Unavoidable Angst

Ever since my angsty tween years of journaling, I’ve knows that it’s harder for me to write when I’m happy. Contentment is just not as entertaining as awkwardness, anger, or apathy (the miseries of growing up, really). It’s much more interesting to watch Lena Dunham play out the romantic and professional woes of a twenty-something on HBO than it is to follow around a happily married young professional with a healthy savings account.

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Where’s the drama? Where’s the hyperbole of hysteria over the bad dates and binge eating and credit card debt? Where is that black hole that I wished for so long would just open up and swallow me to end the existential suffering? I filled journal after journal with words dowsed in despair over my youthful heartbreaks, self hate, and unrequited love for Nick Carter.

Nick Carter_Backstreet Boys

As I grew up, looking back on those thoughts and experiences became almost embarrassing (who’s not embarrassed by their 14 year old self?), but I could never get rid of the journals. Every time I tried, my fingers just flipped through the worn pages – that familiar angst – and I would end up clutching them even closer. They still live with me. And with Mr. Rathroy, I guess, though he’s too much of a gentleman to admit it if she’s peeked inside any of them…

“The pain returns with such eager delight. So quick to remind you of your expendable existence in another’s heart. Your body, rendered undesirable, wilts. Your mind, proven unnecessary, deteriorates. And your heart, mercilessly rejected, explodes.”

I seriously wrote that when I was a teenager. I mean, yikes.

The words that teenage Kelly wrote, oftentimes in despair, have served so many purposes. They were an outlet for a tortured heart, a creative exercise to mix my tragic words with those of Shakespeare, a voice for a girl that just sought to stay anonymous. But scanning through those words now provides an entirely different perspective – an acknowledgement of what it took to become who I am. Yes, it would be really boring to follow me around with a camera today. I’ll admit that I am entirely too happy to be entertaining. But that angst, that awkward phase, that rebellious streak, that desire to have a black hole open up and swallow you – that’s our common thread. For some of us, those feelings and phases mercifully fade when you graduate high school. For others, it might seem like there’s still no end in sight. But those are shared struggles – something that almost everyone can relate to.

I’m thankful for the Carrie Bradshaws and the Hannah Horvaths and the Liz Lemons because they make it seem not so uncommon to stumble and even be miserable at times along your life path. They give legitimacy to periods in life that most people hide in journals or in the depths of their own hearts. Falling down is how we learn to get back up, and there should be no shame in that, especially when it’s a universal experience.

Fourteen-year-old Kelly couldn’t have known the impact that her words would have in the future. All I wanted at the time was to pour out my feelings and in doing that, I gave myself concrete proof of how far I would go. It’s really easy to forget the pain once it dissipates, but anytime I question my journey, question my progress, or question my writing skills, I can look back on those worn pages, filled with that familiar angst, and know that I’m heading in the right direction.

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A Swift Kick in the Ass

I finished my book today. I sat down to read through what promised to be another insightful chapter only to realize that it would be the last. Only pages upon pages of references would follow this chapter, and then what?

Sheryl Sandberg_Lean In_Book Cover

For the last few weeks, I’ve been thoughtfully and ravenously making my way through Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. It’s been a daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and learning about my own inner boss. Since starting the book, I’ve made long term career goals for the first time in my life, we’ve started shifting toward an equal division of labor in our household (because I finally let go of the need to do everything myself), and I’ve even registered for my first continued education course since graduating college in 2007.

It’s been a big couple of weeks.

So when I turned over the last page of narrative, I went a little pale. The Acknowledgements and References at the end of the book made it look like there was still so much to read – so much wisdom to gain and mental power to build. But, alas, it was over. I had underlined and dog-eared my way to the end. And now I was done.

In a daze, I surveyed the room, looking for something, anything with meaning that could fill the unexpected void. I sent a text to Mr. Rathroy knowing that he would sympathize or joke or somehow make it better. And boy, did he deliver.

Text_Book

He responded immediately and my eyes welled up with tears before I could even open my lock screen. It could be literal. It could be metaphorical. It could be anything I wanted it to be, and that’s exactly the point. I needed the swift kick in the ass that Sandberg’s words gave me, but all of the follow-up was of my own doing. I’ve started making moves and leaning into my own career and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m capable of creating whatever life I want.

So, yes. I will write my own book. It may never be in print, but it will be a powerful, real life example. And I hope it helps inspire someone else to create the same for themselves.

Honeymoon Registries – Trending or Tacky?

Our wedding venue is amazing in so many ways – the mostly inclusive packages, the on-site coordination, the trees, the food, the bar, I could go on and on. But one of my favorite things about them is that they run their own blog. It’s a place for brides and grooms (past, current, and future) to read about wedding ideas and get inspiration. A supportive and informative community in the otherwise stressful wedding industry.

The ceremony site at Forest House Lodge.

The ceremony site at Forest House Lodge.

Recently, they put out a call for bride bloggers to discuss their experiences during the planning process. They thought, “What better way to convey useful information than to feature our own couples?” And lucky me, I get to be one of them! The first thing that came to my mind for a Forest House Lodge blog post was the controversial honeymoon registry. Mr. Rathroy and I decided that our main registry would be for our honeymoon since we didn’t really need anything else and we would be a little low on funds after the wedding. We planned a pretty awesome, once in a lifetime trip to Patagonia, Chile and a post-wedding adventure is really the only thing we wanted.

Hiking through Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

Hiking through Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

Some people respond fabulously well to the idea of a honeymoon registry. Some people scoff at the blatant request for money. And you can read my thoughts on it at Storybook in the Sierras – The blog of the Forest House Lodge!

And if you’re wondering, “What does a wedding registry look like anyway? How does it work?” Feel free to take a peek at our Patagonia registry. Maybe it’ll be the right path for you too!

#icantreadyourrunonsentence

We have a new 15 year old intern at my office. Do you remember being 15? Because I had braces and wore a lot of Sketchers and if someone called my house after 9 p.m., my Dad answered and told them it was too late for me to accept phone calls. Apparently, that’s not what 15 year-olds are like these days.

During her introduction to the organization, it was mentioned she should “like” us on Facebook since she’ll be helping us manage our social media.

“Oh, I don’t have a Facebook,” she responded.

And as she explained why, it was like watching Dorothy dump a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch of the West. Whatever delusions I had of my youth’s existence melted away right in front of me – hissing and screaming the whole way.

Let me fill you in – Facebook is for old people. The youth have snubbed Facebook to avoid cyber friendships with the likes of their parents and even grandparents. And besides, who needs to express themselves or share information with words? Snap a picture, throw a few pound signs in there, and you’ve just told everyone (that’s hip enough to understand your lack of a space bar) where you are, what you’re doing, and how awesome you are for being there and doing that.

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I have to admit that this sent me into a spiral. I’ve always been resistant to technology, but up until this tween stepped in, I was the youngest in the office and I felt suddenly desperate to reclaim my youthful position. That day, I spent 3 hours on Twitter (still can’t use it) and Instagram (are pictures of my garden cool?) giving myself a crash course in #whatshipthesedays. And apparently, what’s hip these days is not the English language. Abbreviations, acronyms, and confusing inflection convey all the information necessary. It’s like a secret foreign language like the one you made up with your best friend so you could talk about cute boys in front of them and they wouldn’t know it. Except everyone under the age of 22 can speak it.

It’s been a rough journey into the unknown this week, and it feels pretty unsettling to know that I can already see the incoming employment competition. They are terrifying for so many reasons. Chief among them is that their main form of communication is the modern day hieroglyphics. Just think of the language studies that scientists will be doing thousands of years from now.

#nolongeringthemtvdemographic, #ohrightim100yearsold, #instagramasasecondlanguage, #hastagsmakemecrosseyed

10 Reasons to Elope – A Girls on the Grid Article

May is the last month before our wedding that I’m allowing myself to procrastinate. I’ve decided that June begins the “wedding red zone” and the countdown clock officially starts ticking – RSVPs will start coming in, a seating chart needs to be organized, my dress will finally arrive (after a 6 month wait).

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Russ and I have been less than aggressive with the wedding planning so far. Thankfully, our amazing wedding venue is mostly all-inclusive, so we haven’t had to do much, but the small tasks we have been required to accomplish have brought out the spoiled child in both of us. There’s a lot of whining and distractions before we can get ourselves to sit down and pick post ceremony h’orderves or select a first dance song.

All of this procrastination makes it seem like we’re not excited to get married. On the contrary, it’s pretty much the only thing we want to do. We had all major decisions made, most details arranged, and a wedding planned back in January. Problem was, the soonest date we could book at the venue was in August, which left us with lots of time to just wait for it to happen.

In all of this unexpected idle time, we’ve come to realize that the big, traditional wedding doesn’t sync up super well with our personalities. Neither of us want to be the center of attention. Neither of us want to be in charge (which is shocking when it comes to Bossy Pants McGee over here). Neither of us want to be in the middle of the dance floor for 3 minutes while 150 people watch us slowly spin around in a circle.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that our wedding is going to be amazing, but I would be lying if I said that we hadn’t discussed eloping. And I know we’re not the only couple that has questioned their desire to play host to the tradition. So, in case you ever find yourself at the intersection of “Tradition & I Hate This,” I’ve compiled a few reasons that make an elopement so appealing.

4 of the 10 Reasons to Elope

Continued over at Girls on the Grid

1. You get to keep your name.

Your first name at least. You can do whatever you want with your last name. If you elope and either surprise everyone or at least make it unnecessary to involve anyone in the planning, you’ll avoid being constantly and solely referred to as “bride.”

2. Becoming a bridezilla is inevitable.

Whether it’s demanding your bridesmaids start a “clean eating” regiment to slim down pre-wedding or launching a text message attack on your sister for not e-mailing you photos of your wedding dress fast enough. It’ll happen. And you’ll be embarrassed.

3. An extended honeymoon

If you’re eloping, you’re probably doing it somewhere awesome like Vegas or Tahiti. Get there early, get married, get honeymooning. I promise you’ll enjoy your wedding more if it’s in the middle of a vacation rather than a family reunion.

4. A healthy bank account

Or a bank account with any money in it at all. It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. Some people take out personal loans to pay for them! A typical wedding is equivalent in price to a four-year college degree. In an attempt to recover from my wedding sticker shock, I read about 100 articles describing, “How to throw a wedding for under $5,000!” After cutting your guest count, making it a potluck, and sewing your own wedding dress, you’ll wish you would have just eloped and spent the $5,000 on a private villa over the water instead.

To read the entire article and see even more reasons to elope, check out Girls on the Grid!

Liebster Blog Awards!

I have been blessed with not one, but TWO Liebster Blog Award Nominations! I was originally nominated a while ago and procrastinated (still haven’t dropped that habit from college) with my acceptance. Then, the other day, I received another nomination!

My socks have officially been blown off.

Not only is it amazing to be nominated for an award, but it just so happens that two of my favorite bloggers made the nomination and I feel so lucky!

The first is How NOT to Kill your Parents. She’s hilarious, an over-achiever, and wonderfully honest about what it’s like to live an adult life with multiple generations in one home. Thank you so much for reading and nominating my blog!

My second nominator, Homemade Sarcasm, is one crafty gal and will wow you with her adventures in DIY, blogging and life! She inspires me with her creations and I feel so lucky to have her as a reader!

Now, let’s get down to business. What is this Liebster Blog Award anyway?

Well, it’s more of an acknowledgement, really. Nominees answer questions crafted by their blogging nominator and then pass the love along to their own list of nominees. It’s a great way to spread the blog love for those that you enjoy with fewer than 200 followers. Introduce your readership to your favorites and make it known that you love their words!

Liebster Blog Award Rules in a Nutshell:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions that they asked you in their nomination post – I picked 6 questions from each nomination as to not bore you
  3. Nominate 11 other blogs
  4. Ask your nominees 11 new questions

Get ready to learn a whole heck-of-a-lot about me thanks to the probing questions of How NOT to Kill your Parents and Homemade Sarcasm!

Questions from How NOT to Kill Your Parents:

1. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve been a writer since about the 4th grade when I got my first diary. I wanted something that would help me focus my writing and turn it into an actual craft rather than a form of journaling.

2. What is your “guilty pleasure” reading?

The Hunger Games. I’m a really slow reader and it actually discourages me from reading new books, but when I started the Hunger Games trilogy, I devoured them in like a week. It’s embarrassing how much I loved books that were written for 14 year old girls.

3. What’s one thing you did that you would never, not in a million years, let your own kids do?

Oh boy, that’s a great question. I’m very quickly realizing how awful teenagers are (and how awful I was when I was a teenager) so…everything?

4. What has been your most ridiculous Halloween costume?

The girl scout. As a senior in college, I wore my actual girl scout uniform from elementary school. It was much smaller than I remembered…

5. What is the one inanimate object in your life that you simply could do not without?

Opie. He’s a stuffed penguin. I sleep with him every night. It’s starting to get embarrassing, but I love him so much that I don’t care enough yet.

6. What activity do you do to de-stress?

Engage in hysterical panic attacks. Or write. Or exercise.

Questions from Homemade Sarcasm:

1. What did you answer, as a child, when adults asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Always a Marine Biologist. I got all the way to duck biologist and quit the game. I’m a desk jockey   now.

2. If you were stranded on a desert island, what are your 3 most important things to have?

        Mr. Rathroy

        Unlimited supply of fresh water

        Piper

3. What is your favourite movie genre?

Comedy. Laughter just makes life better.

4. Your least favourite?

Horror. I can’t even watch a preview. I just cower in the corner with all the lights on for a week afterward.

5. If you could only complete one more project, what would it be?

I would write a book.

6. What is your favourite cooking/baking ingredient?

Butter. I try really hard to make healthier recipes with yogurt and almond flour and coconut oil, but butter is just the most delicious thing in the whole world.

The Nominees:

Enough about me! Let’s learn about even more awesome blogs! I’m proud to share my love for the following 7 blogs by nominating them for a Liebster Blog Award:

1. Leaner by the Lake – A super fun, versatile, and awesome blog! Learn about clean eating, youthful adventures, relationships, and more!

2. The Other Courtney – An honest look at daily life with lots of humor mixed in.

3. Celebrate We Will – Join in on a baby adventure! Pregnancy, marriage, and long beach – could there be a better combination?

4. Good Hazel – Crafting, cooking, nursing school, careers and a baby!

5. fitREform – To quote the blogger herself, “An everyday girl’s journey to reform her life through fitness and health.”

6. Russell Conroy Photography – Beautiful pictures. Beautiful man. This is my very own shameless plug for Mr. Rathroy.

7. Flour & Hops – Cooking, baking and drinking. Need I say more?

And finally, the last piece in this crazy chain-letter-like award: The 11 questions that I would love my nominees to answer:

1. Why do you blog?

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

3.  Which song can make you start dancing immediately?

4. What is the achievement you are most proud of?

5. If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

6. What location is top on your vacation list?

7. What is your favorite thing to do outdoors?

8. If you joined the circus, what act would you perform?

9. Nap or no nap?

10. What item/experience would you or do you splurge on?

11. What makes you smile every time?

Remember that there’s no obligation or time limit. I’m passing the Liebster Award to each of my nominees because I want the whole blogging world to know how awesome they are! I am beyond grateful for my nominations! Even Piper got so excited that she had to take a nap!

Piper Nap

Boot Straps

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

-Reggie Leach

 

That quote has been defining the way I approach my quarter life crisis lately.

It’s all too common for people (especially young people, from what I can tell) to expect something from the world. Like an incentive to become a productive member of society. A down payment on adulthood. I think people watch reality TV and super rich celebrities and think that if they just wait long enough, or lead a ridiculous enough life, that the fame and fortune they are due will come to them.

Seriously? You want to be in the same category as Honey Boo Boo?

The most successful and influential people in my life are the ones that have used their natural talents and worked for every single thing they have. I strive every day to join that crowd. To bring something nice to the world in a way that only I can.

Some days are undoubtedly more difficult than others. There are days when I could keep every shudder in my house closed, shut my eyes, and ignore all of the pressure, the disappointment, and the fear that exists in my own mind. And it takes every shred of positive thinking that I can muster to pull myself up and create something. Anything. Write a blog post, make a new recipe, plant a tree. Something. And it becomes a tangible reflection of my contribution, my abilities, my potential.

“A man said to the universe,

‘Sir, I exist!’

‘However,’ replied the universe,

‘the fact has not created in me

a sense of obligation.'”

– Stephen Crane

That poem scared the bejesus out of me when I first read it during my angsty high school years. But as I’ve become more familiar with myself and with the world around me, I realize that it’s not the universe’s obligation. It’s not anyone’s obligation but my own. I exist. And what I do with that fact will not only define my own life but will, in some small way, shape the world.

My counselor once told me that it takes 10 positive thoughts to outweigh and overrule the neurological pathway that 1 negative thought creates. Whether it’s true or not, I choose to believe it. Because that would mean that it’s ten times easier to keep your eyes and shudders closed all day. So every morning that I wake up, smile at people I see that day, and work towards creating the best life possible, I’m defeating the odds. And that is great motivation to keep going. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have hundreds of positive thoughts streaming through your mind that dozens of negative ones?

I’ll leave you with a link to one of my newfound favorite things in the whole world. This kid really knows how to motivate!

Pep Talk by Kid President

What’s your favorite motivational quote or activity?