Thursday, August 28, 2014

You're Always Mama

I love my mom.  I'm 25 years old and I'm currently counting down the days until I get to see her again (14).  I call her every Monday now that we live across the country.  We exchange pointless and silly text messages every few days.  And I'm pretty sure she cries every time we hang up the phone. 

I've never been a big mama's girl.  I'm much more like my dad and have always fallen a bit more into his playing field.  I have his curly hair, his humor, his attitude.  And he always let me get away with more!  Being told "Go Ask Your Father" was always a good thing. 

BUT my mom was always there to crack the whip at the right times, travel long distances with me, and be responsible when I needed her to be.  She also took the brunt of my adventurous outbursts: 

I'm going to college three hours away (age 18), I'm moving in with my boyfriend {now husband} (age 19), I'm going to Norway for school (age 20), I'm living in the cities (age 21), I'm ENGAGED (age 22), we're going to Costa Rica (age 23), and we're moving to Texas (age 24). 

Did you notice something there...?

Everything I mentioned happened after the age of 18.  Which is why I cannot stand it when people say things like "18 years until I'm off the hook", and "five more years of this and I'm done", and "I can't wait until she's out of the house". 

No, I'm not a mother.  But...REALITY CHECK: 


Your opinion will always matter.  You will still be the one we come to when we can't figure out why we're sick.  You will have to pick up the slack when we can't make it through something.  You will be the first one we tell our exciting news to.  You will have to take us in if something goes wrong.  You will be backup daycare.  You will help us through every tough time we come upon. 

You will always be the all-knowing, all-loving, all-the-time MOM! 

I say this because not only do I miss my mom right now, but I have had two in depth conversations with moms at work recently.  One has a four year old, and one has a 24 year old.  And guess what?  They were both going through tough times and pulling their kids along in the mommy wagon.  My response each time was "You're always Mama".  Which solidified my thoughts stated above. 

Especially with daughters, there is usually tension between them and their mom.  I always pushed my mom, not knowing that I was slowly turning in to her.  In recent years, we have become much closer.  It only took us twenty years to get there!  Now, I appreciate everything she has done for me and know that she will always be there for me, even when I'm forty and still need my mama. 

To all the moms out there:  you're doing a great job!  If your teenager is pushing you, hold on and be mama.  They will come around to appreciate everything you do!  If your baby is a crier, know it's because they want you.  If your husband is the favorite, know that you are always needed. 

Thanks, Mom.  For always following through, being supportive, and believing in everything I do. 
I Love You!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Schwinn Sweetheart

I got a bike.  A cruiser bike.  A PURPLE bike!

Can you tell I'm a wee bit giddy?

Remember a few weeks ago when we got free bikes to ride on the beach and around town?  Well, that sort of reignited our want for bikes!  Don't get me wrong, I am constantly annoyed by bike riders in traffic, but we wanted a casual fun activity to do together besides walking.  For now, we'll be sticking to our neighborhood and bike-specific trails. 

We had been seriously looking for bikes for the past two weeks or so.  Mike wanted a mountain bike, and I was in love with cruiser bikes.  Until I got back on a mountain bike and loved the light, quick feel.  Because of that, I took a little longer to decide because I didn't know which route I wanted to go.

Mike took to his typical researching ways and scoured Craigslist for used, high quality bikes.  He found that buying a used, originally super expensive bike is better than buying a new, cheaper bike.  He got a great deal from a now-dad who was downsizing his collection.  It even came with tools, packs, and an air pump, SCORE!  (You know how I love a good deal!)

Once he bit the bullet, the pressure was on for me.  We checked out a few stores, did a bit of online research, and couldn't quite find the perfect one.  I wanted a PRETTY bike.  I wanted hand brakes and gears.  I wanted a cute basket.  And I wanted something comfortable.  I want, I want, I want...

We eventually returned back to one store and found a bike that wasn't there originally.  A purple bike.  With hand brakes, gears, and a nice seat.  It was pretty.  Like, I wanted it.  BUT, I still couldn't decide if I was ready to commit to a cruiser instead of a mountain bike.  Especially since Mike had purchased a mountain bike.  I didn't want to be left behind in the dust! 

So we left it.  We pondered (ugh, I am my father's daughter), and eventually decided that I would get the cruiser of my dreams for now, and if we decide it isn't the best fit, we can sell it and go for a mountain bike later.  That's the beauty of buying name brand sometimes.  It will hold most of its value and we won't be making a bad investment.

ESPECIALLY since we got 15% off!!  Why?  Because I am awesome, that's why.  Since we had been at the store about a week earlier, and the bike wasn't there, we knew it had been in stock for less than a week.  And the frame had a few scratches on it.  Thrifty Nat?  Obviously, I asked for a discount.  I was offered 10%, which wasn't going to cut it for me.  15% off on a brand new purple Schwinn?  SOLD!

Taking Her Home!

We spent Saturday washing, oiling, and jazzing our bikes in the 100 degree shade of our back patio.  We waited for the sun to almost go down and then took our new babies for an inaugural cruise around the neighborhood.  It was breezy, relaxing, fun, and exciting! 

My Beauty

My tips? 
  • Be patient and have a list of things you want - a bike is a somewhat sizable investment.
  • Make sure you'll be comfortable on and with your decision. 
  • Look online to check prices - it might be cheaper to order/buy from somewhere else. 
  • Read reviews of your future bike: look for comfort as well as durability and ease of fixing issues that may arise. 
  • If you buy from the store - give it a good once-over.  Look for:  scratches, bent fenders, working brakes, etc.
  • Make sure you have tools to adjust your bike when you get home (seat, handlebars, chain). 
  • Don't forget that you will have additional investments such as helmet, lock, lights, bike rack, etc.
Note that I am not a biking enthusiast or expert!  This is simply a fun, new endeavor that we are enjoying as a couple.  Do you have a bike?  What do you love about it?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Did We Move Across the Country?

Every new person we meet, and every person we catch up with from back home, always asks the same questions.  Why did you move?  What made you pick up and leave in a month?  How did you do it?  Were you planning this?  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

Okay, the last one was a bit dramatic, but you get the point.  I'm here to spill it so everyone is on the same page.  And so I can read this 20 years from now and look back on being young and adventurous. 

Ever since we've know each other, Mike and I have always talked about leaving Minnesota.  Not because we don't like it, but just to try something new.  Especially after studying abroad and Mike visiting in Europe, we knew that there was a lot to see outside of the Great Lakes. 

But in the hustle of graduating and getting first jobs, moving around the Twin Cities, getting new jobs, and getting married, we got really settled in and comfortable with ourselves, our house, and our people. And if you're ever been married, you know the house and baby questions come the second you get a ring on your finger. 

We wanted to buy a house and have kids, but there was always something holding us back.  Really keeping us from taking a new step.  Mike eventually put it in to words.  We would never be able to settle down until we gave ourselves the chance to try something new.  We would always regret not taking a chance somewhere else. 

If you know me, I'm not all about regrets.  So we took action...really slowly.  Hah!  For about a year, we seriously considered moving.  Mike got to his researching ways and found us a couple of options.  Our top choices were San Francisco, New York, and Austin.  I initially said no to the heat, but after a lot of changes at my job, the itch for change that I could control got stronger.  We decided that Austin was the best fit for us.  Music, warmth, technology, and great people.  Let's go!

In January 2014, Mike applied for about five jobs in Austin.  One immediately offered to fly him down for an extensive two-day interview.  By Friday, he was leaving the office with a verbal offer and a start date a month away. 

But we had a LIFE in Minnesota!  We had a townhome lease, two jobs, two vehicles, our bunny Lola.  Could we do this?  We second guessed ourselves all weekend.  Tried to decide what really needed to happen for us to up and move. 

And the company came back with an offer that eased all of our fears and made it absolutely impossible to say no.  They even gave us a trip down to Austin to find a place to live and see the city.  My first time ever in Texas.  I can't believe we followed through with all of this!

Neither could anyone else.  People knew we were considering moving eventually, but no one knew that it would actually happen so soon.  We even kept our parents in the dark because we didn't want to create chaos unless something was actually going to happen.  And then all of the sudden, we were moving in a month.  Sorry, Mom.  She was the first one we called on speaker phone.  On the way to our celebratory dinner.  And within five seconds, she was bawling.  Her baby girl and favorite Mikey were leaving. 

We were also fulfilling what I guess you could call a "dream" of ours.  It was hard, stressful, expensive, draining, emotional, CRAZY.  But coming up on six months later, it was right

Yes, I've been lonely.  Sometimes it's really hot.  I'm not in love with our house.  BUT - we both got fantastic jobs, our neighbors are great, and we are having a fabulous time trying out everything we can get our hands on.

Most of all, our relationship is thriving and we are extremely happy.  It has also been a great method to see who and what really matters to us, and what we need to survive and be happy.  For now, we're good where we are, and I'm doing to my best to roll with it and not plan too far ahead!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Cutest Cottage - Beach Weekend Getaway

One of the reasons we decided to leave Minnesota was to be in a different area of the country and take advantage of the travel opportunities that it provided.  Minnesota is sometimes TOO central, too land locked, and too full of fields. 

This weekend, we took off to the BEACH!  There is a place that people always talk about as a fun getaway called Port A.  {Technically, Port Aransas, which is near Corpus Christi.}  I happened to have a $35 credit on Air BnB and did a quick search last Tuesday to see if anything was available.  Two results came up (the area is super busy during the summer) and one of them was the most adorable cottage ever!  It had excellent reviews, so I emailed to Mike, and with no plans for the weekend - he said, "I'm in"

We packed up late Friday night and took off around 8:30 Saturday morning.  The almost four hour drive is a bit boring, but we knew we had a cozy accommodation, the beach, and great food awaiting us!  We arrived to an easy check in, a beautiful deck, and a lovely note from our host.

You know I love my shabby! 

First order of business?  SWIMSUITS!  Second order of business?  Walk one house over and pick up our complimentary beach cruisers for the weekend.  (Helloooo perks!)  J.B. at Big Shell Bikes hooked us up with custom adjusted bikes and advice on where to beach, eat, and hang out.  From there, we headed straight to the beach. 

The Best!
We walked out on a jetty to watch the birds and get a view of the beach.  On our way back, we saw SEA TURTLES!  I absolutely love animals, and happen to think that sea turtles are pretty majestic.  It was extra special because before the weekend, I had asked Mike if there were any sea turtle events while we were visiting.  So it was a treat for me to see them swimming around!  Yes, I am five years old.  Deal with it. 

The new swimsuit!
We then enjoyed the ridiculously warm, sandy water and basked in the sun.  With humidity and all that jazz, we were cooking at 108 degrees.  Sweet SUMMER time!  So we cooled down with a warm brownie sundae with cookies and cream ice cream.  Nom.  And you can always burn off a few calories by visiting the "chapel" in town, which is the highest point on the island.  I would say capacity is about 15 cute!

Sunset at the Chapel
We rode our bikes everywhere over the weekend and ended up at Giggity's for a great dinner.  This place was dark, with lamps at the bar tables, and had a live band starting at 9 PM.  The food was pretty fantastic despite the run-down look of the place.  FYI:  Port A has TONS of restaurants.  It can be overwhelming.  (If you are a planner, make sure to read the hours and menus before venturing out.)

We ended the night with a jam band on a rooftop across the street from our cottage.  Then we settled in to read books in bed and relax from a whirlwind day!

Sunday started with coffee, reading and sunshine on the deck. YES!  I wish I could do that every day.  We then headed to a cafĂ© with delicious and CHEAP breakfast food and drinks.  It is called Eat's and I would definitely recommend it.  I had pancakes with eggs and bacon for $7.95!  They also have coffee and smoothies and a lunch menu as well. 

Our lovely cottage!
Coffee Dream House
Then we took our cruisers on a little ride to see a bit more of town.  It's such a great place to cruise and see all the beach cottages and unique homes. 

Our last adventure in Port A was a dolphin cruise onboard Kohootz.  The website is horrible, but for $25 you get a 90 minute cruise and some dolphin fun!  We were extremely lucky and were able to follow a large shipping vessel and watch the dolphins "surf" the wake.  They apparently came up with this to improvise not having ocean waves to play in.  It was really neat to watch, and even the babies got involved.  So neat!  This cruise is run by a husband and wife that are very fun and courteous.  (Don't be turned off if the phone or people in the shop are rude, it's totally worth it.)

A Family
Two of them "Surfing"

We had an amazing weekend spoiling ourselves a bit and enjoying the hot-hot weather.  The cottage was ridiculously adorable and I would definitely go back.  I just could not get over how cute it was!  Needless to say, I'm lucky to have an amazing husband that is always up for anything I can find.  And for putting up with my childish enthusiasm about sea turtles and dolphins.  He is THE BEST!

Don't forget to treat yourself once in a while.  And if you have questions or suggestions about Port Aransas, comment below! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Your Festival Must Haves

I know that festival season is allllmost over, but I really hope that you've been taking notes!  How often is it that you show up to a festival and realize that you've forgotten a necessity?  Making it difficult for you to perhaps use the restroom, eat in a dignified manner, or sleep somewhat comfortably? 

I am by no means a festival pro, but I have learned a few lessons from going to shows and festivals this summer, combined with the many shows since I was 15.  Note that large festivals are not my gig.  I'm a shorty and don't really like being around tens of thousands of people who are bantering, tripping on who knows what, and being generally stupid. 

I also like to have a few less rules governing where and when I can enjoy my day and the music.  With less people, there is less policing, making me a happier camper.  Literally.  You can keep your Coache-Lolla-Bonna for now.  BUT these tips will apply to any festival, anywhere.

One important first step is to carefully read the RULES for the festival you are attending.  This can make a huge difference in saving you money and avoiding wasting or losing any of your things.  Most festivals have restrictions on:  water, alcohol, food, chairs, blankets, cameras, tents, clothing, etc.

Personally, I like fewer rules!  A fantastic thing here in Texas is that we've been able to attend a few festivals that are BYOB.  CAN YOU SAY AWESOME?!  This is pretty much amazing considering it saves you mucho-buckos, and you get to drink whatever you want.  It often happens that a festival is sponsored by a certain beer and you end up drinking Miller Lite all weekend, YUCK. 

Also, remember to take parking in to account when you're planning your weekend.  Most places are going to charge extra for parking.  And it may be a long way from where you will be camping.  Therefore, think about what you will be packing and carrying to your campsite.  If you are staying offsite, look in to whether there are shuttles or day-pass parking to accomodate you. 

Now, For Your Packing List:

  • Water - MAKE SURE to read the rules on this.  Most often, you will have to bring sealed bottles of water and empty Camelbaks.  Water is a necessity to keep you healthy, hydrated, and able to keep on partying
  • Hand Sanitizer - You will likely be using porta-potties which may not have any.  Also, it's nice to have for before you make or eat food.
  • Toilet Paper - Porta-potties can RUN OUT!  Remember to bring your own :)
  • Chairs - Bring foldable chairs for your site and if you're lucky, you can take them with you in to the concert bowl area
  • Comfy Shoes - We usually start out with sandals because of the heat, and once we're nice and dirty, we'll switch over to shoes to keep feet protected as the night gets dark and crazy
  • Pillow - You will definitely want a comfy place to rest your head after a loud night of music and drinking
  • Cooler - A necessity to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold.  Depending on the rules, you can even bring a shoulder cooler to take a few drinks with you to the bowl
  • Snacks - It's always nice to have a little bite of sugar or salt as your day goes on
  • Trash Bag - Be kind and put your trash together.  This works for empties, wrappers, food, etc. 
  • Cash - Remember to bring cash for food, tips, and possibly perusing vendor tents if they have them
  • Car Phone Charger - Although you should try to enjoy the atmosphere, be sure to keep your phone alive in case of emergencies and also being able to find your friends the next morning
  • Camera - Some people will use this more than others, but be sure to have some way to capture the craziness that goes down!
  • Your Signature - My what?!  Festivals are fantastic places for creativity.  Therefore you need your one fun thing to set you apart.  Crazy hat, neon pants, body paint, masks...whatever you can come up with!  Anything goes at a festival.  Enjoy it!
My all around advice is to follow the rules, pack smart, drink water, take pictures, and let yourself go!  The best thing about festivals is that you can literally act however you want and you won't be judged.  Keep yourself in check, but also let yourself enjoy the whole atmosphere and everyone around you. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Rekindle Old Friendships

Guess how lucky you are?  We're ready for round two of:

A friend who has been through this situation with me suggested I write about rekindling old friendships.  And I mean, like...deep friendships. 
Have you ever had that awful situation where you and one of your good/best friends get into a huge fight/argument/disagreement/kerfuffle and it ends in a blank silence on both ends?  And then you're all like, whoaaa, wait...?  Are we not friends now?  What just happened?!  Crap.

And then you may or may not partake in gossip between your mutual friends.  Deleting of Facebooks.  Taking pictures down.  General anger and confusion.  But you won't be the one to break.  Because they hurt you.  (But in turn, you are hurting because you miss having them in your life.)  Yeah...that.

I've been there.  I've cut off fantastic friendships because of one misunderstanding.  It may have been a hurtful misunderstanding at the time, but it certainly did not need to result in YEARS of non-communication. 

I won't go in to juicy details, but I've had this happen with three extremely close friends since my senior year of high school.  And luckily for me, I can now say that I again have these three lovely women back in my life.  One as recently as six months ago, after an almost two year blackout and missing each other's weddings. 

So how did I get these lovely ladies back in my life?  I GAVE IN.  I GAVE UP.  I GOT OVER IT.  Whatever you want to call it.  It's appalling how long I let it eat at me without doing anything about it.  Why would we do that to ourselves?

Don't pretend you haven't been there.  Unwilling to be the one to "crack".  "I won't call her because she hurt me."  "I will NOT be the one to "friend" her on whichever social media."  You instead resort to awkward social situations, leaving your friends in the middle, and a state of personal unrest because you're seriously at odds with one of your best friends.  NOT COOL!

In all situations, it eventually ate me up inside and I looked for a point of entry


Look for something to open back up the conversation.  In my situations, it was a child being born, a grandmother passing away, and a friendly gathering where I knew I needed to clear the air between the two of us.  I used Facebook, email, and an in-person talk to open the door.

It's up to you to break the ice and make contact.  It's best to be upfront and say something to explain how you're feeling and why you were hurt.  Likely, they are feeling similar, and from there you can feel out the direction of the conversation.  Don't come out with accusations or attacking statements.  Just follow the good old "I Statements" rule.  Considering you're both adults, hopefully you can talk things out.

For two of my conversations, they involved each of us admitting the whole thing was blown out of proportion.  That we had both exaggerated.  And that we wish we hadn't waited so long to clear the air and be in each other's lives again.  In one situation, the other person didn't even understand how much she had hurt me.  After a kind talk, we were on the same page and were able to turn over to the next page together.

For me, the reality was that I just genuinely felt a void in my life when these women weren't in it.  That's how I knew I had to do something to "get them back".  Someone has to swallow their pride and take the first step.

In my experience, these three friendships have easily fallen back in to a "normal" relationship.  Once we got our gripes out in the open, we were able to move on and once again enjoy having each other as friends!

***Note that you should only make the effort to rebuild a friendship that was originallly healthy, and one that you will appreciate having back in your life.  Some people are not good friends.  In that case, be the one to realize that having them as your friend is not good for you!