Words That Changed Me

_a record of the process_

Pumpkins and Spiders and Bats, Oh My!

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Last November, I bought some spooky music playing pumpkin lights on clearance, with a promise that they would hang in our apartment in Halloween 2014. I’ve been traveling a bunch (blogpost about being stranded in an airport coming soon!), but I knew as soon as I got home, I wanted to slather our house with lots of spooky Halloween decor… and I did just that!


As soon as I got off work on Wednesday, I drove to Michael’s and picked up a bunch of supplies including a giant hairy spider that drops from the ceiling and crawls back up to it’s hiding spot with the clap of your hands!


Sadie was not thrilled.

For starters, I turned on some Halloween music, and got to work making a wreath.

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Then I hung bats and orange yarn and the orange and purple gum drops from my mom:

…and the awesome holiday quilt that my mother-in-law made:

oohh bats!


and there’s that spider everyone loves:


Isn’t it great? I don’t usually get into Halloween too much but it still feels like summer here and Halloween means it’s Fall.

Happy Halloween!

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Pre-Travel Anxiety

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 | 0 comments

planeThe first time I ever flew alone was in 2010. I was visiting my [then] boyfriend in Boston, and I flew home to Richmond by myself. I had a direct JetBlue flight. I had my own little TV to watch. I was served complimentary soda and cookies. Best of all, when I landed in Richmond, my mom was waiting for me. Sounds easy enough, right?

I smile when I consider how terrified nervous I was about this experience.

I was anxious about going through security. I was questioning my ability to find the right gate. I wondered who I’d be sitting next to for two hours. I was scared. I did it, though, and I was filled with relief and pride with each little milestone: I boarded the plane, I found my seat, I buckled my seat belt. I may have relaxed for a while up in the air, but believe it or not, my body filled with nerves again when I landed in Richmond and didn’t know where to go. “Follow the signs to baggage claim” my mom told me when I called her.

If you’ve never done it, flying alone sounds scary, but from my experience, it’s one of those things you just have to DO so you can turn around and think: huh, that wasn’t so bad. Looking back, doing this flight successfully on my own was good experience and a big confidence booster.

…And thank goodness!

I never would have guessed it, but one year after that first solo flight, I was living by myself in Washington, D.C., taking the metro to work every day, and flying out to Denver on my own for a work trip. I was pretty nervous about my first work trip, but I made it through. I didn’t need to call my mom for directions when I landed. Instead, I hailed my own cab, checked into my own hotel, and found my way downtown on foot to the conference. A couple months later, I was flying up to Boston for work. Then to Clearwater for work. Flying alone wasn’t a big deal anymore because my boyfriend [now husband] was living in Florida, and I flew down to see him every few weekends. I’ll admit, I felt pretty legit at this point.

IMAG3761To sum up, flying doesn’t intimidate me anymore.

Today, I’m flying to D.C. for a work retreat. Like, right now! (I wrote this post on Saturday and scheduled it to post on Monday while I’m up in the air). By the time you’re reading this, I’m well on my way. After I land, I’m taking a metro over to my hotel where I’ll be staying on my own for a few days and commuting to the office for a week. I’m looking forward to being in the office and catching up with friends and colleagues. Next week, I’m going to California to give a presentation. Then, in a few more weeks, I’ll be flying to Chicago for our Annual Meeting. It’s old hat now, I guess.

Still, as I’m writing this on Saturday, I’ll tell you that I’m feeling a little uneasy about the travel experience. I’m not nervous about the flight, or the public transportation, or the hotels, or anything specific. For the most part, I relax on the plane (unless it’s unusually bumpy – then I grip tight on the armrests). I’m confident in my ability to find a cab, read signs, and/or ask for directions when necessary. And even though I miss Bret, I sleep like a baby in my own hotel room.

STILL something about prepping for the whole travel process makes me nervous. I question if I’m really “ready.” It’s like I’ve forgotten that I do this ALL THE TIME.

I told Bret I think I have pre-travel anxiety. It bugs me for a couple of days before the trip. While I’m sorting out all my work outfits, packing my suitcase, and filing away my boarding passes, I FEEL a twinge of, well, panic. My thoughts swirl around in my mind until they’re tangled together in a whole string of crazy: Am I forgetting something important? Where is my badge? Did I pack the right shoes? Do I have bandaids in case my shoes give me blisters? Do I have my phone charger? Ohmygosh Sadie destroyed my iPod headphones…HOW AM I GOING TO FLY WITHOUT MY IPOD?! Those are normal(ish) concerns, I think.

But that’s just the start of it.

velveeta-5I also worry… Is my poor precious perfect little cat going to be okay while I’m gone? Sadie, too? Have I neglected the cats today? Should I buy the cats some new treats before I leave? What about Bret? Should we go grocery shopping together to make sure he has healthy snacks? Should I make some pasta salad? Does Bret even like pasta salad? I should make some. Oh, how about some muffins? Do we have muffin ingredients? Should I go back to the store? What if I get a headache this week? Do I have migraine medicine? What about granola bars for me to eat during breaks? OH NO WE ARE OUT OF GRANOLA BARS…

…as if granola bars are some scare necessity that aren’t available at every airport, drug store, and probably even in my hotel?

What is this craziness?!

I know some people have racing worried thoughts every day, but I don’t except for right before I travel. I think, to a degree, these kinds of travel-related worries are normal. I wish I didn’t feel this way, though. Lately, I’m wondering if I’m REALLY worried about Bret and the cats and granola bars or if I’m displacing my worries. Is there something else about being away from home that makes me uneasy?

I’m not sure. For now, try to keep my pre-travel anxieties under control by making excessive packing lists and writing out my schedule so I don’t wind up wondering if I should go back to the grocery store for granola bars the night before my flight. And I write and journal and try to remind myself that I feel this way often, but the trips are worth it, and everything always turns out great.

I’ve also found that it helps to focus on the post-trip things to look forward to. After these three trips, it will be my FAVORITE time of the year and I can look forward to:

  • Pumpkin carving, apple cider, and Hocus Pocus coming on TV
  • Food & Wine Festival at Epcot
  • Writing in my Grateful Jar every day
  • The 2014 Jingle Bell Run (this year we’re calling it the Jingle Bell Stroll)
  • My sister is coming to visit meeee we’re going to drive around and look at Christmas liiiights
  • Seeing all my cousins and grandparents at Christmas Eve

I feel better already :) …Although, still not 100% better. Thanks for reading my pre-travel anxiety inter-monologue. If you have any other recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 | 0 comments

Bret and I have a new tradition… Tuesdays are date night!

date night_1I feel pretty darn spoiled because Bret and I generally get to spend a lot of time together. We love exploring Tallahassee, going on Saturday trips to the beach, and spending cozy relaxing rainy weekends watching Harry Potter. After being in a long-distance relationship for a year, our Florida life has been pretty great.

Even though we are used to spending nearly every week night and weekend together, we decided to implement an official date night because this autumn sort of changes things.

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Balcony Fest 2014

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Balcony Fest 2014

I had the best weekend.

…about 4 weeks ago.

When I learned the sad news that my grandma’s health had taken a turn for the worst, I was actually sitting in the Charlottesville airport about to come home from a fun weekend with some of my favorite friends. It was quite the jolt into a sad reality. It’s so strange to me to think about how HAPPY and carefree I was and how suddenly that shifted into concern and helplessness. For this post, though, I’m going to focus on the happy weekend.

As you may remember from this post, I have a few friends from high school who mean a lot to me:

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Give Hugs, Take Pictures

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Give Hugs, Take Pictures

A couple weeks ago, my grandmother passed away. To be honest, I still can’t really believe she’s gone. It feels like a piece of my heart has slipped away, but at the same time, being back in Florida and back in my usual routine feels pretty normal. Living so far away from “home” for the past few years, I’ve gotten used to only seeing my grandparents in person once a year when I’m home for Christmas. It’s a sad truth about living far from home – you realistically just don’t get to SEE your family as often as you’d like.

When I was a kid, though, once a week, she and my grandpa would stop by the house and visit for an hour or two. My grandpa did most of the talking, but I always got to talk with her for a few minutes about school or our dog or, you know, whatever was on TV. She was always interested, always willing to listen, and she always told me that she loved me. Those moments were so simple, and so comforting.

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Pre-School for Adults

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Something wonderful happened to me.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try a new yoga class – Flow & Meditation – and it was the best medicine.

I arrived at my regular yoga studio a few minutes early and the instructor asked me if I had ever taken this particular class before. I said no, and he told me the class consists of:

  • 45 minutes of vigorous vinyasa yoga exercises
  • 20 minutes of  guided meditation
  • 10 minute reflective writing activity

My first thought was wait, really?! There’s a writing prompt? 

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