2021 Thoughts

In the beginning of each year, I typically make a list of goals and have some thoughts going into the new year for what I’m expecting and hoping to get out of a new 12 months. However, I’m gonna be completely honest and say that life can be fucking hard. My goals are often unmet, expectations not upheld, and I end up disappointed. I can’t really help a lot of these things – especially with the pandemic putting a hold on much of what life had in store.

My goals involved traveling, money, getting healthier, and more creative. And again, the pandemic often makes that pretty fucking difficult. While I am lucky enough to have traveled a good amount this year, my financial goals were definitely not met and neither were my weight goals or my writing goals. (Thankfully, my book reading goals are almost always met!) Overall, I need to give myself a break – which might include less expectation setting for this upcoming year. Instead, I’m going to focus on being kind to myself and making sure that I’m feeling good.

All that being said, I actually had a pretty good year. I turned 29 this year, the same weekend that I got to be maid of honor at the wedding for two of my best friends. While life can often be overwhelming, I have so so so much to be thankful for. I have the most amazing girlfriend who is even more incredible and magical than I ever could have imagined. My roommate and our group of friends are super fun, adventurous, and keep my life exciting. I love my city, I have more than what I need to get by in life, and overall I am truly very happy.

2021 was a good year overall. I am lucky to have amazing company in my life, lots of adventure, tons of fun and so much love. Going into 2022, I just want to appreciate more of what I have right now and let life take its course. Maybe things won’t always look exactly like what I had originally pictured, but I’m also happier than I ever could have imagined. So all in all, I’m excited for this yearly reset and hopeful for more joy.

Thanks for reading!

California Camping Road Trip

One of the trips that was canceled as a result of the pandemic was my ex’s lifelong dream of camping her way up to the Redwood Forrest. After reading The Legacy of Luna as a kid, Vanessa has wanted to see the Redwood trees for herself ever since. She had tried to plan the trip in 2019, we tried twice to make this happen in 2020, but it wasn’t until this April of 2021 that we were able to make her dream a reality. People probably don’t understand how ex’s can go on a trip together – especially since I’m in a relationship with someone else – but this felt absolutely normal to us and I didn’t want to miss out.

The trip was AMAZING! California is such a beautiful state, and I loved (almost) all of the campgrounds we stayed in. Vanessa actually cried when she saw the huge Redwood trees – multiple times, actually! We’ve got camping down to a routine, and it was great to have so much time off to just explore and enjoy. My favorite part of the entire trip was the 45 minutes we spent on this random beach we found on our drive – about 30 minutes south of where we stayed in the Redwood National Forrest. We got to run around with the dogs, had a ton of laughs, and it was completely serendipitous.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we were able to safely travel all over the state of California after a year of this pandemic. I’m thankful that I harvest healthy relationships in my life that lead to genuine long-term friendships. I’m thankful that the dogs are great travelers who make the trip extra fun. I’m thankful for the amazing and understanding girlfriend that I got to come home to. And I’m thankful that Vanessa still wanted to include me on this incredible adventure.

Here’s the rough breakdown of our trip followed by my video and some awesome pictures:

Day One: 6.5 hour drive from Tucson to Barton Flats Campground in San Bernardino National Forrest
Day Two: 9 hour drive to Kelsey Creek Campground in Clear Lake State Park
Day Three: 4.5 hour drive to Elk Prairie Campground in Redwood State and National Forrest
Day Four: 4.5 hour drive to Wildcat Campground in Hendy Woods State Park
Day Five: No driving! Another day in Hendy Woods
Day Six: 2 hour drive to Bodega Dunes Campground in Sonoma Coast State Park
Day Seven: 8.5 hour drive to Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park
Day Eight: 6.5 hour drive home to Tucson

This was honestly a once in a lifetime kind of trip, and I am so lucky to have gotten to experience this adventure this year.

Thanks for reading!

Shopping Online

The more shopping that I do online, the more success I have with getting everything that I ordered to fit me properly. I have a couple of tips and tricks of the trade, and since shopping online has basically become the norm, I thought I would share. (Just as a disclaimer – I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m not someone who gets paid or promoted to use or wear brands, I’m not an influencer, etc. I’m just a body positive girl who has some super simple tricks to share on how to wear the most of your orders.)

There’s three main tips that I have:

1. When possible, try to shop somewhere consistently. If you already know the brand, you’ll have a better understanding of the materials you’re about to purchase and their durability and wear. There are several shopping apps that even have many brands included in their list of products, so you can still have versatility in your wardrobe. Shopping on the same app/website also allows for you to gain points and get coupons for return business. (Pro Tip: Take pics of yourself in each garment when your clothing arrives for potential extra review/rewards points.)

2. DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIZE. I cannot stress this enough so I am going to say it again. Do not pay attention to the size. Sizing is not universal, even within a brand’s collection. INSTEAD: Pay attention to the measurements. By looking at measurements over sizing, I have a wardrobe that fits me accurately but ranges from size Small to XXXXL. That is not an exaggeration. Also, by paying attention to measurements, you can ensure the item will have the fit that you are looking for. To know your measurements initially, you can either manually measure yourself or look up the measurements of something that you already own and like that you bought online (or can look up). I usually compare items I’m shopping to things I already have ordered – which helps even more if it is from the same site. I know that anything that’s 19 to 28 inches in the shoulder will fit more on the looser side, where as anything smaller is going to be a bit more fitted. Something 23 inches in length is usually longer with my high-waisted pants, where as 19 inches or less is more crop-top length. (And so on…) By knowing my range, I can better ensure I’ll be able to wear everything I order comfortably.

3. Place your order with enough time to ensure you can find a backup if things do not fit. There’s always a chance that you don’t bat 100 with your order, and if you are planning for something specific, you don’t want to put yourself in a bind. If your order is for an event, make sure you plan ahead. (Side note: When things don’t fit, don’t procrastinate on your return process. If you end up with items that can’t be returned, you can always try to resell through apps or second-hand stores, re-gift the items, or donate to charity.)

I recently went to the mall to do some shopping in-person since I have some upcoming trips planned, but the dressing rooms are still not open due to the pandemic. As a result, this makes in-person shopping just as much of a gamble as online shopping. Yes, you can see the garments in your hands. This does help to ensure the material is what you are looking for. But not being able to try things on does not allow you to know how it would truly fit. Personally, since I was not able to compare the items with the measurements, I only had a 50%ish success rate in things that fit perfectly. The other 50% fit *~okay~* and might fit better when I lose a little weight or style it differently. Even still, without the benefit of trying things on, shopping in person or shopping online are close to the same.

Best of luck!

Thanks for reading.

2020 Thoughts

Well, 2020 has really been a fuck of a year.. so here’s some thoughts on that.

What’s crazy is that the year actually started out really well. I got to do several fun things in the first couple of months, I was making progress on all of my goals, and I had tons of vacations planned. So when COVID hit, a lot of things changed. I had to cancel trip upon trip – pretty much all of plans that I had for the spring. I started working from home, and what we thought would be two weeks to two months is now going on month number nine.

At first, the trips being canceled was the biggest downside for me. I was actually enjoying working from home and spending time with my girlfriend, and I was thankful for everything I had amidst a really tough time in the world. I was doing different projects and writing and overall had a decent experience the first several months.

After the days started to all blend together, my mental health started to take a toll. Work was slow, and I was home alone for most of the day with just myself and the dogs. My socialization had decreased in this crazy way, and the most interactions I was having regularly was literally on Animal Crossings. I often felt the weight of the walls closing in on me, and I did my best to find distractions and breaks in the day, but it was hard. I then went through a break-up, which was difficult because I thought I was going to lose the person that I was closest to on top of everything else I was battling in my head. I was mostly afraid of being more alone than I already felt. Although there was a lot to work through as we transitioned from relationship to friendship, I’m so thankful that I didn’t lose her during that time.

There was a three or four month period after that where I was on and off active with my depression. It came in waves, and sometimes I let it consume me. It didn’t take long for me to get so sick of being sad all the time, especially in contrast to how happy I was after first moving to Arizona. So basically, I decided to put in the work.

It wasn’t easy at all. There was a lot of work to do. A lot of reflection, internal dialogue, perspective shifting, and inner-demon battling. But I opened up in therapy and was honest about where I was at. I opened up to my best friend and my girlfriend-turned-roommate as best as I could. I focused on things that made me feel like myself. I set goals, and did everything I could to stick to them. I worked on setting up healthy habits in this “new normal” and getting back into a daily routine. I found ways to bring myself joy, and was able to better focus my mindset in a way that serviced me rather than hindered me.

After working on myself and feeling like I was just about back to a good and healthy mental state, I met someone new. I honestly wasn’t sure at that moment if I was ready to jump into something romantic again, feeling like the weight of my break-up and mental health struggle were not that far in my past. However, I remembered something that one of my best friend’s had told me, “Why wait to feel happiness?” This new person made me insanely happy. She’s absolutely amazing, and she is not worth missing out on. We’ve been letting things progress naturally, but I’m so thankful that I was able to put the work in on myself and keep myself open to new love. The way that she makes me feel could not have been more worth it, and I’m so happy to be the best version of myself for her (and me!).

As I go into this new year, I’m actually insanely happy and grateful. I feel so lucky and fortunate for all the friendships and love that I have harvested in my life. I feel surrounded by people who are genuine and authentic and care about me genuinely. I’m proud of myself for having the emotional intelligence to understand how to best care for myself. I’m thankful I was able to put in the work to get to where I am today. And I’m cautiously hopeful for what 2021 could bring me.

Thanks for reading.

Guided Journals

img_8935I’ve been using these guided journals for over a year now, that focus on doing one thing every day. I bought the first one for myself; it was actually a Christmas gift for someone else, but I wanted one too, so I bought two. The second was actually a gift that I received when I was moving. The first one is titled Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy, and the second is Do One Thing Every Day That Inspires You. These are from ROBIE LLC books, and I know they were available at Target at one point in time, but I’m sure you can find these and others Amazon as well.

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In 2019, I was really focused on getting to a place where I was truly happy with my life. I had big dreams to go somewhere new, meet new people, and open my heart up to new experiences. I decided on my move to Arizona in the very beginning of 2019, and decided that my goal was purely to get to a place where I was happy. Physically, mentally, emotionally, all of the above. That’s not to say that I was miserable or depressed – I just knew there was more out there for me.

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“Do one thing every day that makes you happy.” It’s not a crazy concept. Focusing on happiness is so important, and I was thankful to have this daily reminder. Not every single day and page in the journal was relevant to me, but I did always have something to be happy about or thankful for.

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Now that I’ve gotten to a place where I am really really happy, I’m focusing this year on my creativity. I have so many goals and aspirations for 2020, and it feels like there’s nothing in my way. I’m diving deep into my writing, getting back into some photography with my new Polaroid, and happy to take on any fun side project. My big focus for the year is to write the manuscript for a book, so I love having this daily reminder to keep myself inspired.

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Some days the journal has me do some writing; some days I get to doodle a little bit. But mostly, the journal keeps me focused. Life can get busy, but I don’t want my creativity to be hindered. Inspiration can come from lots of places – I just have to be willing to find it. And I have no trouble believing that I can complete all of my creative goals this year.

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I definitely recommend having some sort of a daily reminder to push you in the direction you want to go. Maybe it’s a journal of happiness or inspiration, or maybe it’s something different. Whatever works for you, get something daily that reminds you of your goals. Then, don’t be afraid to go after exactly what you want – whatever it is. Life is waiting for you.

Thanks for reading.

Coming Out: An Update

Wow. You all really showed up for my last post, huh? I mean, I post links to this blog all the time and I’ve never gotten the buzz that I did last week. A whopping ten people felt compelled to click and read what I had to say about JVN, but over one hundred of you wanted to get the details once it got super personal. I guess everyone wants in on the spilled T.

Let me just say that my parents are very understanding and open-minded people, and I never for one second thought that this was going to be an issue in my family. Truthfully, I was very much under the impression that they probably already knew. I had been playing with the idea of “coming out”, not even knowing if I felt the need to. This never felt like some deep dark secret to me, so I didn’t feel like I had to make some grand announcement.

Well, apparently that’s what I did last week.

When I wrote that post, I wasn’t thinking about who would read it – I know what my stats usually looked like, and there’s not often a lot of traffic. If anything, I thought it would just be helpful for me to write this out and maybe to collect my thoughts and figure out what I wanted exactly. Looking back, I’m regretful that I made that post public before talking to my parents. I think I was just trying to figure things out for myself, and I didn’t think it all the way through. Sitting someone down and telling them about my sexuality didn’t seem like the right thing for me personally to do, but maybe it’s also about who is on the other end of that conversation as well. I certainly didn’t mean for all these conversations to be had without me there.

That being said, I’ve had wonderful conversations with my parents and I feel really good about where things are right now. There was a lot of open dialogue that I knew would be there whenever I was ready to have it. And of course, there was a lot of love that will always be there to make me wildly uncomfortable when directly pointed my way.

So to anyone reaching out to my family members asking if they “are okay”, yeah they’re fucking great, thanks for asking.

To anyone who has reached out to me directly, thank you so much and please know that I really appreciated your words. It was very validating to hear from other bisexuals, and having that support means a lot.

I’ll try not to get on my soapbox about this, but it’s annoying that I had to “come out”. It’s annoying that the default is set to ‘straight’. It’s annoying that I have to tell everyone if it’s different. And it’s annoying that once I do, it’s a hot topic of conversation. I know I’m not a very private person, and I don’t really have secrets of my own. But being bisexual somehow by default gave me this secret that I never even wanted to keep in the first place. I will admit that while I usually love having all of the attention on me, I think I would do things just a little bit differently if I was given a second chance.

This whole experience was truly more than I signed up for. Without meaning to, I made myself feel exposed, uncomfortable, and embarrassed. But now, I also feel relieved, supported, and content. I’m out! And I’m totally done paying my gay dues for now.

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Thanks for reading.

Bisexuality

Hi, I’m Gina and I am bisexual – this may or may not be the first time you are hearing this, but it is most definitely not the first time I have said this.

I’ve known that I was attracted to both men and women from a very young age, even if I didn’t have the terminology for it. I spent most of my youth under the presumption that people are either gay or straight, and there weren’t really any other options. I always liked boys and never had any trouble feeling comfortable around them, so in my head that meant I must be straight. Sure, when I was alone I spent time finding Tumblr videos of girls kissing, but I was kissing boys in real life, so come on I must be straight, right????

If you get super super technical, the first person I ever kissed was a girl. I don’t really consider this my “first kiss”, because we were just little girls playing stupid games and it wasn’t anything meaningful – I may not have even been 10 years old yet. In middle school I started kissing boys and having boyfriends, and I was always a little ahead of my friends in terms of “experience”.

In high school, I had a female friend who I got super close with, got drunk for the first time with, and had my first lesbian experience with. The experience itself was very PG, but this was the first time where I was kissing a girl who was kissing me back and it was intentional – even if heavily influenced by alcohol. After my straight guy friends learned about this, there was a lot of encouragement whenever we were drinking for me to make out with the other girls. I happily obliged of course, but I continued to date guys exclusively. By the end of high school, I had probably kissed just as many girls as I had guys, but I only had experience past that with the guys, and I had never been romantically involved with a girl.

This didn’t change much as I entered college and I continued to be involved with men romantically, but fantasizing about women in my alone time. I was still under the impression that I was straight, I just figured I was more sexually open than most people. I believed myself to be more open in general than most, so I didn’t put too much extra thought into my sexuality as a whole.

Enter the world of Tinder. Tinder became a thing sometime while I was still in college and it was common on my campus. As I set up my profile to start swiping, I was faced with filling out some preferences:

Are you interested in:
○ Men
○ Women
○ Both

Both? OMG. BOTH?! IS THAT AN OPTION?! CAN I DO THAT?!

Both. BOTH!

That’s when things clicked for me. That’s when I stopped thinking that I had to be on one side or the other, either gay or straight, and maybe I could actually sit somewhere on the fence.

I clicked both, and started swiping on both men and women.

For a while, this was just an internal thought. I hadn’t fully identified with the word “bisexual” yet, even if I had rolled it around in my head a few times. Even though I was matching with and talking to girls on Tinder, I wasn’t meeting up with any of them in real life and was instead still spending my time involved with men. I even started dating someone towards the end of college, and I would think to myself, “I’ll explore girls more if/when we break up.” In my head, I had put my sexuality on hold (even though I was still swiping and talking with girls here and there when my boyfriend was being a dick).

By the time we broke up, I was sure that this was something I wanted to explore. I had had plenty of experiences with men, and I wanted to bring my female experiences up to par. I started hooking up with a girl that I had a crush on who was sort of in my friend group and identified as a lesbian. When our friends first got wind that we were a thing, they asked me if I was a lesbian also. This was the first time I said the words out loud: “Nope, I’m bi.”

* Insert fireworks and celebration sound effects here *

Since then, I’ve dated both men and women openly and happily. I spent over a year in a relationship with a man, and now that I am single again I would like to focus more on being with women. I believe my sexuality will always be fluid and I will always pride myself in having an open mind and an open heart.

That’s as much of a “coming out” story as I have so far. My friends have kind of organically learned about it over the past several years as I told them about my involvement with different people. I’m open about it with new people I meet and become involved with. My coworkers all know I am openly bisexual and I even indicated this in my voluntary demographics.

However, I never had that serious sit down with my parents (if you’re reading this – sorry, Mom and Dad!) where I look them in the eye and tell this deep dark secret that I’ve been hiding for years and wait to see if I still have their approval. It’s not like that for me – it wasn’t something I was ever “hiding”, it was something I was still figuring out. I also don’t need anyone’s approval about it, not that I think anyone would really have an issue. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about telling them in some way that was maybe more casual, but it’s been hard for me to conceptualize the right words. There’s a lot of stigma that comes with the word “bisexual” (watch the Hulu show, The Bisexual), and I think this could be potentially difficult to navigate with my parents. That being said, I want to be open and honest with my family. I would also feel bad if they were to learn about it from someone that wasn’t me, making them feel sad that I wasn’t the one to tell them. Maybe I’m dealing with having some feelings of guilt or something, that’s for my therapist to figure out. The point is that I have gotten to a place now where I would like them to know.

So, instead of coming out in some formal way, I’ve been passive aggressively reposting outwardly bisexual things to my Instagram story and allowing my family to view them. Not kidding – my parents both have Instagrams and see everything that I post and I’ve just been making it semi/extremely obvious:

 

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Am I being too subtle?

So yeah, that’s my experience so far. To be honest, I feel pretty good about it overall. And I’m excited about what is to come in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Music Videos

music-videosI saw this homemade music video once that a group of celebrities had made, and I got the idea that I could recreate what they did. Their music video was simple – it was just themselves joking around in several different rooms, cutting the video up and piecing it together so that it jumps around but still coincides with the music. It looked like they had recorded themselves in about 3 different rooms, so it didn’t seem super complicated. The first time I tried this out was with my sister and my cousin while we were in a hotel room in Italy, and I had way too much fun with it. Since then, I have created a few different music videos both alone and with friends. For your viewing pleasure, the links can be found here:

Live While We’re Young – One Direction
Featuring my sister and my cousin while we were in a hotel room in Italy
July 2013

We Can’t Stop – Miley Cyrus
The result of a lot of alcohol and some friends locked together in a college house
November 2013

The Nicest Thing – Kate Nash
Made by myself when I was feeling weird
December 2013

Pop Danthology – Daniel Kim
Made with a group of girls that I probably won’t ever talk to again
February 2014

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
The end of a party with the people who were willing to do this with us
September 2014

All Night Longer – Sammy Adams
Another group of girls locked together overnight with alcohol
October 2014

Across The Ocean – Zircon
Made after taking a road trip across the country with my two best friends
August 2015

Desperado – Rihanna
Created when I was alone and feeling weirdly emotional
May 2017

Right Round – Flo Rida
Made for a bachelorette party to celebrate our awesome trip to Vegas!
June 2018

Thanks for reading!

Wedding Season

Basically half of my summer has been taken over by weddings and its festivities. Two bachelorette parties down, two weddings, and three more to go before 2019 hits.

As somebody who doesn’t really envision marriage in my future, this is an interesting time for me. I do love weddings, and I will gladly tear up a dance floor after they say “I do”. However, I just don’t really see myself as a wife. I’ve always felt this way, despite being told over and over again that I will change my mind. (Insert humongous eye roll here.) That being said, I did spend a lot of time thinking about the way I would want things at my wedding, even though I don’t even necessarily picture myself having one. I think a lot of these thoughts are ones that as women, we are programmed to have ideas about. Who would be our bridesmaids? What colors would we pick? What kind of dress would we want to wear? But a wedding does not make the marriage, it’s just the celebration.

And weddings are expensive. Even as a bridesmaid, I shelled out a decent amount of money for my friend’s big day (and bachelorette party of course). This can really add up.. between bridal showers, day-of expenses, and not to mention the additional gift of money that is expected inside a card as well. Unless the bride is someone that I am super close with, I’ll gladly skip out on a bridal shower to save some change.

I had two close friends get engaged this year, which of course led to their bachelorette parties. I was in one of these weddings, and the bridal party flew out to Vegas to celebrate the last fling before the ring. It was a small party, so traveling was in scope, and it was many of the girls’ first times to LV. We truly had a blast, but my bank account was really feeling that trip hard when I got home. The other bachelorette party I attended was in Ocean City Maryland, and I hardly knew anyone going into the weekend. This can definitely provide you with some awkward situations as you start to get to know everyone, but it’s best to just remember what you have in common – the bride. It’s also fun to buy into the “let loose” atmosphere and the penis shaped decorations.

It was very easy for me to feel a little lost throughout these processes. It’s not like I am against marriage in any way – my parents are celebrating 30 years of happy marriage this fall. I’ve seen my loved ones spend their entire lives with someone and never regret a single thing. I think marriage is a wonderful foundation for a family, and I don’t fault anyone for wanting this out of life. That being said, I often feel “different” for not wanting the same things as everyone else. Yes, I have some preferences for wedding choices in my head, but I don’t see myself walking down an isle someday. So in the midst of the “when it’s your turn…” and the “I’m next” comments, it’s safe to say I felt a little broken. Like maybe there is something wrong in my head for not wanting all this, too. I feel very reminded of those who may be disappointed by my decisions, and it’s often a lot to swallow. That being said, nothing stopped me or will stop me from having fun at the celebrations.

Weddings are basically just a big party about love, which is why I enjoy them. Everyone has the chance to get all dressed up for a special occasion. Pictures always turn out nice, and it’s usually a good chance to catch up with far away loved ones. It’s also a great atmosphere for all involved, with reminders of love everywhere. I definitely found it moving to see someone’s special day come together. The ones who matter most get highlighted during the ceremony and reception, and everyone else gets a chance to share in that love. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, because love can be truly intoxicating.

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Like I said, three weddings to go!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

My Tattoos

As my most recent tattoo fully heals and I prepare myself for my next design, I decided to write out the current list of my tattoos. I got my first one when I was 18 and the most recent just a month ago, but I am far from done. I am always working to design new tattoos and figure out what to get next. So, here’s what I got so far:

Rest with Life: My dad agreed to take me (and pay for) my first tattoo on my 18th birthday as long as I got something that he was okay with. He didn’t want me to get a tattoo that I would regret or wouldn’t like later in life. I settled on a simple text tattoo to honor the passing of my Pop-Pop, since my first couple ideas were shot down by my dad. Truthfully, if I had been able to get what I had really wanted, I’d probably still love it. But instead, this is honestly my least favorite tattoo. It’s too simple, too boring, doesn’t represent me and doesn’t hold the true meaning that I wanted it to. I have plans to cover this and turn it into something else. When I was in college, I took a creative writing class where I wrote a poem about my family using tree imagery. Recently after, I did a drawing of a tree for my Grams, where I put her and my Pop-Pop’s name in the trunk, their children in the branches, and their grandchildren in the leaves. Since my tattoo was originally family-driven, and this particular image holds a lot of significance, I intend to work up a tree design to re-create that space on my upper right back into something that means more to me.

Dove: This one is a simple dove with the script written underneath it; “Let it go”, tattooed on my left side above my ribs. I got this tattoo when I was on senior week – but don’t worry, I was completely sober. I actually had designed the tattoo prior to the trip with intent to get it done one morning on the boardwalk. The tattoo itself for me symbolized letting go of anger and not letting things affect you negatively. At the time, I perceived a lot of anger around me and I did not want to live being suffocated by it. I think this held a lot of significance for me at the time that I got it done and I appreciate the message and reminder that I send to myself.

Cross: A lot of tattoos I have seen revolve around things like scripture and other religious aspects and I wanted to tie my faith into my tattoos somehow. I found a simple cross drawing which I made even simpler to represent my Christian faith. Even though I grew up Catholic, I identify as a Christian (non-denominationally). I believe in a God-type figure and I believe that a man named Jesus walked the Earth – but I also believe that religion is man-made. I believe that religion should be a form of love and belonging, in whatever form that takes, to promote just being a good person overall. So yeah, this is my religious tattoo, located the back of my right ankle.

Marilyn Signature: If you don’t already know that I love Marilyn Monroe more than life than we probably aren’t friends. If you don’t already know that I have Marilyn Monroe’s signature tattooed on my ass cheek, then we definitely aren’t friends. I got this in college for no reason other than my undying and unconditional love for Marilyn. I have full intention in getting more into why I love Marilyn Monroe in other posts, don’t worry.

Key: I have a skeleton key tattooed on the back of my neck, and my little sister has the lock tattooed on her ribs inside a heart. We planned this out for a long time with the date of Julia’s 18th birthday in mind. I actually sketched out the key and lock design myself, and we sent lots of pictures back and forth before landing on the final design. This tattoo might have been one that hurt the most, but it was also the shortest by a long-shot that I had to sit for. Pen to skin, only took about 3 minutes.

Moon: This tattoo also has a counter part – my best friend, Sarah. Just like the tattoo with my sister, Sarah and I sent lots of pictures back and forth and had tons of discussions before settling on what we truly wanted. One of my other best friends, Kelly (www.kellyoharadesign.com) helps me design any of my tattoos that I don’t design myself. I sent Kelly an image I had found with a long list of things I wanted changed and that’s how we got to the design that is tattooed on my left arm on the opposite side of my elbow. Sarah’s design is much simpler, just a circle with some rays to represent the Sun, tattooed in a small spot on her ankle.

Succulents: Kelly played a LARGE part in creating this tattoo – taking over 4 different pictures I sent her, making changes, and combining them into one design with 4 little images of plants for me. It honestly turned out so cute and perfect, and once I had the design it only took me about 2 days to get it tattooed on my right thigh. This tattoo holds a lot of meaning for me regarding being on my own, growing as an individual, and what I am able to influence and create. On the surface level, I’m also obsessed with cacti, succulents, and other plants.92C3D284-3582-4D09-B760-610E70E2CADASo, I have some work still to do. I need to start working on the re-creation I want for my first tattoo. I’m also working on a Libra constellation sort of tattoo, and for a long time I have wanted the word “Gravity” tattooed behind my ear against my hairline. Plus there’s always new ideas and designs flying around so like I said, more to come.

Thanks for reading!

Alaska

It’s on my bucket list to visit every state in the U.S., and last week I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful state of Alaska. I traveled the 4,000 miles with my boyfriend and his family to a discrete cabin a couple of hours outside of Anchorage.

 

 

 

The common questions I’ve received revolved around the weather of course, because of its cold climate by nature and our travel plans for late June. The whole week was beautiful weather, staying in the 60’s during the day and dropping to 50’s at night. There was really only a couple of days that were chilly, and just one day of some rain. It was light for most of the day, however, and only actually got “dark” when there was a heavy overcast. In the winter Alaska experiences the opposite, and we were told that the heavy dark days are the hardest part about winters in Alaska. But the extended daylight was great, and gave us the opportunity to pack a lot of things into each day.

 

 

 

The glaciers were by far the most enjoyable part of the trip for me. We were able to hike the Matanuska Glacier, which is over 27 miles long and 4 miles wide. Our path did not cross even a fraction of this mass, and yet it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. We also did a 5 hour day cruise in Whittier, in which we came face to face with several amazing glaciers.

 

 

 

The mountains and the wildlife was also incredible. We saw bald eagles, sea otters, bears, moose, elk, musk oxen, wolves and more. Between the Musk Ox Farm and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we observed so many amazing creatures living their lives.

 

 

 

Downtown Anchorage holds a Saturday Market throughout the summer that includes local vendors and artists, and we were lucky enough to attend during the Summer Solstice Festival as well. In additional to the tents of beautiful crafts and delicious food, there was also outdoor music, street and rooftop bars, and blow up activities for children. I spent a ton of time going in and out of tents and filling up my stomach and bags with everything I could find, and I could have spent even more.

 

 

 

This trip was also an amazing opportunity for my boyfriend and I to grow. After being together a year, this trip provided many new experiences and memories that helped us strengthen what we have. Exploring a new place and adventuring through nature together is an amazing way to spend time with someone you love, and by the end, we had fallen even more in love with each other.

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Our world is beautiful and amazing and there is so much to see! Traveling is a way to feel alive and experience all the incredible things that the world has to offer. If you ever have the chance to visit Alaska, GO!

Thanks for reading.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery

For a long time, I was convinced that I would never need this surgery because my wisdom teeth actually had grown in and fit in my mouth comfortably. A couple years later, my dentist told me that because of the lack of space around those teeth, my toothbrush was not cleaning them effectively enough to keep cavities away, and that this would continue over time. So, he recommended that I have them removed. Even after getting a consult with an oral surgeon, I instinctively pushed this off for several months. THEN, a piece of the tooth broke off (probably from the cavities – gross, I know…) and the remainder of the tooth was sharp and jabbing into my gums. So it’s no surprise that two weeks later I found myself in the surgeon’s chair.

Let me start off by saying that the surgery went well and was relatively easy – I didn’t even need stitches! That being said, going into the surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of being put to sleep, I’ve never had surgery of any kind, and honestly I’ve had very minimal medical issues. Still, I probably should have been more chill about the whole thing.

I was already feeling uneasy this week leading up the the surgery, and I woke up playing a list of worst case scenarios over and over in my head. I was strangely sensitive all morning and my anxiety levels were high. (Quick shout out to my amazing boyfriend Ryan for doing what he could to put me at ease.❤)  Those levels were further increased by two sets of strangers in the waiting room making small talk about the details of their children’s procedures. Phrases such as, “root canal” and “synthetic stitching” had me praying that they would either leave or just shut the fuck up.

By the time I was in the surgeon’s chair, I was doing everything I could to not go into a full blown panic. I told the doctor I was nervous as she put three little monitors on me, one on each side of my collar bone and one on my left side. I wasn’t even hooked up to the IV yet, and I was getting more nervous by the second. She then put the blood pressure cuff around my arm and as I felt it getting tighter and tighter, I started to panic that it wouldn’t stop and it would just keep squeezing my arm until it injured me. Contrary to the mania in my head, the machine did stop tightening, but honestly it was extremely uncomfortable and was taking an awful long time to release. The doctor was looking at the machine and said that she was going to change the cuff. She manually released it and put the new one on, saying, “Don’t worry – this one is brand new!” Oh thank you so much, you’re just making me feel so much better about this whole thing! (No, actually she was really nice and the machine took my blood pressure correctly that time). After she took all my vitals, she left the room without taking the cuff off my arm like I expected her to. A minute or two went by and the cuff started to tighten again, putting me back into a small panic. My mind started racing. Wasn’t she supposed to take this off of me? Is this supposed to be taking my BP again? Should it be this tight? I complained to Ryan that it was hurting me and he kept reassuring me that everything was okay, but I was feeling more anxious by the second. My eyes started to well up, so I shifted my gaze upwards and tried to blink it away. In one hour, it’ll be done. In just one hour, it’ll be over. When the doctor came back in, I was given laughing gas and the instructions to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. The blood pressure cuff started to tighten again.

Me: Is that going to keep happening every two minutes?

Doctor: Every five minutes, but yes. You doing okay?

No, not really. 

Me: Yeah, it’s just a little tight.

Doctor: Okay, Ryan now do you want to go back into the waiting room now or do you want to wait until after we do the IV?

Ryan: I —

Me: He probably wants to stay.

Doctor: Ryan, do you want to come hold her hand?

Me: Yeah, he does.

Once I had Ryan’s hand in mine, I closed my eyes and the doctor took my arm. She wrapped something around me above my elbow to get a good vein for the IV, but that made me really internally freak the fuck out. I could feel my legs shaking and they had to remind me to keep breathing or else the laughing gas wouldn’t work. (Ryan has informed me post-surgery that I actually did, in fact, stop breathing for a second.) I forced myself to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but my exhales came out shaky.

It’s not even like the needle itself was painful, it was everything else that really freaked me out. The weird IV bag, the things hooked up to my collar bone, the blood pressure cuff. Everything made me nervous and anxious and scared. I couldn’t control my breathing or stop my body from shaking. It was scary to not be able to calm myself down, especially after Ryan had been told to make his way back to the waiting room. Luckily, that meant that the IV was in, and after a few minutes of panic that it wouldn’t have any affect on me, I guess I finally fell asleep.

Let me just remind you again that this was just a normal wisdom teeth surgery – and an easy one at that. I usually don’t have any problems going to a medical appointment, but then again, I’ve never had to be “hooked up” to anything. I pray that I don’t find myself with any serious complications in the future, because I don’t know if I could handle it. To anyone who has been put through surgeries, procedures, or any other scary medical experiences, please know that you are a stronger human than I am! Respect.

wisdom teeth snap

Anyway, waking up from surgery was fairly easy. It was much less dramatic than I was picturing, and there was no “David After Dentist” camera opp. (By the way – no, I am not high on pain pills as I am writing this or anything like that.) Truly, the worst part of the entire procedure was being so ridiculously in my head about it.

So yeah, that’s how my first surgery experience went. Thanks for reading.

If you’re reading this, I started a blog.

I am starting this blog because I want to find a way to connect more with my writing. I don’t have a theme, I am not promoting anything, and really my only purpose is self fulfillment. What I write here will be the random, genuine, and original ideas that are floating around inside my head. Like it says above, I don’t really care if you read this or not. I’m writing for me.

I’ve been living downtown in Allentown, PA for over 2 years now. My office is located just 6 blocks from my apartment, so I am able to walk to work. Even on rainy days like today, this has been a tremendous improvement in my life. The work/life balance that is available within my position has allowed me time to focus on things I enjoy, rather than just work, work, work and nothing else. I’ve been reading more, going to a yoga class, and I even did some “feng shui” around the apartment.

I’m finding the importance of doing things for yourself in order to get the best balance out of life. I surround myself with things that I love and people who love me, and I’ve found that I am happy.

More to come! Thanks for reading.