key + arrow

a life + style blog


1 Comment

#TheStruggleIsReal

img_4035

I’m taking a break from my 7 for seven posts for a while after some recent changes, as I always desire just a little more privacy in the transitional stages. I thought it would be fun to do a throwback of when I use to do my #TheStruggleIsReal posts, as I navigate this new phase of my life.

Just as I aimed to ease the Monday blues with my 7 for seven, I aim once again. Though this time, I need a good laugh — at my expense, because if I don’t do that every once in a while, I risk taking myself too seriously. Upon announcing to my roommate one morning before work, “I had to talk myself into washing my hair this morning in the shower to avoid it looking greasy, but now I can’t talk myself into drying it, so now it just looks greasy anyway!”, her dead-pan response to me was, “The struggle is real.” That seems to be her go-to response to me quite often, and it’s since become my inner-mantra whenever I need to just stop, step outside of myself, and laugh at myself and my “problems.”
Last week’s “struggles”:
1. “My hair is too long.”

2. “I made it to work after that torrential downpour and want to know where my ‘I survived the drive to work on August 22, 2016’ shirt is.”

3. “Come on, we need a picture of our last day before we start work again to commemorate the day — or is it to commiserate?”

4. “I’m fairly certain everyone was asleep during my presentation; I was jealous.”

5. “I can’t. I’m at work on a Saturday. I know how to live.”

6. “Have a cold one for me. I’m outta beer, and the store is too far.”

7. “I can’t. I’m at work on a Sunday. I know how to live.”

8. “My arms were sweating [during hot yoga]. I didn’t even know arms could sweat.”

9. “Sorry, I just left butt-sweat on your chair. Let me clean that up.”

10. “I really have no idea why you haven’t pretended your phone died yet. It would be really easy for you to just end this conversation with me.”

Have a great Monday! Whether you work in education and are greeting students back to school today or shuffling off your kiddo to school, have a wonderful, new school year! Share your laughs with me!

xo,
Lauren


Leave a comment

#TheStruggleIsReal


I’m taking a break from my 7 for seven posts for a while (at least this week) after some recent changes, as I always desire just a little more privacy in transitional stages of my life. I thought it would be fun to do a throwback of when I use to do my #TheStruggleIsReal posts, as I navigate this new phase of my life and meet new people. As I wish for them to meet me more organically, rather than finding out too-personal things on my blog, this type of post allows me more ambiguity in the little details. Some of these things I may or may not have said on a date, and some of them you will be hoping to GOD I didn’t say these on a date (to which I most likely did…). Here goes.

Old Intro:

Just as I aimed to ease the Monday blues with my 7 for seven, I aim once again. Though this time, I need a good laugh — at my expense, because if I don’t do that every once in a while, I risk taking myself too seriously.
Upon announcing to my roommate one morning before work, “I had to talk myself into washing my hair this morning in the shower to avoid it looking greasy, but now I can’t talk myself into drying it, so now it just looks greasy anyway!”, her dead-pan response to me was, “The struggle is real.” That seems to be her go-to response to me quite often, and it’s since become my inner-mantra whenever I need to just stop, step outside of myself, and laugh at myself and my “problems.”  
Last week’s “struggles”:
1. “I just reported an actual penis on [dating website]. It’s official, online dating is amazing.”

2. “Instead of being the type of person who knows the right people to get the password to get into a speakeasy, I’m the type of person that just sneaks in behind someone. See?”

3. “Something that defines me as being a ‘lame old person’? Hmm. I once use to find excuses for not going out on a Friday night so I could stay in to watch Ghost Adventures. Zach, the host, is amazing. He’s the type of guy who will faux-hawk forever, dons Affliction shirts, and always skips leg day. I only wish I were as disproportionately confident as he is.”

4. “I have to be an actual adult again tomorrow. Ugh.”

5. “I resurrected you today [from the lake] and almost your phone (but I still think there’s hope!); I think that’s a win.”

6. “Pierce Brosnan was filming outside the Firehouse Lounge last night while I just stared blankly at him. Thought it was just a lame car commercial with some no-name. I had no clue it was him until I walked away. Missed my chance! He totally would have fallen for me!”

7. “Hmm, my celebrity crush is Cary Grant. Yeah, you’re right, he is dead, but this suits my similar unrealistic expectations in the real world, and I’m all about consistency.”

8. “I need to convince my parents to get that boat with the slide and grill on top. Easily done. It’d be so frat of us.”

9. “I’m going to ask him if I can borrow his unicorn [floaty]. …I’ve got to be careful how I phrase that.”

10. “Someone on [dating website] told me I was getting kind of old, and he needed to speed up the process because he assumed I probably wanted to start a family. Don’t know if I should be more offended by the implication that my eggs are growing old and stale or that he propositioned himself to give me a baby before asking me out on a date.”

11. “I hardly ever get angry, unless I’m in traffic. I spend most of the time muttering, ‘The left lane is for passing only. Passing only!,’ on repeat. It’s a waste of breathe, really, but it feels so dang good.”
Happy Monday! I hope you have a great week. Share your laughs with me!

xo, 


Lauren


2 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

After last week’s vulnerability hangover, I’m choosing to be short, sweet, and vague this week because it feels just about right for now.

  1. Starting Over. After experiencing heart-break, the idea of having to start over yet again is one of the exhausting truths that hits almost immediately (dating blows), but at the same time, if taking the right perspective, it can also be exciting. I get to have someone who gives me his full heart and not just a part of it this time, and how can that be a bad thing? If anything, life is less exhausting that way. Sometimes I get stuck in this rut of a scarcity mindset after a break-up, but thrusting myself back out there onto the dating scene has given me all but a depleted pool. There are plenty of good men still out there; single women — do not give heed to the naysayers.
  2. Sitting. The timing of my recent move out of the city and transition from not so single to suddenly very single was ideal — the situation, maybe not so much, but the distraction was never so welcome. My sister and her husband are house-sitting downtown while renovating their East Austin home, but went out of town recently, so I agreed to house-sit and dog-sit for them, which allowed me to get out quite a bit, meet new people and old friends alike, and distract myself with good company in the thick of downtown Austin.
  3. Big Move. Though I loved living so close to downtown and being smack in the middle of both work and play, I’m excited for a bit of a change in pace out in the hill country. If you missed it, my roommate recently got a job elsewhere, had to move quickly, and I had to find a place to stay. Not sure where I want to move next (gross — moving), I decided to save money for a while in my parents’ vacation home on Lake Travis while they are still living in Dallas. It’s a bit far from civilization, but I could totally get use to enjoying my coffee on their wrap-around porch, having the lake right outside my door, and seeing the views of the water and hills out of almost every window. Le sigh. It’ll be a great retreat after a long day of work.
  4. Serendipity. I’ll be super vague here for multiple reasons, but life is so funny sometimes. I truly believe we meet certain people at a specific time in life for a reason, and the way I met someone this summer was quite hilarious and serendipitous, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him earlier than I was suppose to (ha, that sounds so funny, and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of fun being a little secretive about it).
  5. Kayaking. Surprisingly, I’ve never been kayaking before, especially odd since my parents own a few kayaks at their lake house. However, I went for the first time this past weekend, and it was great. Looking forward to taking advantage of having a kayak on hand at all times in “my very own backyard”!
  6. Last Days of Summer. Although my summer off is quickly coming to a close, I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of my coworkers again and starting off a new school year. We start again this Thursday and the kiddos come back in a couple of weeks. Bring it on 2016-17 school year (Can you believe this will be my 11th year? — eek, makes me feel old)!
  7. Happy. After all that I’ve been through (particularly in my romantic relationships), it would be easy for me to get stuck in the woe-is-me mode. However, when one is genuinely happy and able to find the joy in even the smallest things, no one person can change their outlook or derail their big plans. It feels really good to be in that place. Thank you (yes you) for your support, whether you commented, sent me a message, got me out of the house, bought me a drink, or even if you were just a passerby reading my blog; I am grateful for you and your heart

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


8 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

**PLEASE READ FIRST** Lessons in Love Edition: This week’s 7 for seven will deviate from the norm. As my readers (hopefully) know, I’m an open book, but I was keeping my last relationship fairly private toward the end, as things were unclear and up-in-the-air. I’ve given it enough space and feel it is time to talk, as we are now two months removed. I write to heal (though I feel healed enough already). I also write to open truth. I realize it is not my job to open someone else’s truth, but my intentions are pure and not to lambast — I truly want him to heal too, to never hurt anyone else the way he hurt me, and to find love again. He deserves the best. I’ll also start by saying, I’m hesitant to open up about a past relationship in such a public way — I am back on the dating scene (a little over two months is enough for me after only a seven-month relationship that ended in such a succinct way). I’m not ashamed to admit, despite my track record, that I’m a believer in on-line dating at my age where meeting other singles is like searching for a live, English-speaking operator for AT&T. In a day where reverse Google image searches are well-practiced, social media is not as private as I would like to think, and on-line detective work is easy, I am well aware that my blog is not far out of reach for potential suitors (I strangely love this word) from the on-line dating world. If you are one of those who “stumbled” upon my page, and this scares you away, it wasn’t meant to be. Acting out of fear hardly bodes well in the romance department. Don’t fear — I’m not getting any younger, I know my worth, and I’m never one to slip backward, especially when someone lets me go — to that I’ll always say, “Go ahead, let me go, so I can find someone who knows my value as much as I do.” Even after a short relationship, when we get older, those break-ups only get harder, and it takes more reflection sometimes to feel that the time spent invested in it wasn’t a wash. Despite the lousy way it ended and my being duped in such a profound way, I learned so much from this experience, and I’ll use it to fuel whatever else new comes my way.

1. Be MyselfImmediately after the break up, the most challenging thing for me was the loss I felt after having finally found someone with whom I felt I could immediately be myself around. When one is thirty-four and has been through the wringer as far as relationships go, the guard is a hard thing to let down, but he made me feel 100% comfortable with myself. No one had looked at me the way he did in a long time, and I had not a single encounter with him that wasn’t ridiculously fun. I told my twin sis this, and it’s so true — she is the one person I’ve always had in my life that I’ve felt I could be as goofy as possible around, and she would still accept me. My favorite pastimes are with her, dancing like loons to Michael Jackson, singing into our hairbrushes, and laughing until rolling around on the ground. It’s difficult to find someone who matches that, but somehow, he did. Literally. On one of our first dates, we were the only two people dancing our butts off to Michael Jackson at a bar, moonwalking and high-fiving each other in our happy stupor. But I’ve since come to realize, I didn’t give myself enough credit for this comfort — it wasn’t just his doing; it was mine. I allowed myself to open up, and I made the choice to go back to the old Lauren who knew how to let lose again even after being hurt so many times. I’m proud of myself, and I know I will find someone quickly to have just as much fun with, if not more because I’ll make sure of it.

2. Love Hard. Often times I receive advice after a break-up, telling me to give my heart away more slowly the next time. I don’t give my heart away easily, as I am protective of it, but one thing I do know is, I am good at jumping right back in the saddle again. The best way I know how to move on is… to move on. I’m careful, but I pride myself on the fact that my heart is so immensely open. Truthfully, I love this about myself, and I’m unrelenting in letting this quality go. My heart doesn’t break — Instead, my love for him goes with him, and strengthens his heart so that he can go on to find a stronger love. In fact, I told him this during our break-up, and I meant it. And I’ll do the same — I’ll take the love he gave me to strengthen my heart, so that I can love hard for the man who deserves all of my heart.

3. Listen to Your Gut.  Our problems never arose when in each other’s company. They arose when we were apart. When we were apart, inconsistencies happened. He didn’t communicate much when we weren’t together, which should have been a red flag for me, but until I realized the truth, I chalked it up to it being a strange quirk of his. And a part of me, though frustrated by it, admired how present he was with whatever he was doing or whomever he was with when we weren’t together. In fact, he was like this when I was with him, too — ever-present, in the moment, not on his phone. He didn’t have social media, either. There was only one time when I vocally questioned his intentions and his character in a moment of frustration, and he got upset and offended that I would think that of a genuine, honest person. After seeing how much it hurt him, instead of trusting my instincts, I allowed him to talk me out of them. I vowed to never again allow baggage from being duped in a past relationship, to affect my trust in him. …Hindsight is 20/20. Long story short — he asked for a break about two months ago to figure things out. He was clear about not wanting to date other people, and let me know that he would communicate with me if things changed. Almost immediately after the break-up, he told me he felt there was more to our story and that he had made a huge mistake. We continued to see each other romantically, though sporadically and I found myself caught in his push-pull web. Every time I grew tired of not knowing what he wanted and walked away, he would reel me back in and tell me everything I wanted and needed to hear, but then of course, his actions would not quite match his words and promises. At one point, I asked him point-blank if he was seeing anyone else, to which he said he wasn’t. This leads me to the next lesson…

4. Trust.  Yes, even though he ended up lying to me, a lot (and maybe more than I know), I learned to trust with him. It took me a long time to trust again after being in an abusive relationship in my twenties, so when I finally trusted him and discovered how deeply duped I was, I could have easily reverted back to not trusting people again. However, I’ve come to realize over time that trust doesn’t have as much to do with the other person, and has more to do with the self. I will trust someone relentlessly until they give me a reason not to. I just have to trust myself that I will know how to handle it if someone fails to match this trust. I gave him every opportunity to be honest with me and walked away because he wasn’t. Right before I left for a ten-day Europe trip this summer, he and I met the day prior to departing. He told me he loved me and wanted to make things work again, and he promised to be here when I returned. However, when I returned he was difficult to reach. He told me he had to travel to Houston for the weekend to take care of his mother during an emergency spinal surgery. Monday night, he said he was staying to have dinner with his dad and brother and would return Tuesday to see me. That night, I checked my Instagram and a mutual friend of ours (who had no idea he and I were still involved) posted a picture of a group of friends at a Houston Astros game. In that group of friends was my ex — with a girl on his arm. My immediate reaction was to send him a picture of the picture, letting him know that I knew his lie. However, I refrained because I wanted to give him an opportunity to be honest with me first and to see how deeply willing he was to hold onto it. Selfishly, I also wanted to not give him any time to think up an excuse — a liar is a liar. So I sucked it up and met with him the next day. I asked him many questions, allowing him opportunities to tell me about the Astros game and the girl, and he never once admitted the truth. I thanked him for being so honest with me during our relationship, even when it was tough, and I could see him getting uncomfortable, but he was unrelenting in his story. Finally, I told him I was going to show him one picture from when I was away in Europe that I felt encompassed everything that happened while I was gone. He thought it was a Europe picture, so I’m sure it shocked him, as he stared at it for a long time without saying a word. Finally, it was me who had to break the silence. He lied again and told me the girl was a college friend, but after probing, he finally admitted it was a girl he was seeing. He also claimed he met her through a friend and meeting someone wasn’t intentional  (“It just happened”). He claimed to be off the dating website in which we met (to which, unbeknownst to him, I recently discovered he was active on the day he told me this — another lie).

5. Forgive.  As crazy as it sounds, I forgave him almost immediately, and actually not just for myself. Of course, it’s easier when you know your only choice is to walk away. He has to deal with his terrible choices now, not me anymore, and it is a relief. It is not up to me to teach him a lesson. He will not learn from this unless he is willing to make a change for himself. But I do want that for him. I want that for him, so that he will never hurt anyone or himself in this way ever again. Unfortunately, I feel that he will, but that’s out of my hands. And yes, mostly, I forgave him for myself. I knew immediately, and have known throughout this journey with him that I deserve REAL love — to feel it in someone’s actions and not just hear it in his words, and I know in my full heart that this had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I want him to heal whatever deep wound is there preventing him from taking that other foot out of the door and planting it firmly in front of the person who he should be holding onto tightly.

6. Don’t be the “F-You” and Walk Away Girl.  I talked a lot about what I was going to say to him to a couple of friends because it was my way of dealing with it before I was actually able to deal with it. I desperately wanted a “zinger,” something I could say right before I walked away that would make me feel a sense of satisfaction and closure (knowing full well I may never have that) — a slam the door, make-you-think-hard moment I wanted and felt I deserved. Most women said I should just say, “Fuck you” and walk away, or some other variation of that. However, this is what came out in the moment, “If I were the ‘fuck you’ and walk away type, I’d honor that right now, but luckily for you, I’m not. Instead, I’ll just say, don’t ever hurt anyone again in this way, and stop hurting yourself,” and I gracefully walked out. Being the type of person who will say something strong and trip on her way out the door, I was feeling pretty good about myself for not. However, instead of tripping, I did something much worse — I left my dang phone on his couch after leaving — after waiting for an elevator for what seemed like ten minutes, taking said elevator down, and walking all the way to my car. Once realized, I quickly wiped my tears, muttered a few profanities, shut my car door, and braved another entrance. Despite my blunder, what transpired after that was one of those moments women always wish they had but rarely ever do — I was momentarily a fly on the wall after a break-up and saw what truly happens when he is finally alone. He was blasting the record I gave him with our song on it, drinking a whiskey on his balcony, and losing a hard battle of fighting back tears. When he turned around to see me, tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, he said “I fucked up. I self-sabotaged. I have never loved anyone as much, or felt like this in such a long time, and it scared me.” Hearing that felt good, but at the same time, it felt worse. It felt worse knowing he threw it away instead of holding onto me tightly. I told him about wanting a “zinger” and not knowing what words to leave him with that would truly give it closure, so I let him have the final word, to which he said, “You are amazing; you are like no other girl I’ve ever met. Words cannot express to you how sorry I am. You trusted me after it was hard for you to trust, and I ruined that. I’m a terrible for doing that to you. Tonight, needless to say, is going to be a scotch night. I’m going to drink a lot.” And I walked away — not before tripping on the way out (I wish I were kidding).

7. It’s Okay to Feel Anger.  Although I didn’t toss around words of anger toward him when I had every right to, I knew being true to myself would mean holding onto my strength and compassion. One of the things that saves me from the depths of woe-is-me, is understanding people on a deeper level — understanding what motivates them. As long as we continue to label people as jerks, or evil, etc., we will never see an end to people doing things that hurt others and themselves. In a time when it seems that mindless acts of violence and people acting out of fear instead of love are the norm, it seems all the more important to dig deep and understand the inner-workings of these terrible decisions, if anything to help us heal and understand, and to not take these acts as reflections of ourselves or humanity in general. This all being said, I will not express anger toward him, but it is okay for me to feel it. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. However, I won’t hang on it to it for long because anger is an unproductive emotion long-term. I’m moving forward, and I feel better and stronger than ever. I’m excited to be set free so that I can continue to search for the love I’ve relentlessly looked for my entire life. It’s going to be profound.🙂

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


2 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

Europe Edition!

Day1.1

Pre-Europe pic — I was just a little excited.😉


Day1.2

The other teachers and I who took students on the Europe trip.


Day1.3

Dorking it out on my first day in London.


Day1.4

JET LAG IS VERY REAL. The students and I resting on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, or as I like to call it, Where Mary Poppins was Filmed.


Day1.5

Beautiful view at night from the Millennium Bridge.

1. London Day 1. If you are just joining me, with two other teachers, I recently took a group of middle schoolers on a trip to London, Paris, Lucerne, and Munich. This was my first trip out of the country, with exception to staying on a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a wedding.😉 So needless to say, I was looking forward to finally stepping outside my bubble. With a six-hour difference between London and Austin, TX and a long day of travel, I’m not sure I’ve ever been as tired as I was on that first day. However, the best way to beat jet lag is to pretend it isn’t even there — so we arrived in the morning (London time), even though it was nighttime in Texas, and we trudged through the day, sight-seeing. We went on a walking tour of London, saw the city center where there were street performers and St. George’s Cathedral, took a walking Harry Potter tour and a bus tour on a double-decker, floated off and on The Tube (London’s subway), and saw the financial district. Regardless of the jet-lag, the city was charming, fast-paced, and fun. Bonus — Umm, nobody told me that there were so many hot men in London, and the ratio of men to women is much friendlier than it is in Austin, TX. I’m thinking I might be making a move…😉

1

Changing of the guards.


2

This garden at Windsor Castle is swooney. Londoners turn all words into -y adjectives. #quickylearner


3

St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

2. London Day 2. I slept HARD the previous night, so Day 2 was so much better. We watched the changing of the guards and then headed outside the city of London to tour Windsor Castle, which of course, was gorgeous. The weather was perfect, on a rare sunny day.

1

Love at first sight.


2

Viewing Notre-Dame was one of my favorite things we did; it’s just stunning.


3

See what I mean?


4

Le sigh.


7

I mean…


6

We also went to the Louvre. Opulent much?


8

I surrender! I’m a Francophile.

 

3. Paris Day 1.  I absolutely fell in love with Paris — which I sort of predicted, being the hopeless (hopeful) romantic that I am. The city is full of romance, everywhere you look. We started the day at Notre-dame, and I cannot begin to tell you how stunning the architecture is on the outside and inside of the cathedral. It was a true highlight of the trip for me. Before entering the building, we strolled the streets a bit, and I picked up a delicious croque-monsieur from a street-vendor. Immediately, I enjoyed taking pictures and trying to capture everything I saw there. Normally, I am not much of a photographer, as I like to live in the moment and take in my surroundings, but I didn’t ever want to forget what I saw, and it became sort of a challenge for me to try to capture things in a way that honored the experience. It was a full day, as after we visited Notre-dame, we went to the Louvre and took in all its opulence. I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many photos of ceilings before — ha! I spared you all but one. I saw the Mona Lisa, which was surprisingly under-whelming. She’s tiny! To top off the day, I enjoyed an ice-cream in front of the Eiffel Tower, and went on a boat ride in the canal, and this was such a fun experience. The people on the boat would shout and scream each time we passed under the beautiful bridges, and tons of couples sat perched at the edges of the canal, picnicking and waving at us. We passed a group of Latin ballroom dancers at the end of the boat ride and took obligatory pictures of ourselves passing the Eiffel Tower. It was a perfect first day in Paris.

Versailles1

Versailles!


VersaillesGarden

I wanted to stay in the Versailles Gardens all day.


Versailles2

Hall of Mirrors in Château de Versailles.


Francophile

I felt like such the Parisian…

4. Paris Day 2.  The second day, after a bus tour of Paris, we traveled outside of the city to see Versailles in all of its glory. Despite it being extremely crowded, it was another great experience. First, we toured the gardens, which I seriously could have done all day — I never realized how large it was. I walked around shoving a baguette in my face and snapping pictures of the perfect landscaping. We then went on a guided tour of the château with the help of our hilarious guide, Jean Louis, where I got to be Queen and help demonstrate the story of Marie Antoinette. The gold, the chandeliers, the wallpaper — unbelievably detailed and opulent. We capped off the day with some free-time, and I felt like such a Parisian lounging at a patio café on a beautiful day.

Switzerland3

Can a hotel be any more charming than one that has bunnies? #TheAnswerIsNo


switzerland1

Lucerne is something straight out of a fairy tale.


Switzerland2

Shopping in Lucerne.

 

5. Lucerne, Switzerland.  Lucerne gets a tie with Paris for my favorite city we visited and for very different reasons. It’s beautiful, crisp, clean, and so much more relaxed. Our hotel was charming, as it sat in the hills with views of the Alps, and housed baby goats, bunnies, and ducks. The kids enjoyed petting the animals and rolling down the hills, which was quite amusing to watch. On the first night, after the students went to sleep, the adult chaperones from our school and the other school, our tour director, and the few parents who came with us sat around the patio with that beautiful view as a backdrop, drank beer, and had some good, hearty laughs. The next day, we went on a short walking tour, had some free-time for shopping, sight-seeing, and then prepared ourselves for a highlight of the trip — Mt. Pilatus.

IMG_3547

My first gondola ride up Mt. Pilatus.


IMG_3623

I took an embarrassing amount of selfies when we reached the top — I felt like such a kid; it was so exciting!


FullSizeRender

See what I mean?


IMG_3596

Spotting these cows descending the mountain was a bit of a highlight. They are so stink in’ cute.


IMG_3605

We took this boat on the beautiful Lake Lucerne on the way back from the Mt. Pilatus.

6. Mt. Pilatus.  If you asked any of the students on the trip what their favorite part was, most of them would agree that the day we went to Mt. Pilatus was simply the best. We took a gondola up to the top, and the view was breathtaking all the way up the mountain. Just when we thought we weren’t going any higher, it would start again, and then we took a larger gondola that fit many people up to the peak, and then we climbed steps to the very top… It seemed to never end, but we enjoyed every step of the way. We hung out at the top for a few hours, enjoying the views and the café at the top. As we descended the mountain, we enjoyed a different perspective, including a herd of cute cows (I’m such a dork). To get back to where we started, we took the boat in the above picture. The weather was gorgeous, the breeze swept through our hair, and it was just what we needed to relax and unwind after the hot climb.

IMG_3639

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pics of the inside — but Neuschwanstein Castle was vibrant, shiny, and spectacular.


FullSizeRender-1

Visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp was an experience I will not soon forget.


FullSizeRender

Shopping in Marienplatz on our last day in Munich.


IMG_3696

The kids saying goodbye to our amazing tour director.

7. Munich, Germany.  Our final leg of the tour was in Munich, Germany. We shopped in Marienplatz, enjoyed one-too-many sausages, and viewed yet another beautiful castle, but it was stepping outside the city that left the biggest impression on us. We visited the Dachau Concentration Camp, and I feel like whatever I say will not match the impact it has when you visit it. It was one of the most devastating camps and just knowing that we were walking where people were tormented and killed sent chills down our spines and tears to the backs of our eyes. At a time when it seems hate-filled-terrorism is much too commonplace, being there made the desperation and hope for change that much more present. In fact, the day after we left Munich, yet another act of hate-filled-terrorism occurred in Munich, and it never fails to rock your core. But there is beauty out there, there is good in humanity, and it has become all the more important for me to connect to others, to understand them, to learn from them, and to see the beauty in the diversity of it all. Let us focus on this and melt away the hate. — This was an experience I will never forget. I didn’t want to come back, but I am excited about reconnecting with those I care about and gaining a greater depth of understanding of the people I know, hearing their stories, and finding ways to love even more.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


2 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

1. StrangersOnly this time, surprisingly, I’m not talking about the podcast with the respective name like I normally, obsessively do (see all other 7 for seven posts – ha!); I’m talking about my very own stranger story. Last week, I received the nicest, most uplifting letter from a stranger all the way in Delhi. After mentioning last week how important it is to reach out to others when the instinct is there, she wanted to let me know how she has connected to my posts and said some too kind things about my character. These words could not have come at a better time. When I received the letter, because of the time difference between countries, it was 2 AM, during a bout of insomnia, as I too had sent an e-mail I was nervous to send. Although, the sentiments of my e-mail were about disconnecting rather than connecting. Just as I was doubting myself, and struggling to continue to write these posts after a challenging week, I received the validation I so needed to keep moving forward. I am so grateful for you, stranger no more. Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement and thank you for doing what we all want others to do – understand one another.

IMG_3149

2. Reunion Part Deux. Last week, I went to good ol’ Donn’s Depot again (see only two posts ago – bah!), to meet up with two of my favorite guy friends from high school.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good it was to see them and catch up. We reminisced, laughed, and took cheap whiskey shots together. I am so proud of the men they have become and am hopeful they will continue to be a bigger part of my present.

3. Marmie Time.  My sweet mother who was in town this past week, met up with me at a grocery store (an in-between spot for both of us), so she could give me an early birthday present for next month, and she surprised me by paying for my travel goods I picked up while there along with a cross-body bag for when I’m roaming Europe this week. Aaaaaah!! Yes, this week –TODAY!! But, I’m not at all excited about it… Can you tell? She then took me to lunch at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. I love you, Marmie (my self-made name for my mother that’s stuck since I was in grade-school). You are too good to me.

4. Insomnia, Meet my Friend Nostalgia.  For the second time in a row this week, I could not sleep to save my life. Instead of fighting it, I decided the best thing for me to do was to switch things up and not fight it. I grabbed my phone and searched some random playlists on Spotify and accidentally came across this band that an ex-boyfriend introduced to me in college. For forever, I couldn’t remember the name of the band, and I lost my iPod with those songs, so it’s been bugging me for a long time. It’s not the type of music I would normally listen to, but for some reason when I was in college, I found it extremely sexy. I’m ridiculous. So I blasted it in my bedroom with a fit of nostalgia. I wiggled in bed with a huge smile on my face until I had to get up and move a little more (I’m admitting this, though it’s super embarrassing). This led me to looking up more nostalgia and listening to my favorite grunge bands of the 90s. Then, I turned on some Pete Yorn, Music for the Morning After and was immediately taken back to an image of myself sitting on an airplane, ear-buds in my ears, and weeping to this album as I left my sister’s place in NYC. It’s crazy what music has the power to do. Although I thought I gave up on fighting sleep, this was exactly what I probably needed — it reduced my stress and anxiety and put me right to sleep as “I floated into the clouds outside the airplane window.”

5. Shop Till/When You Drop.  Today, I leave for Europe, and it will be warmer certain places than I once thought, so I had to run to a store yesterday for some last-minute items. Sadly, the only shorts I own that fit me right now are booty shorts — nothing appropriate to roam cathedrals or wear around the students we are taking. Oops. I absolutely hate shopping – always have, especially as a short gal whose petite yet curvy proportions confuse standard sizing. However, instead of crying in the dressing room, per the norm, I felt “frustrated” (huge-sarcastic-air-quotes) for having to go back and keep dropping sizes. Never have I EVER been a size 0 – okay, maybe when I was twelve, but I can’t believe my running and clean eating this summer has done more for me than anything else I’ve ever done – not to mention the best part is not a number but rather that it has been the most therapeutic form of exercise I’ve ever done.

6. Mon Amour. Before leaving the states, I met up with the special man in my life, after a gap too long for my comfort. We spent the day at the pool, and then we went to one of our favorite spots for dinner to get some good Texas Southern comfort food in before I’m away for a good while. Cheese alert: I’m feeling so grateful to have seen his handsome face before I leave today, to have shared some much-needed laughs, and to have his warm hugs when I return.

7. Au Revoir! I’m so excited!!! I’m off to Europe today for the first time in my life. I’ll land in London, travel to Paris, and then go through the Alps in Switzerland and Germany. I return the 21st, and I look forward to updating you with a big ‘ol Texas sized post with pictures and stories of my travels.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


3 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

 

This is only a post to say that my real 7 for seven will post tomorrow, as I leave for ten days to travel Europe. Woot! See you again tomorrow (hopefully!).

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,120 other followers