a review of 2018

By | Atlanta, Heart to Heart, Nursing, Uncategorized, Wedding

2018 was a whirlwind of a year. This past year was definitely full of higher highs and lower lows that I had imagined! I wanted to write a little recap of the year to look back on the amazing experiences I had, and the struggles that I had, to see how far I’ve come. I like the idea of doing this also to get a bigger picture of things that I want to do more of this year and things that I want to let go of from last year.

Major highlights of 2018:

  • studied for & passed the NCLEX and added RN to my name in January
  • started my career as a nurse in February, and made it through my first 10 months of nursing
  • moved into our amazing loft in July
  • got engaged to the love of my life in September!!! this takes the cake for the highest high 🙂

Outdoor adventure highlights:

  • backpacked/camped at cloudland canyon state park
  • car camped at deep hole camping ground
  • hiked to hike inn & backpacked to the AT approach trail
  • kayaked the hooch for our anniversary in June
  • shot the hooch in September for Labor Day (the day we got engaged!)

Travel highlights of 2018:

  • Traverse City, Michigan in January for Blake’s brother’s wedding
  • Baltimore, Maryland in February to see one of my best friends Kat
  • Miramar Beach, Florida in April for a weekend getaway
  • Lake Lanier, Georgia in June for our anniversary
  • Charleston, South Carolina in July as a belated real anniversary trip
  • Danville, California in July to see my family
  • Houston, Texas in October to see Blake’s family
  • Berkeley, California in November for our close friends’ wedding
  • Chateau Elan, Georgia in November as a 24th birthday surprise from Blake
  • Bend & Sunriver, Oregon for a family vacation in December over New Year’s

Other awesome experiences of 2018:

went to a few Braves games

met one of my now bridesmaids who was my preceptor at work!

did the Moon Ride in Atlanta for the first time

went to Shaky Knees music festival

joined a new gym

showed some of my closest friends my favorite parts of Atlanta

saw Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour with my mom

had an engagement party in Houston with Blake’s family

toured wedding venues in California with Blake & my mom

got engagement photos taken in wine country

took pictures of my brother’s proposal in Oregon (congrats you two!!!)

Writing this out has me really appreciating how much good there was in this past year, despite it feeling like one of my hardest years yet. In the effort of keeping it real, though, there were some pretty low lows as well:

  • I navigated what my relationship with exercise looks like as a full time working adult and cried more than a few times about the whole process. It felt like I lost part of myself as I was no longer able to crush it in the gym all the time and felt “out of shape”
  • I learned a lot about the not-so-wonderful parts of myself through my relationships… and learned how much work I have to do in being kinder to others, having more patience, being slow to anger, and being less defensive.
  • I struggled to keep work/life separate and found myself very challenged to regulate my emotions logically after long exhausting days at work where all my patience had evaporated
  • I dealt with real world nursing and fought a lot through the journey of it. Everyone tells you your first year is hard… but nothing could have prepared me for the days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. The days where my patients drove me up a wall or were incredibly rude to me or got upset with me for things that weren’t in my control. The days that you realize that nothing is really fair and that the 4:1 patient:nurse ratio is not always a reality, and you feel completely and utterly overwhelmed.
  • I struggled with feeling like there has to be something more to what I’m doing on my days off and feeling lazy/ unproductive with the increased free time that I have. (still struggling with this one!)
  • I spent my first holiday season away from family due to work. We spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta making beef bourginoun and I worked Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Being away from family especially on Christmas was really emotionally challenging.

I’m so thankful for the past year and how much I grew throughout it. It taught me that the highest of highs can coexist with the lows and I learned so much about myself along the way. I’m looking forward to all the growth that is to come in 2019 and all of the exciting things on the horizon! 2019 is the year that we get married, the year that I go on my first international trip as an adult (hello, Iceland), and so much more!

Stay tuned for my next post with a few habits I want to change and goals I want to accomplish in the new year! <3

I want to hear what your favorite parts of 2018 are! What are you looking forward to in the new year?

looking for ideas!

By | Heart to Heart, Nursing

Hi friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written and if I’m being 100% honest with y’all it’s because I’ve been feeling rather apathetic lately. On my days off from work I feel exhausted and I usually don’t feel like doing much, but then by the end of my day I don’t feel fulfilled having spent my day on social media, watching tv on the couch, and really only getting out of the house to go shopping, for a walk with a podcast, or to the gym. I haven’t been trying many new things lately and I haven’t forced myself to commit to at least trying something out for at least a set time period to get myself out of my rut.

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Processed with VSCO with k2 preset

I want to get back to writing more but there’s the part of my head that is tired and doesn’t want to make a commitment to myself to try writing more that is keeping from doing it. I know that is silly because I can write from my couch and it isn’t exhausting. It’s just my mind getting in the way thinking that things need to be curated and have pretty photos or that I have to have something amazing to say. People always say that you just have to write, it doesn’t have to be good, to get the creativity flowing. So, that is one thing that I want to do more for myself.

I also am looking for ideas of fun hobbies to do on my days off that don’t involve screens or social media. I love those things but I don’t want to spend my life behind a screen and think there’s something to be said for having some hobbies that don’t involve electronics!

Right now, I’m looking into getting into cross stitching or knitting, writing more, and baking new things. I bought some good flour to make sourdough bread with and am pretty sure it’ll be a flop the first few times but that’s the point of learning, right?! So I’d love to hear any ideas of things that you’ve been loving lately, whether that’s new books you’ve read, new hobbies or things you’ve tried, or a daily practice you’ve been loving! Shoot me all of your ideas, I am honestly looking for anything at this point that doesn’t have a high start up cost.

I know that this post is all over the place but it is part of my commitment to myself to at least do something instead of sit on the couch and get frustrated with myself. I’m hoping the words start flowing more easily once I get back to writing more and I know I need to have a little grace for myself along the way.

xo

replacing lies with truths.

By | Nursing

Hi friends! Happy Tuesday!

If I’m being honest, the last few weeks have felt like a really big struggle for me. I feel like I’ve been battling self-talk and emotions that were getting the best of me and dragging me down. I have been telling myself a lot of lies that have left me feeling apathetic (especially on my days off from work). Yesterday & today a little switch flipped in me. I’ve always been a believer that you have control of your own happiness but I’ve been letting the stories that I’ve been telling myself take that happiness from me.

These are the kind of things that I’ve been telling myself lately:

  • I’m not good enough at my job and I don’t know where my career is going to take me or if I’ll ever truly feel excited to go to work
  • I’m not a good fiance/partner and don’t deserve to have it as good as I do
  • I don’t have anything to say that someone else hasn’t already said. Why write about something when your words don’t matter anyway?
  • I am not as fit as I could be and I’m not really beautiful or worthy when I’m not as fit
  • I can’t set goals because I never actually meet my expectations and I never finish out what I start

When they’re all written out like that, it sounds really harsh, cruel, and ridiculous that those are things that I have been saying to myself on a daily basis. I think that part of the reason that these negative thoughts have come out towards myself in the recent months is because I haven’t done a great job of choosing joy & filling up my own cup on days that I’m not working. I find myself exhausted after taking care of others and have not put the energy towards cultivating a positive mindset and instead have let the negative one root itself in my brain.

Something that I did today to combat these negative thoughts was write them all out – and then write an arrow and next to them, wrote gratitudes and positive reminders related to the negative thoughts:

I’m not good enough at my job and don’t have my career figured out ➝ I am thankful to have a career. I am thankful for the two degrees that I had the privilege of getting that brought me here. I have plenty of time to figure my career out. I am thankful for the fact that nursing is so diverse that I can feel overwhelmed about what path I am going to take. I have plenty of options!

I’m not a good fiance/partner ➝ I am thankful to have such an amazing relationship and someone who supports me the way that Blake does. I am thankful to have so much room to grow & become a better person in this relationship. I am worthy of love & happiness.

My writing doesn’t mean much because what is there to say that someone else isn’t saying? ➝ I am thankful to have the ability to write and free time to do so. I am unique in my perspective and my voice. Not writing and dimming my own light in telling myself that my writing is not good enough only hurts me and those around me.

I am not as fit as I could be and because of this I am less beautiful ➝ I am thankful for a body that is healthy with no chronic health problems. I am thankful to be able to go to the gym and continue to better myself. I am not better or more worthy when I am more fit.

I can’t set goals because I don’t finish what I start ➝ I have completed two college degrees. I’ve ran a marathon. I’ve done a CrossFit competition. I’ve become a group fitness instructor. I became a nurse. All of these are examples of finishing what I started. I am not perfect and am not going to meet my goals every day but I am cheating myself by not trying.

Writing all of this out makes me think about everything that I have in life – things that others dream of having. I am doing myself a disservice if I am going to go through life with a negative mindset.

Maybe you’re all too familiar with the things that I wrote above? Maybe you don’t speak to yourself as kindly as you could? Maybe you tell yourself lies that keep you from doing amazing things?

Join me in reframing our mindsets this month to a positive and joyful one – here are some actionable things that will help us get there!

  • write down something you’re grateful for every day
  • if you feel negative emotions swirling in your head and you can’t seem to turn them off, change your environment and go do something. doing anything is better than sitting with negative thoughts – go for a walk, call a friend, read a book, treat yourself to a coffee!
  • acknowledge your feelings & give yourself space to feel them – but then choose an emotion that vibrates a little higher. you aren’t going to be able to go from feeling horrible to feeling extremely joyful in one day. but you can go from feeling negative and down to choosing to feel grateful for something and moving up the spiral of feelings & emotions.

I always want to keep things real and authentic – and while this past month has felt like a challenge I know that I have the power to change the days that are coming with a more positive mindset & choosing more joy.

Sending hugs your way! xo

the biggest adventure of my life… (we’re engaged!)

By | Atlanta, Wedding

Last weekend was the BEST weekend of my life, y’all! Blake and I got ENGAGED! I get to marry this man!!! We had a whirlwind of a weekend backpacking and floating the river last weekend and at the end of it, Blake proposed and I had no idea it was going to happen.

I wanted to share a little bit of the story here for my own sake so that I have it all written out somewhere, and I wanted to bring you guys into the biggest adventure of life that I get to go on with my forever teammate!

So, without further ado!

Labor Day was the day after we had gotten back from backpacking and we were planning on floating the river that afternoon with some friends. Blake had told me in the morning that he wanted to take me on a date that night since I was working the next 3 days and then he was out of town for over a week. He made dinner reservations which is not unusual because we like to go on date nights about once a week usually! I didn’t think twice about it and we headed out for a day of shooting the hooch (for those of you aren’t in the area… we floated the Chattahoochee River and everyone just calls it shooting the hooch!). We had the best day getting sunburned & spending time with friends on the water, but our bus ride back to our cars was a little later than we’d expected. It was about 6:45 by the time that we got home, and we were supposed to go to dinner at 7- but Blake had told me he pushed the reservation back a little and I was hurrying to get ready. I didn’t know where we were going to dinner and then Blake told me he wanted to go take a picture at this surprise spot before dinner since we didn’t have any pictures with us together dressed up lately.

(our last pre-engagement picture together on the river!)

I was rushing to get ready and almost didn’t even do my makeup, but decided to at the last minute… except I didn’t even think about touching my hair. I’m not a hair & nails kinda gal and we have been on plenty of dates where my hair is wet and drying on the way over and through dinner. So I came out of the bathroom ready to go and Blake looked at me and said “what, do I need to buy you a blowdryer?!” and I was so MAD, yall! We are sassy and make fun of each other all the time but here I was all dressed up and here he was talking about my hair (which I never do). So I stubbornly marched back into the bathroom shouting about how long it takes to do my hair, haha. Little did I know that he was going to propose, that he needed to buy a little more time for our friends to get there and set up, and that he wanted my hair to look good for pictures cause he knew I’d be mad about it later.

I finished doing my hair and kept joking about how mad I was at Blake the whole car ride over. And also asked who was going to take our picture at this place which he just nonchalantly blew off and said that he would get some good pictures. When we got there, I wasn’t suspecting anything because Jackson Street Bridge has a pretty view of the Atlanta skyline and lots of people take pictures there.

We got to the middle of the bridge and I turned to Blake and asked who was going to take our picture and then he started telling me that one day that he was in LA the previous weekend that he had flown up to SF to see my family…. and ask them their permission to marry me! By this point I was freaking out and making all sorts of noises and thought I was going to start bawling. I honestly can’t remember much of what he said after that because then he was down on one knee asking me to marry him and it was like the whole world just slowed down in that moment. I was SO surprised!! And said YES! He turned me around and showed me two of our friends who were across the bridge the whole time getting pictures which was so sweet of them.

And then we got to all head to a brewery together to celebrate with a few friends that he had gotten together which was the best and I’m so glad that he planned that. The whole drive over to the brewery I kept asking him to repeat the story about how he asked my family because that meant so much to me that he flew there to spend time with them and get their blessing.

It was the biggest & best surprise of my life, and I am so excited to marry my best friend & favorite human. We are going to build an amazing life together and I can’t wait for the adventure to continue. (Also have to throw this in there that he absolutely nailed the ring! It’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen).

So, that’s the story! I’m getting MARRIED! Thank you to everyone for loving on us this past week- it has been overwhelming in the best kind of way.

Cheers to forever!

a few reflections on six months of nursing.

By | Nursing

It’s hard to believe that just six months ago I was starting my first job as a nurse. The whole journey thus far has been more challenging than anything I’ve experienced, far more emotionally draining than I had anticipated, but I still wholeheartedly believe this is a career that fits me so well & is completely worth it.

I’d be lying if I told you that most days at work were good days. I’ve been told that it takes a whole year of nursing before you start feeling like you have your feet under you and you’re more confident in the things you’re doing. Most days, I come home from work completely spent, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had no idea the challenges I would face, the days that I’d run for the bathroom to make it just in time before I burst into tears, or the days that I’d spend feeling so thankful for the people that I work with.

It’s pretty hard to sum up what this job is like and nursing school definitely doesn’t scratch the surface. It almost feels hard to write this post because I don’t want to come across as negative (trust me, I wouldn’t be doing this work if I didn’t think it was important or worth it) and I also just have no idea how to possibly sum up the last 6 months.

One of my biggest struggles that I didn’t expect to face as a nurse is how I’m able to cope with my emotions when I’m not at work. After 13+ hours of taking care of other people, barely getting a lunch break, and running around on my feet all day, I come home so exhausted it’s like I don’t know how to logically manage my emotions. It’s hard to describe, but the littlest of things would so easily upset me when I came home. I would be so tired that I wasn’t a nice person to my boyfriend or my friends. My day would have been so frustrating and stressful that I’d just come home and yell about it and ruin the rest of the evening instead of letting it go.  In general, I was becoming a person that’s not fun to be around after work. It’s like I turn into someone else and it’s taken me time to figure out why that’s happening.

I realized that in spending the majority of my workweek pouring into others that I need to pour back into myself to feel more whole and emotionally stable again. That I can’t talk to anyone on the phone driving home from work anymore because I need to take that time to recover and just zone out after my day. That I need to sleep as much as I want on days off because without it, I turn into an irrationally emotional person. That sometimes, going to the gym is not what I need to do to take care of myself, because high intensity workouts like CrossFit are stressful on the body, and sometimes I just need to take a walk instead. That paying for pedicures and a yoga class pass are not selfish but necessary. I know that self care is a pretty hot button topic nowadays, but for nurses, it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. I don’t want to get burned out doing this job, so I need to take better care of myself so that I can live my life to the fullest when I’m not at work. It’s something I’m still working on and learning how to do. I hope that by the time it’s been a year and I’m writing about a year of nursing that I look back on this and remember how hard it was but that it feels farther away than it once did.

I do know that I 100% would not have made it to this day without my amazing preceptor & coworkers. They make everything bearable and have stepped in to help me out so many times, whether it be in helping me do something I haven’t done before, helping solve a problem that I can’t deal with because I’m busy with something else, or getting drinks outside of work and laughing about the struggles. This job would be so much harder without good coworkers.

A lot of people don’t have many great things to say about med/surg nursing. I’m not sure why since it seems to me that a lot of the problems and frustrations in nursing are found no matter where you go, but I think some of it might just be exacerbated in med/surg. It’s not glamorous, you have too much work to do and too many patients most of the time, you deal with gross stuff and people getting frustrated at you for things that aren’t your fault, the list goes on. But med/surg nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, and I’m learning something new every day. No two patients are the same and I get to work with people of all ages, with many different diseases in different stages. I know that I definitely would like to work in at least a few other specialties in the coming years as a nurse, but I think that being a med/surg nurse is toughening me up and shaping me into a really competent, well rounded, critical thinker and I’m thankful for that.

I am excited to make it to that one-year mark that so many people say is where things started to feel a little more solid, but for now, I’m going to keep showing up, learning, brushing off the days that end in frustration & tears, giving my all to patients, and enjoying the process along the way.

Thank you for reading my rambles about the adventure of nursing thus far. If you’re a nurse or nursing student, sending you hugs and high fives – this shit ain’t easy and we all could use a little extra love from each other. And if you’re not involved in nursing but reading this anyway, thanks for reading and putting yourselves in my shoes for just a little bit. If you know a nurse, give ’em a big hug for me too <3

Lastly, special shout out to this one for putting up with and working through said emotions mentioned above, for sticking by my side, and always being there for the best hugs when I really need one. Thank you for pushing me to be a better person even when it’s hard and for supporting me through all this. Love you to bits.