Inspired by _______________________

Inspired.

There really is no better way to describe the day I had today.

Often, when I sit down to share my thoughts with the world on this blog, I tend to focus on a negative or less-than-glamorous aspect of my life and strive to find the silver lining of positivity.

However, today I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m going to share the positive elements of my day.

Today, I was inspired by:

1) My co-worker, who has a hearty laugh that is highly infectious.

2) A grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni and cheese embedded within, and the lovely company of one of my closest friends.

3) A young man that I guarantee will win a Tony someday, had amazing stories to share, and yet has remained sensationally humble.

4) The sweet stench of the city air while sitting on a park bench.

5) The image of two women wrangling a mattress up a flight of stairs to a cozy efficiency apartment with the biggest personality in the city.

6) The stories and tales we shared over drinks and sweet potato fries while on a rooftop overlooking the city we both love.

7) A theater company and the story they shared about women, who helped save generations of future women by their actions.

8) Z himself, who continues to surprise me with his endurance and strength, and my pride for him grows. And – on that note – despite his most tired of days, still takes the time to tell me he loves me – even though I already know.

9) The stars. Whether you believe in a higher power or science or both – the stars are beautiful and miraculous, no matter how you look at them.

Some days, I spend far too many breaths complaining. Today was a great wake up call in the best way. I was reminded that it is never too late – or early – to dream big. I was encouraged to try new things and be spontaneous. I recalled how great conversation can be. I was humbled by the stories of women, who faced workplaces much more dire than my own. I felt an incredible surge of love and respect for a man I sometimes don’t always appreciate. Finally, and above all, I felt content knowing that my life is far from perfect – and somehow that makes it just right.

May you be inspired today by anything – great or small.

Sincerely,

The Shoe

3-Hitch-quotes

To My Dearest Self

A month ago I promised myself I would maintain this blog better. This month ago I made a lot of semi-serious promises to myself, what most people call “New Year Resolutions”, the silly semi-serious promises we make ourselves before another winter storm and several inches of snow takes every ounce of optimism away from us. Before we know it, the new year is beginning to resemble the previous year. The only difference being one is older, in not just age but potentially looks, and the sheer frustration that if I haven’t lost the weight or kept up with my goals that I keep making for some reason-will I ever truly change?

whats-wrong-with-me-clueless

I love my commute home. After a day of work, which could be any number of things (long, busy, fun, boring, tiring, upsetting, or the go-to “ok”), I settle into my car for a 30-minute drive on side roads in rush hour traffic. I don’t know if it’s because I finally have a few moments to myself to think, or if it is the natural calm that comes with driving, but I have some of my best ideas and thoughts while driving. They range from picking and working on songs I hope to perform in a lip synch battle with Jimmy Fallon someday…

paul-rudd-fallon-4

to planning my dream elopement (which won’t sadly happen because I’m not heartless nor do I lack feelings). [end sarcasm]

Sometimes my mind wonders to my writing (or lack thereof). Everything from writing prompts to my writing style to the fact that I have all these great ideas swirling around in my cranium and yet when it comes to actually pinning them down in actual ink (or pixelated text) I suddenly whine and say it’s too hard, I suck at writing and shouldn’t even try-and before I know it I’m watching another season of Friends on Netflix (after I get home, of course).

5d49bbb3-e250-4445-8ce5-9214fd148812

Most often, though, my thoughts become rather reflective and I begin to look at myself.

DPId3bd

I guess when I was younger, I saw myself further in life. To be honest, I never really pictured life after 24 years old. I kind of just assumed that I would graduate college, get an awesome job I loved, marry my true love, and start making babies-all before the age of 25 (I have diary entries to back it up…however we won’t get into that right now).

nathan fillion gif

If I’m being fair however, my ten-year-old self wasn’t factoring in some pretty big details. Like, student loans: how after almost three years, you will still be paying off your education and degree. Or the big awesome job? Some days I do truly love the job and what I do, but other days are hard-that’s just life. Life is never easy, it’s never without challenges, every day has it’s own struggles that need to be overcome. And marriage-marriage is not as simple as I originally thought as a child. I thought it was as easy as bumping into some random stranger that when your eyes met they just knew your whole life story-one they joined a year or two later. I didn’t factor in things like loving someone despite their flaws and faults, loving someone when they have wronged someone (or after you have wronged them), not being ready for the big commitment marriage is or how truly long ‘forever’ is. Don’t even get me started on babies. There are a lot of things they didn’t cover in my high school sex education class.

16755f059deae0825e7d41f4c8da5dfb

I look in the mirror at what I have become physically. I resemble that ten-year-old girl, except I look older-and tired. My hair has lost that youthful luster, while the acne I was told would go away still is camping out on my cheeks. My body is no longer rail thin-it instead boasts curves, edges-some larger than I would like.

tinker-bell-o

What I don’t spend enough time doing is looking on what I have become on the inside. Believe me, it’s a bit of a murky mess, but a murky mess that intrigues me-and oddly makes me optimistic. I’m not the strongest person I could be-but the potential is there. I’m not the most confident person I could be-but the potential is there. There are some qualities of mine that have grown and matured and have developed quite nicely over the years, while others could use some work and careful tending.

large

What I don’t always recognize is how intertwined our inner selves and our outer shells are connected. If you feel like utter rubbish on the inside, it isn’t going to help you feel like a million dollars on the outside (nor will you be motivated to even make an effort to fake the look through the use of smoke and mirrors). I have a vision in my mind of what I could look like-should look like-but if I don’t start making changes on the inside where it matters, than that vision is going to stay exactly what it is right now-an imaginary picture of what I could be and nothing more.

tumblr_m02obqnrfK1qf72gzo1_500

So as I stare at myself in the mirror, a month after I made some semi-serious (and semi-empty) promises to myself, I think about the inner self and the outer shell. How it honestly is never too late to make a resolution, and at the same time realizing I am nothing more than a human being that will occasionally slip up. Thinking that maybe I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be the best instead of just to be my best. There is a difference, after all.

tumblr_lpitiin2zH1qccl5co1_500

So here’s to not giving up, but letting myself fall down sometimes. Here’s to sorting out the mess on the inside, with hopes of it oozing to the surface. Here’s to loving myself enough to give myself a chance. Or several chances, since I will screw up the ones given. Here’s to still dreaming, because even though every dream is now drizzled with a sense of realism, that ten-year-old girl that thought the sky was limitless is still inside-pushing, motivating, desiring-and I owe it to her-and myself-to let her be heard.

This Valentine’s Day, yes I will hand out whimsical valentines to my co-workers and shower Z with amorous love. But first? I’m going to try to love myself better than I have been. I think that’s a good resolution-who cares what time of year it is.

tumblr_nhdb9l69sy1tm7ek5o1_500

Sincerely,

The Shoe

tumblr_m7ic7qkzja1ralt7qo1_500

The Last Five Years: A Love Letter from A to Z

Spoiler Alert: I am branching out from my usual writing today to dedicate this following piece to someone of major significance today. The following post will contain the words ‘love’ and ‘relationships’ more times than some individuals will like, overtly affectionate phrases, and a semi-in-depth look at me and my significant other. To aid in my tale, I will be using GIFs featuring famous couples from film and television, including some of my all-time favorite OTPs (One True Pairings for you folks playing at home). If at any point you feel uncomfortable with this post, please feel free to stop reading and click away as I textually ramble on. 🙂

****

Dear Z (and everyone else reading this),

Today is December 17th. If you recall, six years ago this was approximately four days after we had just broken up. I remember the date because we broke up on your birthday. You initiated, while I held a Tupperware container filled with lemon poppyseed muffins-your favorite, one of the few things I knew about you at that point. It was also the first time I had ever written you a letter.

New-Girl-8

In my case, lemonade into lemons and back into lemon poppyseed muffins. But I digress.

Five years ago today, there was snow on the ground but it was oddly warm. Finals at school were just finishing up, and we were walking to Subway for dinner. It was the first time I wore your dark red sweatshirt (the one that now takes residence in my closet). We picked up some pre-dinner hot cocoas, and I can literally pinpoint on a Google map the moment everything changed-I was in mid sentence one second, and the exact next one you were kissing me.

tumblr_n8ef7qI6Zs1tw7ipwo8_500

In this particular scenario, I was more like Flynn. Which makes this story even better. 🙂

At that point, I was amazed at how much had changed in one year.
Now as I sit here and write this, I’m amazed at how much has changed in the five years since.

The first six months we were inseparable, which led to driving our roommates and close friends absolutely nuts. In all honesty, we didn’t notice or we did but didn’t care. That sounds callous, but it’s true. I’ve seen it happen with other friends and their significant others and we weren’t any different. We walked around with big goofy grins on our faces, walked each other to every single class no matter how inconvenient, and made single friends and established couples feel awkward with our constant affections of hand-holding, hugging, and making eyes at each other.

tumblr_n7ycxlDMYX1tq9jkho1_500

Regina is totally right. They totally make eyes at each other.

We felt this infallible certainty that we were meant to be together, we chose a song to be ours, and you boldly stated you could see us getting married.

tumblr_mr6uxzWBlw1qcvteuo1_500-1

This was also before I appreciated Firefly, but clearly the ideal marriage. Wash and Zoe, and Serenity never happened.

And then…graduation happened and so did reality.

is this real life

For the past five years, 4.5 of those years have been spent apart. You in one city, and I in another. Divided by over 100 miles and two hours, we have crammed the in-person aspects of our relationship in tiny windows of time resembling not-long-enough weekends. To say the least, this has lead to a very unique dynamic of our relationship. Our time together is limited and precious, and some friends feel alienated, hurt, or confused when we don’t want to spend time with them while we are together. Others scoff as we have labeled this a “long distance” courtship, because we haven’t had to endure being states or countries apart. We’ve had to balance our conflicting schedules (school, the inconsistencies of retail, and working on weekends), we’ve had to work around living arrangements due to not having our own places, and above all, we have had to answer the question “So when are you guys getting engaged?” from countless friends, co-workers, family members, clients, pastors, and even random strangers.

2j64agw

No commentary necessary.

We’ve been asked that question so many times that if I received a dollar for every time either of us were approached with that question we would have enough money to pay off my loans, a down payment on a house, and enough left over for a month long venture around the world.

himym-marshall-lily-high-five

For the past five years, our relationship and where it is headed has been at the fore front of many conversations. Where some couples when dating can merely sit next to each other on a couch and binge watch Netflix when they see each other every night, we have to cram the following into 48 hours (and less if we exclude the hours we spend sleeping): every conversation we started while apart over the phone but decided was better discussed in person, life goals and aspirations, basic and general dating questions such as “how many kids you want?”, “Are you a dog person?”, or “Where do you want to live someday?”, learning about each other from basic observation (Pet peevs: Feet on pillows-me and excess hair on my hairbrush-him), and talking about the big huge M word (money) and the even bigger huge M word (marriage).

Jessica Day is a big deal

Most couples discuss these things over the course of a month or two. We get a weekend. Or two. If we are lucky.

For the past five years, we have certainly learned a lot about each other. You like to cook, and I like to do laundry. We both can find the humor in Six Days, Seven Nights, and have a vast array of inside jokes (well, not only). We have traveled together, to the mountains in Colorado to the cherry blossoms of D.C. We have survived camping during an awful thunderstorm and a huge fight over a water ride. I’ve edited your Facebook posts for grammatical inaccuracies and you’ve attempted to help me understand the basics of math.

We’ve critiqued each other, which has led us to some of our best work-after our pride was slightly damaged because of how much each other’s opinion means to the other. We have gone clothes shopping together, where you have encouraged me to spend money and will honestly tell me if something doesn’t look good-or if it does. We’ve gone grocery shopping together, and have both taken turns telling the other one to put things back on the shelf because “we don’t need it.” You’ve pushed me because you’ve seen my potential, and I’ve challenged you on more than one occasion, making us equals and well-matched when it comes to our feisty spirits.

tumblr_mudgr8Wpjy1snzlfbo1_500

For the past five years, we have definitely been there for each other. I was there for you when you graduated, and all the emotional baggage that came with. You returned the favor two years later, proudly looking on as I walked across that stage, and stood by me when I went through my own rough patch after graduation.

The Holiday, low point

We’ve been there for each other through unemployment, the uncertain future of business ventures, job rejections in the form of email, failed job interviews, and sharing a mutual understanding of the hell that can be working retail. We’ve been there for each other at funerals and at hospitals where the lives of loved ones were uncertain or being remembered. We have been there for each other as we have double teamed babysitting for friends and their kids, and have learned just how intense children can be. We’ve been there for each other for birthdays and anniversaries, taking turns picking up the tab on dinners and vacations pending on who was more financially stable at the time. We’ve been there for each other through receding hairlines and graying strands, through weight gain and loss. We’ve even been there for each other when we weren’t sure about our future, and that is a pretty big-and awesome-thing.

tumblr_llxlm7e1Jg1qguurxo1_500

For the past five years, if there is one thing I have learned is that I have a friend in you and you in I. The past five years have been far from easy, and I’m sure life will only throw more curveballs the older we get. However, the past five years have also been filled with countless hours and moments of sheer joy, and I honestly cannot find the right words to express just how grateful I am for it all.

I am so grateful for the hours of laughter to the point of being out of breath, the respect and admiration that has grown for each other, the million little things we do to say “I love you,” the complete honesty and bluntness we bring to every hefty conversation, the moments we can just revel in each other’s company, the hugs that feel like home, every single car ride no matter how many times we debate the accuracy of the GPS, the frank talks about our deepest fears and faith, our trips to Barnes and Noble when caffeine pulsates through our veins and our ideas take flight, and every single moment where we communicate with our eyes with knowing glances or raised eyebrows-every single of these millions of moments I am so grateful for and glad to have been able to share with you.

Jess-and-Nick-3-jess-and-nick-33234723-500-281

Too often I look forward, wondering how this will all turn out. Some may say after reading this I have spent too much time looking back. No matter which direction, I just want you to know how much I love you and how no matter what happens, I am beyond blessed to have you in my life now-as my boyfriend yes, but more importantly as a friend.

tumblr_lorfzsGB0Y1qmhxdho1_500

Today I was talking with a friend, and she flat out told me this:

“He’s a good one. He really is. Don’t lose him.”

I think too often I don’t appreciate you or what we have, and what’s good and great about us can get lost in the everyday nonsense that we let take over our lives. You really are a rarity among men, and I want to brag about that to the masses. Thus the reason for this piece. No, not to rub it in someone’s single face that I have an awesome boyfriend. And no, this is not to be construed as a major outcry for some overpriced finger jewelry.

This is simply a girl telling a guy that she still really likes him, and she just can’t keep it to herself.

tumblr_n0blmbbLgO1slndnyo5_500

Happy Anniversary Z. I love you. Lotza. 😉

Sincerely,

Your Shoe

tumblr_mv51psu3PY1spszaao1_250

25 Things To Do Before You Get Married or Get Married Before You Turn 25…

marty mcfly girl and engagement

Lately, I have seen some blogs going around that fall into one of two camps: A list of several things one should do before they get married or engaged, and the other, almost in retaliation and defense, stating the positives and perks to getting married young. Both are getting hundreds and thousands of likes and shares, and at the same time, very negative and in some cases, down-right rude comments and responses.

Okay. Enough is enough. I worked in a bridal shop for way too long, have a closet of way too many bridesmaid dresses, have read way too many of these blogs and their consequential comments- I have to say something.

(Warning: As much as I will try to be objective and fair, I know I will wind up offending someone. Just know that going in. These are my personal opinions, so take that with a grain of salt.)

Okay, *deep breath*, here it goes…

Sherlock breath

Who Actually Is Right?

My honest response? Both sides are. Both sides aren’t. They are both right and wrong, simultaneously. Both sides make compelling arguments, and at the same time both sides make compelling rebuttals to said arguments. Both sides also have various individuals that aren’t being respectful or nice about this debate, and both sides have individuals not listening to what the other side is saying. That’s where it starts to unravel into one hot mess of things sensible people try to avoid (and weirdos like me like to analyze and dissect and write blog posts five people in the whole world read regarding the subject).

new girl gif blog 3

Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ Is Right…

I will say this flat out: I am not married. Yet. And I honestly want to hold off for a little while still. That’s for me. That is a decision for my personal self and my significant other only, a decision that changed over the years like many thoughts and feelings we possess can change over the years. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a teacher, and be married by age 22 and start having kids soon after.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting that.

No really, there isn’t.

Here’s why: Some people meet the love of their life in high school and stay married (and happily at that!) for over 50 years, and have three kids and the wife fulfills the traditional role of housewife and stay-at-home-mom and the husband fulfills the traditional role of financial provider for the family. For some individuals, that is their ultimate dream/goal in life: to find love and have a family of their own to love and grow with. And it’s not a bad dream. If we can encourage young girls (and boys too) to be astronauts, ballerinas, doctors, actors, artists, lawyers, construction workers, police officers, marine biologists-than we can certainly encourage young girls (and boys too) to want to strive for a lifelong partner/friend/lover/confidant and having kids with them. Some moms (and dads too)-being the stay-at-home parent or “soccer mom/dad” is there calling-they are crafty to a level no Pinterest or Etsy stalker can ever master, they just have a way with their kids, and they enjoy their job (because in essence, what they do is a job of sorts, and hard work at times) in a world where a lot of grown ups don’t.

And that is pretty awesome, if I do say so.

phoebe friends business suit

…and Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ is Wrong.

As stated above, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, get married at age 22 right after college and start having kids. And, like a lot of people, I grew and changed with the seasons. My hatred for onions went away one day, and I found myself ordering them on my pizza. My adamant statement about never shaving my legs disappeared when I had to wear a dress in the school play and realized my hairy legs were sort of distracting in the short skirted costume. And, like both of those instances, my ideal job changed after the first year in college and my aspirations regarding marriage changed when I actually fell in love.

Some people know what they want at a very young age and stick to it like glue their whole life. Others, like me, went through wishy-washy phases and changed their mind.

best friend's wedding but they don't

And that’s why sometimes (note: sometimes) getting married young can be…dangerous…or risky. At the wise age of ten, my simple definition of marriage had been fabricated by Disney movies (the concept of true love) and “that’s what grown ups do-they fall in love and get married and have babies”. When you break it down, that is what happens-but I didn’t full comprehend all of what goes into a marriage.

Definitions regarding marriage vary with everyone, which is part of the problem with this “feud” that is going on. In my opinion (that I view as fact), marriage is a lifelong commitment to one person, that no matter what, for better or worse, you will stand by them and choose them repeatedly time and time again to be the one you share and go through life with. Even that run on sentence doesn’t seem to do justice to the definition of marriage. In short, marriage is a big deal.

A big deal not everyone gets, at say, the age of 20.

A big deal that some people get confused with the word “wedding.”

A big deal that results in an even bigger deal: divorce.

I have many friends that got married at a younger age (before age 25), and they are happy. They love their life and they love their kids. I can honestly say they knew what they were getting into, and marriage made them a better people individually and collectively. On the flip side, I have had quite a few friends rush into marriage/engagement, regret their decision, and ultimately break up or break it off.  Now, I won’t claim to be an expert at why said marriages/engagements ended, because very situation is different, but some of them might have ended for a few different reasons.

1) They didn’t think of what their definition of marriage was.

2) Their definition of what a marriage was changed.

3) They both changed, or both started to see the real person they married.

4) Other (meaning every situation is different, and I will not claim to know every reason why a marriage ends, because I don’t)

Sometimes (not all) when people get married young, they haven’t come to the conclusion of what their definition of marriage is. Some (not all) are not emotionally ready or mature enough to handle what can come with marriage (whether it be at 18, 28, 38, or 78!) Some (not all) did a great job of concealing all their crazy and true personality from their spouse until after the marriage…or some (not all) ignored all the signs while they were dating.

crazy cameron diaz

Some (not all) proclaimed they could change their spouse and that love was more than enough. Some (not all) have other reasons why it didn’t work out after they married young.

So, in conclusion the “getting married young camp” is right. And wrong.

kurt what gif

Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Right…

Recently, I just started a new job (which saying I really am enjoying it is quite the understatement ;), have taken the first steps to moving out of my childhood bedroom and into my first non-campus apartment, and making more time for my writing. I am really happy with where I am right now and really excited for future adventures…

Future adventures that will hopefully someday include marriage…but not just yet. There are a few other places I would ideally like to visit before getting married, a few more dreams and goals I would like to achieve (or at least attempt) before settling down, and preferably I would like to be in a better place financially (mainly getting rid of some debt I have accrued) before taking on the additional responsibility (and expense) children could bring to the equation. Because, for me (and my boyfriend), we want to be able to 100% focus on each other and our children when it’s time to get married. We both don’t want to look back wistfully at these years and regret not taking a chance on our dreams.

And that’s where the get married later camp is right. They encourage knowing yourself before you commit to someone for life, they encourage traveling and additional school, because while not impossible once married or once a parent, it can be harder to schedule in with everything else and financially not as feasible. Not everyone needs to go on adventures before they settle down, and some people know who they are at a younger age than others. But some don’t, and need that extra time. And I honestly think it is wise to take their time than rush into something they might regret or will negatively affect another person or persons in ten years.

In a way, taking the time to be selfish now is better than deciding to be selfish later, once you should (at least in my opinion) be putting your spouse and children before yourself.

So there is nothing wrong with waiting, and putting career, education, and travel before marriage for awhile.

No, really, there is nothing wrong with it.

meryl streep life worth living

…and Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Wrong.

As stated above, some people want to get married young, and understand what marriage is and isn’t. Some are financially set sooner, some want to have kids younger as opposed to older, and some meet the right person at the right time ten years sooner than others.

Sometimes this camp doesn’t factor in things like the changes a woman’s body goes through in her twenties and early thirties, and that the biological clock is a real thing, despite the advancements made in modern medicine. Not everyone wants kids, but some people do, and even if you want to have a career and have a family (which, it is possible to do both), you have to keep these things in mind. Others view getting married and being a stay-at-home-parent as weakness, which isn’t right either-the same way some women from the other camp might view being a successful career leader “not as rewarding” as being a parent.

And sometimes the people in this camp are just bitter single unmarried women that haven’t met the right person yet, and are just trying to make themselves better. A spade is a spade. (I say this as an unmarried woman that has gone through a phase..or two of this).

jess cat single

In conclusion, the get married later camp is right. And wrong.

tina fey funny face

What Bugs Me the Most About This Debate

Honestly, what bugs me the most about these two different camps feuding, is how downright rude and disrespectful some women can be to other women on the other side. One woman claims to not be judgmental, but starts name-calling and border line bullying a women who commented with a different opinion. Other women went out of their way to say “Well, I MARRIED YOUNG AND MY MARRIAGE IS PERFECT” only to be greeted with other women exclaiming “YOU ARE COVERING UP AND LYING AND PROBABLY ARE MISERABLE AND FAT”. (Alternative: “WELL I’M SINGLE AND TRAVELING AND LOVING IT SO THERE!” and in response to that “YOU ARE LONELY AND PROBABLY UGLY AND THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T LAND A MAN)

Knock. It. Off.

use your brain

Come on, people. Life is hard enough. Do we really need to break someone down so we can build ourselves up? Do we really need to throw it in people’s faces that we are happy, or are we doing it to make ourselves feel better, as someone claimed? Why do we feel the need to judge? Why are we insecure about the paths we choose? Why can’t we just be happy for each other? Why do we have to pick a side? Why are we “stupid and naive” for wanting to marry young? Why are we “unhappy and immature” for choosing a career? Why, why, why…

Why Does This Debate Matter In the First Place?

Because really, when a person gets married (or doesn’t get married) is their business. It’s between them and God as far as I’m concerned. Heck, honestly someone could look at this extremely long blog post and wonder why I wasted the time even writing this thing (and if someone calls me out on that-go right ahead. Because you’re right-I shouldn’t feel the need to have to address this and spend my Sunday afternoon writing about this) People marry young. People marry old. Some people are happy in their marriages. Some aren’t. Some are happy single. Some aren’t. But that is their business, and name calling and just being downright awful to each other isn’t helping.

new girl gif blog 7

Finally, Life Is…

Last year, I wrote a post about why people waste so much of their time worrying about things, from the petty to the past and the future-why do we worry? Because if you remember that life will eventually end…because we will all die…it makes all these petty internet squabbles (and even these ranty, drawn out, blog posts)…kind of pointless. So, really, we should just stop and be nice to each other, you know? 🙂

On that note, end note.

Shoe out!

schmidt out