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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. Home Visit. At the beginning of last week, I visited my friend who recently had back surgery to bring her some food and Christmas presents for her and her daughter. She is the type of friend who would take a bullet for her loved ones and not expect anything in return (I hate this analogy, but for lack of a better cliché…). It’s challenging for me to find ways to repay her because she’ll often act like she doesn’t need anything even when she does, like in this instance. She reminds me to do more for my friends and to find ways I can reach out to people who would never otherwise ask for help, as receiving it without having to ask has to be one of the best feelings one can garner out of a true friendship.

2. Making a Murderer Marathon. America’s fast-growing obsession with true crime murder mysteries since the series Serial came out (heck, since the OJ Simpson trial was aired) seems sickening on the surface. Though I can say, as a person who has a serious aversion to anything violent and extreme empathy for the family and friends of victims who are affected, it isn’t the gruesome details that are so intriguing but rather the incomprehensible means to which our government figures reach their conclusions (often false ones at that) at various stages of an investigation. This new Netflix original series is not just a true crime murder mystery, it is also social commentary that couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. Not only do we still live in a world where racial injustices occur, but we also live in a world where discrimination rubs elbows with socio-economic status and educational background. This documentary comments on the judicial system and its stagnancy, welcoming a dialogue and movement for growth — more dissection and transparency in a system that prides itself in its strength and fairness. There are too many stakeholders in and out of the courtroom wanting a suspect faster than the truth, which results in manipulation, false confessions, narratives catering to stereotypes, and the tampering of evidence. Regardless of whether you side with the prosecution or the defense’s side in this case, my hope is that this documentary will not just fire people up but will also instigate true progressive change.

3. Christmas Eve-Eve.  If you know my family, then you know how big a deal Christmas is, and if you know my family, you also know that Christmas Eve is as big a day as Christmas is (well, at least by nighttime). So Christmas Eve-Eve is more like my true eve before the holiday. My “bourbon buddy” invited me to imbibe and pre-festivate (new word – I like it) with him before we left to see our families this holiday. I met him at this fantastic bar downtown, where he knew most of the bartenders and a man played mostly bluesy versions of Beatles songs. After this man packed up his guitar, “bourbon buddy” and I joked about how we can’t help ourselves if a Michael Jackson song comes on. And of course, it did (and then it continued to, as he put in a request for more – ha!), and true to our promises, we got down to MJ. After a while, we switched gears, and he taught me how to two-step, though, I have to admit — I was pretty terrible, though getting better… It felt so good to let loose and even better to let loose with someone who doesn’t mind losing some control and having fun. Meeting someone who I can be myself around is important to me, especially because sometimes it takes a good while to let that guard down and show my true self to new humans after being hurt time and time again. Lately though, I’m finding it easier to do that because the right people will show me right away that they are okay with ALL of me and the wrong people will show me right away that they aren’t (WANTING this is new to me).

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4. Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve began well by waking up late, well rested and happy. I drove to my parents’ vacation home on the lake in a neighboring town and met them right before we sat down for an untraditional table of my mother’s spaghetti and a couple of glasses of good wine while catching up with my sweet family. My twin sis spent this holiday with her husband and his family in Minnesota this year, so things were a bit different than the norm (I’ve had her since birth!), but it was nice none-the-less to spend it with my parents and younger brother. As we wound down the night and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I couldn’t help but feel just that; It IS a wonderful life.

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5. Christmas Day.  Even though my twin sis was not here on the official day of Christmas to celebrate with us, she was with us in constant text messages (families who aren’t as close — yes, we are ridiculous). Of course, that was aided by one of my cherished stocking stuffers; the selfie-stick. My brother and I used it to include our separated sister on the day’s festivities by taking pictures and sending them to her. We also had her and her husband’s dog with us to help us feel like we had a piece of them with us. We lost our family dog this year, so having theirs around during the holidays was a soothing surprise. …And, even though I no longer have that Polish boyfriend (one of the few of my ghosts from this blog’s past – eek!), I am thankful I learned how to make Pirogies from scratch because they taste awfully perfect with our traditional Norwegian meatballs. I spent a large part of Christmas making them — after eating my mother’s Norwegian Monkirs for breakfast of course. Family + food = good holiday.

6. A Saved Saturday.  Even as an adult, the day after Christmas can be a letdown. I spent most of the day walking in circles in my pajamas and socks, grazing on sweet things, and questioning my mortality. I completed a couple of books that I had abandoned as the school year started and wondered why I had even started them. A little health scare (I’m totally fine – Web MD is an asshole) kept me awake too long, so I chose a random new podcast to listen to on my phone to quiet my mind. As a firm believer that sometimes the universe conspires to work in our favor in mysterious ways, I fell in love with Lea Thau’s series “Love Hurts” in her Strangers podcast. I felt like she was using her voice to tell my story… or at least one similar to mine. There’s so much I was able to draw from this, that I almost feel like this deserves its own post, but I will say that the biggest things are this: I am not alone. I have plenty of faults, but not connecting is NOT because of some major internally threaded flaw. I am a Ferrari. Ha! Okay, before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Lea starts the series interviewing men who rejected her, until one episode when one of her guy friends suggested she do one about her rejecting him. He uses the metaphor of a Ferrari vs. a Camry and that sometimes men just want a simple Camry (nothing wrong with a Camry – they are quite practical). Okay, wait, I’m not done — no eye-rolling yet. I’m not comparing aesthetics, only that I have “a lot of power under the hood.” There’s a lot of passion in me, and it’s going to take an interesting man who appreciates all that power to want me and for me to want him. It’s a difficult match and one that will take some time to find, but I’m not alone, and I am not upset about being single — I am so excited about the man in my future who will want me and appreciate all of that intensity and complexity that is me because when I find him, it’s going to be SO GOOD.

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7. Second Christmas Sunday.  After my sister and her husband returned to Texas from Minnesota, they joined us at my parents’ vacation home for our second Christmas. I mostly received presents for my first European trip this upcoming summer (under-the-clothing fanny-pack, universal plug adapter, cash, etc.) and a few fun surprises as well. Without kids in the family yet, we still feel a little spoiled by our parents. But even more so than the gifts, we feel spoiled by their love. I always feel lucky, but something about the holidays multiplies my gratitude for having such a loving family. I hope you felt that love during the holidays, too.

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


5 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. Secret SantaI’ve yet to take part in a Secret Santa at work, but this year, I decided to join in on the fun just ’cause I’m in the business of becoming more of a “yes” woman and less of a bah-humbug. The first day, I guessed who mine was and not because she gave anything away — it was because of how thoughtful and over-the-top she was. If you are going to give it away, that is the way to go. I got pretty lucky. Thanks, Secret Santa!

2. Fine Arts. Each year at my school, the fine arts department continues to blow me away. In a district who prides itself in its sports hero status, our fine arts department tends to feel like the awkward red-headed step-child. However, they are far from awkward (only some are red-heads 😉 ). These students deserve more attention for their talents. During the winter assembly at my school, I couldn’t believe how talented the musicians (orchestra, band, choir), dance, and theatre students were, especially for only being in middle school. Then, on Friday, the last day of school before winter break, the choir students performed surprise carols around the school. It was so fun to see them, and of course, their young voices just blew me away all over again.

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3. Field Trip.  Another tradition at my school the week before school is out for the winter break is the 7th grade class field trip to the Austin State Capitol building. The students have so much fun, as they get to show off their knowledge of Texas history with the tour guides (I high-fived them like fifty times — I’m such a dork). It was also just fun to see them run around and act like kids. I forget just how much “kid” they actually still are.

4. Master of None. I thought I had already talked about this show in a previous 7 for seven, so much so that I had to go back twice to double-check. Surprisingly, despite how obsessed I am with this show, I have not. My roommate and I recently saw Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer at the Oddball Fest. My main reason for going was to see Amy, but I was surprised to like Ansari a lot, too. From what I had previously seen, he seemed a little one-dimensional, but at this show, he almost seamlessly fused relevant social commentary with his reputation for his unabashed sex/relationship jokes. Anyway, I was happy to see he had a new show on Netflix and watched it in a couple of sittings with my roommate. We laughed our asses off, and he also proved even more multi-dimensional than before. This week, I was happy to watch it all over again with someone who had yet to see it because it gave me a reason to re-watch something within the same few weeks. Highly recommend you do that, too, and not just to make me feel less guilty about my binge-watching habits. Well, maybe for that reason, too. Thanks.

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Yes, I'm shameless and screenshot people's snapchats.

Yes, I’m shameless and screenshot people’s snapchats.

5. Lucy’s.  As previously mentioned, Friday was the last day of work (hence the reason for this later-in-the-day-post — sleeping in is my new fave!). My coworkers and I usually enjoy a good happy hour every Friday, but this Friday had to be done up just a little, of course. A new restaurant on the lake just opened up just across the street from our school, so we enjoyed a little fried chicken with a larger crew. The weather was beautiful and the view matched.

6. Friday Night Out.  A friend of mine was showing some out-of-towners around Austin Friday night and asked me to tag along with them. The guys wanted to bar-hop around 6th street, which is typically a place I like to avoid (non-Austinites — it’s this college/douchey stretch of dirty bars). However, being the last day before break, I was ready to celebrate, let down my judgy-guard, and let loose a little. And that I did. Whoops. Felt it Saturday morning, but I had fun none-the-less.

People who bring self-sticks to parties are alright with me.

People who bring self-sticks to parties are alright with me.

7. Christmas Party.  There was not much time for my liver to recuperate, as I was invited to be someone’s date at his holiday/housewarming party the following Saturday. I took it easy this time, and enjoyed a game of Cards-Against-Humanity with a group of people I had just met (always a great way to break the ice — laughing at inappropriate political incorrectness – ha!). Anyway, this group of friends were solid, I felt comfortable from the beginning, and had a great time. I may have bombed at the card game, but the friends test felt much less defeating (fingers crossed).

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


6 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. Wine & Dine. As a thirty-four-year-young (ha!) single woman, I’ve been on A LOT of dates in my lifetime, but it’s been a good while since someone picked a place, made reservations, picked a bottle of wine, and treated me to a nice dinner. I’m not one who demands to be wined and dined at fancy restaurants (I’m often more comfortable in a ‘hole-in-a-wall’), but I didn’t realize how good it would feel when someone put forth all that effort; it made me feel like someone special.

2. I Am Deserving. I had an epiphany the other day — one that I didn’t even know I needed to have. When holding casual conversations with close family and friends about love and relationships, it’s always been easy for me to say that I know I am deserving of a man who treats me well and goes out of his way to make my life better, support me, and cherish me. I’ve never been willing to settle for anything less than, as I feel I do a pretty good job of returning the favor for someone I care about. However, it didn’t dawn on me that I may know that, but I don’t always FEEL that. I am not currently in a relationship, but I am casually dating, despite my desire to steer clear from romance for a while. However, I also know that as long as I don’t feel like I’m trying to seek it out, and I’m still focusing on myself, I am comfortable with any outcome. My approach is so different these days. I’m not sure if it’s “working,” but it feels good — it feels right. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by someone’s reaction after unexpectedly having to reveal something that is typically not something I talk about with someone I barely know (that was a lot of adverbs — oops, sorry). I’m being vague here, but I have to mention this as a highlight of this week, because his reaction was one that made me feel pure comfort. He didn’t question or judge. Instead, he gave out pure affection and empathy, and even though this should have been an awkward situation, it felt far from that. I hadn’t felt that accepted and warmed in a long time. I am deserving of that, and I should feel that with all the people I keep close in my life.

3. Sip & See.  A coworker of mine recently had a baby, and our team leader threw a “sip and see” at her house so that we could meet his baby and share in his merriment. We enjoyed a hot cocoa bar that was divine, and of course it was so fun to see him as a new dad, and to see his sweet baby and his glowing wife.

4. The Night Before.  I’m not going to lie; this movie was so stupid, but it was fun to laugh at something instead of having to think at the end of a long work week. With a couple of fun surprises and a sweet message in the end, it made for a good lighthearted comedy.

5. Leon Bridges.  Time when aimlessly Twittering pays off = eyeing a tweet from Leon Bridges about a pre sale for a concert of his in May. Knowing how hot he is right now and how quickly his concerts sell out, I quickly bought two tickets without a bat of an eyelash. A good friend of mine is equally as obsessed with him as I am, so I was excited to surprise her with a ticket for Christmas. Of course, I hear from her the next morning asking me to go to the concert but bummed because the show was sold out, so I was excited to surprise her with the ticket. I’m so stoked about experiencing this show with one of my besties!

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6. Roomie Birthday.  My roomie, and few of her close friends, and I went out for dinner Saturday night for her birthday. We enjoyed Spanish tapas and sangria, and then we went to a couple of local bars downtown. It was absolutely nuts downtown with all the holiday parties going on, but sometimes it’s fun to be in the thick of it all. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? We enjoyed too many cocktails, too many group selfies, and just enough laughs.

7. Serial 2.  It’s sad how excited I am about this podcast. I was hooked on the first one, just like everyone else and their mother, so of course I’m anxiously awaiting a new episode on Thursday.  Anyone out there reading this as obsessed with Serial as I am? I became a Google maniac because of the first one and have read countless articles and discussion threads because of it. I follow Rabia on Twitter and bring up Adnon like he is a household name. I’m ridic.

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


5 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. Sunday Sicky. I’m posting this 7 for seven much later today than I normally do, as I got sick Sunday and took off from work today. I’ve been in bed for the most part with aches all over my body, but I’m finally feeling at least semi-normal enough to write this post. Why am I writing about being sick on a post that focuses on the positive, you might ask? Well, partly to explain why I’m so late. Whoops! And partly to say it’s pretty revealing of who cares about me on days like this. My friends, family, and even people I barely know checked in on me today to see if I was okay. It’s heart-warming to know I have those people in my life.

2. Opening Closed Doors. I’m not sure why, but it seems like when I’ve planned for either result A or result B happening, inevitably it’s result C that occurs — an outcome I couldn’t have even predicted or prepared for. I’ve come to one solid conclusion, however, and that is — I can’t predict what will happen. The best I can do is live in the moment, take each new moment as new information on how to best mold my future actions and just to trust that if I do that, things will unfold as they are meant to unfold. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now, I am so grateful for unpredictable, though near-perfect moments, result C, and opening closed doors.

3. Mrs. Glass. Thursday night, I bonded once again with a new friend over our love of whiskey and jazz/blues music. He introduced me to a local Austin band, Mrs. Glass, and they had such a unique sound, and one that I truly enjoyed. Cheers to kindred spirits (both in the glass and outside of the glass).

4. Career Day.  Career Day at my school is one of my favorite days, and not just because I get to sit back and watch someone else entertain my students. Ha! I love watching how kind my students are to the guests at our school, how the students represent us well, and how the guests passionately discuss their jobs while aiming to inspire our kiddos. It’s all truly endearing.

5. Friday Part Un.  Friday afternoon, I spent my usual happiest of hours with one of my pals. Then I got to enjoy some time with an old friend and his aunt at another bar & grill nearby. Some people just quickly feel familiar and feel like home, and there is no explanation for it, but all I can do is be honest. I was happy to have spent even a hot minute with these two good humans.

6. Friday Part Deux.  A typical Friday night after a long work week predictably ends in me crashing and burning. In my attempt to not be the lamest single woman in Austin, I pumped myself full of a second-wind to make it out to meet my new whiskey buddy. Interestingly enough, on a night I thought I would crash and burn, I ended up staying up later than I had stayed up in… a really long time. We couldn’t stop talking about music, and playing each other music — it felt like when I was in high school again, when I would stay up all night talking to someone on the phone. I miss those days, and it felt like that once again.

7. Uncertainty.  There’s a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. What often feels like certainty one day feels like uncertainty the next, but I’m choosing to focus on the excitement of how open my future is (anything can happen — and my refusal to not settle in any aspect of it gives me so much hope for it) instead of allowing it to feel stifling — because it doesn’t have to be unless I make it that way. I choose to make the most of my days. Each and every day.

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