New Home Holiday Survival Guide

It’s certainly easy to say that the holiday season is probably my absolute favorite time of year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas and over to the New Year, there are the most wonderful moments that you are able to share with loved ones. My family and I have the BEST traditions (okay, my opinion is probably biased) and every year I look forward to them. And then all of a sudden, I’m all grown up, moved across the country and find myself experiencing the holidays in a whole new world (once again, I do understand that Boston is not a whole new world but it certainly feels like it sometimes compared to Utah.) I know that this is true for many individuals in their twenty-somethings and being away from family can make the holiday season seem a little less exciting. So, how does one fully enjoy this beautiful season, push away the crazy strong homesickness and embrace all the new experiences in a new place that isn’t the ‘home for the holidays’ that you are used to? Well, I might have a few ideas.

1. Allow yourself to be homesick.

Living approximately 2,500 miles away from my parents hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world and as Thanksgiving approached and now as we dive into the Christmas season, those miles seem to be getting longer and harder. In these moments, I’ve began to allow myself to be homesick. Maybe not dwell on it for hours but rather acknowledge the sad feeling. Then I remember how blessed I am to have a family that I love so much enough to miss. Right after these moments, I call up my mom and the distance feels a little easier. So, go ahead and let yourself feel the feels. The Pixar movie Inside Out literally teaches you that it’s okay to be sad. So, feel it. Then if you need to call your family every day during these next few months, do it. And then tell them how much you love them because that’s what this season (and family) is all about.

2. Keep the traditions going.

My favorite parts of December are all of the traditions that I have had with my family since I was a little girl. Moments like decorating the Christmas tree while listening to music, reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve by the tree and so many other traditions are some of my most beautiful and special moments that I have been blessed to share with my family. Now that I’m starting my own adult life, I certainly don’t plan on stopping these traditions because of how important they are to me. I’m still going to carry on the traditions that my family has always had along with starting new traditions here in Boston. This time of life is all about making the life that we have always imagined for ourselves growing up and that includes carrying on traditions and making new ones! My life is going to be filled with joy and I hope you are also able to keep traditions that you hold near and dear to your heart as alive as ever.

3. Find new holiday experiences in your new city. 

So far, I’m finding that nothing is going to be the same as your dad’s stuffing at Thanksgiving (Shout out to my dad for the BEST STUFFING EVER) but there are so many experiences to be had! For instance, in Salt Lake City I did not have the opportunity to go to the Boston Opera House and watch the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker. Here, I get to do that and I am so excited! New memories in new places are exciting and once you are able to embrace it, everything is brighter and filled with joy!

4. Surround yourself with loved ones.

Loved ones come in different shapes and sizes… co-workers, relatives, your significant other and their family, and friends (even the people you share an hour sweating together during barre class). Reach out! Whatever this looks like to you, do it. If you have distant relatives close by, maybe now is the time to catch up over some dinner. Those new friends you’ve made through work? Now is the time to set up an ugly sweater party, drink hot cocoa, and play board games with them. (Just gave myself an idea while typing this out… *self high five*) The point I’m getting at is community is everything in a new home. So, step a little out of your comfort zone during this season and see what happens.

5. Continue to practice self-care.

During the holidays, you can easily feel overwhelmed with commitments with other people, prepping for Christmas, and just extra hustle bustle that comes with this time of year. Don’t let your self-care habits down now! Now is the most important time to have a movie night by yourself, take a bath and go to sleep early. The more you are able to practice self-love and checking in with how you are doing physically, mentally and spiritually, the more you will be able to enjoy this wonderful season.

Just remember to enjoy the holiday season in whatever way makes your heart the happiest! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year! (*cue the best song EVER*) So, continue onwards my friends with your head held high and joy in your hearts. Until next time (which will be soon because my break from blogging is over! WOO!)

The Last Rays of Summer

So, I have been slightly absent from this blog for the past several weeks for one reason: Jeremy and I have been soaking in every single bit of sun and fun during our first summer here in Boston. We certainly have filled up our days with traveling and adventuring and every time I sat down to write a new blog, I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that summer is indeed ending. *insert sniffles and pouty faces here* But alas, here we are. The end of summer is near!

So, here’s a quick rundown on the best moments that we have had in August! (okay, they all were the best but I had to narrow it down to a somewhat comprehensive list in order to not write the longest blog post ever about the month of August)

1. Blueberry Picking!IMG_1353

As a Utah girl, I have never experienced the magic of fruit picking. Turns out, there’s a TON of fruit to pick here! And get this… you can go to an orchard and pick it all by yourself. *the crowd gasps in shock* Now, I did know about this but I never thought that I would be able to experience it for myself. It was the most magical experience ever! We went up to Crane Beach for the day but after realizing that we might not get into the beach for a lil’ bit because of the parking situation up there, we decided to stop in at Russell Orchards to kill some time. Turns out, we made a day of it and ate yummy food there and picked lots o’ blueberries. We didn’t even go to the beach! It was so wonderful to just walk around the beautiful grounds and look at all the fruit that could be picked and some spots that were growing fruit for the fall time! We will definitely be going back for apple picking!

2. Probably the Quickest Trip to Brooklyn, NY in History of Mankindfullsizeoutput_525

We woke up super duper early in the morning and made our way down to New York for the day! In our trip, we explored around SoHo district and DUMBO in Brooklyn. I would say our total visit would amount to about 5 hours and it was seriously so worth every minute spent there. I mean, now that we live over in the East Coast EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE. IT BLOWS MY MIND. Anyway, I love it and it’s so great. We ate yummy food, did some wonderful shopping (which Jeremy loves so very much) and then left. A perfect day trip. I’m not afraid to say that I have a little crush on that city. Okay, fine. A big crush. The magic of New York is unlike anywhere else in this world and I plan on visiting often. You can feel creativity and passion pulsing through the streets and it is infectious.

3. RED SOX. WOO.IMG_1517

Now, for those of you who know me pretty well (or barely at all), you know that I do not do the sportsing. It has never been a specialty of mine BUT an old co-worker and friend of Jeremy’s in Utah came to visit us and took us out to the ballgame. I can now say for a certainty that the ballpark life is not the life for me. HOWEVER, there were things that I would return to Fenway Park for. 1. The hot dogs. I’m a sucker for hot dogs. 2. THE SINGING. I LOVE SINGING ALL THE SONGS. Singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the “Shipping Up to Boston” (as you may recall from a previous post that is my current life theme song) on the top of my lungs was possibly one of the greatest moments of my sportsing life history. and 3. It’s a great place to spend some time with friends yelling at the players who will probably never, ever hear what you’re going to say. The end of the game got super intense and I certainly was screaming on the top of my lungs in order to help the people do a great job out on the field. I did the sports ball doing! WOO! Oh, and we won. That’s an important part to mention. And by we, I mean the Red Sox. Duh.

4. Beaches, Beaches, Ponds?IMG_1592

It is no secret anymore that I’m basically a mermaid. So, in honor of this, Jeremy and I have taken every chance we can take to be by the water. We took a day trip up to Ogunquit, Maine and spent the afternoon at the beach. We also took a trip to Walden Pond which was also beautiful. The end of our beach trip season is certainly the hardest part to come to terms with but I will manage. I’m not sure how but I know I will somehow.

5. The City, Of Coursefullsizeoutput_527.jpeg

Jeremy and I are still amazed that we live in this city. We keep having moments where we are just in awe that Boston is our city now! We have spent so much time learning the ropes about this city, finding the best hidden secrets, making new friends and just enjoying the Boston life. This past weekend, we rented the Hubway bikes and biked around the Esplanade and Back Bay Area and it was quite possibly my favorite day in the city thus far. There’s just so many incredibly wonderful things to find here! So, of course we have to adventure in our new city and we certainly did a lot of it this month especially with a few friends we met in Utah stopping by to say hi to our city.

So, I’m sure it has now become very clear that Jeremy and I have done nothing with our past month and we really, really dislike adventuring. (hehe, I’m really good at sarcasm too, in case you haven’t noticed yet) But in all seriousness, August has been so wonderful and now that the air is starting to get a little chillier, I cannot wait to experience a new season in Boston!

With loves, Nicole

 

 

Je parle francais, eh?

Well, we did it. We moved across the country. And now, I’m writing this blog post whilst in Quebec, Canada. Yep, you read that right. I’m not in Boston as of this moment. Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “why in the world would Nicole go to Canada right after moving all the way across the country??” Turns out that this is the only time that a family vacation with Jeremy’s family would work out. But man, let me tell you… This past week has been an absolute whirlwind.

To begin our moving process, we did the whole plane with a cat thing. I have only one piece of solid advice for my readers regarding this… 1. JUST DON’T DO IT. SAVE YOURSELF. Travelling with little Gemma Lemma was filled with her singing the song of her people (or more like screaming) to all the surrounding audience members (uh, I mean passengers) in the plane. Whatever ‘sedative’ that the vet gave us did not work. I mean, maybe she was complaining a little bit less on the car ride to the airport but nothing could prevent Gemma from speaking her mind about her misery and suffering in the aiport and on the airplane. What I’m saying is just don’t do it. Ship your cat through UPS if you need to (not actually advocating for that but I definitely thought about doing that around 4am on the flight).

So, we got off the plane with a total of one hour of sleep (not even sure about that) between the two of us and went to see our apartment!! It’s absolutely amazing and I love it so much. It’s the perfect size and Gemma seems to love it as well. Minus the whole part of not being allowed outside because she wouldn’t survive a night in the big bad streets of Boston (not so big and bad but more just the fact that Gemma doesn’t fully understand cars can squish her). Then came all the errands associated with moving over the next few days…. getting a new license, transferring car titles, buying kitchen supplies, picking up furniture.. The list goes on and on. But we did it! All while staying sane (partially) and having just enough time to watch OITNB in our new cozy living room.

And now, we’re finishing out our adventures in Canada and heading home this afternoon.  Speaking of which, CANADIAN FRENCH DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. I’ve  been trying to interact with almost everyone I encounter but I still have no idea what they are saying back to me. Well, lesson learned I suppose. What is the lesson? Uh… learn to speak French the Canadian way before going to Quebec, I think. BUT Canada is absolutely gorgeous. It feels like I stepped back into France (minus the quirky accents) and I love it so much.

More photos and info about the trip in my new post once I get home. Home is Boston. Not Salt Lake… Still trying to get used to that but I think I like the sound of home in Boston. Plus, I have a really cozy couch to get back to at home. That helps.

With loves, Nicole

I’m Shipping Up to Boston. WOOAAAHH.

I’M SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON, WOOOOOOAHHH. SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON WOOAAH.

For those of you who do not know the song I am referencing (aka you didn’t immediately sing it on the top of your lungs upon reading the above), please see the video below. Also, if the video is representative of life in Boston I’m thinking I might just stick around in Small Lake City.

 

Now, I am not shipping out to Boston to find my wooden leg that I lost whilst climbing the top sails (as the lyrics state in the song, which you might need to look up because understanding any of the words is nearly impossible in the verses) but I suppose one could say I’m finding my theoretical wooden leg there? I’m about to embark on the biggest adventure of my life and I know that I will find many hidden treasures (and maybe even a real wooden leg at sea?) I know that this adventure is going to change me and I am so excited to see the woman that I’m going to become. I’ve had the nervous jitters all morning but I can’t even begin to explain the butterflies of excitment that I have. Today is my last day in Utah and I’m going to miss everyone SO MUCH but I am ready for this change.

So, this post is merely a statement that I’m shipping up to Boston in 12 HOURS. Which means that this marks my last blog post in Utah and next time I’m writing, I’ll be in my new home as a Boston blogger. I’m so excited for the experiences that I’ll have, the people I’ll meet, and creating a home across the country.

And in that spirit, I challenge you to get out and do something that scares you a little today or tomorrow because then you know you’re growing. With that, I say goodbye to Utah and SEE YOU TOMORROW BOSTON.

With all my loves, Nicole

Finding the Gratitude.

6 days. Six days. Six jours. 6 tage. T-minus 6 days. Six. Six. Six.

No matter how I write it, 6 days means the same thing. Ooh, now if I try changing that to hours…. That makes 144 hours. THAT’S NOT ENOUGH HOURS. In 6 days, I will be going through airport security with Jeremy by my side, Gemma in her kitty carrier (sleeping peacefully and heavily sedated *thumbs up*) and a one way ticket in my hand. After attempting to sleep on a red-eye flight, we will arrive in the Boston.

In exactly one week, we will be unpacking the U-box in Brighton, Massachusetts, the place I will be calling home. Everything is set up… the internet, electricity, jobs, packing, Gemma’s health certificate, etc. etc. and it’s been easy and exciting. It wasn’t until last night when I was just relaxing and enjoying my evening that it hit me. I have made the decision to pack up my life and start fresh and new across the country. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be doing this now, college freshman Nicole would have laughed, a lot. BUT SO MANY ADVENTURES ARE ON THEIR WAY and that’s what keeps me going when I get a little scared or sad.

I was told once in a Sheva meeting (basically education for JCC educators) that the best way to become more grateful in your daily life is to make a list of 7 new things each day. After writing down the seven things, read the list out loud and say “thank you” as many times that you need to TRULY feel gratitude. As each day passes, add seven items to the list and read the full list that you have so far. If this is of interest of you, I would definitely recommend doing this. After 7 days, you have a whopping 49 things to read out loud and I promise that you feel exponentially grateful for everything in your life. It’s also amazing how hard it is to think of 7 things each day. When I did this challenge, on the worst days I was able to write things like “I’m grateful to have a beating heart” or “I’m grateful for my cereal this morning. It was yummy.” We live in a society where complaining is the norm and focusing on the negative in the world around us is too easy… switching your mindset to having gratitude for the small things truly reminds you the meaning of this life (whatever that may be to you).

So, I figured while I’m feeling all nostalgic and excited for the future in a big and messy ball of emotions, I would write a list of seven things that I’m grateful for here in Salt Lake that I will miss so very much…

  1. Having my incredible family close enough where I can hop on a bus and be there in 4 hours.
  2. The friendships (new and old) that I will cherish forever.
  3. All the memories that were created here.
  4. My home with beautiful and loving roommates who are like sisters to me.
  5. Being able to drive 10-20 minutes and suddenly you are in the mountains (BONUS: Looking around in Salt Lake City and seeing mountains no matter which direction you’re looking)
  6. The neighborhood of Sugarhouse and how unique of a place it is.
  7. Jeremy (okay, well that part is coming with me but still! This is where we met and fell in love and all those mushy gushy feelings)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

These past few weeks, I have said ‘thank you’ in my head so many times that I can’t keep track anymore. I am filled with eternal gratitude and love for this place and all the experiences I have had here. I’ve always known what the word ‘bittersweet’ means but I have NEVER felt it like this.

So, for anyone who needs a lil’ pick-me-up activity, some inspiration, or anything like that, try this gratitude list. You’d be surprised about what you come up with and how it changes your perspective on things.

Much loves, Nicole

A brief pause.

Fun fact: The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health advocacy is something that is very important to me and I believe that creating a community of safety and security when talking about this topic is even more important. I am diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and for those of you who may deal with this or have a loved one who does, you know quite well that change and anxiety are two things that DO NOT GO WELL TOGETHER. It’s like putting soy sauce into your morning berry smoothie. NO ONE LIKES THAT. NO ONE. Regardless, here I am. Even though change sparks my anxiety fuel and sends me on an uncontrallable jet of doom (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic) I am still making the change. Why you might ask am I putting myself through this if it’s so scary to me? Well, if I let my fears control my emotions, I wouldn’t really be making any changes in life. Because let’s face it, life is a lil’ scary sometimes and having panic disorder definitely doesn’t help the situation. 

So, how do I manage these illnesses among a period of SO MUCH CHANGE? Well, it’s different for everyone. Finding your own way and own path is essential. But I can certainly offer you a few tid-bits of advice as I’m currently in the midst of this crazy transitional part of my life. So, here goes nothing…

Self Sanity Tip #1: Not everything is going to be perfect and that is completely okay. When you decide to switch up your life in a big way, expect big waves to come at you with full force. For me, it’s been waves of emotions and man, those waves are BIG. And when you have to jump through a billion hoops to just get a parking permit for your U-haul box, insanity is just about to kick in when all of the sudden… I remember I’m not alone! Which leads to the next tip!

Self Sanity Tip #2: Reach out to your loved ones! THEY ARE EVERYTHING DURING TIMES OF CHANGE. I’m lucky to have a fantastic support system who supports our move and gives their love unconditionally. This support system may come in different shapes and sizes. It may be family, friends, neighbors, professors, collegues… Regardless, I promise you have a support system.

Self Sanity Tip #3: Taking time to just be and relax is essential. Without self-care, this big change will be even more overwhelming than it already is. So, draw that bubble bath you’ve been thinking about and then curl up with a good book and cozy blanket. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take time to do things that help you feel relaxed and peaceful… especially with so much change going on! 

Self Sanity Tip #4: The change that you’re making will become your normal soon enough. I know that saying goodbye to my friends and family here is a step to begin this new chapter of my life. My future apartment and job? Those will become normal to me soon enough. Getting through the transition period is just the hardest part (at least I think so… ask me in a few months and I might have a totally different answer.)

And for now, that’s all the advice I have up my sleeve. As for an update on the move, the Uhaul box is all packed up and on it’s way to Boston and in 14 days, we’ll be heading out!! Two weeks left in Salt Lake City and I certainly plan to take a brief pause at least once a day to remind myself that this change is creating strength and courage. And for those going through a similar (or totally different) transitional time in life, I send you my love and support because it’s certainly not the easiest but it’ll be worth it. 

With loves, Nicole 

Decluttering: a love hate relationship

When you look up moving advice on the internet, you see A TON OF ADVICE. I’m not even kidding you… apparently there’s are so many aspects of moving that I didn’t even think about before perusing the big wide interweb worlds. Looking up moving advice is like looking up your cold symptoms on WebMD. Stuffy nose, sore throat… all of a sudden, I’m convinced that I have some deadly disease caused by a rare insect in Lithuania. The other day, I googled “moving across the country advice” and man, was I in for a treat. From how to make sure your cat doesn’t freak out in the airport to how to label your boxes, Google has your back (although I’m pretty sure we already knew that.)

The advice that seemed to stay consistent from blogs to advice websites to ehow articles was that you MUST declutter your life to make a cross-country move easy. So, I took this to heart and said to myself “Minimalism is great. I can do this.” Now, don’t get me wrong. The concept of a minnimalist lifestyle is pretty great. A capsule wardrobe, living your life with intention, and so many other great enriching lifestyle changes. But I gotta be real here with you… It is not the lifestyle for me. NOT ONE BIT. After rummaging through and throwing out 5 big trash bags of clothes that I had in the basement from when I was twelve and beyond, I realized that I really needed to declutter. All those clothes? They’re in a pile ready to go to Deseret Industries.  Then I started on my room… *insert dramatic pause* I’M A HOARDER. I had pencil erasers from EIGHTH GRADE. EIGHTH GRADE WAS A LONG TIME AGO GUYS. LIKE A REALLY LONG TIME AGO. I had my old Motorola flip phone that I used in high school. Somehow I still felt an attachment to these random items like a headband that I hadn’t touched in 6 years. I found the most random stuff in my room that apparently upon my three separate moves to different houses in the area, not once did I think to DECLUTTER. And now, now I know. Now I trust the google monster who told me to declutter. After my realization of being a semi-functioning hoarder, I got down to business and after asking myself “Do I need this?”, a few hours later my whole room had only essentials and two larged trash bags filled to the max.

So, here’s my advice based on my personal experience if you’re looking to do some spring cleaning OR thinking about moving across the country on the fly. If you think for a second “Hm, should I keep this… I really could use this…” and it’s an item that’s been buried under your bed in a box within a box, throw it right in that trash bag. Now, if it has sentimental value but is just a picture or something and it’s not THAT important (ie not family heirlooms and what not) take a picture of it for digital records and then throw it out. Seriously though, my only piece of advice is that if you have to look at the item and try to recall why you still have it, you don’t need it. If it’s clothing that you haven’t worn in at least one year, don’t even think about keeping it. You don’t like it anymore and you don’t need it (the exception to this rule is nice fancy dresses that you would wear if you had somewhere to wear it). And… that’s it, I think. The rest of the items, you’ll know if you need it or not. I would definitely recommed keeping imporant things like basic life stuff… because I guess that’s important or something.

And with that, I must get back to packing. Our U-haul box thing is going to be here in t-minus 9 days and I have three boxes packed. Although due to my excessive decluttering process, I think there’s only a few boxes left to pack. *Self high five*

with loves, nicole