Someone I admire: Bloganuary Entry #5

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This is a really hard prompt because there are truly inspirational and admirable people everywhere. But it’s pretty fair to say that most of the people I admire are women. And even more specifically, they are women in my family. You can close your eyes and pick pretty much any one of them, and you will find someone who has set and amazing example of being a good mother, sister, aunt, matriarch, trailblazer, free thinker, supporter, etc. It is truly hard, no…impossible, to pick only one person to write about. And frfr, I don’t want to poke the hornet’s nest of picking out just one person.

So instead of picking one particular person that I admire, let me tell you five traits that I find are common in the many people I admire.

They choose kindness. Every woman in my family has been through something. And yet they are all the sweetest, kindest people on the whole planet. Yes, I said the whole entire planet!

They stand up for themselves and for others. They all do it in different ways. Ranging from timid and subtle to brazen and spitfire, they have their own approaches, but they speak up. And their approaches are actually quite fascinating. I’ve noticed that there’s a time and a place for each method, and I’ve even used some myself.

Despite obstacles, they persevere. Life is clearly full of challenges. Being able to face those challenges, no matter how big or small, and come out ahead is no easy feat. Watching the women in my life tackle challenges and come out being better and stronger is so powerful and encouraging. They tackle motherhood and marriages and the workforce and entrepreneurship, and of course all of the daily nuances that life can present. Being able to watch them face challenges and persevere gives me so much strength in my own life.

Through actions or through words, they impart wisdom. There is a takeaway from every encounter. Whether it’s a recipe, a history lesson, a mantra about life, a tip for the daily struggle, or a lesson in what not to do, there’s always something to learn.

They love hard. There is never any question about who they love and how much they love them. They express it in their actions and with their words. Often. And without shame.

It may be hard to pick one or even three top people that you admire. But do you notice a commonality among people that make your list? I’d love to hear what you admire about the people you admire!

I wish I knew how to: Bloganuary Entry #4

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Life is about constantly learning. I truly enjoy learning new things, and I seek knowledge, no matter how small. I love that there are so many ways to learn right at my fingertips, thanks to my friend the internet. Whether I’m learning a craft, a recipe, a computer trick, or a dance class, I feel like it’s good to be constantly open to learning.

I love finding random tutorials on pinterest, and I love taking advantage of online resources. I’m currently making my way through a Life Coaching course and hopefully I will finish that in the coming months *fingers crossed*, and I’ve done a few ecommerce courses over the past year that were really interesting.

But if I had to pick one thing that I wish I knew it would be that I wish I knew how to change a flat tire. Of course, there’s a million reasons why this is a good, practical, and important skill to have. I don’t like the idea of being stranded, vulnerable, or possibly in a dangerous situation over something that I could fix myself if I have to. Because tires rarely announce in advance that they plan to go flat, the sooner I know how to do this, the bigger relief this will be for me. So it’s on my 2022 learning list for sure.

But on a smaller scale, here three things I’ve learned to do recently by using online resources:

Fabric Stamping: I follow an artist on IG that uses random items to stamp fabric, and she then uses the fabrics to make bags. I have been mesmerized by her process and thought I could try something similar. So I looked around on pinterest for tutorials and tried my hand at it. Using some remnants from Joann’s, some fabric paint, a straw, and a plastic fork, I created these masterpieces. I thought this was fun, and it’s such an easy way to decorate a space. I also plan to try this on some tea towels. It could make a really cute gift idea, and there are so many different possibilities.









Ceramics: To stay sane during the pandemic, I definitely turned to crafts. One thing I found cute and interesting was clay. Trinket dishes, earrings, and wine charms…I tried them all. I tried both air dry clay as well as clay that you bake in the oven. Here’s one of the many tutorials that I played around with and here are a few of my results.

Beading: I love making my own accessories, so when I stumbled across some posts for making beaded jewelry, I became obsessed! And again, the pandemic caused lots and lots of time isolated in the house, so this was a wonderful creative outlet. Several hundred dollars later (oy!), and I have bags and bags and bags of beaded bracelets to show for it. Here’s one blogger that gives a good bracelet tutorial and below are a few of my results:

What do you like learning? What’s the last thing you learned or taught yourself to do?

Non-Artists Can Still Appreciate Art Museums

“Feed your soul with art.”

People say I’m creative. Idk. I guess maybe. But I do not feel like I’m an “art” person. Not in its traditional sense. At least I don’t feel like I am. There’s some art that I can appreciate, I like color combinations, I can appreciate some objects, I like textures and photography, and I like things that tell a story. But for me to get it, it needs to be pretty straight forward.

So for that reason, I feel as though I am not an art person.

I try to get something out of each art piece that I look at, but sometimes I just don’t get it. And if something is abstract AND called “Untitled” AND there’s no explanation for the piece…that’s really tough for me. When it comes to art, I either like it or don’t like it, and though I occasionally do feel something emotional about a piece for whatever reason, there really are a lot of things that I just don’t understand.

But that didn’t stop me from looking up local things to do and visiting the contemporary art museum just a few miles away.

I’ve always enjoyed being a tourist in my own town. Having wanderlust is great and all, but no matter where you are, there are usually plenty of things to see and do without going far. And now that I’m staying put in Maryland for a bit, it’s even more important to figure out ways to entertain myself locally. So the art museum it was!

On the way to the museum, we drove through some absolutely amazing neighborhoods. We passed multi-million dollar homes, and pulled into the museum parking lot. From there, we were directed to the Arrival Hall, where we were given a map of the property and a brief rundown of the art path, the pavilions, and the overall gist of the space.

Glenstone is a place that seamlessly integrates art, architecture, and nature into a serene and contemplative environment.

The art installations were both indoors and outdoors, which was really cool. There was a walking path that was maybe about a mile around with some outdoor sculptures and exhibits along the way.

Then there were five indoor pavilions that also housed artwork. We visited on a day that was personally very intense, and being in such a serene and peaceful environment on an unseasonably warm winter day was exactly what I needed. The walking, the fresh air, the views, the calm…for me, that was the highlight of the experience. And though I’m not an art person, there were a couple of pieces that sparked discussions between my boyfriend and me. But overall, I enjoyed the calm, the nature, the serenity, and just holding my boyfriend’s hand as we took in the ambiance.

The website for the museum really didn’t tell me a lot. I had no idea what to really expect, and I guess that’s by design. When we arrived, we were told that there was also minimal descriptive information about each piece because they want you to interpret the art in your own way. Some pieces I could interpret pretty easily, or I could find something interesting about it, or the shock factor that I believed the artist was striving for was well achieved.

As a “non-art” person, I may not have had the takeaway that the artists wanted me to have, but I still enjoyed the art museum experience and here’s why:

  • Everyone’s experience with art is not supposed to be the same, and I loved my experience
  • I was having a really stressful week and the nature, minimalism, and serenity brought me peace and calmed me down
  • The museum created a platform for me to use my imagination
  • Some exhibits were thought provoking and stirring
  • Some exhibits were confusing and puzzling, and that’s ok
  • Some exhibits made me more curious about the installation logistics than the art, which made me realize I use a different side of my brain, and I found that actually quite humorous
  • The hours spent there were a wonderful escape from the day-to-day
  • It has been a couple of weeks, and I still think back to some of the exhibits and contemplate their meanings

So maybe I didn’t have the types of thoughts that the artist intended, but I enjoyed my visit and I plan to return.

Are you an art person? When was the last time you visited an art museum?

art museum, things to do in Maryland, Glenstone Art Museum

Weekly Mindset: Appreciate the Simple Things

I’m totally appreciating so many things right now. I took a walk today at lunch, and frolicked (if you will) a little. I even played around on the neighborhood playground and giggled. I realized how that little bit of play brightened my mood pretty significantly.

It brought back memories from childhood when my friends and I used to create obstacle courses on my swing set. It got my heart pumping. The air made me smile. Plus my endorphins were flowing. It was so simple and such a mood booster.

“As the heart flourishes, the mind eases, and so gratitude practice can help to lessen our experience of anxiety and stress, improve the quality of our sleep, and enhance the equanimity we find within ourselves and within our relationships at large.”

mindfulexercises.com

Appreciating simple things has certain benefits, such as improved sleep quality, overall mood improvement and improved emotional regulation.

Author and thought leader Mike Robbins says that there are two things that can help you to appreciate the simple things. They are 1) being easily impressed and 2) being hard to offend. When we are appreciating life’s small miracles, we are opening ourselves up to being grateful and fulfilled.

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This makes me think of a conversation I just had about celebrating birthdays. For one person, a small celebration is an evening outing to the local Top Golf. Whereas for another person, a small celebration is a quick trip to Vegas or a week in Dubai. I would never say that someone shouldn’t treat themselves however they see fit, or that people shouldn’t aim high, but it’s easy to see how one is more attainable than the other. Attainable, simple joys are needed just as much as large scale treats and rewards. But if you only look forward to the large scale events, how do you enjoy your daily life? Every day just will not be a trip overseas. How do you find a reason to smile each day or to feel grateful for the little things that make life wonderful?

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I believe in appreciating the small things, and this week that list includes:

  • the amazing crisp fall air
  • the BEAUTIFUL leaves and all of their awesome colors
  • being able to be a digital nomad
  • a healthy family
  • my health
  • good shows to binge watch
  • amazing friends
  • a healthy relationship
  • stable employment
  • access to modern healthcare
  • a roof over my head
  • safety
  • a neighbor who plays the saxophone (after living next to HORRIBLE, loud, aggressive neighbors)
  • peace

There are so many daily things to appreciate. And the benefits of acknowledging the little things in life are wonderful for your mental and physical well-being. Don’t just save appreciation and gratefulness for the holidays. Do it today, and do it often. I’m going to make it part of my daily routine.

What are you grateful for this week?

Airbnb Journey: The two-story condo in Frederick, MD

The next stop on our airbnb journey was a two-story condo in Frederick, Maryland.

I grew up in southern Maryland, so with Frederick being in the northern part of the state, it always seemed like it was SO far away. And I never really had any occasion to go there. So although it is in my home state, this home was still a part of the state I had never been to, so it felt like a new experience for me.

When this host described the two-story condo in Frederick as “serene”, it felt like exactly what we needed. It fit our price point, and though it only had one review at the time, it just felt like it a good move. I truly love quiet…and “serene” is basically “quiet 2.0”, right?? Plus it had three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, modern fixtures, a workspace…everything about it felt right.

Well…lol…

Let me start by saying, the home was exactly as described from a visual standpoint. The rooms were identical to the pictures, if not better. The community was fairly new and very picturesque. Parking and check-in were both simple. It felt like the perfect place to call home for the next month. We unpacked the car, sat down to catch our breath, and literally the moment we started chillaxing, we heard it.

It was definitely the sound of footsteps and tumbling in the unit above. The way the home was set up was that our unit had the bottom two levels, and then there was another two-story unit stacked on top of ours. So…ok, if the unit is described as serene…aka quiet 2.0…then clearly this was the sound of a visitor’s child, right??? It had to be a total anomaly. Nobody would describe their home as “serene” if there are children ripping and running upstairs….RIGHT!?!?!

Well…1am came along and the running and tumbling was still happening. 2am. 3am. WHAT. ON. EARTH.!?!?!?!?! They definitely must have some family staying with them for the weekend, RIGHT!?!?!?!

Next morning, running.

Evening, running.

Night, running.

Middle of the night, running.

OH. MY. GOD.!!!! What in the actual eff is going on!?!?!? So I sent a note to the host. The host told me that was not the norm, and assured me that he would speak to the homeowner. OK, so that’s that. RIGHT!?!

Only it wasn’t. Next night, running, tumbling, jumping….through the day, and also at night. I remember waking up at 3am and still heard it. For a quiet person with no kids, this was an absolute nightmare. We were on day 3 or our 30-day stay, and I already felt like crying! I don’t have kids and I know I’m not one for parenting advice but…this is ridiculous!!! I’ve lived in townhomes before, I’ve lived in apartments before…this was some next level ish! It felt like I was living below a gymnastics studio that doubled as a bowling alley! WHO LIVES LIKE THIS!?

Well, I’ll spare you the details. It did calm down for a day or so, but ultimately wound up being an every day and every night thing for the duration of the stay. Some days were better than others, but this was an overall theme for the stay in this home. I wound up running into the tenant who told me that their child has some issues (no apologies, no offers to do better…more like just deal with it), and while that is so incredibly unfortunate, it totally impacted my stay.

But let’s move on to the things I did like about my stay, which I tried so hard to use to offset the upstairs chaos.

The Community. The airbnb itself was in a newer suburb. It was well-manicured and well taken care of. The location was fairly convenient to the grocery stores, there wasn’t a ton of fast ridiculous traffic, and everyone that we passed on our near-daily walks was always super duper nice! We were in a really heightened climate as a nation during that time, and personally I had a lot of issues with just feeling physically and mentally safe for many reasons. But I was put at ease when we took our walks around the neighborhood. I loved that people would speak to us, offer a smile, and even maybe make a funny comment about the weather or something… instead of just maneuver as far away from us on the sidewalk as possible when they passed by. So this, I loved.

Frederick is a bedroom community of both DC and Baltimore, so while a lot of people commute to those cities to work, Frederick has culture all its own. It is located where the Catoctin Mountains meet the Piedmont Mountains, so very crisp air and gorgeous mountain views even when you’re just driving to the craft store. And definitely a great escape from the pace of a major city. There were tons of farms and open space, there was suburbia and shopping centers, and then there was also the downtown historic area which was a short drive away and full of entertainment. And one of the best parts of the city is Carrol Creek, which is a mile-long riverwalk area that has restaurants, shops, an art museum, seating, a distillery, ducks…just a really cool spot for hanging in the city on a nice day.

The Wineries. And then there were the vineyards tucked away in the mountains. I have always been a lover of wineries. I typically hate crowded spaces, so with the pandemic, there was even more reason to find activities that were naturally socially distant. Wineries totally fit that bill. On several occasions, we would pick one of the several local wineries and trek out for a day of wine tasting, gorgeous views, and fresh air. There were so many to choose from on the Frederick Wine Trail. We visited four wineries (a couple of them more than once), and each winery was so unique and peaceful. We even had a couple of guests come visit, and we took them to the wineries as well. If you don’t stay in Frederick for any other reason, definitely go for the vineyards!

Decisions, Decisions… The timing of our trip prevented us from doing some things. We were still in the middle stages of the pandemic. We personally were only opting for outside dining. And a lot of places were still grappling with covid protocols and reduced business hours. It was also still cold-ish (it was March at the time) so that also impacted how long we wanted to endure outdoor activities. While we did a lot of walking around and standing outside, there were things we totally passed on because it didn’t line up with our social distance preferences.

Towards the end of our stay, we had a decision to make. Knowing that the world was starting to open up a little more, and realizing that there was more to see and do in Frederick now that temperatures were warming up, we decided to stay another month at this home. It was a hard decision because the rowdy neighbor made being in the home very difficult, but we knew there was more that we wanted to see and do…and aside from the neighbor, we really liked the space, the area, and price point for the home.

Overall. We thoroughly loved the condo in Frederick, and if not for a crappy neighbor, this home would have definitely been an excellent and serene stay. But because of our visit, we have now added Frederick, MD to our list of possible places to settle down once we get called back into the office. I never would have even considered Frederick before staying there but feel like it’s the place to beat at this point!

It’s so unfortunate that we had the issues that we had in this home, because otherwise we truly loved the space. We would definitely airbb again in Frederick, MD and highly recommend the area if you’re considering a trip there for any reason.

Have you been to Frederick, MD? Have you stayed in an airbnb that was a great space with one or two exceptions? If so, how did that impact your overall feeling about the home?