or listened to someones story of their multiple foster homes. But this day is familiar to me. It is comfortable, even, like a favorite sweater on a chilly day. This day is mine, this life is mine. This is what I have created for myself.

 

I will love it, all of it, for that reason. This life is my sunshine.

 

xo,

A

Rose Colored Glasses

When you look at your life, what do you see? Is it the life you had planned for yourself? Is it more? It is less?

How do you evaluate something so multifaceted? Is there a checklist to determine if you’ve done a good job or if you’re still a work in progress? I know that in a way, we are all a “work in progress”; a never-ending project with tweaks to make here and there. There are potential improvements, of course. A friendship that needs a little mending, a job that could be better. There are always things we could “fix”. We are a nation of fixers. We want to take everything, every little thing, and morph into what it “should be”.

Expectations versus reality: how do your plans match up with your actuality? Do you recognize the person you see in the mirror? Are you happy with your list of accomplishments? What would you do different if given the chance?

We all want to believe that this life, the one we have created for ourselves, this is it. This is what we wanted. We took so much time to construct it, after all. We took pieces and placed them side by side, one at a time, until we completed a puzzle that is supposed to be our masterpiece. The time, the doubt, the sacrifices; they were all worth it. Now we have it. We have succeeded.

But what if we haven’t?

xo,

A

Enough is Enough

Working with older youth, it’s common to discuss goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? What kind of education will you seek? What kind of career do you want? What is important to you?

Five years? They’ll say. I don’t know where I’ll live next month, let alone 5 years.

Ten years? They laugh.

Education? I don’t know. I want to make something of myself.

Career? I want to make good money. I want to provide for myself.

What’s important? Family. Happiness.

The answers are so vague, yet so clear. These kids want what we all want, I think. When it comes down to it, we all want to be loved. We all want to feel like we have succeeded in our accomplishments. Whatever path we take with school and work, we all just want to look back and say “I am happy”. Sure, we want the nice paycheck and a lavish home to go to after a long day at work, but that’s not what really matters. What matters is that when we lay down to bed at night, we can say that we are healthy, we are happy, we are grateful.

Sometimes life can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what path to take. Sometimes it’s easier to take no path at all; to succumb to the “I can’t” attitude. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a gentle reminder that the every day subtleties; your morning cup of coffee, your favorite song on the radio, a night in with your family… those are enough.

This life is enough, even if you haven’t got it all figured out just yet.

xo,

A

Bullshit

Do you ever think about just how big the world is? The endless possibilities, wonder, risk; the beauty and terror of it all? We spend our entire lives preparing ourselves to enter adulthood; what kind of personality do we have, what interests do we possess? All of the pieces of the puzzle are slowly but surely collected so that we can be “successful”. So we can “be adults”. What is success, exactly? What determines when a person has become the epitome of what that they have been preparing for?

What is the purpose of this life? Do we really spend the majority of our lives worrying about what school we’re going to only to subsequently worry about what job we’re going to get?  Then we move on to worrying about if we’re doing well at our job. If we’re going to get promoted. We compare fringe benefits with our friends and discuss whom received the better interest rate on their mortgage. We get burnt out. We  count down the days until retirement.

Is this it? A string of responsibilities followed by more commitments, more stress, more man-made obligations?

What is the alternative? Money makes the world go ’round. Money affords us the pleasures that we enjoy in between the obligations. We are dependent upon it. To live. To let loose.

Work and responsibility equal self-worth. You work; good. You work more; better. You’re stressed? You’re busy? You don’t have time for the things you enjoy? Good. You’re doing something right. You’re motivated. You have work ethic.

Why are these things intertwined? Can one not be mature, responsible and driven without succumbing to the traditional American dream/lifestyle? Why can’t we be passionate, spontaneous, artistic, free-spirited? We can; after 5pm. After cooking dinner. After errands. After the laundry. After something.

We are the land of the free and the land of the confined in the same breathe. We are confined to these pre-determined paths that are neatly laid out for us before we can ever really choose for ourselves.

School. More school. Work. Work. Work.

We work 50-51 weeks a year with one week that we can enjoy (mostly) uninterrupted by obligation. We offer up 40+ hours a week of our lives to these obligations that forced themselves upon us only to have seven days to ourselves?

 

I call bullshit.

 

xo,

A