Monday, August 4, 2014

Tiny Home, Big Heart

One major part of my transition has been moving and living by myself, without roommates for the first time EVER!

With this has come much excitement and nerves, however it has been a ton of fun.

When looking for an apartment there were a few things that were really important to me:

  • Neighborhood: I live in a cute area of St. Louis with tons of restaurants, bars, a Starbucks (non negotiable), some shops, close proximity to Forest Park where I run, and gas lantern lit streets. This neighborhood was one I fell in love with...but it came with a price leading to my next point.
  • Price: Being that I am not splitting rent with anyone, the price was extremely crucial to my budget. Luckily I found a place that was in a reasonable price range with all utilities included (except Internet), however being so inexpensive in an expensive part of town, that ended up costing me no dishwasher and no washer and dryer. Doing my laundry in the basement brings me back to freshman year of college, but it is okay! Washing my dishes constantly, well, just getting in the habit...but it's alright!
  • Safety: Being that I am in a city and this is my first time being completely alone, it was really important the building felt secure.

With all those in mind, I found my super cute, but old, falling apart studio that I am slowly and surely falling in love (one carbon monoxide scare at a time...). This studio is an old apartment from the 20s and has a lot of charm and character--just like "the Lou"!

Being in a studio has taught me the importance of maximizing my space and really making it my own home! Inspired by my good friend Laura and her cottage (check out her business, her life adventures and blog here!) I knew that I can use my artistic eye, crafty soul and love for all things gold, chevron and pink to create a *home*.

It was important for me to stick to a budget, so many items have come from Weekends Only (a discount furniture store), Home Goods,, Wayfair, Target, Goodwill and a heck of a lot DIY!

One big empty space with a whole lot of nothin'...

A kitchen that needed some lovin'

And a bathroom that was filthy...thanks Mom for scrubbing that one!

Before much decorating went into place... 
Bed and couch from Weekends Only, room divider from World Market

My bed, almost complete, need a monogram decal for above the frame.
Headboard from Wayfair, "Laugh" pillow from Home Goods, flower pillow from Amazon and the comforter set was a splurge from West Elm! Curtain is from Target

Because of limited space, a dresser became a TV stand!
Dresser from Home Goods, carpet from Joss and Main

My relaxation spot
Coffee table from, gold pillows from Marshalls, pink pillow I had from Kate Spade

A happy, sunny, yellow and gray bathroom!
Shower curtain, towels from Target, Toothbrush holder from Walmart

My favorite wall! Waiting for a fun chair to complete it. 
Picture frame from Goodwill (upcycled it), Gold Dots from Joann Fabrics, Bookshelf from Target, everything else is a conglomerate from craft stores, Etsy and fun finds.

Kitchen with my DIY cabinet backings--covered foam core with fabric and put it in the back of cabinet!

Another picture of that

My coffee *nook* with my mug collection
Cart from Way Fair, Basket from World Market, Art from Target

Microwave cart and a piece of local St. Louis art with canvas flowers I found
Cart from, art from Cherokee Street in St Louis

Made the rest of my Instagram pictures into magnets!

And last but not least, my little friend Derek.

Hope you enjoyed pictures from my little sanctuary! I've had a lot of fun decorating and making it my own! It has been enjoyable to put my creative juices into play, my arranging nature into affect and making a place where I can be myself, feel comfortable and process at the end of the day. While I had to negotiate to a full size bed and love seat, this space has made me so thankful for what I have and that I am able to live comfortably. Moving is expensive, with a little negotiation with yourself and an eye for a discount, it is easy to make it happen!


Monday, July 28, 2014


In the midst of this transition, I have been given a lot of time to readjust my priorities, think about what is important to me, think about the kind of people I want to be around and think about how I want to "fill" that "extra" time that comes to us when we work full time.

Within these priorities, the first thing that has really been resonating with me is the amount of negative energy I surround myself with and the amount of negative energy we as human beings exert. At some point I believe that we all have been victims of this...I know for certain I can be quite the "negative nancy" at times and I don't truly believe that is who I am/should be as a person.

In this "post grad life", it has been so easy for me to think about all the things I don't have right now. I can list them off between the dishwasher, a significant other, a dog, the perfect body, etc. etc. It is so easy for me to get sucked into those behaviors and those thoughts because of all this time alone I have had (which is okay, see two posts ago!).

It also has been easy for me to be absorbed by these things when my friends from near and far feel similarly. It is so easy to just get wrapped up into a conversation that constantly feels like a vent session. We have all fallen victim to where we vent so much, but fail to ask that person how they may actually be doing, what actually did make them happy that week, what can we do to help each other out a bit? We are so retroactive vs. proactive sometimes.

Previously I have blogged about gratitude before and being thankful(see past posts Perspective and Energy for instance), however this goes beyond those things.

While it is perfectly okay to be frustrated about these "wants" or these "gaps" in our lives, it is so important to shift our priorities, examine the situation and the transition, and see what we do have, what can we control and where is our time best invested. By sitting around, texting friends about these complaints, it really hasn't done anything for all. By sitting around comparing myself to those who seem to have it all, that does not do me any good either. Everyone's path, stories and life situations are different, and that is so critical to remember.

When we accept that negativity is okay from time to time, we have to remember to see the joy in life.

We have to prioritize our needs; what will make you see that full joy?

  • Does it mean confronting our friends when their negativity seems draining?
  • Does it mean journaling in some sense or way when you feel some doubt?
  • Or can it be something as simple as a 30 minute walk with a coffee to allow you to clear your mind?
This looks different for everyone, and if I had the answers I would totally give them to you! We need to step back, breathe, and examine what we have, how we are so lucky, and accept that it is okay to be down from time to time, BUT take a step at looking how we manage those feelings.

By doing this, we can prioritize more clearly, live a more [positive] life and see joy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The First Time I Called 911 (well second)

When I was 3 years old, I'm told I picked up the phone and called 911 just to talk to the dispatcher. As a young child I was rebellious in nature and didn't really like listening to the rules.

Also, naturally and appropriately named, I wanted to "gab" away on the phone to some new friends.

I learned my lesson that day and never ever called 911 again.

until today.

Today I denoted as my "sit on my butt all day-binge watch Netflix-have food delivered-with some World Cup-re-energize day". After my first run this morning with a new running group I joined, I came home, made some breakfast and started my enthralling day. In mid bite of my English Muffin, my carbon monoxide detector started talking to me. She told me "CARBON MONOXIDE PRESENT" over and over again. But what was really heard in my head was, "YOU'RE GOING TO DIE, RUN".

So in a panic, I grabbed my keys, the crappiest flip flops I owned, took the detector off the wall and ran outside. I had no idea what to do. In my mind, I thought I had CO poisoning, started thinking about my near death, how I had no will, how my roots hadn't been touched up and how I really just wanted Tina Fey to read my Eulogy. Eventually I calmed down and then realized, that this, THIS was the moment in my life that 911 was a legitimate thing and that I should probably dial out.

So I called them. And sure enough they came, trucks and all. The kind gentlemen of the St. Louis Fire Department came into my place, told me that sure enough there were high levels of CO coming from my gas stove and that I should tell my landlord to replace it. They turned off the gas, fanned out my place and went on their merry way. I asked them if I was going to die, they said no, and then continued to proceed on.

The premise of this story is that, I have never had something like that happen to me and that this is just a part of "growing up" and being an adult. While it seems scary at the time, these things happen and we as humans are more than capable to handle them without the assistance of anyone. While it seems silly I analyzed this, it is true. With transitioning to this more "adult role" comes more adult responsibilities of apartment maintenance, house maintenance, etc. I am thankful I bought a carbon monoxide detector and that I am okay. I have never had the most common sense and I am the first to admit that. Life skills vs. being book smart, I sway one way a little bit more...always have (says the girl who put a fork in the microwave once...ask how that turned out).

This blog post is more of a ramble and a funny story now, but something I wanted to document. Until next time, this is tonight's trial and tribulations of my transition...I am most certainly in what Bridges' would describe "The Neutral Zone". I also will leave you with one of my favorite Sean Kingston song....get it?


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alone vs. Lonely

Lately since I've moved I have had a lot of time for self reflection (I will get to that).

One idea I have been reflecting upon and really breaking down a lot is the concept of loneliness. Living alone for the first time can spark a lot of emotions that I perceived to be loneliness based upon my reaction to them and how it was affecting me.

Sunday evening I read a blog post from Elite Daily titled "Why You Should Move to a New City Where You Don't Know a Single Soul" Great blog. Really expressed a lot of things I have been feeling and also clarified some things (except for the part about dying your hair a crazy color or wearing a hoop nose ring...did that sophomore year of college). Within the blog, the author Eimear states

Alone” does not necessarily mean “lonely” and with your own company, you can do exactly what you want, on your own timeline and budget. A solo move can be an important period of introspection that may allow you to reconnect with your individual thoughts, dreams and desires."

This is interesting. This made me think. And I started to re-examine what the Backstreet Boys attempted to describe previously in my personal favorite album "Millennium" with the hit "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" what it means to be lonely and what it means to be alone.

When I first googled the definition of loneliness, the first thing that came to me was:

"Sadness because one has no friends or company."


Let's not go with that one. When I went to the more reliable source of Merriam-Webster the definition states: "causing sad feelings from being apart from other people". That makes more sense.

Now when we look at the definition of alone, that states: "without anyone or anything else: not involving or including anyone or anything else: separate from other people or things"

Alright, this was getting me somewhere.

While it is true loneliness, is a result of being alone, it does not always come with the sad feelings. The emotions just look different.

For example, struggling to zipper up the back of my dress in the morning with no help is a side effect of being alone. Getting really upset at night because you hear noises coming from the city and having no one to run to now that is loneliness.

Another example, being able to walk around your apartment in just a towel is a great side effect of being alone. But having no one to share a big bowl of popcorn with when you watch a movie can be loneliness (and I say that because it's sad the amount of calories I can consume when I don't share).

With that all being said, this move has allowed me to really examine the two different emotions. This alone time has given me a lot of time to recharge and reflect like a true introvert and really see what needs to be done in my life and where I should put more time and energy.

I have also accepted that it's okay to experience loneliness. As humans we long for connection and interaction with one another. We're charged and built to do so! It's just finding what makes us happy in those moments, whether it is FaceTiming a friend or having a text conversation till late in the night.

I really like this topic. And I really like this conversation...I want to keep it going and I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Meet Me in St. Louis


Here we are.

I am currently sitting in my *temporary* high rise apartment overlooking the St. Louis arch on a very stormy (flood warning even!) night after a weekend of work.

I am tired, semi scared (thunder is no fun alone), but most importantly...


As mentioned in my previous post ("The Whirlwind") that is exactly what this has all been. Since being in St. Louis I have:

  • Visited multiple apartments to be sold on this one. cute old hotel building with A LOT of character and in walking distance to a Starbucks, soon to be Whole Foods, a sushi restaurant and a cupcake store called "The Cup" that sells delicacies such as this....
  • Went to a Cardinals baseball game with Jeff!
  • Visited the St. Louis Arch
  • Probably gained five pounds 
  • Finished "Orange is the New Black" season 2 (priorities)
  • Visited Nelly's star on St. Louis's own version of the "Walk of Fame" (P.S-Nelly plays on my radio at least twice daily...Welcome to Nellyville?)
  • Met some incredible people, while also reuniting with my true bestie Michael
  • Joined a running club
  • Started an awesome job that I truly love!
That is a lot in a series of two weeks! But I couldn't be happier. Within transition, it is so important to recognize where you are at and what is happening. This "New Beginning" of my life is so great and it is so exciting to recognize that this is where I am at. That I am doing everything in my best interest to help my current situation.

While at times some things aren't so glamorous (i.e some of the apartment maintenance items or being scared of thunder in a high rise apartment), having some more ownership over this adult lifestyle is invigorating to me. I had been waiting so long for this day and it finally has come!

I recognize that with transition, there will be a point where I start to realize again what I have let go and what I left behind in Tampa, Virginia, New Jersey and at this point all over the world (nomad lifestyle), however I am confident that I am in a place where I am more than capable to handle this and am ready to face these things. I already have started to in some instances with a changed work schedule! By finding things to commit to, preoccupy myself with (like running and soon yoga) and immersing myself into the work life, managing transition is easier. These are tangible things I can do to help this process.

I am so excited to see where the next year takes me and am so excited to learn more about this area. So far the Midwest Hospitality has been nothing but nice! Everyone is so much nicer than New Jersey, Tampa or Virginia, it is actually so crazy!

So for now...follow me on Instagram at #GFRinSTL (of course I created a hashtag to record my first year here...) and keep checking this blog. 

Look familiar? Another great piece from 1canoe2, find them on Etsy!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Whirlwind

15 months ago, this blog was started as a result of my accomplishment of running my half marathon. It was started so I can have a space to share my story. My story of how running and training for that first half marathon helped manage my transition. At the time, I did not realize that this blog, this space would allow me to continue to do that.

This blog has been with me through two birthdays, through my health journey, with me during physical therapy, there with me in Boston and LA last summer, when I met Lauren Conrad (had to throw that in there), through much self reflection and through this past challenging and trying year. You as an audience, have "seen" me at the best of times and at the "worst" of times.

With that all being said, I am about to embark onto my next transition to St. Louis, MO to work at a great job with a great organization. I can honestly say, I've never been so excited! It's cheesy, but seriously "the tassel was worth the hassle" because I cannot ask for a more perfect entry level position.

Three weeks ago, I graduated from my program. If it was not for this program, this transition I faced when I moved to this state, the people who have affected my lives and the friendships I have made, I would not be the woman I am today. I am confident and I am ready for this next transition in my life.

The day after graduation, my roommate and I hopped on a plan to Milan without looking back. We spent almost three weeks abroad in Italy and Greece, where we just indulged and lived life without worry. We had the best food, met some of the best people, saw some of the most beautiful sights and really embraced this time. This is time that I won't have again for awhile, and I am so appreciative that I was able to have this experience now. This trip has prepared me to take on this move and this transition with a clear mind and heart. It has also given me so many great memories to take away, like Greek dancing at a farm in Olympia, seeing my family in Milan, eating dinner over looking the sea and beautiful blue buildings of Oia, Santorini, Greece, everything on the cruise ship, climbing up the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence and taking that view in....I can just go on and on.

One of my favorite lyrics of all time comes from Dave Matthews Band "Two Step":

"Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain"

These are the best days of my life. I feel energized and excited. Looking at where I was from this time two years ago till now, I cannot believe how far I've come. While this blog is titled "Orange You Glad" as a testament to the poster in my room that read "Orange You Glad You Live in Florida", I will still continue to document my journey, my transition and my new identity as a professional. You will continue to see my trials and tribulations, my ups and my downs, my music recommendations, my randomness, my runs and more. This blog is a part of me and will continue to be that.

What I am trying to say through all this ranting and reflecting is....enjoy your lives, celebrate them, reflect, take personal time, be vulnerable and be excellent. When all seems crazy and things seem bad, think about the future, the small things that are positive, daydream and just know that it will be okay. These are some musings  I have had when thinking of my experiences and re-reading old posts. 

Thank you for reading....look out for my next adventure and sagas within the coming weeks.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Far Have We Come?

A year ago, around this time, I made a blog post about 23 things to do while I am 23 which can be seen here

This list meant a lot to me at the time and it still does and I wanted to reflect on it tonight...some highlights of this list include...

    • Continuing to live a wholehearted and authentic life- This I have done and continued to do. This is my number one value in life and so important to me.
    • Continuing to strive for a life filled with healthy living, including losing weight and reaching fitness goals-Currently I am at my lowest weight in over 2 years and continue to become healthier in a healthy manner, go me and thank you to the wonderful ladies at Weight Watchers South Tampa.
    • Running longer distances and being able to register for a marathon by my next birthday- Check! Chicago Marathon here I come alongside my good friend and cohort member Emily!
    • Running my dad's first half marathon by his side -Despite how it ended for me....we had a lot of fun at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November.

    But other parts on the list mean more to me and there are things that I am still working towards even though I am about to be 24...
    • Having new professional experiences! (ex. Boston, UCLA, etc.)- Holy cow did these have such an impact on me this year. If it wasn't for Boston, I wouldn't have met the wonderful people at Brandeis. If it wasn't for UCLA I would not have been so fortunate to gain the great friendships I have with Branden and Vanessa. If it wasn't for my experience on AFA Grad Staff I never would have been so lucky to create such a great group of friends and colleagues who are currently going through what I am. Not only did these experiences bring me great professional development, but great friendship, and that is something that is so important to me and something I value so much.
    • Appreciating people in my life more & Living it up and being grateful for everyday of my life This one has never been more important to me than at this moment. The past 4 months have, for lack of a better term been a rollercoaster. A perpetual up and down. Some days are fantastic, other days the complete opposite. When faced with a huge transition, especially one where there is so much uncertainty, and external things in life happen, that is hard. Especially for me. It is during these past 4 months that there are some people I have appreciated more than ever before. The people that will answer a text late at night, my parents who have picked up every one of my phone calls, the best friend from far away who will call just to say hi, the funny Snapchat from a friend to make me laugh, the CSA member who will listen to you, or the sorority sister who goes out of their way to meet up with you--you do not know how much you all mean to me. I have never been more thankful and appreciative in my entire life. You know who you are and I hope that I can continue to express my gratitude and repay you in some way someday. With that being said...I have been so grateful for my life and what I have made of it so far. While some days are bad, I am grateful for what I have, my health, the roof above my head and being able to put it all into perspective. Now more than ever is the time for me to embrace life and live it to the fullest...I think 24 will have more of that, starting with a trip to Europe in 11 days and then a big move to...?? :)
    • Lastly, something that I am still working towards is: Loving myself- I vowed that I would do this more at 23. Don't get me wrong, I totally did, but more than ever I need to do this more. Never has my patience, confidence and internal self been more challenged and tried than this past year. I have worn my heart on my sleeve, been vulnerable, been honest all in an attempt to feel and be my wholehearted true self. This works. Brene is right. However, truly loving and embracing yourself is a process. It's not overnight where I can suddenly feel completely validated and valued and appreciated all at once. It is a process and I know that within this next transition, living completely on my own, I will learn so much more about myself than I ever have before. I am so excited to visit this blog in a year and just see the progress I have made!

    So how far have we come? 

    I'd say some way. While this was a crazy, trying, interesting year, some amazing people came into my life this year. I had some transformative experiences. It can only get even better. 

    Cheers to 24!

    Credits to Captured in His Image Photography 

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