The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Early on in 2014 I gave this little challenge to myself – No Sleep Til 30

This was my mindset for my 29th year. The year I would celebrate the closing of perhaps the most important decade of my life. And in fact, my wonderful, glorious friend Kimmy even gave me a lovely journal for my 29th birthday, so I could document all my adventures.

I opened it up yesterday and found this:

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That’s right. NothingBlank. Ugh. I failed.

But, alas. There are two months left! Today marks the 60 day countdown to 30 (things your 16 year old self never expects to say…) Now I’m still not saying that I’m going to be successful in filling the journal. However, it was a kick in the butt to start loving life a lot more and get back to the things that are important.

And you know what else, friends? This week marks the start of the most wonderful time of the year. Red Cup, Peppermint Mocha Season!

You see, this whole blogging thing came about as an experiment. Half to do with my fear of having a blog and then never having anything to write…and half my love for fall and sweet drinks. Put em together and boom. Six years later and here we are.

So here’s the thing I need your help with. The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles isn’t about me. It’s not about filling the world with my opinions and my ramblings. It’s about you and the people you love, and me and the people I love, and a whole lot of people none of us have probably met yet.

It’s about slowing down and taking a deep breath. Smiling. Cherishing the season and the moments (my word for 2014!) It’s about remembering what’s important. Putting people first.

2014 has been a year full of surprises and 2015 is shaping up to top that. But I’m going to do my best not to let my favorite time of the year rush by without me. So let’s do this together. More quiet time. More moments. More laughs. More people.

And a red cup in hand. Who’s with me?

This Has Been the Fastest Year of My Life.

I’ve written exactly 4 blog posts in 2014. In case math is not really your thing, that number is really not good.

One year ago a made a decision out of left field to leave my second job in six months. I moved into a new industry with new responsibilities. It’s been a wild ride. Most days I feel like it’s been 2 days and 20 years all at the same time.

Everyday is hilarious and terrifying and frustrating and worth it.

I spontaneously start crying significantly more than I used to. I drink a lot more wine than ever before. And I get to spend my days with some of the most intelligent and inspiring people I’ve ever known.

It’s all good.

Then January hit. I turned 29 and realized that was one before thirty (MORE MATH.) I decided this year should probably be momentous in some way.

The Movement Mission had its first annual performance in February. We raised almost $13,000 for Melanoma research. And we’ve already started rehearsals for year two.

Towards the end of winter I met this pretty great guy (COLLECTIVE GASP) and he’s turned the past six months into quite the journey.

And 2014 brought babies. SO MANY BABIES. And more on the way. Hooray!

And now we’re to fall. My favorite time of year. Yes, I’m that girl who can’t stop talking about boots and scarves and walking around outside with coffee.

So here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about lately –

1. I just cracked open this book over the weekend and can’t put it down. Great recommendation from a consultant who recently spoke to us at work.

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2. I’m on a personal mission to find the perfect poncho sweater. I will find it. Suggestions welcomed.

3. We’re visiting LA in late October for a wedding. If you have any must-do’s, send them my way!

4. I can’t stop listening to this song. Aloe Blacc is a new obsession.

 

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5. Fall parties, apple picking, the impending holidays. All of the things. 

What’s on your radar? What’s making your heart skip a beat lately? Lets catch up, old friends. And lets not let this much time pass the next time.

Those People.

 

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This week, for the first time in a really long time, I got to slow down and breathe. Breathe in the world around me. Breathe in the moments. And breathe in people (in a non-creepy way.)

You know the people I’m talking about. Those people. Those people who know you inside out. The ones who know what you need to talk about without you ever having to say it. The ones who laugh out loud with you and sit on patios drinking coffee with you for hours. The friends that can say the right things in the right way, even if it’s hard.

It’s a shame that we let life get so busy and these people get pushed to the outside. Because they are game changers; kinda like how sunshine can turn an entire day around.

This is my personal nudge to you to pick up the phone and give these people a call. Fill up your calendar with appointments that really matter. Throw your routine out the window and do something good for your heart.

Take some time to breathe.

5, 6, 7, 8.

The countdown is on, people.

The first annual Movement Mission performance is just weeks away. EEEK. February 7 and 8 we take the stage for three performances only. Have you bought your tickets yet?? (DO IT.)

The funny thing about shows is that you always think you have SO MUCH TIME. I mean, we started rehearsals last summer. That was an eternity ago. But all of a sudden, it’s crunch time. Costumes to buy. Choreography to finish. And tired (tired!) bodies.

This week I couldn’t stop smiling through rehearsal. All this women are so beautiful. Sometimes I want to pinch myself. That such an eclectic group of strangers could come together to produce so much beauty is beyond me.

As the shows get closer, the weight of not only being a dancer, but being a first time choreographer is setting in. Choreographing is terrifying for a few simple reasons.

What if no one understands the story?

What if I haven’t been a very good teacher?

What if we just look…well, stupid? (I mean, it could happen.)

No different from other forms of art, it’s horrifying to lay a piece of yourself out for the public to chew up and spit out. But at some point you have to let it go. Just like the quote says, there comes a point when the pain of staying closed up and held tight is worse than the pain of letting go and blooming (extremely rough paraphrase by moi.)

Regardless, I’m so happy and proud to be telling this story I’ve been carrying around for a few years. It’s like a part of me has come to live in the world. I can’t wait. I better see you there (yes, you.)

And while I can’t give you an actual sneak peek, I thought I’d give you a little taste of what’s to come. Here’s our song! I’m a sucker for acoustic music and I love me a chick rocker.

No Sleep til 30.

The theme of 2014, friends. Absorbing every moment of this, my 29th year of life. (However, if any of you know me, you know I can’t even stay up past midnight, so I will definitely be sleeping.)

It’s hard for me to even type that title out. But I did it. How did I blink and it’s already the last year of my 20s? I bet my parents are wondering the same thing…

On one hand, there’s the list of things I always assumed I would have accomplished by the time I turned the big  3-0. But as my lovely friend Deanna always likes to say…”You know what you do when you assume…” And as I’ve spent my fair share of time being angry and frustrated about things outside of my control, I learned one very important tidbit. It doesn’t change a thing.

As I was thinking back on them, my 20s have been a pretty stellar decade. I’ve earned two degrees and have a diverse career that I have come to love. I’ve lived on my own, bought my own car and become a homeowner. I’ve witnessed some of my best friends marry their life partners, have adorable babies and discover just how beautiful life can be. I’ve been privileged enough to travel, take vacations, and frankly live a comfortable life (something I try not to take for granted.)

Now I don’t have some kind of bucket list or countdown to accomplish in this coming year. I’ve never really been a fan of those types of things. But I do want to honor it and give it the recognition it deserves. Closing out one decade and moving into the next is a big deal. And I don’t want to look back and feel like I just ignored that.

In 2013 I focused on being alive. On remembering to go after the things I wanted, remove things that didn’t serve me well, and overall just stop settling for my own mediocrity. And, if I do say so myself, it went fairly well.

This year, let’s focus on the moments. On soaking in every memory, no matter how small. On cherishing the details. Let’s not miss a second. More pictures. Less screen time. More deep breaths. Less fear. More slow motions. Less impatience. Eyes wide open. 

Happy Birthday to me. No sleep til 30. 

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: 4 Years

This morning I woke up and had a notification from WordPress.

“You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago. Happy Anniversary!”

Well isn’t that something.

4 years of sugary drinks and life lessons. I love when people still tell me that they want to wait to have their first one of the season with me. Makes me smile every time.

Life posts are my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures of my outfits, or my food or the weekend’s adventures too. But deep conversations are my favorite. And the inspiration that comes from this time of year is the best.

This past week was pretty bad. I mean, bad. And in the midst of me being completely frustrated and hard on myself, I got this sweet note from a friend I’ve known for a long time. She’s one of those friends that I (sadly) don’t talk with often, but our lives intertwine and we find ourselves getting to randomly reconnect.

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What’s funny about this is that she is hesitant to say how much she enjoys reading what I write, and I am usually hesitant to write because I assume no one wants to read it. Ha…oh life.

That’s where The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles grew from, my desire to write but with a short-term commitment (in case I ran out of things to say.) But as luck would have it, I apparently have a lot to say.  And I’m so so glad it’s grown past that.

So what do YOU have to say, friends? How’s your November starting? How’s your joy going? Let’s not waste all the good in this time of year. Share it!

 

The Movement Mission

Have you ever had something that makes you feel completely alive? Something that is a safe space you can retreat to?  That challenges you but you look forward to that? Where you feel completely like yourself but yet sometimes you can’t believe it’s even real?

The Movement Mission.

The Movement Mission came from my good friend Christina and her niece Michela. It grew out of a desire that they, and many of us, have had for years; to dance for ourselves and for a purpose. It’s a group of 30 or so women (we’re looking for some men to join us!) of various ages, backgrounds and technique levels. It’s a place where we come to move  and support each other. A place where we dance for ourselves, not necessarily for an audience or a class of students (many of the women are dance teachers.) It’s a place where we dance for a bigger purpose…more on that in a bit.

Photo by Klatte Photography, http://www.klattephotography.com

About half of us came to be part of TMM because of a previous group, a dance ministry Christina started with our church about six years ago (yowza the years have flown!) Joining this group of women was where I rediscovered my love of dancing, which I had hidden down inside since I was in elementary school, thinking that I wasn’t “really” a dancer. It unlocked a passion inside of me that I had been stifling for years. It showed me that dancing is often my therapy. My way to connect with the Lord and worship. My “me time” in a world where I usually spend my days giving to everyone else around me.

And now we have come together as a group to share our love and dance for a cause. Currently, that cause is the Bonnie Lavric Scholarship at Dublin Dance Center. Christina, Michela and many of the women involved with the group are teachers or students at Dublin Dance Center, and that is where our ministry group has danced since we started. Bonnie is an amazing woman whom I only had the pleasure of meeting a few times, but who lives on through stories of those who love her very much. Bonnie lost her fight with cancer several years ago and the studio supports a scholarship in her honor which is awarded annually to some of its dancers.

The inaugural Bonnie Lavric Cancer Benefit Concert will be held on February 8, 2014. We dance not only in Bonnie’s honor, but also in celebration of so many we all know have fought cancer. We dance to raise funds but also to inspire. It will be a great night of heart, dance, music and a variety of performances.

More details on tickets and times to come. We’re also looking for more musicians/dancers/performers who want to participate…so if that’s you, please get in touch! We’d love to have you as part of this story.

What’s your thing? Your place that makes you come alive. Your Movement Mission. If you don’t have that thing yet, I challenge you to start seeking it out. You’d be amazed how it can change your life!

Think Pink.

This past weekend I participated in one of Columbus’ largest annual events…The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I walked…I just like to make sure everyone knows that I don’t run…

One of my goals for “The Year of Being Alive” was to get involved with an organization where I could do event planning and fundraising for a cause I care about. So, I recently joined the Komen Young Professionals and so far it’s been great!

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Team KYP 2013

During the race I had a moment…you know one of those spontaneous tears moments? (Am I the only one who gets these??) There is a point on the route where hundreds of motorcyclists line up and cheer on the racers, revving their engines and beeping their horns. (Yes, I recognize this is a strange place to get emotional.) But there was this moment of pure, human interaction. People giving up their own time to cheer on others who were giving up their own time to celebrate victims and survivors . A community coming together to not only raise awareness and money, but to encourage each other to keep fighting. And in that moment, I wasn’t thinking about the 5K I was walking, or that it was about to thunderstorm or the myriad of scary possibilities our society has recently encountered when large, public groups gather. I was just happy to be there seeing the smiles on faces. 

I think the tears came from a place that is still taken by surprise by humanity. In a world full of so much selfishness, negativity and uncertainty, it’s a joy to catch those glimpses of celebration.

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And the celebration continues! Join KYP for Style for the Cure in June! Put on your little black dress and come out for a fashion show, cocktails and celebrating some strong ladies!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.

Life announcement: I’m taking a new job!

It’s been quite a journey and though I am excited, I still have a lot of mixed feelings. I’ve been crying for days (daysssss) as I struggle with leaving a place filled with people I have come to love so much. But, the switch is necessary. As I’ve been wrapping up my final weeks, I’ve started to recognize a few things about myself  and how I deal with that ugly word. Change

I don’t like saying goodbye. And I think that’s ok. My final week is next week; which also happens to be spring break. Because of that, I’m seeing a lot of students for the final time. They are adamant about stopping in the office to see me before they leave campus (because they are the sweetest things on the planet) and as I give out hug after hug, I can’t bring myself to say goodbye. It just feels weird. I keep saying, “see you later” just like I would at the end of every other day. Maybe I’m delusional and think I’m going to see them all walk through my new office door. And I’m sure it will hit me when I have to start over with new faces and have a million new names to learn. But I think it’s important to not let go of special relationships and I have no intention of disappearing just because I’m in a new environment. Just like many times before, good friends are only a phone call or an email away – saying goodbye just feels too permanent and that isn’t necessary.

Don’t wait until the end to say thank you. When I sent out the announcement that I would be leaving, I was inundated with well-wishes and thank yous. I also found myself overwhelmed with how many individuals I want to be sure know how grateful I am for them; so many people have made an impact on me these past 4.5 years. And I’m reminded of something we all forget in our busy lives. Don’t forget to tell people what they mean to you. Write notes. Leave messages. Tell them. I wish I had continuously told these people over the past few years instead of bottling it all up at the end. You never know what your words will mean to someone else.

I’m allowed to be happy for myself. I have this complex where I am always worried about taking care of everyone else and always put myself last. So, you can only imagine that in my whirlwind of change I of course was concerned about all the nitty-gritty details and what everyone else around me was feeling. Because that’s healthy. It took me a few days until I was finally able to pour myself a glass of wine, do a little happy dance and really be excited. But that’s important. Let yourself enjoy an accomplishment and look forward to what is up ahead. It’s not a bad thing to revel in your own happiness for a little bit. 

Let’s hear from you! How do you handle change? Do you love it or run from it? What lessons have you learned?

Those Winter Blues.

Let’s all be real here for a hot second. It’s winter. In Ohio, that means it’s cold, it’s dark by 5 p.m. (which if you aren’t aware, is the time we all get out of work and actually see the outside) and the motivation gauge is usually on empty. It’s the winter blues. A funk. Depression. And though I am not a psychological or medical professional (and if you are having extensive difficulties, you should definitely see one of them) I thought I would share a few of the ways that I try to keep myself moving during these winter months. I’d love to hear any techniques or activities you have! I’m always interested in new ways to find inspiration and motivation.

1) Get some people time. I will openly tell you I am one of the most introverted people you will meet. I love me time. I NEED me time. But I also know that when I let that get off balance, it gets ugly fast. I know that if I’ve gone too long without real social activity, I’m in trouble. Don’t let that happen! Right now…call, text, Facebook message, tweet a friend. Set up a little hang out date. This is one of my first go-to ways to pull myself out of a funk: I fill my social calendar. I think you’ll realize that when you spend time with others, you want to spend more time with others, and that makes even my little, internal self jump for joy. It also keeps you from sinking into yourself. And just as it helps you, your presence is beneficial for the other person; because you’re pretty stinking awesome.

2) Get outside! Vitamin D my friends. Even if it’s cold (let’s be real…it’s cold.) Take a walk at lunch. Sit on your porch for a few minutes. Take a moment, breathe and get some fresh air. It’s an instant mood changer.

3) Dance it out. I mean it. You’d be shocked by what 15 minutes of shaking your groove thing can do. Don’t worry, no one is watching. Just have fun and laugh at yourself. Find yourself a good Pandora dance station (I have a Beyonce “Single Ladies” station) and go for it. My favorite is to dance while I’m cleaning my house…and sitting in my car…and sitting at my desk…and waiting in line at the store…ok maybe this one is my favorite tip 🙂

4) Be task oriented. I love to-do lists. In fact, I need them to function. I mean, I make to-do lists when I’m on vacation to make sure I don’t miss anything. And when I’m having a bad day, or I’m lacking motivation, usually having at least one task to work towards keeps me moving. So I’ve been trying to break up my lists into small, daily projects. I don’t have to do everything at one time, that’s overwhelming and then I give up. It’s just small steps. Today, pay bills. Tomorrow, emails. Another day, run errands. Little things can result in a lot of forward motion.

5) Write a love letter. Over Christmas break I stumbled upon this amazing project, www.moreloveletters.com. It was started by a young woman when she was struggling with depression. It’s an act of anonymous encouragement; literally writing love letters and leaving them for whomever should stumble upon them. How fun?! You can learn more about the organization and how to be a part of the letter writing if you go to the website. I just got my first request for letters (they send a monthly list of people who have requested letters for someone they know) and I can’t wait to get started! You can’t imagine how encouraging another person can really benefit you as well.

What about you? What do you do to keep yourself going?