Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Oh the Places I've Lived

This summer, I'll be moving into my twelfth place. At only 26, that's a lot of different spaces to call "home." I've been lucky enough to live in a multitutde of places, in Ontario, Canada, and California, and now Illinois. I spent some time sketching each of the places I've lived, which made me realize just how special each place was. Since I've lived in so many places, I thought it'd be fun to share a little piece of each home with you.

HOME #1: CEDAR DRIVE in ORANGEVILLE, ONTARIO, CAN (1992-1996)
This is the house both my sister and I started our lives in. I moved out of this house when I was 4, so I don't remember much of it. The only thing I do remember is hainvg a giant bedroom. The previous owners had knocked the wall down between two rooms, so it was huge. Running and jumping onto the bed was a fun pastime of mine.

HOME #2: ALANAVALE DRIVE in CALENDON, ONTARIO, CAN (1996-2000)
The backyard in this house was insane. We had an acre of land with two sheds and a giant jungle-gym. I used to practice my tap routines in one of the sheds, trying so hard to memorize all the names of the steps. If you ask my parents, I think they'd tell you this is one of their favorite houses.

HOME #3: VIA ZARAGOZA in YORBA LINDA, CALIFORNIA (2000-2003)
This was our first California house and it was perfect. I lived so close to all of my friends, so we could easily bike to one another's houses. The three girls that I met while living there are still three of my best friends. Although we've all moved to different states now, this place will always hold a special place in my heart. This house was the foundation for those friendships.

HOME #4: SUZANNE STREET in LASALLE, ONTARIO, CAN (2003-2006)
This move was hard. I had the best of friends in Yorba Linda, as did my parents, but my dad was starting a new opportunity that took us back to Canada. My parents our house in the middle of building, so they got to customize everything in it. It was new, but so homey. The town we lived in was fairly small, so I remember biking all over the place with friends, usually ending up at Frosty's for ice cream.

HOME #5: ROYAL MEADOW LANE in SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA (2006-2010)
This house was everything. Moving to San Jose was by far one of the best things to ever happen to me. I met lifelong friends, found a doctor who helped determine my illness, and ultimately became a Christian. My friends and I spent more time at my house than anywhere else, so it was always full of people. Royal Meadow felt the most like home, probably because I spent so much time in it. Saying goodbye to this house when my parents left California in 2014 was really hard.

HOME #6: LABEN RESIDENCE HALL in DAVIS, CALIFORNIA (2010-2011)
This was actually my second residence hall at UC Davis. For my first quarter, I was in Kearney, right across from Laben. I had to take a quarter off due to my health, so had to completely move out in January, just to move back in April. This turned out to be the biggest blessing! Living in Laben solidified my best friends and helped me love college.

HOME #7: TANGLEWOOD APARTMENTS in DAVIS, CALIFORNIA (2011-2012)
My first apartment was so cute! I think this was the first time my friends realized just hoe organized I am. I created a spreadsheet with everything we'd need for our apartment and then listed off who had what and what we still needed to purchase. It sounds crazy, but it helped so much! We made some great memories in this place. It was the first time we were all truly on our own, in our own place, so we spent a lot of time in the apartment.

HOME #8: THE COLLEGES AT LA RUE in DAVIS, CALIFORNIA (2012-2014)
We weren't planning on moving out of Tanglewood, but some changed circumstances forced us to. There were a lot of uphill battles that happened while living here, but our friendships were strengthened beyond measure. Plus, as a huge upside, we lived right across from campus, making our commute to class that much faster.

HOME #9: HUCKLEBERRY CIRCLE in WEST SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (2014-2015)
Most of my friends graduated university after four years, but I still had a full fifth year to complete my degrees. Because of this, we decided to move a little farther away from campus, but close enough that I could commute. This house was the perfect distance for everyone; we all had about a 20 minute commute to either work or class. We were in a home, not an apartment, so we had a lot more space. It was a great transition home from school to work life.

HOME #10: SOUTH COLER AVENUE in URBANA, ILLINOIS (2015-2017)
This is the home I shared with my sister when I first moved to Illinois. We never thought we'd find ourselves living in the same house again, but man were we lucky that we had that chance. We had a blast together! It was an experience I'll cherish forever. We always joked that we were best friends, sisters, business partners, and roommates, but somehow weren't sick of each other.

HOME #11: WINBERIE COURT in NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS (2017-Present)
I also never thought I'd end up living with my parents again. Although my parents had been in this house for three years, I had never lived there; it was never my home. That, I think, was the biggest adjustment. But, thankfully, I had my own space in the house to make my own. I spent a long time ddecorating my bedroom, and now that it's finished, I'm in love with it. This move was seamless. I really love living with my parents, so I'll be sad to leave. Plus, having my dogs around 24/7 is a huge plus!

HOME #12: SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO (Summer 2018)
This summer, I'll be relocating again, this time to Chicago. Two friends and I are moving in together and I can't wait!

Here's to all the places I've lived - and all the places I'll go.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Decorating for Easter

Easter is officially one week away, which means it's time to decorate! Get ready to break out the pastels, bunnies, and tulips! Below are some of my favorite items to get your house Easter-ready.

1. A cute sign to hang on your front door.
2. A doormat to welcome guests.
3. A table runner to create a festive table.
4. Napkin rings for added table details.
5. Cute napkins to put in your napkin rings.
6. Festive mugs for your morning coffee.
7. Easter plates to finish your tablescape.
8. Candy dishes to hold your jellybeans.
9. Decorative accents to place around your home.
10. Pillows for all your comfy couches.
11. Tea towels to add decor to your kitchen.
12. A spring wreath for some floral accents.

Even more variety below!

DOOR SIGNS

DOORMATS

TABLE RUNNERS

NAPKINS RINGS

NAPKINS

MUGS

PLATES

CANDY DISHES

DECORATIVE ACCENTS

PILLOWS

TEA TOWELS

SPRING WREATHS

Do you have a favorite way to decorate for Easter?
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Spring Shopping Essentials

Happy first day of Spring! Sadly, it's not feeling too much like spring here - we're still dealing with 30 degree weather. But that's not stopping me from bringing out some of my favorite spring pieces. Below, I'm sharing my twelve fashion essentials everyone needs for springtime.

1. A striped jumpsuit that's perfect for a night out.
2. Espadrille sneakers that are simple, but cute.
3. Embroidered jeans to add extra detail to any outfit.
4. A pastel crossbody bag for a pop of color.
5. A floral blouse to celebrate spring blooms.
6. A classic jean jacket for those cooler nights.
7. A striped midi dress that easily goes from day to night.
8. Pastel tassel earrings for the "wow" factor.
9. A pair of sunglasses for those bright days.
10. A gingham top for a trendy look.
11. A gold-accented watch for some arm candy.
12. A set of stackable bracelets to pair with your watch.

Even more variety below!

STRIPED JUMPSUITS

ESPADRILLE SNEAKERS

EMBROIDERED JEANS

PASTEL CROSSBODY BAGS

FLORAL BLOUSES

JEAN JACKETS

STRIPED MIDI DRESSES

TASSEL EARRINGS

SUNGLASSES

GINGHAM TOPS

WATCHES

STACKABLE BRACELETS

Happy first day of Spring!
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Trusting in God's Plan for my Future

"Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There's not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less."

If you've been reading my blog for a little while, you know that I've been in limbo with my job and where I want to start building my life. Back in June, I started a 3-month HR internship at my current company. It was continually extended a month at a time, until January. The team that I was working with thought I'd be offered a full-time role during that month, since I had been in talks about it since December. However, that wasn't the case. I was, instead, offered a 3-month contract.

Before I started my internship, I had been thinking about going back to California. I moved to Illinois at the end of 2015 and felt like I had given it my best shot. Then, this internship opportunity came up. I'd always wanted to work for this company, so it was something I couldn't pass up. Then, when my contract was offered, I started thinking about California again.

I took this as a sign from God. If, a year later, I was still thinking about California, maybe I was supposed to go back there. God had provided me a job that would keep me employed, while also giving me time to search for a job back in the Bay. I began applying to companies throughout the Bay Area in hopes something would happen before the end of my contract. And something did.

I started interviewing for a company in San Francisco, all the way up to the VP of HR. I had my fourth interview on Wednesday and then, on Monday, out of no where, my company offered me a full time job. I was completely caught off guard.

Why now God? What am I supposed to choose? I had so many questions swirling around my head. Rather than be really excited about the role, I was lost. I just wanted a clear direction. And to confuse things even more - when I told my sister, she said she had been praying for me the night before about God creating a clear path for me, and then I was offered this role.

The next week felt like a rollercoaster of emotions. I'm not someone who gets stressed, but oh boy was I stressed. I've never thought so hard about a job. Do I choose the one that is a level up in a city I've been in for 9 months or do I choose the job in a city I've been wanting to go back to?

There was a lot riding on these two roles for me. This would be where I would begin building my life. Where I'd hopefully meet my future husband. Where I'd fully embrace putting down roots. I was sick of being in limbo and only knowing what was going to happen at a couple months' time. I wanted a set plan and I so desperately didn't want to make the wrong choice.

Then, on Sunday night, the night before I had to tell my company my decision, I had a conversation with my mom. I woke up Monday morning feeling secure in my decision to stay with my current company.

Choosing the best path when given two equally exciting ones is hard. Listening to God and trying to decipher the direction He wants your life to go is hard. Trusting in God's plan is hard. He finds interesting ways to test our faith in Him. I was put in a position that, albeit happy, was one I never thought I'd be in. I assumed I'd be offered one job and it would be a clear answer as to where God wanted me. But it wasn't that simple.

Today, I officially begin my new role and I couldn't be happier.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Love Language

While I was in California, my friends and I decided to take the Five Love Languages quiz. I thought it'd be fun to share my results on the blog today.

What is the Five Love Languages? Simply put, the Five Love Languages is a book and quiz that measures how you give and receive love. There are five primary ways that each person communicates love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.


My Scores (out of 12):
Quality Time = 11
Words of Affirmation = 8
Receiving Gifts = 7
Acts of Service = 2
Physical Touch = 2

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time. This means that I communicate love with undivided attention. To show your love and care for me, I need people to show that they're there for me. Spending uninterrupted time talking with someone or doing activities together deepens my connection to others. Sharing time is key to building a lasting relationship with me.

Why this fits: I love spending time with people. Throughout high school and into my adult life, I've always loved hosting gatherings. Being surrounded by people and building relationships through deep conversation or a shared event is something I thrive on.

My Secondary Love Language is Words of Affirmation. This means that I love to hear the reasons behind an "I love you." Unsolicited compliments can mean the world to me, while insults aren't easily forgotten.

Why this fits: One of my favorite things to receive are handwritten cards. In my last relationship, we would always write each other letters on special anniversaries or dates. It was exactly what I needed to feel the love from him. The same goes for friends. Hearing the reason behind their love for me fills me with happiness.

My (other) Secondary Love Language is Receiving Gifts. This doesn't mean that I love the things, but rather the thought that goes into them. A gift or gesture that shows me that you know me and listen shows me that I'm cared for. Gifts are heartfelt symbols of someone's love and affection.

Why this fits: I love to give gifts. Coming up with the perfect little something for someone, whether on a birthday or just because I'm thinking of them, is something I truly enjoy. It would make sense, then, that I appreciate when others put in that kind of effort for me.

My two minor Love Languages are Acts of Service and Physical Touch. This means that I don't feel love through people helping me with things or giving me hugs or thoughtful touches.

Why this fits: I'm not going to lie to you, I'm a control freak. I don't particularly like it when people do things for me. Don't get me wrong, when someone makes me dinner or helps me in little ways, I appreciate it, but it's not something I need often. The same goes for personal touch. For instance, I'll hug my friends hello, but I don't want to sit too close to them on the couch.

Interested in learning what your Love Language is? Take the quiz here!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Influential Women in My Life

Throughout my life, I've had the blessing of being surrounded by some really incredible women. Women who have loved me, encouraged me, and shown me what true femininity looks like. Today, in honor of International Women's Day, I'm sharing five of those women with you.

MY SISTER: BETHANY
My sister has been through a lot in her short 24 years; more than many experience in a lifetime. Most people would crumble, but she's become the strongest version of herself. In the past year, she's fully come into her own. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She laughs constantly and finds joy in so many places. She's always striving to be better, whether through healthy meal creations, counseling, or getting involved in her church. She's one of the biggest influences in my life. I always want to be a good older sister, mentor, friend, confidant, and role model for her.

MY MOM: CHERYL
You know how some people are just meant to be moms? That's mine. It says a lot when all of your friends, from each place you've lived, love your mom. And for good reason. She is always willing to open her home up for others, something that I hope to carry on when I have my own place. She cares deeply for all those in her life. From my dad to my sister and me; from her friends to her family. Regardless of what's going on in her own life, she always makes time for others, making sure they feel loved and special. She has such a servant heart, always looking for ways to better the lives of those around her.

MY AUNT: LORRI
My Aunt Lorri is one of my biggest spiritual influences. Difficult experiences have occurred in her life, but she's never lost sight of the One who saved her. She's bold in her faith. She isn't afraid to challenge God when things aren't going the way she expected, but always sees His grace prevail. She's told me stories of times where she's just dropped to her knees and cried out to God - that is the kind of faith that inspires others. Her soul is filled with the love of Christ, which she uses to show love to others in her everyday life.

MY GRANDMA: DONNA
Some of my fondest memories are shared with my Grandma; from sitting on her floor, drinking tea and talking about Grandpa (whom I never met), to all those nights I stayed over at her place. She was always so interested in my life, making sure that she was caught up on all aspects. She was goofy, spontaneous, strong, and confident. She was a survivor. For the past decade, my grandma has suffered from quickly-progressing Alzheimer's. I've seen the person I knew change into one that's hard to recognize. Every once in a while, though, I catch a glimpse of the her I grew up with. I see her smile, her dance, her joke, and I'm reminded of all of those memories that I'm so fond of.

MY GAMMY: RUTH
My gammy was the epitome of class and sophistication. She carried herself in a way that people noticed. She commanded respect, but in a way that was so subtle. Sometimes, though, you'd catch her making an inappropriate joke. That giggle that came with it was one of my favorite things about her. She's always inspired me both in the way I carry myself and in my creativity. Even as she aged, she never lost sight of her poise and grace. She passed away two years ago, but continues to serve as an everlasting role model. Even from above, she's influencing my life.

Happy International Women's Day everyone!