Thirty One

It’s my 31st birthday today! I’m spending the day with my hubby. He’s my favorite person 🙂 We’re exploring Austin, TX all weekend and are having the time of our lives!

A weekend getaway to a new place often heightens my senses to the world around me. The air, sights, and sounds all stand out a bit stronger because it’s new and different. That got me thinking – I hope I take enough time to appreciate the little things that I adore in life. I used to be better at that.

Throughout high school and college I’d escape for a few minutes (or hours) and add to a list of what I loved. Totally random things…like…how people tilt their head when they eat a taco, or a much needed outburst of laughter after something has gone horribly wrong and that poor moment needs some comedic relief. Before I knew it, my list had exceeded 1,400 things. The sad truth is that I have no idea where that book is now. But the idea of doing that, of writing down the little things that I love about life, well I think today’s a brilliant day to bring it back.

So, in honor of my 31st, here are 31 little random things that I love:

  1. Snuggling with my yellow lab, Stella.
  2. Stovetop popcorn.
  3. The entire experience of walking around an Anthropologie store.
  4. Slowly sipping red wine on a cold night.
  5. The 1st cup of coffee in the morning.
  6. Finishing a long run.
  7. Writing.
  8. Star gazing.
  9. Small town America.
  10. Getting positive results from using little pockets of time wisely.
  11. Country music.
  12. Cowgirl boots.
  13. An unforgettable culinary experience.
  14. Dark chocolate.
  15. Laughter from my favorite people.
  16. The distant smell of a campfire.
  17. Swivel chairs.
  18. HGTV & The Food Network.
  19. Needed hugs.
  20. A new dress.
  21. Baking.
  22. Stained glass windows.
  23. Coffee shops.
  24. Windows open, kinda weather.
  25. Sushi.
  26. Getting asked to take strangers’ group photos.
  27. When a baby smiles or yawns.
  28. Zumba. 
  29. Hearing perfectly beautiful harmony sung a cappella.
  30. People who don’t complain, appreciate life, and embrace each day.
  31. Choosing happiness.

More than any of these, more than anything in the world in fact, I love and adore my family and friends over all. I’m a very lucky lady to have such joy surrounding me all the time. Not quite sure how I got so lucky, but I thank God everyday for y’all.

So…what’s on your list?!

Happy day, friends!

The Amazing Stella

Reason #179,086,566 why our dog, Stella, is amazing. She’s an expert at playing fetch…and I captured it on slow-mo. Enjoy!

Go get it.

stella eos m (1 of 1)We can learn a lot from dogs like Stella. She’s ambitious, loving, fearless, hilarious, grateful, trusting, and protective when necessary. I’m convinced this girl is made purely of heart…and high jumps. When we first got her, I don’t think I realized just how much she would teach me. Yes, though this little “being” doesn’t talk, she teaches me every day.

“Go get it.” we’ll often say to her with both command and excitement in our voice as we play fetch. But before we can get to “it” she’s off like a bullet out of a gun. Those of you who have spent some time with her and have seen her run/jump – y’all know. She’s in the ZONE. No holding her back. In her incredible mind there are no plans later in the day, no concerns for how long we’ll be playing, or if she’ll get injured…she’s fully committed. This girl could play fetch for HOURS. I especially love it when she also tells us that she’s done. She’s her own little lady who knows when it’s time to stop and rest.

Yesterday afternoon around 5:30 p.m., I took her to the end of our street where there’s a big ‘ol field. We LOVE our new neighborhood by the way. I love everything about Oklahoma. Anyway, I took her over there for what I call “Stella’s Happy Hour” where she gleefully accepts every stick/frisbee/ball challenge I throw past her. Below is a quick iPhone video I took just to give you a precious little peak into her happy hour. Sorry in advance for the vertical-length filming!

It’s nothing fancy. You’re probably like, “…mmkay…it’s a dog playing fetch. That’s…great, Kath.” Yes, I know. But she’s MY dog playing fetch! But more importantly, while we all have these little inner struggles/excuses/fears – there’s inspiration staring us in the face, just WAITING for us to “go get it.”

What’s there to get?

It’s different for everyone. For me: it’s a long, consistent run where I don’t give in to walking the last 2 miles. It’s those magazines and publishing companies I want to work for as a freelance writer but am sometimes too shy to put myself out there. It’s the terrifying feeling I sometimes get when I hit “Publish” on this little blog in fear of someone not liking it, or that someone’s annoyed that I write about my dog playing fetch, or they’re annoyed that I’m a genuinely happy person who wants to share some happiness with the world. That last one gets me every time. Those Negative Nancys out there spark fear of judgment and insignificance sometimes.

What the…what on EARTH?! Those are the silliest fears I’ve ever heard. Funny though…because they’re fears and excuses that cloud my judgment. I’m human, and I know I’m not alone. What are your fears? What’s holding you back? It’s helpful to get ’em out there in the open and own up to the fact that they’re holding you back. You deserve to be successful in whatever form of success you define.

So, go get it.

This morning, Sean and I woke up around 5:45 and went for a run with Stella around our neighborhood. It was awesome!!! Yes, we were tired, but we were fine and knew when it was time to stop. When we stopped running it was awesome….because we stopped running…haha. BUT also because we got it. We broke the excuses and started a new routine in our new town.

Now, go get it!

“Who’s that giiiiiiiiirl……”

I’m out of shape. True story.

Walking up the stairs at work…oh heck…even walking a brisk pace these days – I get out of breath. It’s not my diet, I know that. Even though I love-me-some red velvet cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, for the MOST part I will pat myself on the back and proudly report that I really do try to eat healthy. These days, in fact, I’m head-over-heals for fresh fruits and veggies, egg-white omelets with feta cheese and arugula, hearty salads, and healthy portions. My problem uncomfortably rests in the overflow of excuses that I so quickly and easily use to validate my lack of exercise.

It’s raining. I just ate. I feel a cold coming along, and don’t want to make it worse. I need coffee first. I’m too sleepy to get out of bed early. I’m too sleepy to work out after work. Blah blah blaaaah. That has gotten me nowhere. But don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always a little excuse-minded rebel.  I was a competitive rower for 8 years, an avid runner, I cycled across America one summer, and I was actually getting pretty good at Zumba. But then travel season for work kicked in last fall. Then winter decided to hang out for a while. Then I moved. Then my commute got longer. Oh my goodness…I’m DOOOING it again! Time to stop this madness. So I did.

With Stella and Sean cheering me on…ladies and gentlemen…I did it. This past Saturday morning I woke up at 8am, put on my new running shoes (shout out to City Sports in downtown Silver Spring for introducing me to the best shoes ever!), drank some water, ate a string cheese (shout out to string cheeeeese!), and got Stella (shout out to Stellaaaaa…ok I’ll stop) all excited for our morning run.

It was great! It sure wasn’t painless, but it was wonderful. Breathing in and out that morning air, reminding my leg muscles that I haven’t forgotten about them, waving to other runners as they pass by while awkwardly trying to refrain Stella from running after them, it was all exactly what I need. Not needed…what I need. Sean was sweet enough to take a photo of my start (he knew I was excited to restart my athletic lifestyle):

Over 3 miles! I was so happy! “Who’s that girl!!!?” It’s ME!

Speaking of…is anyone else as obsessed with the hit new T.V. show “New Girl” as I am? “Jess,” the lead character is an inspiration to me. She makes mistakes, sure, but she is someone who doesn’t wait for life to deliver happiness to her. She makes it, works for it, delivers homemade cupcakes to people she doesn’t know, trusts the world with her smile, and appropriately defends her happiness if anyone were to ever judge her. I just love her! This is exactly how I have always tried to live my life, how my parents raised me…and it’s just refreshing to actually see these characteristics on T.V. now as well.

It’s this kind of inner-strength that we all have in us, we just have to ignore that little excuse-minded rebel in our minds and remember who we are, and what we need. I’m thrilled that I fought that battle with myself on Saturday morning and actually ran 3 miles again. I’m back!

On that note….I’ll leave you for tonight’s “New Girl” episode. T-Minus 10 minutes until it starts!