Monday, August 15, 2011

New York, New York!

When I was younger, I dreamed of going to New York City. Now, I've been not once, but twice. I was still in awe this time around. I think that goes away only if you live there (and maybe not even then). Ashley and I were there from Friday to Sunday and we had an INCREDIBLE time.

On Friday, we flew out of RDU airport. Before we even got on the plane, I had already left my bag on the bus from the parking lot AND dropped my license on the floor while we were checking in. I just hoped I wouldn't be this scatter-brained for the rest of the weekend. Our flight was not as smooth as I would have liked it to be and I'm not even sure why there was so much turbulence because the weather was absolutely beautiful when we landed at LaGuardia Airport, greeted by the Welcome to New York sign. After picking up our luggage, we took my first ever New York taxi ride to the hotel. Our taxi driver (well, all taxi drivers in NY, really) drove like a crazy maniac but he was friendly and conversational. We were dropped off at Yotel (our hotel) which was a cross between an Apple product and something straight out of the Jetson's. We checked ourselves in at a computer in the lobby, or I should said we tried to because, as it turned out, the hotel still showed a $350 balance for us (!!!). Fortunately, we were able to get that all sorted out (talk about a heart attack though). Our cabin was incredibly tiny but so cool. There was a flat screen TV, a "couch" that stretched into a bed at the touch of a button, purple mood lighting, and the list of neat little gadgets goes on. It didn't even matter to us that it was small and, even better, the bed was really comfy (cleanliness and a comfy bed are what I care most about). We had a quick lunch at Yotel's Green Lounge. The plates of what we ordered (I had a pulled chicken salad) were tiny but delicious (and sort of expensive!). It was all that we needed though because, for dinner, we were dining at Cafe Un Deux Trois, a French restaurant (in case you couldn't tell by the name). Our waiter was fabulous and so funny. He couldn't believe we were 25 and, after we assured him that we were, asked what moisturizer we use :). The food was AH-MAZING. We ordered escargot as an appetizer (yes, that would be snails...with butter and garlic, in fact...don't knock it 'til you've tried it), pasta with a gorgonzola sauce, and the most delectable crepe with bananas, chocolate, and a scoop of coconut ice cream and coconut flakes on top. I was so stuffed! Also, the waiter accidentally poured water into my glass of white wine so I got another for free! Afterward, we headed toward the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring DANIEL RADCLIFFE. There are truly no words for how wonderful this show was...the singing, dancing, and acting were all phenomenal. And D. Rad can do all three! Though we were all the way in the back of the theatre, the moment was no less magical. After all, it was my very first Broadway show. When the show was over, we made our way to the stage door but it was pure insanity. Unfortunately, I didn't even get a glimpse of Daniel. But I did get the see the top of John Laroquette's head (whoopie). It was disappointing but certainly not unexpected. My feelings at the end of the night were a mixture of exhaustion and contentment.

Saturday was also beautiful. We grabbed breakfast at the hotel and were out before 10am. At the airport, we'd come across the brochure for a Harry Potter Exhibition in the city. Well, of course, we knew we couldn't pass it up. So, on Saturday morning, that was our plan. The exhibition was completely worth the time and money. It was filled with costumes, props, and set pieces. We were able to pull up mandrakes, sit in Hagrid's chair, and play Quidditch. Ashley even touched Ron's bed! When we arrived in the gift shop, we realized it was going to be nothing but trouble and, yes, we did end up spending a ridiculous amount of money (again, totally worth it). Next, we headed to a Broadway-themed gift shop and back to the theatre to pick up How to Succeed... t-shirts. We had lunch at Roxy's (both Ashley and I opted for the foot-long hot GOOD) and met a really nice family from Minnesota (mom strikingly resembled a blonde Sarah Palin). We highly recommended they see How to Succeed... at some point during their trip. By 2pm, we were ready to head back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the remainder of the evening. That night, we met up with Ashley's friends, Laura and Ashley, and my friend from grad school, Jodi, for dinner at Trattoria Trecolori. It was so good to see Jodi and the food was delicious. I had gnocchi with eggplant and mozzerela and ate every last bit (prompting me to feel like I needed some sort of food detox when the trip was over from eating so many rich dishes). After dinner, Ashley and I sprinted (literally) to the theatre for Anything Goes. I was especially excited to see this one since my high school did it in 2004 (way back when!). We were in the SECOND row and it was AWESOME. It was another beautiful performance and so much fun. I was even able to remember some of the words to the songs. Before the curtain call, we rushed off to the stage door and were the first ones there...just to find out that the cast wasn't coming out because there was some sort of party that night. I was disappointed but Ashley was even more so. Sutton Foster (who played Reno Sweeney) is her hero and she was hoping to meet her for a second time. Regardless, I still considered my second Broadway show to be a success. Back at the hotel, we met up with Ashley again for a couple drinks and a late-night snack. Since the hotel restaurant closed at 12am, we wound up at a place called Shorty's for some deliciously greasy bar food (what else can you find to eat at 12am?). The walk back to the hotel was a wet one as it had started raining...

...and it was still raining when we work up, still raining on the way to the airport, and still raining when we took off for Raleigh. The taxi ride to the airport was miserable...we were jostled all over the place and it made me queasy. Ashley woke up with an unhappy stomach so, at this point, we were just ready to get home. The flight was much smoother than the first (our tummies appreciated that) and we arrived safe and sound in Raleigh a little after 5pm.

On the plane ride home, Ashley and I decided that we're going to take a trip every year. Next stop... Harry Potter world in Orlando!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let Freedom Ring

I absolutely love long weekends. Right now, I'm at my parents' house, celebrating July 4th weekend and my Dad's birthday. We haven't done much but it's been fun. Working with families as I do, and seeing such turbulent relationships, makes me so grateful for the relationship I have, and have pretty much always had, with my parents. We don't agree on everything but they let me be who I am. And I've accepted them (finally) as they are.

Not too much has changed since my previous post. Unlike last summer, I'm actually having a little fun (working at Youth Villages last year didn't allow much time for fun...hard to believe I would have been there 1 year this month if I had stayed). I've been trying to spend as much time with friends as possible because they keep my spirits up when I'm feeling defeated (a common feeling when you work in the mental health field). Speaking of which, things with work are going well. My team welcomed our new member, Jackie, and she's been doing a great job so far. It's amazing how different the atmosphere has been during team meetings in comparison to when my old team member was there. With the previous one, I always felt like I was walking on eggshells but, with my current team, I feel like I can be myself and have a little credibility as a supervisor at the same time. A big improvement. In addition, one of my friends from grad school, Carrie, recently started as a CST lead. It's been nice to have a familiar face in the office. I've been trying to help her out as much as possible because I remember all too well how lost you can feel when you're new.

My social/love life... Sigh. I won't even go there. It's far too complicated.

I'm going to New York City in August with the amazing Ashley Phipps! It was a completely spontaneous decision. When she first asked me, I thought there was no way I could go. Between work and having to pay a ridiculous amount of bills every month (thank you, school loans), I just figured I couldn't do it. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized WHY NOT? I have the time off and, after Ashley did the calculations, I saw that it wasn't going to cost THAT much, especially considering the fact that we're seeing two (yes, two!) shows while we're there. Did I mention that the beautiful and incredible DANIEL RADCLIFFE is starring in one of these shows??? I vow right now to try everything I can to meet that man. I mean, how many more opportunities will I have? Only a few more weeks to wait!

The summer is shaping up quite nicely :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's What You Make It

It's Memorial Day and being off of work has afforded me a little time to finally (FINALLY) catch up with my blog. I had considered working today and, honestly, don't know what I was thinking. Yes, I do understand that Memorial Day isn't just a day off...but, truth be told, I hadn't really thought of it that way until at church yesterday (but more about that in a few minutes). It's funny how someone simply reframing something in a different way can change your mind about it. And so, while I don't agree with war, I am grateful for the men and women who have put their own lives on the line so that I can be free and openly disagree with the things in which I don't believe (as well as agree with the things I do believe!). They are in my thoughts and prayers today.

Quite a bit has been going on with me lately. I've been making moves toward becoming healthier - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's not always easy. In fact, it's pretty darn tough some days. But I'm getting there...mostly because I realize how important it is.

I've been with Triumph for nearly 2 months now, which is hard to believe. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was just an unemployed, aspiring therapist with a Masters degree but no license (hence the unemployment), searching for jobs on CraigsList and becoming more and more discouraged by the day. My job isn't perfect but I am SO grateful to have found it. Since my last entry, I have gotten my provisional license (woo hoo!), which means I was able to keep my job as team lead (umm...thank goodness?). So I'm finally able to count my client contact hours toward full licensure. I have 3 years to get 1000 hours and, with this job, I think it'll be doable. I'm slowly getting to know my co-workers and, for the most part, like them very much. As team lead, I supervise 2 Intensive In-Home Specialists. Almost 2 weeks ago, we had to part ways with one of my team members (long story) so, that's been a little stressful. Until someone steps in to fill the position, my other team member, Cassie, and I are doing all the work. I'm hoping, and have been told, that the position should be filled sooner rather than later. Other than that, the job has been leaps and bounds better than Youth Villages. The families are still challenging but everything else is just so much more manageable. I feel less stressed and less drained at the end of the day, even though my hours are still long. The paperwork isn't as demanding. I feel more able to set limits and boundaries. Honestly though, I think my positive feelings toward the job are due to more than just the job itself. After having 3 months off, to recuperate from YV, I'm just in a better place than I was - even when I started at YV. Also, having such a strong and wonderful support system in my own city has been amazing. And, of course, being closer in proximity to my family, being able to go home for holidays, and talking with them frequently on the phone has helped a ton. I had a training on Friday and, as it turned out, all the team leads from my office were there. It was a good experience because, first of all, I'm weird and actually really like the trainings and, secondly, I had the opportunity to become better aquainted with the other team leads. I was able to see them in a more "human" role and they were able to see me that way. For the first time, I felt like I was part of their team (it's tough when you're the new kid and everyone else has been there for over a year). Now, don't get me wrong, I still get frustrated. I still feel like throwing my hands up sometimes at the end of the day. I still wonder at times how I'm going to make it through the week. BUT I am much more able to keep a positive attitude (the bigger paycheck might help with that a little!).

Things with my new roomie, Jamie, have been great. At first, she stayed to herself quite a bit but we've been talking and hanging out a lot more. I've introduced her to several of my friends and I've gotten to the point that I'm comfortable calling her a "friend" too. Sam was in town this past weekend and the 3 of us spent the better part of Saturday just sitting around my dining room table, experimenting with make-up, and talking. Afterward, Sam commented on how much she liked Jamie and I agreed. It was then that I realized how lucky I was to have found such a great roommate, especially seeing as how we met on CraigsList (yeah, I know). Also, the apartment has really come together and I think I'm pretty much finished decorating. I really, really like our space and I enjoy spending time here.

I've recently returned to Journey Church and it was a good decision. I'd taken a little break...not so much on purpose but because I'd been out of town nearly every Sunday. Since returning, I've actually gotten baptized. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time but was afraid for some reason...maybe because I've always been a little intimidated about how much I don't know about God, church, and the Bible. But I took a leap and did meant a lot to me to go public with my faith. Mom and Dad came to see it, which also meant a lot to me. I'd been prepared to do it alone, especially since few of my friends are involved in church, but to have my parents there made it that much more special. And they were proud of me for doing it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I LOVE being so close to my friends. Just being aware of how much I would have probably missed out on over the last few weeks solidifies that feeling. We've been keeping up with our weekly potluck tradition. Sara is in New Hampshire for the summer (miss you!) but Molly, Tim, and I are planning to keep it going in her absence. I had a few friends over on Friday night for Sam's Mary Kay party and, again, I realized how difficult it would be to do things like that if I was in Greenville or Wilmington or New Bern or wherever other than here. I know that things may not always be as they are now and I can't say that I'll never move out of the Raleigh area but I do intend to enjoy and take advantage of the time that I, and so many of my friends, are here and can share moments with one another.

Until next time... :) <3

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 30...I Made It!

Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss.

Granny (that's my little blonde head in the picture). I never had the opportunity to really get to know her but I miss her and I like to think she'd be really proud of the things I've accomplished. :)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 29

Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile.

While things aren't even close to what they were like when this picture was taken, it still never fails to make me smile.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 28

Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of.

I've always been frightened of tornadoes but, after this past Saturday, I'd say I have a full-blown phobia now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Behind Again...Days 26 & 27

Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you.

This isn't my baby blanket but it resembles it. Yes, my baby blanket STILL means a lot to me. Don't you judge.

Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member.

I realized that my dad has yet to be featured in this 30 day project thingy. So, here we are on Class Day in May 2010.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 25

Day 25 - A picture of you last year and how you've changed since then.

This picture was taken almost exactly one year ago, in April 2010, before the Meredith Spring Formal. I look very similar physically but the changes I've undergone aren't exactly visible...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Days 23 & 24

Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book.

But, of course. :)

Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change.

I sometimes wish I had the power to change the weather, especially after seeing yesterday's destruction.

Friday, April 15, 2011

2 for the Price of 1...Days 21 and 22

Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget.

I wouldn't mind forgetting February 21st, 2011. It's the day Brandon and I broke up.

Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at.

Decorating cakes that are as beautiful as they are delicious!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 20

Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 19

Day 19 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have.

I would like to say I've broken this habit since no longer being a student but once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. And I am the queen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 18

Day 18 - A picture of your favorite place.

London is my absolute favorite place in the world. This picture was taken in Hyde Park, summer of 2007.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Days 16 & 17

I was in Wilmington all day yesterday (a little more on that later), so I wasn't able to post. Just trying to catch up :)

Day 16 - A picture of someone you've been friends with the longest and still feel connected to.

I'm still friends with a handful of people from high school but as far as both knowing someone a long time AND feeling connected, that person has to be Laura. We met our freshman year at Meredith and, though we don't get to see each other terribly often, when we do get together, it's as if no time has passed. This picture is from her wedding...I was a bridesmaid.

Day 17 - A picture of your biggest insecurity.

This picture represents how I fit into the working world. That's probably my biggest insecurity right now. As an amateur therapist and one who hasn't always been (and sometimes still isn't) confident about my place in the field, I'm quite insecure about the work I do.

I went down to Wilmington yesterday to stay with Sam, Andy, and Andy. It was the first time I'd been back since moving. We met up with Stephen (from YV), his wife, Amanda, and their ADORABLE baby, Hannah for lunch at Hell's Kitchen, then explored the Azalea Festival (I'd never been). We were at the festival for about 30 minutes when I spotted one of the families I used to work with. Luckily, they didn't spot me or that might have been a little awkward. Last night, we just ordered pizza and watched How to Train Your Dragon (don't judge - it was a really good movie and the only one the 4 of us could agree on). It was a really low-key day but, honestly, I'd prefer that to going out and getting crazy, then feeling terrible the next day. I'm such an old lady. :-P Truth be told, I could have gone to bed at 10pm; I was so exhausted from getting up early and making the 2 hour drive. But it was a good time and really nice to catch up with the Wilmington gang.

I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic while I was there, especially if, while in the car, we came anywhere close to where Brandon and I used to live. It's so funny how that whole part of my life feels a bit like a it didn't even happen. It seems very long ago...even though it's only been about 3 months. Of course, much has changed in those 3 months. I was a little sad but able to snap myself out of it.

I was in training all last week for my new job and, so far, I still have good feelings about it. The CEO of the company came to talk to us on Monday, which spoke volumes to me. You better believe I never laid eyes (in person) on the CEO of Youth Villages. The training itself was 10x better than my orientation for YV. I actually feel like I learned something (imagine that) and it wasn't a waste of my time. It also helped that the corporate office, where we were training, was about 7 minutes from my apartment. The first part of the week, it was just the new hires but, on Thursday and Friday, we were joined by a few staff members who have been with Triumph for a while. I was able to meet 2 of the people from my office, though neither of them will be on my team. I also met an outpatient therapist from the Burlington office with whom I really seemed to click. She and I were partners for all the training activities on Friday and found out that we have a lot in common. We may never see each other in person again but having someone to chat with certainly made the day go by more quickly and was more enjoyable. It's funny how you find these people who are SO much like you, sometimes in the most unlikely of situations. Tomorrow will be my first day at the office and I don't know too much about what it holds. I have a feeling I'll be seeing families by the end of the week though (which, frankly, does make me a little nervous). Please think positive thoughts about my first real week of work!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 15

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die.

Before I die, I want to sink my toes into the sands of a Hawaiian beach. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 14

Day 14 - A picture of your favorite pastime.

I love to scrapbook.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 13

Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.

Though it changes quite often, this has been my favorite band for a while now...

Kings of Leon

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 12

Day 12 - A picture of something you love.

Cupcakes - a no-brainer.

A good afternoon nap.

Gorgeous London.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 11

Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.

Mayonnaise - so disgusting.



Headaches (been fighting one ALL day!).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 10

Day 10 - A picture of someone you see yourself marrying in the future.

Well, since I have no idea who that'll be, this fine gentleman is a good substitute. Oh, a girl can dream :)

Matthew Gray Gubler a.k.a. Dr. Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 9

Day 9 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

Wow...I definitely don't think I can narrow it down to just one. And so I won't.

My mom is an obvious answer - she's ALWAYS been there for me.

Sammie - I wouldn't have made it through grad school (or Youth Villages) without her.

Hillary - one of the best friends I could ever have. She's helped me through many a bad break-up, among other things.

And last but not least, Molly, who was able to empathize with me at a time when everyone else probably thought I was a little crazy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 8

Day 8 - A picture that makes you laugh.

Mother Rubie Teresa

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 7

Day 7 - A picture that shows your true self.

How I usually look on the outside.

How I usually feel on the inside.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today, I accepted a job offer with Triumph, LLC. I'll be starting out as an Intensive In-Home Team Specialist and, once my provisional license is official (Lord willing), I'll move up to Team Lead. I'm excited about it but I'm trying not to allow myself to get TOO excited. I was way too excited about my last job and it, well, blew up in my face. I did do more research before accepting this offer, as far as talking to others who work for, or have worked for, the company. I've gotten surprisingly good reviews (surprising because I was afraid they would be otherwise). Before I started at Youth Villages, I just sort of ignored what few things I heard about it (because they were bad and I wasn't about to let anyone burst my bubble). I wanted to be much more cautious this time and, hopefully, it'll pay off. My training starts on Monday. While I will be very sad to give up all the free time I've had, I won't miss the days of just wandering around the apartment with nothing to do and no money to spend. It'll feel good to have something with which to fill my days. Or, at least, I say that now. ;)

I've been having a tough time sleeping for the last few nights and I'm not sure why. I moved my TV into the living room after Brandon left, so I had to get used to sleeping in silence again (I'm not a fan). I tried playing soft music on my ipod but that ended up keeping me awake worse than the TV. Even when I do fall asleep, I wake up again shortly thereafter. My body feels so tired but I just can't sleep.

This evening, I finished off the second book I've read all the way through in the longest time. Again, I recommend Loving Him Without Losing You to every woman I know. I do hope the new job will still allow some time for my newly rediscovered love of reading.

Day 6

Day 6 - A picture of somewhere you've been.

From my study abroad experience in Summer 2007 - Cardiff, Wales.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 5

Day 5 - A picture of your favorite memory.

I couldn't narrow it down to 1 so...

At the movie premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the London!

My graduation from of the few times all my favorite people were in the same place.

Meeting one of my feminist idols - the great Gloria Steinem.

Graduating from ECU and putting behind me one of the hardest, but most rewarding, experiences of my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 4

Day 4 - A picture of my day.

Or, at least, my day so far. And as I don't plan on too much more happening today, here it is...

I woke up to this:

Though this one doesn't depict the snow/sleet that was also falling on this 28th day of March. It IS Spring, right?

Then, I interviewed here:

The outcome of which is TBD. This week...I'll be mailing off my LMFTA application. Jamie moves in on Saturday. My parents are also probably coming to town on Saturday to bring my (likely temporary) couch and my ECU diploma (finally!). Changes, changes...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 3

Day 3 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show.

For me, it's a toss up between...

Criminal Minds and...


Day 2

Day 2 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.

My mom, of course.

On a separate note...Brandon moved out today. It went about how I had expected it to. The gloomy weather was appropriate and certainly reflected my mood. We weren't ugly toward each other in the least, which may have made things even more difficult to some degree. With him went the couch, chair, ottoman, entertainment center, and TV...leaving the living room pretty empty. Looking at that open space, I felt the most alone I've felt since we broke up. I didn't realize how much I'd still been depending on him, at least emotionally, knowing that he was still in the area. Now, he's just going to feel so far away. I still believe that everything happens for a reason but, unfortunately, telling myself that over and over does little to ease the hurt.

I am a dreamer and when I wake,
You can't break my spirit - it's my dreams you take.
And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt

Friday, March 25, 2011

30 Day Project...Just For Kicks

So, I've seen people participating in this 30 Day Project thing and, just because I want to do something a little bit fun, I'm going to do it too.

Day 1 - A picture of yourself + 10 facts

One of my favorites (thanks, Hillary)...from a simpler time.

1. I'm almost always early, every where I go. Even earlier if I'm going to a place I've never been before.
2. I'm addicted to cupcakes. Surprising me with cupcakes is pretty much the way to my heart.
3. I usually sleep with my head under the covers, especially if I'm sleeping alone. I create my own little makes me feel safe and cozy. :)
4. I could watch re-runs of Criminal Minds and Law and Order: SVU all day, every day.
5. I have scoliosis. I had surgery for it in 2000 but my back will never be "quite right".
6. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I can hear my neighbors talking while inside my apartment.
7. I wanted to quit grad school almost every single day I was in it...I'm glad I didn't. I now consider it one of my biggest life accomplishments thus far.
8. I'm "in love" with actor Matthew Gray Gubler and he's definitely my "type".
9. I have a hard time talking about myself, especially pointing out my strengths. However, with all the job interviews I've gone on recently, I think I've gotten better.
10. I have a habit of twirling the rings on my fingers, mostly when I'm bored, thinking, or nervous.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I recently started reading a new book called Loving Him without Losing You. I feel like this book was written for me, which is weird because I just stumbled upon it while looking for a friend's birthday gift. In it, the author (Beverly Engel) describes what she calls the Disappearing Woman syndrome, which is when a woman completely loses herself in a relationship. Engel explains that this syndrome is actually on a continuum with women at each extreme as well as in the middle. Personally, based on the description of the continuum, I feel like I'm in the middle somewhere. In one of the earlier chapters of the book, it asked me to list all the ways I feel like I "disappear" in relationships. It wasn't hard to do. I won't go into detail but I was able to list 10 ways I disappear. These were things that I had noticed before but a) didn't want to admit because, come on, I'm a feminist for goodness sakes b) didn't think it was the phenomenon it appears to be and c) had no idea what to do to go about changing it. Engel lists 7 strategies (or "commitments", as she calls them - commitments to YOURSELF) for maintaining a healthy, solid sense of self while in a relationship:
  1. Learn to go slowly.
  2. Be yourself and tell the truth about yourself.
  3. Maintain a separate life.
  4. Stay in the present and in reality.
  5. Don't go changing to try to please him.
  6. Cultivate equal relationships.
  7. Speak your mind.
I definitely recommend getting this book, even if you don't think you lose yourself in relationships. According to Engel, and I agree, almost all women disappear to some extent - thanks to culture (society!), psychology, and biology. I'm taking some of my time as a single (and, sadly, unemployed) woman to strengthen my own sense of self and, hopefully, be much more confident in who I am the next time I choose to get into a relationship...whenever that may be ;).

A few weeks ago, I made a post-breakup CD (it's what I do) and, as a few of my friends and acquaintances are also experiencing the end of a relationship, I thought I would share the songs.

  1. King of Anything - Sara Bareilles
  2. Firework - Katy Perry
  3. Forget You - Cee Lo Green
  4. What the Hell - Avril Lavigne
  5. A Little Bit Stronger - Sara Evans
  6. Ridin' Solo - Jason Derulo
  7. Stronger - Glee Cast (you may prefer the Britney version but I'm a Gleek!)
  8. Magic - B.o.B. w/ Rivers Cuomo (really has nothing to do with breaking up - just makes me feel good!)
  9. Defying Gravity - Glee Cast
  10. Single Ladies - Beyonce (duh)
  11. Believe - Cher (don't hate)
  12. Red High Heels - Kellie Pickler
  13. Just Fine - Mary J. Blige
  14. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No Steam

Today, Brandon came by to start packing his things. He's officially moving to New Bern next weekend. And, tomorrow, we've been broken up for one month. It's hard to believe that so much time has already passed. When we moved to Morrisville in January, I certainly didn't think he would be moving out in March. The same sorts of things keep cycling through my thoughts and I know my friends and family have to be tired of me talking about it but I just can't figure it out. As I was telling my mom earlier...this is something that we just can't see eye to eye on and probably never will. I can't understand his decision and he can't understand why I feel the way I do about it. But the process is almost over, at least the moving part of it, and I think we'll both be a little less stressed when it is.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chasing Pavements

Brandon took his name off the lease today. I don't really know how I feel about it. It's a relief to have a roommate to fill his place but...she's not really "filling his place". He even seemed more sad today than I've seen him in the past. I knew it was coming but didn't realize exactly how I was going to feel when it actually happened.

My new roomie, Jamie, is planning to move in around April 1st. I just hope my lucky streak when it comes to roommates (i.e. Hillary, Sam - boys excluded) continues. After Brandon moves, I'll still have some things in the apartment to rearrange, a.k.a. moving all of my crap out of Jamie's soon-to-be room. The whole apartment is a work in progress. I haven't been very motivated to decorate the walls but I'm getting to it. I want very much for it to be a place I enjoy coming home to.

I'm in the process of applying for my Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate (LMFTA) status and it's a serious pain in the butt. It's $200, first of all, with which I'm going to have a really hard time separating. Secondly, I have to find someone to be my supervisor because he/she has a form to sign. Then, I have to obtain 3 endorsement/recommendation forms. I have to attach course descriptions from grad school to the application. And the whole thing has to be notarized...all by April 1st! Seriously...after graduating from an accredited program and passing the licensure exam, you would think that's enough. Oh no. As much as I hate it, I have a feeling I'll end up driving to Greenville sometime this week. Yay.

Still no news on the job front. I have another interview tomorrow but who knows. I keep hoping this is going to be the week it happens.

Kristy introduced me to a new church yesterday called Journey. I really liked it...though I still miss Port City. That was, by far, the best church I've ever been to. But, unless I want to settle for watching it online (which isn't nearly the same), I have to find a new place. The sermon yesterday was very relevant to my current situation and I was hoping it would be. God has a way of working out that sort of thing.

And that's the update for now. I'm melancholy today, if you can't tell by my tone. I feel like I'm continuously running in place and I'm just so ready to go somewhere.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Even on My Weakest Days, I Get a Little Bit Stronger

I haven't had a real entry in quite some time because I've been considering what exactly to write. I feel like, over the last year, I've been writing about nothing but all the changes in my life. Why is my life always in constant flux? At least, I feel like it is. I'm one of those people who NEEDS stability and consistency but they escape me. In January, my life changed a lot. In February, it changed a good deal more. We're nearly halfway through March and I'm exhausted. Things seriously need to settle down.

On February 21st, Brandon and I broke up. It is a LONG and drawn out story but the basic gist is that he was offered a job in New Bern, NC and decided to take it. I was given the option to go with him but decided against it. I had just gotten back to the place I felt I belonged...the Raleigh area is almost more of a home to me than the city I'm actually from. My friends are here and my family is nearby. Job opportunities for me are here. I couldn't go anywhere. It wasn't an easy decision, though I made it quickly. It was just very clear to me. Not to mention the fact that I'd been in this apartment for exactly one month and couldn't stand the thought of packing everything up again and going through the physical and emotional turmoil of moving. And I knew that New Bern had nothing to offer me (aside from Brandon)...I would be at least an hour and a half from anyone I knew. Some people can live like that but I can't. That's really all I'm going to say about the break up itself. I'm not going to badmouth Brandon, especially online, though I'm still extremely hurt and quite angry over the whole situation.

Since then, I've had to do some serious thinking and my emotions have been up, down, and everywhere in between. The first week, it didn't feel real yet, especially since we saw each other nearly every day. The second week, I was a tower of strength...I didn't even understand where it was coming from. I felt GOOD, which caused a little bit of guilt because I wasn't sure I should be feeling that good. I felt at peace. This past week, however, has been rough. Some things happened on Monday that just tore me apart. Monday night, I simply lost was the worst I'd felt since the night we broke up and I was all alone, mostly by choice - I didn't want to call anyone; I just needed to deal on my own. The week improved after that but I still didn't feel nearly as strong as the week before and I couldn't stop thinking I'd let myself down. I know now that isn't the case because I'm going to have good days and bad days but I just wasn't willing to cut myself any slack. If a friend was in the same situation, I would have told her it was completely normal...I need to start listening to my own encouragement.

Initially, I didn't want a roommate. I couldn't imagine living in this apartment with anyone other than Brandon. Eventually, however, the thought of moving again became much less pleasant than the thought of living with someone I didn't know. And so I joined (which was pointless, by the way, as not a single person has contacted me or replied to my messages) and posted the room on CraigsList. I'll be's been a frustrating process, especially because my first few e-mails were sketchy and nothing I would actually pursue. Fortunately, it looks like I've found a roomie. She seems very nice (and normal) and we have some things in common. We've both agreed that we're not looking to be best friends but just live together amicably. I hope and pray it works out.

I'm still looking for a job and, needless to say, I started to freak out just a little bit more when I found out Brandon would be moving out. I applied for probably 15 jobs this week (after a friend kicked me in the butt and helped me realize I don't want to be so desperate that I take the first thing I'm offered) and I'm waiting to hear back about some promising leads (fingers crossed!). My stress level is going to continue to be paramount until I get a job. That's just how it is.

On a much happier note, I PASSED MY MFT LICENSURE EXAM...heck yes, I did! Allow me a moment to brag... Not only did I pass, I made a 173 when the passing score was 133. And who made the highest score of the 38 examinees in North Carolina? That would be me. And who made only 6 points less than the highest score in the US. Um...yes, that would also be me. Who's bad? I'm bad. Those test results brightened an otherwise gloomy week.

On another happy extreme amount of gratitude goes to my friends and family who have been amazing during these last few weeks. I've gotten phone calls, text messages, visits, free dinners, and more from them in an attempt to check on me, get me out of the apartment, and just generally make me feel better. They've been incredible. If this had to happen, I thank God it happened here. Even on the crappiest of days, I still feel blessed because I have some really super people in my life. I love, love, love them.

And that is how I'm going to end this entry because I've had enough bad mess in my life lately. Hopefully, I will soon have even better news to report (roomie situation working well? new job? won the lottery?). As Ellen concludes her talk kind to each other. Lord knows I've recently had a lot of kindness come my way. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Theme Song. Philosophy. MANTRA.

Below are 2 of my post-break-up theme songs. The first also helped me through my previous break-up; the second is one I just happened to come across today (while making another of many post-break-up CDs) and couldn't believe how much it applied to my current emotions and situation.

Defying Gravity (performed in Wicked...and also by the phenomenal cast of GLEE)

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I am defying gravity
And you wont bring me down!

I'm through accepting limits
''cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you wont bring me down!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you won't bring me down!

A Little Bit Stronger (by Sara Evans)

Woke up late today and I still feel the sting of the pain
But I brushed my teeth anyway
I got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face
I got a little bit stronger

Riding in the car to work and I'm trying to ignore the hurt
So I turned on the radio, stupid song made me think of you
I listened to it for minute but I changed it
I'm getting a little bit stronger, just a little bit stronger

And I'm done hoping that we could work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days
I get a little bit stronger

Doesn't happen overnight but you turn around
And a month's gone by and you realize you haven't cried
I'm not giving you a hour or a second or another minute longer
I'm busy getting stronger

And I'm done hoping that we can work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking, that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger
I get a little bit stronger

Getting along without you, baby
I'm better off without you, baby
How does it feel without me, baby?
I'm getting stronger without you, baby

And I'm done hoping we could work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days
I get a little bit stronger

I get a little bit stronger
Just a little bit stronger
A little bit, a little bit, a little bit stronger
I get a little bit stronger

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


It's 4pm on a Wednesday and I'm blogging...yet another thing I'm able to do thanks to no longer having my job. Some of the other things have included: sleeping, eating someplace other than my car or desk, working out, smiling, spending time with people I actually care about, doing laundry, and going more than one day without feeling as though I might have a stress-induced panic attack. I'd say it's been a pretty successful month. I have been looking for a job but, honestly, I don't exactly know what to look for. I'm completely ambivalent about being a therapist and yet I'm not qualified to do much of anything else. I've considered going back to school but I'm not sure what I would go for. I've also seriously contemplated becoming a certified wedding planner. No, I'm not joking. I realize I'm no Jennifer Lopez but I think it's something I would actually enjoy. Of course, I start worrying about what kind of business I would have. What's the market like for wedding planners these days? I mean, seems like it would be pretty good. People are getting married. People are busy. I'd say that calls for a wedding planner. It's an option, at least. On the bright side, I have a job interview on Friday for Veteran's Affairs in Durham. I'll write more about the actual job description after the interview because, at the moment, I don't know a whole lot about it. However, what I do know sounds really interesting and it would be a slight shift on the typical therapy thing, which it what I think I need right now. Oh, and I forgot to mention...I took the MFT licensure exam last Friday. I was surprisingly calm going in and still had about an hour and a half to spare when I was finished. I took my time, considered every answer, and checked over my selections before submitting. Some of the answers I knew without a doubt, others weren't so black and white. Overall, I left the testing center feeling pretty okay about the whole thing. It'll be about 4 weeks before I find out my results. If I fail, I'll be the only person in my class who hasn't passed and I just can't bear that humiliation. And I would be out a WHOLE lot of money. If I pass, I'll be one step closer to a career I'm not even all that sure about. This is my life.

Speaking of life, I've been enjoying a lot more of it since moving. Last Saturday, to celebrate finishing my exam, Brandon took me to Gigi's Cupcakes where I experienced an incredible red velvet cupcake. It was the typical red velvet cake with a vanilla filling, amazing cream cheese frosting, red sugar sprinkles, and a white chocolate heart on top. Happiness. In. My. Mouth. Saturday night, Cheryl and Rowland (Brandon's mom and step-dad) came over for dinner. Brandon and Rowland put our new entertainment center together (a Christmas gift from Cheryl and Rowland), we enjoyed chicken pot pie, and I dominated at dominoes (one of my new favorite games). On Sunday, I had a much overdue breakfast with Sarah. The pancakes were scrumptious (orange pancakes with orange-infused butter and orange molasses) and the conversation flowed more easily than I expected it to. It was good to catch up with Sarah after so much time. That evening, Brandon and I went to a Superbowl party thrown by my friend, Allison (I met her at MST training for Youth Villages) and her fiance, Justin. Kristy and her new beau, also named Brandon, were there as well. The company was good and the food was delish. The game was alright too...for those who like football ;). I mostly went to socialize because, let's be honest, I hadn't watched the Superbowl since high school. Brandon had fun goading Kristy about her Packers who, of course, won the game. The day was topped off by the return of Glee, which Brandon actually watched with me!
Scarlett's Red Velvet - SOOOO AMAZING!

This weekend will be just as busy, if not more so. Friday, Sam is coming into town and will be spending the night with Brandon and me. Saturday is Jamie's baby shower, which Sam and I are throwing for her at The Twisted Fork. Kristy's birthday party is Saturday night. And on Sunday, Jack and Karen (Brandon's dad and his wife) are visiting and taking us out to dinner. Whew!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feels Like Home

It must be a new record for me to actually update less than 3 months since my last entry. :) Seeing as how I'm currently unemployed though, I guess I don't really have an excuse. As of yet, there are few leads on the job front. However, my licensure exam is next Friday (pray for me) and my hopes are high (for better or worse) that more opportunities will come my way after that.

Our first week in Morrisville is coming to a close and it hasn't been terribly eventful. Brandon started his new job on Monday. He's doing flooring estimates as a sub-contractor and seems to like it well enough so far. It's going to keep him on the roads quite a bit (hmm...why does that sound familiar?) but he should be able to set his own schedule and such. He spent this week training and will likely be on his own next week, which I know he's eager to do. While he's been at work, I've been trying to get some studying in. It's been difficult though. Since moving, I've just felt drained. While I've enjoyed my free time, I think I'm someone who just needs a little more structure than I've had since quitting my job. It was easier when Brandon was home with me because he held me accountable for getting things done (studying, working out, running errands, etc.). When he's not here, I'm so tempted to be lazy. Some studying has gotten accomplished but that's about it. Very little unpacking has been done but I'm hoping Brandon and I can take care of some tomorrow.
Our new apartment...complete disaster area at the moment!

The highlight of the week was being able to spend some time with friends. It felt so strange to be seeing my Meredith girls in the middle of the week. On Wednesday, Hillary stopped by and we just chatted for a few hours. It was really nice because, the last couple of times I've seen her, I've felt so rushed. But this time, we were just able to curl up on the couch and talk. She lives about half an hour away from me now, which is the closest we've lived to each other since I graduated from Meredith. I also saw Sara and Molly on Wednesday. We ordered Papa John's and played Twilight Scene It. Yeah, we're dorks. And it was a surprisingly difficult game! You would have to be a hardcore fan to do really well. But it was fun. Today, I drove out to Hillary's new house (sans GPS...I was so proud of myself) and she treated me to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch. We had a soup that consisted of chicken, vegatables, and noodles...sounds simple but it was really delicious. We also ran into her cousin, Paul, at the restaurant, which was totally random.

So...the best part of moving so far? Being tons closer to the people I've missed for the last 2 1/2 years! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Only Constant is Change

I've thought about writing for what seems like ages but I guess it just hasn't been very high on my priority list. With that said, things have been quite eventful since my last entry, hence the lack of time to update. But, 3 months or so later, here it is...

The highlight of November was, of course, Thanksgiving. Brandon accompanied me to my Aunt Vickie's house in Brevard, NC for the weekend. I was really looking forward to seeing my family as it had been September since I'd seen my parents and even longer since I'd seen everyone else. Living in Wilmington, I've felt a little isolated, with most of my loved ones being so far away (but more about that later). Brandon and I made the LONG trip from Wilmington to Brevard (more than 6 hours when you include eating and bathroom breaks) the night before Thanksgiving. Regardless of how tired we were when we arrived, we stayed up until after 1am catching up with the family. Brandon fit right in with their ridiculousness (ridiculous in a good way). As for me, it felt amazing to be away from work and actually relaxed for the first time in a while. Thanksgiving Day was awesome...with an incredible dinner and going with Brandon and the family to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (the second viewing for me). The day after Thanksgiving was spent doing a little Black Friday shopping (couldn't resist) and playing board games until the wee hours of the morning - probably my favorite thing about the whole weekend. When the weekend came to an end, I was sad to leave. It would be less than a month before I saw my family again but I knew this Christmas was going to be very different from the ones before. First of all, it would be the first year I didn't have a long Christmas break, meaning I wouldn't be home for nearly as much time as I usually am. Secondly, Brandon and I would be splitting the holiday between both of our families. It had been a great weekend but the ending was bittersweet. After arriving back in Wilmington, Brandon and I picked out our very first Christmas tree - a real one. Getting it into the apartment wasn't nearly as hard (or as humorous) as getting that thing out. We definitely realized why real Christmas trees just aren't meant for apartments...especially 3rd floor apartments. But it was beautiful and enjoyable while it was up and decorated. Thanks to donations from my family, we had plenty of ornaments. It was the perfect beginning to our first Christmas together.

December was exciting for a few reasons. First of all, this was the first time Brandon and I would be spending the holidays together and, because of our two families living in different cities, they consisted of much travel. The weekend of Christmas, as well as the ones before and after, were spent on the road between Wilmington, Raleigh, and Pleasant Garden. But despite all the running around, we had a really great Christmas. Christmas Eve was spent with my family - Mom, Dad, Grandma, Trish, Robbie, Tiona, Jayden, Brandon, and me. We did the traditional sorts of things (tradition in our family, anyway)...eating finger foods, listening to Christmas music, playing games, including the Wii, and opening gifts. Christmas Day is a bit of a blur. We spent the morning with my family for breakfast and more gifts (Mom and Dad framed my ECU diploma!), then it was time for goodbyes and we were off to Raleigh to share the remainder of the day with Brandon's family. The second exciting December event was that Brandon's sister, Tiffany, and her husband, Mike, came home from Canada for Christmas. It had been 10 months since Tiffany had been home so it was great to see her. And, apparently, the "Canadians" brought the snow along with them because about 8 inches fell in Raleigh while we were there. It was a perfectly beautiful white Christmas. In North Carolina. Amazing. We ate incredible food, frolicked (yes, frolicked) in the snow, played games, and napped for the rest of the weekend. Sadly, much of the snow had melted off the roads by Monday, and I was able to make it home. I surely could have tolerated another day of vacation.

Which brings me to the third exciting thing that occurred in December...Brandon and I made the decision to move back to Raleigh. Actually, it wasn't a tough decision at all. Brandon's job fell through and, since I already hated mine, there didn't seem to be much of anything keeping us in Wilmington (except, of course, the friends we have in town). In Raleigh, we'll be closer to friends and family and the job opportunities will be more plentiful. Fortunately, we learned that we could transfer our lease, which is saving us A TON of money, and we found a nice apartment complex very similiar to the one we live in now. So, on December 23rd, I put in my 2 week notice. I have to admit...I was nervous. After all, I'd never resigned from a job before. Plus, part of me was still wondering if this was even the right decision. In this terrible economy, I was giving up a job with a good salary and benefits. Was I crazy? Everyone I talked to seemed to support my decision but I was getting cold feet. Regardless, I did it. And I've come to realize, especially after a conversation with my mom, that I did make the right decision. No job, no matter how well it pays, was worth the stress and anxiety I experienced while at Youth Villages. Putting in my notice that day was one of the best things I could do to take care of myself.

Brandon and I rang in the New Year at our apartment with good friends - Sam, Andy, Andy, Laura, and Chris. Earlier, he and I had dinner at Bonefish Grill. It was a quiet New Year's Eve but I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way. My last day at Youth Villages was January 7th and, honestly, it was bittersweet. I do miss a few of my co-workers. They were good people and I hate that I was only able to get to know some of them professionally, rather than personally. Leaving my families was also more difficult than I had expected it to be, especially those I had spent several months with. But I had to keep reminding myself of why I was leaving.

Since then, my days haven't exactly been boring. The first thing I've been trying to do is take better care of myself. Brandon and I have been using The Biggest Loser video game for the Xbox 360 Kinect and it is kicking my butt! But I've been working out nearly every day and I can definitely tell a difference. I've also been trying to eat better, get more sleep, take vitamins, take care of my skin, and even pamper myself from time to time (well, if you consider getting a haircut "pampering"). I almost feel like a different person since quitting my job...more balanced. My second focus is studying for the MFT Licensure Exam which I'm taking on February 4th (WAY closer than I'd like it to be). It's tough getting back into the groove of studying when you haven't done it in a while. Fortunately, a lot of the information starts coming back to me as I study. If I pass, I'll be considered "provisionally licensed" and that will open up new opportunities to me. Speaking of which, my third focus is looking for a job. I'm going to be much more cautious about which one I take this time. And my fourth focus is, of course, packing. We move this weekend which, to me, seems crazy. Brandon and I had dinner with Sam, Andy, and Andy Sunday night and, as we went our separate ways, I realized how much I'm going to miss them and, also, how much I'm going to miss Wilmington. It will be toughest to leave Sam though. She and I have lived in the same city for nearly 3 years now and not seeing her whenever I want will take some adjusting. All in all, I'm excited about the upcoming changes. It's been an interesting 6 months in Wilmington but I look forward to what our new adventure will bring!