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!)

3 Secrets That No One Ever Told You About Growing Up

It is not an unknown fact that being in your 20’s is ridiculously hard. From endless sleepless nights in college studying and perfecting your craft to the months afterwards where you wonder what is next, it’s a mess. It’s almost as if there is a gravitational pull towards the ultimate pit of doom and failure the moment you walk across the stage of college graduation. Society tells you what success looks like and if you don’t meet the exact standards of this idea of ‘success’, well then sucks to be you, right? WRONG. I can tell you that there are three things that I have learned to be so, so true during these past few years after graduation.

  1. You probably will never know the answer to the infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Okay, so let’s all be real here. We all had a dream when we were a kid. Mine was to grow up to be a veterinarian. The moment I realized that I would have to see blood basically every day, that dream changed. Then the dream became a broadway singer. In high school I realized that belting wasn’t my strength so then I thought maybe an opera singer. So, I went to college as a vocal performance major. Along that journey I realized that the lifestyle of living out of a suitcase from role to role was not the life for me. Among that journey, I thought about becoming a music therapist, a songwriter, a jazz vocalist… the list goes on and on. After graduation, I thought “hm, maybe I want to be a lawyer.” (Spoiler alert: that was NOT the path for me.) Then I started teaching preschool which is something I love dearly because it’s so awesome to be helping shape young minds. Now, I’m a mix of a teacher, a writer and soon to be photography business (EEKS. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON, BY THE WAY… I bet you can guess what it is.) And you know what? My answer of what I want to be when I grow up could very likely change tomorrow or a year from now. The coolest part is that your 20’s are like playing in a sandbox. You are allowed to get your hands a little dirty and explore what kind of sandcastle you want to build. (Yeah, I know. It’s a cheesy analogy.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that the answer to the question that we are asked from elementary school onward is an unanswerable question. Life is full of surprises and we as humans have the incredible ability to choose what we want in life and that includes our career paths. So, take a leap. See where you land. It might be in the middle of the desert and you’ll think “Uh, what’s next?” and that exactly is what our 20’s is all about.

2. You are going to mess up. Be kind and patient with yourself.

This part of our lives is full of decisions. Whether life-altering or teeny tiny like where to eat dinner, sometimes it feels like these decisions are a gargantuan. I am here to assure you that even if you do make the wrong decision and you eat at that somewhat sketchy but looks delicious restaurant that everyone was warning you about and you get sick, it’s okay. Mistakes happen and it’s all part of being a human on earth. Sometimes you won’t even know if the outcome of a decision will be good or bad because you won’t even have control over what happens next. These moments are the hardest to accept because you basically put your heart out there and just wait to see what the world does with it. You deserve to be your best friend and treat yourself with the kindness and patience that you would treat the dog that you grew up with or a child that you love and babysit a lot.

I got the chance to hear Brene Brown speak last night and man, she is an inspiring woman. She said something that stuck with me (okay, a lot of things but I won’t get into that here) and that was “I belong to me.” Such a simple phrase but it can go so far in life when you are struggling with decision making and what is best for the situation. Once you are able to put that phrase into practice, you will find that it is not a selfish thing but rather you are able to put others needs as a priority in the long run because you aren’t worried about you. You know who you are and if you don’t, now is the perfect time to find out. Be kind. Be patient. And remember that you belong to yourself first and foremost.

3. It’s supposed to be hard and it’s going to be but it’s also supposed to be filled with joy and adventures.

I cannot stress this part enough. Being in your 20’s is hard. Any part of life is hard. Life is hard. That’s just a simple fact. BUT. Life is also incredibly beautiful filled with so many people to love, so many experiences to have and a life that we have the ability to choose to make for ourselves. And that’s what it ultimately comes down to, right? We all want to build the best lives for us and for those surrounding us. So why not fill it with adventures and work that you’re passionate about and family and friends who you love with all your heart? Every day we get to wake up with a choice. A choice to make our lives brighter, happier and full of more love than it was the day before.

So, as you move forward, I challenge you to find at least one thing each day that reminds you of how beautiful and incredible this life is. I promise that you are surrounded by beauty, even if it’s sometimes hard to see.

Well, that’s it for now folks. I’m off to work for the day and then I have the wonderful opportunity to attend Inbound 2017 Conference where I get to hear inspiring individuals speak to us content creation/marketing/business people. I will be posting a blog all about my experience there next week!

Making Time for Living.

I'm sure you've heard it throughout your life and maybe you've even said it once or twice. "There's just not enough time in a day!" Well, I've definitely said that before because at times, it feels just so true. In just a mere 12 hours, you work for 8 or 9 of them and are left with just enough time to eat and go to bed. Right? I think not! Jeremy and I are in the middle of the coolest parts of life, where we get to play in the sandbox (okay, not so much a metaphor for me because I teach preschool) and figure out what we want our lives to be like. Doing this while working a full-time job, leaves you with almost no time for the simple things like sitting down for dinner or catching up on your favorite Netflix tv show. Something I've learned in this process is that you aren't just given time, you need to make time. If you want to work on your gardening skills, then go buy some plants and a book of how to keep them alive (and then tell me how to do it because apparently I can't keep plants alive) If you want to go on a hiking trip, take some of that vacation time that you haven't used and go. There are so many ways that we can grow if we just make the time and decide we're going to do it. So, I figured I'd share some things that I have learned to make time for and if you are going through a big moment of change, maybe it'll give you an idea of what you want to make time for. The small moments are grounding and have ultimately provided me with a sense of making this home. Basically what I'm getting at is making time is important, mmkay?

  1. Make time for a morning routine. Morning routines are essential because the routine can help center your whole self and become more in tune with your mind, body and spirit throughout the day. My routine includes time for self-growth or reflection (i.e. journaling and stuff like that) and time to relax before work. I've also been throwing in some exercise into that routine but more on that for a different post on a different day.
  2.  Make time for creativity. Finding time to channel my emotions about this big change into a creative outlet (mine is songwriting and just dinking around on my guitar and ukelele) has been vital to not only surviving here, but thriving. This can come in many different forms though. If you used to paint in college but life has just started to get in your way, go pick up some paints and get goin'. If you used to throw some pottery (okay, I know that is DEFINITELY not the term you use but it sounds cool, I think.) then find a local pottery making place and join. Do something for YOU and a hobby or passion that you're well-versed in or something new that you've always wanted to try but never had the time. Make the time. (Wow, well don't I sound like lil' miss bossy pants? But it's just so true!)
  3. Make time to be in the present. Sitting out on our little patio and just enjoying the sounds of the neighborhood is one of my favorite things about this apartment. Jeremy and I love to have dinner out there and leave all distractions inside the house. This gives us the chance to talk about not only our days but things that we're struggling with and things that we want to celebrate. These moments help build our relationship amidst the whole 'we're super busy millenials who both have such big goals and there's not enough time in the day to pursue them' thing.
  4. Make time for self care. Okay, I can say this isn't my strongest suit BUT I am learning and it is a process. Just yesterday I got sent home from work because I was still so sick but felt like I needed to be there. Ultimately, my stubborness to be a good employee rather than taking the time to get better didn't help anyone. And now, since I was able to get that extra rest, I am feeling better and am able to be more present for the day at work today. Make time to curl up with the book you've been meaning to read but just haven't gotten around to it or take a nice bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb (shameless advertising because I love Lush so much) but just do something for yourself.
  5. Make time for family and friends. I can admit that I haven't been the best at staying in touch with all my friends when we all moved onto our new adventures but I can say that when I take the time to reach out and hear about their lives, I feel closer and we're able to cultivate those friendships from afar. Talking to my parents has been my lifeline during this move. I call my Mom and Dad every chance I get and whenever I do, I hang up the phone missing them terribly but also knowing that they're happy and so am I.
  6. Make time to make new friends. This one has been something that I need to do because Jeremy and I knew NO ONE when moving here and apparently it's kind of hard to make friends out of college and in a new city. BUT we have already made some friends here which has been so much fun! Basically, what I'm saying is take the time to reach out to someone new in your community. It goes a long way, I promise.
  7. Make time for adventures. Adventures are literally the best thing in the whole wide world and I love them so much. I don't even need to explain this one because who doesn't like to adventure? Our most favorite part about living in a new city is that every single day is filled with some kind of new adventure, whether big or small. And there are so many places to visit! Adventures are just fun and filled with no stress and they're just SO COOL.

So, get out there and make some time. I promise it'll be worth it.

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

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