Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hunting for Happy

Let's cut to the chase: It's been a while. Here's what you missed:

We moved to Chicago - June 2014

I found a my new happy-place job - January 2015

We moved out to a house in the burbs - June 2015

I got pregnant - July 2015

Baby Freddie graced us with his awesomeness - April 2016

So not too much new here!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly about times in my life when I was really happy and fulfilled. Atlanta was one of those times. I look back at the posts on here and the vlogs that followed and I feel a since of calm. There was a simplicity. We had a routine. I had time to explore creative outlets. We were in our own little bubble of happy.

Two years have passed and I have so much more to be happy about (Fred being number one at that list), but I still find myself thinking back longingly at our time in the ATL. Maybe it's the golden glow of nostalgia that's makes these memories shine so brightly in my brain.

We've talked seriously about moving back and what that would look like. Mike's current position is a temporary one and we haven't yet heard if it will turn into a permanent position. In some respects there is a serious possibility that a move could be in our future. My first reaction is excitement over a new adventure. A possible return to a lifestyle I loved. But what if that time is past and gone, and nothing we do can bring it back?

I've tried to pinpoint the specific things I loved about our life in Atlanta. The excitement of a new place? The fun of the city life? The quaint southern charm? Heck, maybe just the warmer weather?

It's all of that and none of it at the same time. The thing I loved was that we fell into a perfect little life without trying. All the pieces fell into place exactly right.

I have only a handful of bad memories, and all are from the first 6 months, a time when I was trying to get comfy in a new place while working in the worst job I've had to date.

I adopted a vegan diet in Atlanta and had an amazingly easy time doing it. One month into our time in Chicago and I had fallen down the dairy hole. Really vegan vs. non-vegan wasn't the important part. I was eating with purpose. I was cooking at home. We were exploring new foods. It was filling on a deeper level.

Even this blog and the later vlogs are part of it. I had this time to indulge in an outlet. To create and express myself.

I'd like to believe that Atlanta was a magical place that made this all happen. I want to believe that if we just moved back, we could go back to that life. We could call up Ken and get our charmingly tiny basement apartment back. We could carpool to work and go on adventures on the weekends. Walk to Trader Joes and to Piedmont Park. Dinners at Atlantic Station. Saturdays at Ikea. Moe's for dinner EVERY SINGLE MONDAY.

I'd like to believe that those individual things are the missing pieces that would make it all click again. But there was something more. Something simple and less complicated. Something easy and carefree.

I don't have an answer. Just more rambling thoughts to sift through.

Happy hunting!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Latest Creation

Woah showing some serious blog love this week.

I wasn't planning to post again so soon, but then Google Auto-Awesome fashioned together this nifty gif and I just had to share it somewhere.

Today is my first day wearing my newest creation and as a result I had Mike outside in boxers and a white tee photographing me in million poses.(He does a great job humoring me on this stuff). Anyway, my handy android phone auto back-ups all my pics to my google+ account. From there Google recognized the multi-photo sequence and stitched it all together for me. Thanks Google :)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Applying to Art School: The Story of Not Loving Your Job

Are you guys still checking in on blog? Good for you! Remember you can cyber-stalk me on youtube now.

So how are things?? There have been a whole lot of changes in our lives since my last post 2 and a half months ago. Here's a quick update:

My girlies came to visit!

Matching PJ's...we're cool like that.

We found out we will be moving. Mike found out he didn't get an offer from the residency here in Atlanta. Luckily the next week he found out that he did get an offer from the Rehab Institute of Chicago!

Celebratory Moe's dinner of course!

I applied to Art School.  Yup, starting in July I'll be taking night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a certificate in...drum roll please....Fashion Design!

Mailing in my application :)

How am I feeling about all these changes? For the most part, I'm PUMPED! We never really thought the move down here was permanent, and moving back to the Midwest has always been in the 10 year plan at least, so it's exciting that we are moving back so soon. That being said, I've got a lot of anxiety about finding a new job. I feel like I've been given a chance to take a step back and re-evaluate the career path I'm headed down, and I want to make the most of this opportunity.

First, some back story. My mom is an accountant so that's where I got the idea from. Unfortunately my mom was an uncommon sort of accountant where she really acted more as an analyst. She spent her entire career in industry, meaning that she never audited any companies or prepared anyone's taxes. 

My mom's role was the type of accounting that really caught my attention. So what happened? Well, I had two internships during college: one in industry and one doing taxes for a public accounting firm. Comparing my internship experiences as a whole, public was the clear winner. I was working with awesome people (one of which has been my roommate, bridesmaid, and very close friend to this day). I was also doing work that I was really good at. So when I got a full time offer, it wasn't a hard decision.

The trouble began once I started. I was put into a different group...and in a not particularly fun section within that group. There's no candy-coating it. I was bored out of my mind. I requested transfers but it never worked out so I stayed put and just sucked it up until Mike proposed and got accepted to GA Tech. 

When we moved to Atlanta I was able to transfer not only to the ATL office but also to a more desirable group. What I learned pretty quickly was that the lack of exciting work was the least of my problems. I got stuck working for a couple of HORRIBLE people. If you know me well enough you've probably heard the highlights. 

So about a year ago I was desperate to get the heck out of that office any way I could. I applied to a number of cost accounting/general accounting roles in an effort to refocus on the areas that originally attracted me to this field. The problem was that 2+ years of tax experience had pigeonholed me into tax. I ultimately decided that getting into an industry tax role would be step one and that I could figure out the next steps once I got there.

Fast forward to where we are now. I am significantly happier. The work is pretty good most days. Sometimes boring, sometimes stressful, it's all balanced out pretty well. And the people here are a dream. So why am I not happy?

As a "millennial" that took a number of marketing and psych classes in college and grad school I know all about what is being said of my generation. Unrealistic expectations. Sense of entitlement. Unwillingness to do the grunt work. I've spent a lot of time wondering if I'm just living up to the stereotypes. Is it unrealistic to want a job that pays the bills AND makes you feel good about yourself? 

From my vantage point I say no. There's nothing wrong with wanting to enjoying the work you do. At work I am surrounded by highly motivated people who all seem to be seriously enjoying the work they do. Yes we all have stressful days and long nights. We all hate Mondays. We all countdown to vacations. But don't most days end with a sense of accomplishment? Of feeling like you did something helpful, and that you did it well. 

The thing is that I'm not a naive millennial chasing some crazy dream. I've had that job before. The one that challenges you just the right amount to keep you coming back for more. The one you can see yourself in 5 years down the road. So that's really what I'm looking for. Hopefully this move will open up the doors I seem to have missed along the way.

And in the meantime...I'll be taking design classes at night :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Valentine's Feast - #WhatVegansEat

Hello my lovely readers! Long time no post huh?

I mentioned in an earlier post that Mike an I would be celebrating at an all vegan restaurant for Valentne's. I know most of you are meat inclined and might have been thinking, "ALL vegan restaurant? Like a salad bar??"  Nope. We're talking delicious, hearty food here people.

I've actually never been a salad person. With the exception of Cafe Metro (omg magical salads), I've never really gotten excited about a salad. As a result my vegan journey has involved a lot more beans and grains than leafy greens.

When I ask Mike about going vegan, he usually says that number one thing that's stopping him is having to think so much about what you eat before you eat it. He actually loves all the vegan dishes I make at home and has no problem finding something he likes on a vegan menu. This is why I love taking meat eaters to vegetarian and vegan restaurants. I'll push you right into the deep end, but guess what? The water's warm :)

Here's a look at our Valentine's meal at Soul Vegetarian:

Appetizer: Kalebone, the menu describes this as "Sould Vegetarian's super protein recipe made from wheat-gluten" which means it's basically their house-made seitan. They are like breaded crunchy chicken fingers.

Salt and Paprika on the table :)

I've also had the BBQ kalebone, and it was just like eating ribs, minus the bone. It actually freaked me out a little, and I ended up swapping half my dish with Mike.

Mike's Dinner: Lentil burger, your standard veggie burger with a side of "Hebrew bakes" (potatoes).

I should mention that the owners of Soul Vegetarian are vegan for spiritual/religious reasons. In fact, Genesis 1:29 is painted on the wall.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

My Dinner: BBQ Cauliflower with a side of vegan mac n' cheese

Oh man, that mac n' cheese...nom nom nom

I've made similar battered cauliflower dishes at home. Most of the time I make it General Tso's style. I've also seen people make them buffalo style. If you haven't tried breaded cauliflower, it's worth looking up a recipe.

If you are interested in trying out some vegan food in your area, a great resource is happycow.net. You can search for restaurants near you that offer vegan options. Let me know if you find any winners!

Happy Wednesday! HUMP DAY!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Changes Ahead?

Hi Hello! Happy Monday.

Sorry for the radio silence last week. I have a post in the works, but got pulled away from my computer every time I tried to make some progress on it. 

On Saturday, Mike made his way to IL for a couple of on-site interviews and the annual Academy meeting. After a crazy week of late nights at work, I was beyond excited for Friday night. We decided to try out a new place for dinner: Uncle Maddio's

I love that they made the bald dude with the mustache vegan. 

It's this really awesome fast-casual pizza joint where you build your own personal pizza Chipotle style. They bake it up and deliver it to your table hot and fresh. I was especially excited because they had vegan options!

After dinner we did a little shopping. We went into Best Buy just to browse and came home with this new toy:

Meet my new baby :)

Funny Sidenote: On Friday night I texted the pic on the left of my new camera box to Bethany. She responded with the pic on the right of HER new camera. Great minds think alike!

Sometimes I think it's actually Bethany and I who are soulmates.

All this brings me to a bit of an announcement type deal...

Changes Ahead??

While the above mentioned camera does take nice pictures that I hope to use on here. The main reason I bought it was for vlogging. I started this blog as a sort of digital scrapbook for Mike and I to look back through and for you peeps to check in on what we are up to. After seeing other people's vlogs, I really felt like it would be a better medium to capture the memories. 

I still plan to put posts up on here, but I think I might move more of the life updates to vlog format. Why tell you when I can show you right?? I'm toying around with the idea of daily vlogging. Obviously it's something Mike and I need to think through. 

The upcoming months and even years will probably hold some bigtime life events for us. I want to capture all these starting out moments. Us as newlyweds. Moving to who knows where. Maybe even babies further down the road. 

So what does this mean for you, my readers? There are times I might link a video on here, but more often than not, they'll stay in the YouTube universe, especially if we decide to daily vlog. The best way to make sure you don't miss a video would be to subscribe to my YouTube channel (click here to be linked to it). Then just hit the subscribe button! New videos will show up in your My Subscriptions box.

Without further ado: Daily Vlogging Day 1 & 2

Happy Monday! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cue the mushy, gushy music. It's V-day Baby!

I'm  proud to announce we survived the ice storm. Also I should mention that people in general overreacted to this storm. It was in fact less intense than expected, but still Southerners + Winter Weather = Chaos

Mike and I spent our snow ice days eating delicious breakfasts, watching the Office non-stop, and beating Lego Indiana Jones...oh and working remotely...but that's not very exciting. I also found time to finish another sewing project (more details below). It's amazing how much extra time you can save by not needing to get all fancied up and drive in in the morning.

Homemade cinnamon rolls...no better way to kick off  the day :)

By the way it's Valentine's day today. Our first as a married couple. Our big plans include dinner at Soul Vegetarian followed by dessert at Honey Bubble. I think I'll stop eating now in preparation.

Romantic snow picture just for you.

In other news, I made another dress! And I scored on some bargain fabric again. Woot Woot.

Please excuse the awkward halo light effect on my hair.

I think it turned out really nice. If I make it again (which I might if I found another cool fabric) I would use a smaller size on the bodice pieces. I think you can tell in the pictures that it looks a little baggy on top, but the waist is perfect. I didn't want to over complicate things so I stuck with one size on the whole pattern. Next time I'll go down a size or two for just the bodice.

The fabric is light and soft with the perfect amount of drape. I love the polka-dot/floral combo and the pops of red and gold are just what I wanted for this simple dress.

Close-up on the fabric and pleating detail at the hem of the skirt...and my awkward knees

Next up is another dress with a little more flowy-ness and some biased cut draping. I'm thinking I might try to find a really edgy fabric for it. I'd love to included some pops of neon in the details. As always I'll keep you posted.

Happy Valentine's Day! Don't forget to treat yourself with something nice today too!

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Early Valentine's

Hi Hello! Brand new week comin' at ya!

I mentioned on Friday that Mike would be getting his v-day surprise over the weekend. Turns out I got mine too! Let's start with his.

Lombardi Party!

Here's one thing you should know about ATL: the radio sucks. There really isn't much variety, and the few stations not playing pop or country hits have pretty spotty reception. Combine that with lots of traffic and you've got a pretty boring ride. Seriously I've found the same song playing on 3 different stations at the same time before. GAAAAH.

On one of my rides home, I found myself reading bumper stickers for entertainment...yup it was bad. Well things took a turn for the better when I noticed a bumper sticker for WABE, Atlanta's public radio station. Do you know what happens when you start listening to local talk radio? You hear about a local theater putting on a play about Vince Lombardi.

Happy Valentine's Hubby!

So on Saturday afternoon Mike and I got dressed up and made the trek out to Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville, GA. Free parking, beer, and my favorite green and gold. It was pretty cool.

For dinner we FINALLY made it to Chinese Buddha. I was recommend this a loooong time ago by a fellow vegan and have been dying to try it out. It was totally worth the hype. They have TWO menus! One for the veg folks and one for the meat eaters. I got the vegetarian General Tso's chicken.Om nom nom.

Happy V-Day to Me!

Mike had to tutor on Sunday, so I decided to head over the the fabric shop to pick out a new sewing project (this is the year of cultivating hobbies, remember?). Before I left Mike started asking about a million questions about what I was planning to get at the store...very unlike him. Finally he told me to hold on while he got something form the bedroom. He came back out and, "Surprise!"

Colette Sew Handbook and Sew Serendipity

He had gotten me two of the sewing books I mentioned in the past couple weeks. Yay! I dove right into the Colette book, reading until I got to the first pattern: the Meringue Skirt

I wrote down everything I needed, did a quick skim through the instructions (invisible zipper, eeeip!), and made my way to the store. I scored big time when I found the perfect fabric on the discount table. All in all I made it out the store under $25. Yay! 

Sewing your own stuff rarely saves money these days considering stores like Target and Old Navy where you can find trendy styles that are moderately well made available at low prices. In addition, not many people sew their own clothes. So as demand for fabric has dropped, prices have risen. That's enough with the econ lesson. Let's get back to the good stuff.

I was a little sewing demon all day yesterday and it paid off because look what I'm wearing today:

It's crazy to me that I'm wearing a skirt that didn't even exist this time yesterday. How cool is that? 

Over lunch. I'm hoping to pop back over to the fabric store to pick out fabric from my next project: the Pastille Dress.

First stop: discount table!

Small Weather Update: It's been lovely the past few days with highs in the 60's, but it looks like winter isn't done with us yet. Snow storm 2 is heading our way. ETA tomorrow morning. In fact schools are already cancelling activities tonight. After the mess from the last storm, I think most people are taking serious precautions to avoid getting stuck away from home. I'd say we've got an 80% chance of more snow days this week.

Happy Monday!