The View from Where I Sit, Part 2.

As I look out at our very large, very overgrown backyard, I can’t help but think,

“Man. I’m really glad Dennis will take care of most of this.” Ha.

(No, but really.)

Let’s back up a bit. So in February this happened:

 

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Then not too long after, this happened:

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And the past few months have been a flurry of house buying, engagement pictures, house selling, contractors, wedding planning, Home Depot, MORE contractors, MORE HOME DEPOT.

By the end of 2015, I will have changed my marital status, my last name, my address, and perhaps most importantly, finally become an Amazon Prime member.

Not going to lie, I worry a little bit that this year is filled with so much good stuff that future years are bound to be a disappointment. But deep down I know that’s not possibly true. There is still so much to discover and learn about life. And I’m looking forward to having some one else to explore all of that with.

And from where I sit today?

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This is the actual view from our bedroom. It’s a real problem because all I want to do is sit here all day and drink coffee and write.

Everything’s looking pretty lovely.

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The View from Where I Sit, Part 1.

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The view from where I sit is, well, a little desolate. A shell.

I’m sitting on the floor of my little Blue Cottage. Empty, except for the curtains that I designed and created with my mom. Looking at the walls I spent hours painting, the kitchen cabinets I refinished. The vision I had for my first little house as a 27-year-old.

And I’m about to hand it all off to another young woman who, I’m sure, has her own visions and dreams of what life here will be like.

It’s funny how quickly things can seem to change.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. Change is exactly what I was hoping for. I had been praying and planning that my time here would be temporary. That sometime in the near future I would get to move up to a bigger, more permanent house (check) with a husband (almost check) and some chubby babies (let’s not move that fast…)

It’s just that it’s exactly as hard as everyone always tells you it’s going to be. Shocking. Giving up your individual identity. Compromising your space, and style, and routine for someone else. Giving up “my” things for “our” things.

It’s a strange, difficult feeling. Right? Or am I alone in this? The feeling that everything that you’ve been wanting is finally coming together, but that life is moving just steam-rolling along and taking you with it?

If you’re confused it’s because a whole year of my life has passed and I haven’t been writing. It’s been HUGE. 2015, the year of turning 30, has not been a disappointment. More details in Part 2!

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.

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. 

A Really Long Post in Which I Give My Opinion on Life and Hope You Don’t Hate it.

A couple of months ago someone very dear to me, a student/friend/fellow young woman said to me, “Teach me how to be like you. Independent and confident.”

My gut instinct was a very short, abrupt response.

Ha.

If only, sweet friend. If only you knew the girl who crawled her way to today. If only you saw the behind-the-scenes version of me that sometimes can’t muster the courage to climb out of bed. If only.

But…then I decided to accept the compliment and produce an answer. Because if I do say so myself, I have managed both of those things. Not always with class and grace, but they have their moments. And when you realize you’re a role model, it makes you stop and think about why you do the things you do.

I didn’t give her a complete answer at the time, I had to put some more thought into it. Independent and confident…also quite often perceived as stubborn and intimidating (even by those who intimidate me.) There is a fine line to walk between being strong and being a *jerk (*fill in your expletive of choice.)

So in no specific order, here are my thoughts…

1. Know who you don’t want to be. I’ve been {fortunate?} enough to grow up around some situations that have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be in life. Habits I don’t want to have. Choices I don’t want to make. People I don’t want to settle for. For some, this could be a poor influence; I have been able to say, “I know there is better” and pursue it. Strong examples come in all forms.

2. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Yes, I cringe at that word but I push on! My mom and I adopted that phrase a few years ago. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Suck it up. Get your hands dirty. Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to do it for you. And trust me, the satisfaction you’ll have after succeeding is well worth it.

3. Accept what makes you unique and embrace it. Because everybody has some weird in them. And it’s awesome. I’m an only child, I secretly want to be a broadway star, a mom and a pastry chef all at the same time,  I care about people too much, I have a short leg, I’m obsessed with my cats and I dance awkwardly all the time. You’re turn, go!

4. Trust your own decisions. Last year I bought a house on the spot. ON THE SPOT after looking at it for 10 minutes. Was that crazy? Perhaps. But was it my decision? Sure was. Trust yourself. You know what’s best for you.

5. Love yourself enough to be ok with you. This goes along with #3. Nothing gets under my skin more than a person who can’t recognize how amazing they are. We have been programmed in our culture to be self-critical. We get put up against impossible expectations. Are you great at everything? NO! But are you good at something? YES. Build on your strengths. Be competent in your weaknesses, but don’t count yourself out because of them. One of my favorite quotes…

6. Be confident enough to show your flaws. You know what? People will love you more because of them. Take that mask off right now and be real and vulnerable. (I know it’s hard.)

7. Allow yourself to fail. And after that, allow yourself a night of bawling into your pillow and eating a lot of chocolate in between sobs and thinking life is never going to be more than it is in this exact moment. Then, pull it together, put on some mascara , lipstick and some kick-ass heels and start a plan to fix it. Trust me, you’ll always come up with a better plan in heels.

8. Decide whose opinions matter. This is an important filter to discover. Everyone is going to have an opinion for you. And you’ll drive yourself absolutely insane if you try to appease all of them. Create an inner-circle; those people who you trust and know you can rely on. Listen to their voices. Use them as a compass. Identify those people who just like to give their two cents and those who actually have your best interest at heart when they speak. Listen to the latter.

9. Identify a difference between need and want. Be the girl who can be confident in herself on her own. Sit in a quiet room and learn to be content with your own silence and your own thoughts (it’s not easy!) Be the girl who wants a great guy to take her out to dinner but is perfectly ok taking herself out if he can’t be found. Be strong enough to want people in your life but not need them in order to find self-worth. Other people should enhance you, not complete you. It is an extremely powerful thing to be comfortable relying on yourself.

10. Don’t be afraid to love. It’s a fact of life, people will disappoint you. We’re human. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them with everything you have inside you. You’re never going to find anything more fulfilling than caring about those around you. Take a chance. People are so fascinating. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience that.

11. Smile because you’re worth it. Taking a note from L’Oreal Paris. Smile. Right now. Go take a good, long look in the mirror and be happy with the person staring back at you. You’re not perfect (guess what, ME EITHER!) You make mistakes. You fail. You hurt feelings. You get your feelings hurt. Give yourself some grace. Give other people some grace. Recognize that you are a human and that everyday is going to be an education in life. Don’t take it too seriously. Something is always going to go wrong and that’s ok. As long as you are willing to get back up and keep moving forward, you’ve succeeded.

Now, do I really think I have this all figured out? Nah. Do I think I ever will? Nope. But I am happy to share what I’ve learned in my few, short years. After all, I had people do the same for me. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Happy day, lovelies. Go out and be strong today. I love you.

She Gets It From Her Momma.

In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend (this is me reminding you that it is THIS weekend) I thought I’d share a few of my favorite words of wisdom from my mom which have helped me survive into adulthood. The past 28 years have been fraught with countless lessons from her, but these just happen to be the ones I find myself repeating to myself the most. My most important Mom Massey-isms if you will!

A watched pot never boils. Figuratively speaking, this is obviously a lie (unless you forget to turn the burner on, because let’s all admit we’ve done that…) I distinctly remember her saying this to me one time when I was little and impatiently staring out the kitchen window, waiting for one of my friends to be dropped off to play. Stop being so anxious; if you occupy yourself, you won’t even realize time is passing and whatever it is you’re waiting for will be here before you know it. But good Lord, time moves SO SLOW when you are just sitting there watching it tick by. Though this is a mantra I repeat to myself often, I can’t say it’s actually helped my patience…mom still wins that award by a landslide.

When you’re crying, wipe your eyes with the tissue before you blow your nose. This one doesn’t need any philosophical explanation. It’s simple. Just use common sense. Nobody wants to smear snot all over their face. Wipe your eyes first. But also, don’t be afraid to cry, like ugly, girl cry. Let it out. And mom’s lap is still the best place to curl up while doing so.

Always have pasta in your kitchen. I think her original idea behind this was a survival method…pasta is nonperishable, can be eaten plain if necessary and could be boiled in a fireplace or kerosene heater if we lost power. Side note: we had both a fireplace and kerosene heater when I was growing up. Now I have neither, so this isn’t really a survival option unless I want to gnaw on raw pasta…so there’s that…But I can’t express to you how many times this has saved me from starvation. Sometimes I get home really late. Sometimes I’m just too lazy to want to cook. And when that sets in, pasta and spaghetti sauce are my go-to. It fills me up and I can make enough to have leftovers (because you know there’s a good chance we’re going to have deja vu tomorrow.) And I can throw in whatever leftovers I might have in my fridge (mushrooms, hamburger, chicken, veggies, etc.) Instant meal!

That mom…she sure does know her stuff 🙂

What about you? What are you favorite momma moments?

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?

I’m Alive in Lyrics.

A few days ago, I had a new blog friend, Lisa (stop by and give her some love!), comment on my Alive post. She mentioned a song that I had honestly never heard of. But then I looked it up and it really IS perfect for where my desire to explore alive comes from. So I wanted to share it with you. I love song lyrics; and I hope that they encourage you to continue exploring your beautiful life!

*This song became even more perfect when I looked it up and realized I did in fact know this artist…he is the former lead singer of my good friend Lindsey Jo’s FAVORITE band (I mean, that in the most intense way possible. I spent a large part of my college life being educated on them.) Life is so ironic.

Peter Furler – I’m Alive Lyrics

When I was locked inside my head
When I was lost in a maze of doubt
You called my name and woke me up
You called my name and led me out

And when I chased one more mirage
‘Til I was tired and parched again
You gave me one more cup to fill
And sent me one more desert rain

I’m alive, I’m on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight, bright-eyed
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You

I was sure of all I knew
I knew the world was mine to claim
I had directions printed out
And then I hit a wall of shame

Out there alone and left to die
Cut off from You, my sole supply
You shed Your tears for me and then
You took my hand and raised me high

I’m alive, I’m on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight, bright-eyed
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You

I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, yeah, thank You