Six Months, Two Job Losses, and All the Time in the World

Hello, everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post, but a large reason for that is because I started a new job at the end of March! Between my new schedule, being tired at night from that schedule, and learning the ropes of my new role, I haven’t had much brain capacity for anything else.

I’m not here to talk about my new job, though. What I want to share with you are the things I got out of losing two different jobs in a matter of six months. Yes, you heard that correct. Can you say bad luck?

Last June, I was laid-off from a job after only being there for six months. I wasn’t the only one; the company let go a number of their employees, many of whom had worked there for five, ten, even fifteen years. It was a small family of friends and I met a lot of great people. The most stressful part of it for me was the fact that I was getting married in October.

I was fortunate enough to have only been unemployed for six weeks when I found a new job and started working again the first week of August. Guess I should have known it was too good to be true. Four months later, I was told that they were basically getting rid of my role and that come December 31st, I would no longer be employed there. I remember trying my absolute hardest to not a) Start laughing in their face as if they were playing a sick joke on me, and b) Begin hyperventilating at the thought of this happening again only a few months later.

This time, I was unemployed for three months. I know there are people who have gone much longer, and I am so sorry for that because I understand the boredom, the frustration, and the doubt that comes with it. I experienced these emotions and then some.

It’s also hard when you no longer have an income because you’re very limited to what you can do. Some days, the only time I left my apartment was to go to the gym. I watched way more TV than I would have liked, and since my days were uneventful, I wasn’t tired at night and would end up being awake until 3 a.m.

Being laid-off two times in the course of six months is basically unheard of and there were plenty of days when I felt completely worthless. However, the free time allowed me the opportunity to try new things as well as explore areas of my life.

Reasons why I benefited from being laid-off, twice:

  • It gave me a clearer understanding of what I want career-wise. This is something I’ve really struggled with and still struggle with. However, my second time job hunting pushed me to be a little more specific about what sort of job I wanted to land. I prefer a creative environment, something neither of those two previous jobs offered. I was also really interested in learning more about marketing, so I made sure to include that in my search.
  • I (finally) tried yoga. For years my mom has been saying I should do yoga to help with stress. After I sat down and realized yoga’s multiple benefits, along with stress relief, I found a nearby studio and signed up. I was concerned because it obviously wasn’t free, but my husband knew at that point my well-being was my #1 priority, and he also thought it’d be a good thing for me to try. I’m very glad I did because I enjoy every class I go to and I’m excited to keep improving and learning more.
  • I became more aware of my health and diet. I’ve always struggled with finding a healthy balance in exercising and what I eat. I wouldn’t say I’m a terrible eater, but I also never paid attention to what goes into my body. I am, however, terrible at sticking to a regular workout schedule. I’ll keep it up for a couple of months, then fall back to going once or twice a week. Having so much free time allowed me to go to the gym every day, and I was there just about every day. I also looked up new recipes to try while paying more attention to what’s good for your body. I’ve noticed some muscle gain and small differences in certain areas I’ve always wanted to improve. With a new job, I’m really trying to make sure I stick to a regular schedule while staying more mindful of what I eat (but I never pass up an opportunity for pizza!)
  • I gave more thought to this blog. While it was challenging to find something to write about since I wasn’t doing very much, I was able to put my energy blogging. I wasn’t posting all the time, but I was able to think about where I want to go with my blog, I came up with blog post ideas… heck, I’m still figuring it out. But I’m glad I could start understanding blogging a bit more so one day I can turn it into an occasional hobby.
  • I struggled. I know it’s kind of a cliché concept, but I obviously see now that those struggles turned out to be a good thing. They weren’t fun at the time, of course, but they helped give me some sort of guidance figuring out what I want to do in life (besides travel).

Getting laid-off isn’t fun and I hope none of you have to experience it. But if it does happen, whether it’s in one year or ten years, try to take advantage of the free time you’ll have. While you should keep up with your job search, you can only do so much of it before you lose your mind. Use part of each day to look, but do other things as well. Try something new, read, or sign up for a class if you’re financially able.

I’m not saying it won’t be hard because I promise you, I was having a rough time and started to think it’d be months and months before I found something good. But if you can find ways to utilize your time, hopefully unemployment will be a little more bearable and maybe go by a bit quicker.

Current Music Favorites

Anyone else like making playlists, discovering new songs, and just great music in general? ‘Cause I certainly do.

I have a lot of favorite songs, but I thought I’d share ones that are more recent (from this year and last year). A lot of my favorite bands released albums in 2017 and 2018, so to make sure they didn’t take up this whole list, I only chose 1 song from each – NOT easy. Plus, I wrote a post in December on my favorite albums of 2017 so I didn’t want to have too much repeat.

Let me know if you give any of these a listen!

  • “Told You So” by Miguel
  • “Flowerss by HalfNoise
  • “Homemade Dynamite – REMIX” by Lorde, Khalid, Post Malone, and SZA
  • “Passionfruit” by Drake
  • “What Lovers Do” by Maroon 5 feat. SZA
  • “20 Something” by SZA
  • “Winterbreak” by MUNA
  • “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy
  • “Almost Had Me” by Lights
  • “Don’t Come Down” by The Maine
  • “Little of Your Love” by HAIM
  • “Sparking” by Eisley
  • “Rose-Colored Boy” by Paramore
  • “Ground Control” by All Time Low feat. Tegan and Sara
  • “Love So Soft” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Get Out” by CHVRCHES
  • “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers
  • “Party on Apocalypse” by New Found Glory
  • “Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People
  • “Lustration” by Circa Survive
  • “Dangerous Night” by Thirty Seconds to Mars

Okay, guys, now it’s time for you to tell me songs you’re currently loving! I’m always looking for new music, so let me know!

The Simple Practice of Gratitude

Hi, friends!

Last time we spoke, I mentioned there was a nor’easter happening. Now, we have welcomed Winter Storm Quinn into our neighborhoods! Man, I am so ready for summer.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you guys today about gratitude. Living in our digital age while following hectic schedules can cause us to forget that sometimes, it’s good to slow down and look around. We need to remember the value in the things we already have or acknowledge what comes into our path on a daily basis.

Practicing gratitude isn’t something we should only do once a year on Thanksgiving. We should be doing it every day, or as often as we can. It’s such a simple act that brings you back down to earth and helps you appreciate life. It can help your overall well-being, allowing you to feel more happiness, relieve you from stress, and help you to be more patient.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am one of the many who can get lost in schedules, stress – just everyday life – and I often forget to realize that there are always things to be grateful for. Heck, I forget to be grateful because I do get so caught up in stress.

To help relieve me from getting lost in my own head, I decided to start a Gratitude Journal. Each night, I reflect on what I was grateful for that day and choose 3 things to write down. The best part is that I don’t need to mention some huge event. I might list something as simple as “Trying out a new recipe.” I personally believe that’s one of the most important pieces to practicing gratitude: you really appreciate the small things in life. You don’t need to buy a new car or get a raise at work to be grateful. I’m not saying those things shouldn’t be celebrated or appreciated because they should! But it’s also good to recognize the small things as well as the big things.

I’ve only started my Gratitude Journal about a week ago, but I wanted to share some of what I’ve written:

  • I am grateful for starting a new book, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. (Side note: go check her out!)
  • I am grateful that we didn’t lose power during the nor’easter.
  • I am grateful for signing up for yoga and taking my first class!
  • I am grateful for seeing a friend who I hadn’t seen since summer.
  • I am grateful that my husband is on his school break and we’ve been able to spend some more time together.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong to this because you’re doing it for you. Aside from writing, you can also practice gratitude by telling someone in your life that you’re thankful for them. I’m sure it would make them feel good 🙂

Does anyone else practice gratitude? How has it helped you?

My First Experience Taking a Yoga Class

Happy Friday!

I’m one of the many people currently experiencing this wonderful nor’easter. I need to go to Target, but that’s probably going to have to wait until tomorrow or Sunday. So for now, I thought I would share with you my first ever experience taking a yoga class!

The only yoga experience I have is attempting some poses at home. It’s completely different trying it on your own compared to being in a class with an instructor. I wanted to try classes because I knew it would give me guidance on how to do the poses correctly without hurting myself. Plus, being at home can easily distract you.

Last night I went to my first class, which was called Evening Flow. I admit I was a little nervous beforehand because I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The class instructor, Victoria, was super nice and helped me get situated. I had to rent one of their mats, and she also showed me the blocks and straps that are sometimes used for assistance with poses.

Once the class got going, my nerves went away. Victoria led everyone in a quick warm up before going into a variety of poses, such as downward dog, tabletop, child’s play, warrior, butterfly, and boat pose. She made sure to show the class how to position themselves, occasionally going over to individuals to help them correct their pose.

For me, it was a little overwhelming because I was trying to focus on my breathing along with making sure I was doing the poses as best as I could. I know it’s going to take take time and practice, but I could tell my body was getting a great workout. I do go to the gym, but yoga was another reminder that I’m not very flexible. One girl in the class was like Gumby, bending in all kinds of directions. As I continue, I’m looking forward to achieving different poses without losing my breath!

After class, Victoria told me I’d done a good job for my first time. That was very encouraging to hear! She said I had good alignment, which I was surprised at because I don’t have the best posture (one of the many reasons why I’m trying yoga). I also took a few minutes to speak with her, asking if she had any suggestions for me on what to work on. Apparently my downward dog pose needs improvement (see, going to a class helps!). She also said it’s important to power through holding the poses, something I definitely struggle with.

I can see why people enjoy yoga. Besides the workout your body is getting, it’s a nice way to take a break from the rest of the world so all you’re focused on is what you’re doing in class. One of my goals is mindfulness, and yoga will be a great help with that.

For anyone who’s never taken a yoga class and is considering it, I encourage you to try! I’m really glad I did, despite my nerves. I’ve already signed up for my next class and I’m excited to continue learning more and improving my flexibility and physical strength.

I’d love to hear about any of your experiences with yoga! Share with me in the comments 🙂 Also, for anyone else getting hit by this nor’easter: stay safe and warm!

Favorite Lyrics From Paramore’s ‘After Laughter’

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that Paramore is my absolute favorite band in the whole world. After a long yet worthwhile wait, they released their fifth studio album, After Laughter, last May.

This album is brilliant because it overflows with honesty and emotion, which also makes it incredibly relatable. Although the music is upbeat and makes you want to do a little dance, lyrically, it’s some of the band’s most powerful work.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big music lover and part of that is because of song lyrics. Whether you’re going through a difficult time or a positive experience, there’s something out there for everyone. Words are so influential and really help with expression. Paramore nails it when it comes to that.

I listen to After Laughter a lot, but it doesn’t get old. Since I love it so much, I wanted to share my favorite lyrics (not an easy task, by the way).

“Reality will break your heart // Survival will not be the hardest part // It’s keeping all your hopes alive // When all the rest of you has died” – 26

“Of all the weapons you fight with // Your silence is the most violent” – Tell Me How

“Hard times // Gonna take you down a laugh when you cry” – Hard Times

“I know that you’re afraid to // Let all the dark escape you // But we could let the light illuminate these hopeless places” – Idle Worship

“You say we gotta look on the bright side // I say well maybe if you wanna go blind // You say my eyes are getting too dark now // But boy you ain’t ever seen my mind” – Rose-Colored Boy

“And I don’t pick up when you call // ‘Cause your voice is a gun // Every word is a bullet hole // Shot a hole in the sun” – Forgiveness

“Time is a bastard // I won’t break my neck to get around it” – Grudges

“Nostalgia’s cool // But it won’t help you now // A dream is good // If you don’t wear it out” – Caught in the Middle

What are some of your favorite lyrics (Paramore or not)? I’d love to hear them!

Dreaming of Summer Days

Happy Hump Day! I hope you’re all having a great week so far.

Today is a wonderful day for New Englanders because the temperature is at a whopping 73 degrees… In the middle of February! We’ve had some harsh cold weather this winter, and to be quite honest, I’m so sick of it. I’ve been dreaming of summer for a couple of weeks now, so today’s weather has been a breath of fresh air (literally).

Getting to leave my apartment without a jacket, hat, and gloves on makes me ready for endless sunshine and warmer days! It got me thinking about the things I miss the most about spring/summer when I’m shivering away in negative degree weather:

Being outside: I was able to go for a nice walk today, which was so refreshing! The winter weather makes it difficult, and sometimes painful, to be outside for more than 3 seconds. I always miss being able to take walks in the evening while the sun is going down, or participate in fun outdoor activities like kayaking! I opened a window in the apartment and could hear little kids playing outside, which was so nice to hear!

Sunshine: This could go with being outside, but either way, those short winter days get old very fast. Plus, it gets so gloomy. I miss those sunny days with bright blue skies where everything feels more cheerful. Gotta get that Vitamin D!

Beach days: I don’t go to the beach often in the summer, but I’ve always loved going. Even though it can get pretty crazy with beachgoers, who doesn’t love soaking up some sun while relaxing on their favorite beach? My family takes a vacation down to the Jersey Shore every summer, so I’m really looking forward to that this year!

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(This was taken last summer in Newport, RI)

Overall, warm weather makes you feel good and there’s so much more to do. Even things like ice cream stands opening back up, summer cookouts , or just sitting outside with a good book to read are definitely missed during the winter!

For anyone else who longs for summer once the winter months start coming to a close, what do you miss the most about? For others, what are your favorite things about the warm weather in general?

First Miami Adventure

Hi, guys!

My husband and I just got home this morning from a short trip to Miami! We went down for his sister’s wedding, but since neither of us had been there before we made time to do some exploring!

We arrived on Thursday morning and had the rest of the day to check out the city. After having a quick lunch, we drove to Key Biscayne where we walked along the beach, climbed the Cape Florida Light lighthouse, saw an iguana fall from a tree (not kidding), and enjoyed some beautiful sunshine!

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I took this photo from the top of the lighthouse. I’m terrified of heights, so I snapped this quickly. Isn’t it beautiful, though?

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The Cape Florida Lighthouse (105 steps to the top!)

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After, we went and got ice cream at Azucar Ice Cream Company. They had a long list of different flavors; it was hard to choose one! I ended up getting Raspberry Sorbet while Robby had Dulche de Leche. Both were so creamy and delicious! If you’re ever in Miami, check this place out.

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That night, Robby’s sister and her now husband had some of his family over for dinner and we joined them. They’re such friendly people and we really enjoyed their company! They’re from the Dominican Republic and they welcomed us to stay with them if we ever travel down there. So nice!

Friday morning started off with some donuts from The Salty Donut! We ended up choosing maple bacon, flan, traditional glazed, cookies and cream, and classic chocolate glazed from their list of craft donuts. I didn’t try all of the ones we got, but the cookies and cream one was my favorite!

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After breakfast, Robby and I went to South Beach. The beach itself was pretty empty since the weather was in the 60s to low 70s, but it was still beautiful! We took a short walk before continuing on Ocean Drive, which was right next to the beach. There were bike riders, runners, and visitors enjoying the scenery and weather.

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One of my favorite things I saw was the Starlite Hotel, a 50’s-style hotel (I love the 50’s)

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There were more buildings that had the same style; I was in love!

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We ate lunch at a place called Joe’s Take Away, which is a more casual version of the restaurant Joe’s Stone Crab (they’re next door to each other). I got the Manhattan Clam Chowder and a small side of fries (which looked more like a large), and Robby had the Mahi-Mahi sandwich. Everything was delicious and fresh!

South Beach was my favorite part that we got to visit. I would love to go back there someday!

The wedding festivities began late that afternoon. Robby’s sister and her husband had a pretty non-traditional wedding. They were married at the courthouse in Coral Gables, followed by a family dinner at a restaurant called Grazianos.

The following day, Saturday, was the reception. It was held on the rooftop of a 14 story floor building, which provided a stunning view of the city! We spent the morning setting up tables, chairs, and decorations. Of course I don’t have any photos, but everything looked beautiful and setup went smoothly!

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Once we finished, we all went our separate ways to grab lunch and then get ready for the celebration. They probably had 80-85 people in attendance, but it was a fun crowd and everyone appeared to be having a great time! It was also nice because we got to hang out with some of Robby’s family who had attended our wedding in October, but we barely got to see or talk to them during it since we were all over the place.

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We weren’t in Miami for too long, but we still had a great time! I would definitely like to go back someday and do more exploring.

Has anyone else been to Miami? What do you like it about? Let me know in the comments! 🙂