Thursday, June 22, 2017

Recent Articles

Tonight, I have zero motivation to pack so I thought my time would be better spent writing a blog posts than sharing snaps of my lack of effort on my Instagram story. My bins arrived on Monday and so far, I have packed the living room, the foyer, and two hallway closets. Somehow, I hit the NYC closet lottery and currently have the equivalent of six closets. In Nashville, I'll be going down to two (both in the bedroom) so I am a bit worried about my storage and my accumulation of junk over the years therefore, I am trying to eliminate while packing. I'm at the phase where the novelty has worn off and if the fairies wanted to show up at any moment and pack my apartment for me, I'd gladly let them in. (Monica Gellar would work as well.)


On to tonight's post. I've read quite a few articles recently that I've enjoyed and thought I would share them here.

Katie Burke's Career Profile on The Everygirl 
I read almost everything from The Everygirl but I particularly loved Katie's advice to her 23-year old self. "Run your own race. Don’t measure your life as it relates to others, personally and professionally. And, enjoy it all — the cramped apartments, the late nights at the office, the dance parties, the long marathon training runs, the dates that don’t work out, the dates that do, the trips you take, the things that don’t quite go your way, and the fumbles you make along the way — they are teaching you more than you know." While this advice could always resonate with me, it particularly does now related to my move. I crave routines and predictability and the last few weeks have been tough with a flexible school schedule and extra time spent planning for the move. I easily get bogged down with the logistics and to-do lists and can become frustrated with everything but I'm trying to push myself to "enjoy it all." I play music while packing. I soak in the sights, sounds, and smells (unfortunately) on my daily walks around the city and have been taking detours to frequent some of my favorite spots. Instead of declining invitations, I'm saying yes to lunches, after school drinks, and walks through the park. This crazy- yet endearing- city will soon be a vacation destination and I want to savor the moments of my time here. 

Professional Praise Article on HBR 
I don't innately deliver praise and I rarely give compliments. In Charlotte, I actually worked with my therapist on being more likable at work. One of the techniques we practiced to make people feel more comfortable around me, was to give compliments. Yes, I had to role play giving a compliment. After much practice, I carefully chose my moment and decided to shout across the room to a co-worker that I liked their dress while she was doing dishes so naturally she couldn't hear me and the whole conversation was 1,000% awkward. Personally, I care more to hear about where I can improve as opposed to what I did well so on a team, I am quick to point out our flaws instead of noticing the strengths. I enjoyed this article because it pushed me on thinking less selfishly and how I want feedback, but to think more about who I am working with and how they would like to receive feedback. My Graduate Assistantship has a leadership component and I want to be mindful (particularly in the beginning) of giving more praise and establishing relationships. 

My So-Called (Instagram) Life on Modern Love 
I've always loved the Modern Love articles. I stumbled across this one today and identified so much with the writer's experiences. I'm not necessarily worried about my brand on social media but more so understood her desire to be "cool" or "laid back" in relationships so much so that actually hinders the relationship. All throughout the first dates, I'm incredibly self conscious (normal, I think) and overthink everything that I do and say. Even after a few months, I'm so focused on being removed and detached (at the fear of being denied) that I ultimately sabotage any relationship from happening. In my last "break-up" (can you call it that if you were never really together?) the guy told me I was too ambivalent. I specifically loved the blueprints, walls, and door analogy in the final paragraph. Now that I'm at least aware of this hindrance, perhaps I'll be better with the next one. To find out, I'll keep swiping. 

Before I return to packing (though I really don't want to) I have one final story story to delay the process. Today, I was on a walk through Central Park with my friend Alison when we stumbled upon a turtle on a busy pathway. He was clearly trying to find his way to safety but kept running into the fences around the lawns. Tourists were walking by and messing with the turtle so naturally, I felt charged to rescue the turtle. Seeing as I'm not 100% up to date on my turtle knowledge, we called the Central Park Volunteer hotline where I explained to them that I was on a path in Central Park and has come across a lost turtle. Quite the entertaining phone call where I learned that it is breeding season and many turtles wander far from the lake to lay their eggs. I was told to move the turtle to a grassy or wooded area and remove him (I guess it was a her if she was going to lay eggs?) from the crowded pathway. Naturally, I didn't necessarily want to touch the turtle but there was a willing tourist who carried the turtle to safety. Whew! Crisis averted and turtle life saved. 

Ok. Pack to packing!

xoxo,

Danielle


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Life: Two Week Countdown

I can't believe it. I'm down to my final two weeks in NYC. Only 10 days left of work. It's happening and I haven't packed a thing. Which leads me to a move update. Two weeks ago, I mentioned how stressful it was planning the moving logistics. Well, it didn't get any easier. After a few more hurdles, once I was ready to give up and hope that fairies would somehow magically transport all of my belongings from NYC to Nashville, I secured a plan that is carefully detailed in a page long Google Doc. Part of this plan and the reason I haven't packed a single coaster is that I'll be using reusable bins from Bin It that will be delivered on Monday. I'm excited about this mostly because I like to pretend I'm green and I think renting reusable bins meshes well with my Whole Foods persona but also it was significantly cheaper to rent bins than order boxes and have them delivered in NYC (yes, I made a Google Sheet for comparisons.)

Before I start bribing all my friends to a packing party filled with sparkling rose, I'm off to Charlotte for another wedding this weekend. I lived in Charlotte for four years after graduating from college and part of me always thinks of Charlotte as home. Yes, my parents house in Jacksonville is home home but I think of Charlotte as molding me into my independent self. I had such a strong community in Charlotte from my church to my TFA friends and though I know it wouldn't be the same (quite a few friends have moved away since I left) I would absolutely love to call Charlotte home again someday. (Here's a fun snap of me with the QC from that time I was featured on The Everygirl.)



A few things on my mind this week...

  • I really want to prioritize my fitness and healthy eating starting with my three week vacay in Jacksonville this summer. Its tough because I truly LOVE food and I honestly don't like vegetables but I'm hoping to have more time in Nashville that allow me to make a more conscious effort. The Everygirl posted this article and while there are certainly a few recipes I want to try, my main takeaway was that I should drink more champagnes since its the healthier, lower calorie option. 
  • I lost my glasses this week. I'm so upset because I never lose anything but I've searched the twelve block between my school and apartment frantically and prayed to St. Anthony countless times with no luck, so I have an eye doctor appointment before I leave. Kind of works out because I've been paying for vision insurance for the past two years and haven't used it at all so at least I'll be able to make something out of my $2 monthly deduction and I'll hopefully be able to stop squinting at my computer soon. I had my last frames for over three years so I'm excited to change it up a bit... wondering if I could pull these off
  • This may deserve it's own post but I absolutely LOVE Downward Dog on ABC. If you haven't watched it, I'm sure you could find all the episodes streaming or OnDemand somewhere and I promise it's worth the few hour binge. 
Have a lovely weekend!

xoxo,

Danielle 









Sunday, June 11, 2017

New York, New York

"If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere. It's up to you, New York, New York." When I was younger, I dreamed of living in New York City. When I was dropped off from school, I'd quickly turn on TRL and eagerly await for the shots of Times Square bustling with people underneath the glowing lights. My favorite TV shows, Friends and Gossip Girl, and favorite movie, You've Got Mail, are all set in New York. ShopGirl and NY152 definitely played a role in my attraction to living on the Upper West Side. And being the overachiever, type A personality that I am, I definitely believed in Sinatra that if I could make it here, I could make it anywhere.

Now, after two years of residency in NYC, I'd be willing move to a farm in rural America. Though, I'm not too sure how much help I'd be with the manual labor aspect of farm living and I'd certainly crave Starbucks and Whole Foods. Anyways ... Yes, New York was tough and far more difficult than I anticipated but I like to think that I made it here. That I'm not 100% defeated by this city and that I could continue to preserve if I wanted to. But, I don't have to and I'm so happy about moving to Nashville and progressing at a different pace.

I'm not a huge fan of life plans (day to day details, yes) but when I moved here, I anticipated staying longer. I remember during those first few months, I loved the diversity, the challenge, and the magic that is New York City. Even when I applied to grad school, I wasn't 100% sure I was ready to leave and thought that IF I was admitted, I could always defer. But from the moment that I received my acceptance, I knew, it was time to move on to the next chapter. Part of me wanted to stay and stick to my plan that I had created for myself but I knew I had to throw off my plan and listen to become who God was calling me to be. I feel good about Nashville. Better than I ever did about NYC and am excited (yet also a little anxious) about this upcoming transition.

I like to think that now, Manhattan is part of me just like Charlotte and Clemson and Mississippi and Montana. This city has played a role in shaping me to be who I am and for that, I'm grateful. As I prepare for this next chapter of my life, I wanted to capture what I love about New York City so I asked my friend, Margot, to take pictures of me and Henry in some of my favorite spots in Central Park. When I think of New York as home, I think of Central Park. I think of my walks with Henry every morning - espeically those in the deep winter when its still dark outside and we are both bundled in puffy coats. I think of training for the New York City Marathon where I would run in the park for 18 miles and though I was physically tired, my mind never stopped absorbing the beauty of Central Park. I think of all of the days where I didn't want to spend money so Henry and I would just grab a blanket and lay in the park and read and chew on sticks for hours. And all of the friends who have visited and journeyed with me on long walks through Central Park on our way to the Met. It's definitely where I've spent the most time and certainly home to me. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from Central Park with Henry and yes, I'll be recycling these on Instagram for weeks to come.







xoxo,

Danielle








Monday, June 5, 2017

Everything


First, thank you for reading my blog. When I started posting again, I wasn't sure who (if anyone) would check back but I've received many positive comments in the past week that I feel empowered to stick to my promise and to continue blogging. Now that I've skirted around it for a few posts, I think I should I address why I needed my break from blogging and many other things. 

This past year, I definitely overcommitted myself in wanting to take on everything. It started in the fall studying for the GRE and training for the New York City Marathon. Both were time intensive in terms of training and self discipline and certainly monopolized the little amount of free time I had on the weekends for socializing with friends. Additionally, work was insane and far more demanding than I anticipated. When I did college applications previously, I supported six girls and while I did this in addition to a full time job, it's much more simpler to manage six than sixty nine. On my specific caseload, I had forty three scholars and I thought that I could support them all with the same level of detail and attention that I had done with my six. Between editing essays line by line and writing recommendation letters, I mentally and emotionally exhausted myself. I'm incredibly urgent and efficient and while I think these are two of my strongest strengths, they can definitely be my weaknesses when I attempt to move full speed ahead for months at a time. On top of supporting scholars with their applications, I had my own to do and would often leave my essays for last. Once January rolled around and the notorious January 1st deadline had passed for both scholars and myself, I thought it would settle but thats when Henry became intensely ill. He was diagnosed with hip dysplasia last summer and while he had been on medicine for a few months, his body was suddenly reacting though we had no idea of the cause. For over a month straight, I came home knowing I would have to clean up vomit every single day. It was draining. I had to throw away rugs, bedding, and countless towels. It was incredibly frustrating but also so upsetting because I had no idea what was wrong with Henry or how to make him better and felt completely helpless for him. The only thing he would eat was homemade brown rice with chicken and broth but that was time extensive to make and again exhausting after coming home to clean up throw up. We went to the doctor quite a few times and often, I thought it was the end. As you can imagine, the medical bills pilled up on top of what was already a pretty decent amount of debt I had accumulated and I truly thought I had reached rock bottom swimming in this sea of responsibilities that I couldn't keep up with trying to tackle everything. 

I ended up taking some time off of work with the hope of prioritizing me and figuring out what I needed to do to swim back to the surface. I reached out to a different vet and started Henry on a new medicine. He's been easing on to it since late February and has been doing well thus far so fingers crossed, this is a solution. I came clean to my parents about my finances and mom created a very detailed budget for me that included a plan for paying off of my debt. I was accepted to my top choice for graduate school so all of the studying and late night applications certainly paid off. And though I'm still plowing ahead full force at school, I'm trying to limit myself to working hours and have been leaving promptly at 4:45 PM everyday. (Well, most days.) 

While I'm fiercely independent and have been trying to do everything all on my own since I was a child, the past few months have taught me how much I need others to support to me. Whether it was my parents helping me strategically plan to pay down my debt (not something you chat with friends about) or one of my friends answering my phone calls when I just wanted to sob about Henry, I don't have to do everything on my own. Because I'm single when most of my friends are either married, engaged, or in a long term relationship, I sometimes leave my blinders on and think that I don't have anyone to support me when in reality so I am surrounded by so many who are willing if I would simply open up and ask for the help. 

I share this because I want to share the good and the bad. I know I'm not the only one who goes through difficult times and often times, I think we all feel pressured to keep the struggles so tightly secured, that it can be liberating when we are honest and share how we are really doing. I desperately wanted to do everything and I wanted to do everything all by myself but the truth is, it's impossible and I needed others more than I needed to do everything. I'll leave you with this verse that I return to as a gentle reminder when I take on too much "What you are doing is not good... The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone." - Exodus 18:17-18

xoxo,

Danielle 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Life: Traveling and Staying

Since mid-April through mid-July, I am/have been traveling every other weekend. While it's fun to travel and either explore a new city or revisit the familiar, I was happy to give the suitcase a rest for the much needed three day weekend. On Friday, we were allowed to leave when scholars left which meant I was lunching with Margot at Sarbeths by 2:00. I LOVE Sarabeths for breakfast, especially with my Dad because he lets me order like half the menu, but I've never been for lunch. They had this chicken ciabatta sandwich that we definitely should have split but we each ordered our own. This sun was shining and the bubbly was delicious so it was an ideal kickoff to MDW. I also discovered that the Rooftop Garden Cafe at the MET is open again for the season. There's a new instillation which we didn't quite understand but it's better than last year's house recreation and the views are just as spectacular as I remembered after a long winter away. This will always be my favorite spot in the city so I definitely want to try to go again before I leave in ONE MONTH!

Speaking of moving, this week has been so stressful with trying to secure movers. Apparently, the last week in June is the busiest week of the year for NYC which makes for one hectic process. When I moved up here, we drove the truck ourselves and hired movers on both ends. I thought we could do this again but getting a truck out of the NYC area costs three times as much as Charlotte and then I couldn't find anyone who was available for a labor only move in NYC. Literally, I contacted 30 moving companies. I counted. I had two movers give me an estimate for them owning the entire process door to door, but I don't like the 14 day windows they give for my things to arrive in Nashville. As of the past 24 hours, I may be on to something though... still ironing out the details of getting a certificate of insurance and securing the date (multiple folks I have to gain permission from) but hopefully, I can secure movers, find a truck in south Jersey, and then find movers in Nashville. Oh my goodness, moving is stressful! Here's to hoping before next week's update, I have it all sorted out.

I'm headed down to Tybee Island this weekend for my best friend's bachelorette party. I'm so excited by slightly bummed that I'll miss our first ever Senior Signing Day back at school. I've been working so hard the past two years for this moment specifically, but I already know where they are going and I got a sneak peek during rehearsal today. During the bachelorette planning when the I noticed the conflict, I asked myself which one I would want to remember more in ten years? I feel like so often, I choose work and I wanted to choose my friend. The signing day is really about my students and their families and a time for them to celebrate. This weekend is about me celebrating my best friend! Can't wait!

Snap of Henry from one of our long walks through Central Park this weekend. By walk, I mean Henry laying in the grass just like this! 

I'll be back next week! (This is already by second post in one week - I meant the comeback!) 

xoxo,

Danielle 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hi! Hey! Hello!

Hi! Hey! Hello! I think all of my most recent posts have begun with some variation of it's been a while since my last post and well, it's been more than SEVEN months so yeah, it's been a while. I think when I first started, I wanted to be my own variation of the countless of other blogs floating around the internet but Elle Paige and Henry never turned into professionally photographed posts and sponsored links that funded my wardrobe. I found that this became a space for me to share my authentic thoughts and I enjoyed writing more than I anticipated and much more than I cared about putting together outfit posts - thought shooting fifteen outfits in a day around Charlotte with Emily was a hoot and I'll definitely cherish those memories of our friendship. I wanted this to be an honest, transparent blog but then, I was simply too busy (ugh, I loathe that phrase) but I was also not in a space to write.

I felt like when I would run into people, they would comment on how "perfect" my NYC life looks via the blog and Instagram and while I understand people perceive things the way they want to, perfect simply wasn't true. The truth is, I don't love New York. It's not always sparking rose on the rooftop of the Met and it's typically more showing up to work soaking wet because the wind and rain were so fierce on the twelve block walk to work that my umbrella turned inside out four times. It's less Milk Bar b'day cake milkshake and more PB&J everyday for lunch because shockingly I don't have loads of dispensable income working in education. That's not to say NYC doesn't have it's lovable moments but for me, I couldn't write about my fabulous NYC life because I felt like more times than not, it's not that fabulous.

I'd been pondering a blog posts for months now but never worked up the motivation until the past month, when two separate people (neither one my mom) asked me about bringing back blog posts. So, last week I attempted to give the blog a face lift. I like the new title font and the all white, but I think I need to watch some Youtube videos to figure out the other fonts - they are a bit messy. While I wanted to stress over making everything look perfect before sharing, I decided to leave it because that's my new approach with the blog to let it be perfectly imperfect. I'm hoping to find it more meaningful to be present and posting instead of perfect. My goal is to post two times a week but I did choose a pretty hectic time to make this commitment (I'm moving at the end of the month) but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge so let's do this!

For now, enjoy these photos that a photographer took of my apartment for the rental listing. Though NYC has been tough, I have LOVED this apartment and will miss it (and the doormen) dearly.




xoxo,

Danielle

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Joy Journal


"I hope that you live your life - each precious day of it- with joy and meaning." This past summer, on a bus from Boston to NYC, I listened to Sheryl Sandberg share this wisdom in her address to the UC Berkeley graduating class at their Commencement. In her speech, she discusses finding deeper gratitude after tragedy through a focus on joy. Particularly by thinking what brought her the most joy at the end of each day. 

This idea of reflecting upon joy resonated with me and after a week of thought, I landed with the idea of my Joy Journal. I've tried many a journal and so I was a bit hesitant to commit to such an idea but I quickly found that simply reflecting on the joys of the day, itself brought me joy, and I was eager to write in my Joy Journal each day. 

The Joy Journal is simple. Each day, I write down three things that brought me joy below the date. Some days, I'm in the mood for paragraphs and others I succinctly write three simple words in my sloppiest handwriting before bed but either way, I end the day with joy. Some days, the joys are more profound and other days they are as silly as a SnapChat that made me giggle. Whatever it is - I write it. Truthfully, there are days where its a struggle to think "what brought me joy today?" and I will certainly lean on my go-to response (both physically and figuratively), Henry. But no matter the initial difficulty, I'm always able to think of something that brought me joy. 

I created this journal myself and feel less bound by the traditional expectations of a journal. I've tried the One Line A Day and many others but for me, this is what works and I love it. I've shared with a few friends and the go to response is "oh, like a gratitude journal." While similar, not exactly. I'm not necessarily grateful for chocolate chip cookies or for the @dogsbeingbasic Instagram account, but they both unapologetically bring me joy. 

I've developed a new nightly routine where I read my devotional and write in my Joy Journal before saying my bedtime prayers. (Sadly, I've finished Savor. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.) This routine of reading, joying, and praying has brought an overall sense of calmness in my life when I was feeling drenched in anxiety and exhaustion. While I still feel anxious, overcommitted, and exhausted each day, at least I end the day with JOY! 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans:15:13 

xoxo,

Danielle

PS. I picked up the adorable journal at my favorite store in NYC, Book Culture. If I could move into Book Culture and have the closet of Kate Spade on Madison, my Joy Journal would explode!