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Resolutions for 2013.

I don’t usually actually write down my resolutions but I feel like the upcoming year is a good place to start. Sometimes I think resolutions are just a good dinner table question for people to ask throughout December but I mostly believe that people don’t go through with them…maybe that’s because I never go through with mine.

But this time around things are going to be different.  I have quite the list of things I’d like to accomplish/change/or hold myself accountable for in 2013.

So without further hesitation…

My 2013 Resolutions:

1) Travel out of state.

-I just got back from visiting my best friend in Seattle and am so happy I got to finally experience that city. I realized that I really haven’t been a lot of places within the United States and I feel like it’s important to know the states that make up this beautiful country. It’s a lot less cheap to travel within the US than say Europe or Asia and I’m pretty sure America is hiding some pretty cool gems. I decided my next destination is Nashville, Tennessee because my former foreign exchange student goes to med school at Vanderbuilt. Plus I wouldn’t mind meeting a southern gentlemen and sipping on some sweet tea.  Yeehaw!

2) Get a big girl job.

-I’ve been back from Italy for a little over 2 months now and I can’t wait until I move out. I’m thankful for the hospitality that my mom has shown me but Lord Almighty am I ready to get down to LA and start a new chapter of my life. I know that God’s timing is perfect and that in the grand scheme of life 2-4 months of living at home is not going to kill me but oh my gosh I can’t wait to say goodbye to Cambria! I’d also really like to not have to list “babysitter” as my current profession. So bring on the big girl job. STAT.

3) Reach out to friends and people I don’t talk to regularly.

-Mainly this is just a reminder for me to be the bigger person. So what if so and so hasn’t talked to me in a year and I happen to be in there city. I’m going to call/text them anyway to see if they want to get together. We probably had some really amazing times in college or high school or whenever we met and why should I let a certain amount of time dictate if it’s weird or not to contact them? For all I know they could have been meaning to call or text me as well. So here’s to not being “stupid” and “superficial” about reconnecting with old friends and being the first to call. It’s better to be the person who tries than the person who doesn’t try at all in my opinion.

4) Get a cat. 

-This is pretty much self explanatory…except for I will say that I do have a cat at my mom’s house…Charlie…or Sir Charles as he prefers to be called. However he is a terrible cat. He literally just uses us for food. He never cuddles or wants to be pet. Worst. Cat. Ever. So the cat I will get when I move out is going to be the biggest cuddler with the fluffiest fur. Meow.

5) Stop comparing myself to what others are/have.

-I absolutely hate that I do this. It’s literally the biggest waste of time. I have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes I get sucked into that poor me cycle and it can be never ending. But this year marks the end of that. I’m going to spend less time comparing and more time focusing on the good things that God has blessed me with. This mean WAY less time on Facebook, sifting through random peoples’ profiles wishing I had their jobs or clothes or whatever else. Because we all know that Facebook is everyone’s way to project their “perfect” life for everyone to see. Let’s be honest…NO ONE’s life is perfect or even close to perfect. It’s beyond time to focus my energy on all the good things that I am/have and stop comparing myself to other people.

6) Eat Paleo-ish foods and not be hard on myself if I cheat.

-Ever since I returned from Italy I have really taken control of my health and I’m so happy that I have finally started being serious about it. I stay away from processed grains (any grains in general actually) and sugar and eat lots of meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits and natural/organic foods. I have felt so much better it’s unreal. I have so much more energy, I don’t dread going to the gym, I don’t have stomach problems (which if you know me have plagued me for my entire life), my skin is a lot clearer and I’m overall much happier. Eating 100% paleo is a full time job and I am not as strict as some paleo dieters but I try and stick to the basics most of the time. However I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth and sometimes that gets the best of me. Although there are tons of paleo desserts sometimes I just want a freaking chocolate chip cookie. And so I do. But instead of being hard on myself I accept that I’m not perfect and that once in a while it’s okay to eat what I’m craving. For 2013 I want to continue with eating clean, exercising and feeling good about my body. I’ve finally realized that I only get ONE body and ONE life so why would I treat it poorly? My twenties are a time when I should feel my best and I’m committed to making that happen.

7) Drink more water and drink less alcohol.

-Being out of college for about 7 months now I’ve really realized just how overrated partying is and how damaging it is to your body. I would like to give a special shout-out to my body for the last four four years that endured countless late nights and way too many alcoholic beverages. Waking up with a hangover is possibly the worst sounding situation you could present to me. I don’t know how I constantly use to do it in college but now is the time to reverse all that drinking by loading up on the H2O. Not only do I feel better when I drink more water but I also eat less and have more energy. This is not saying that I’m against happy hour with my friends or knocking back some wine with my parents but enough with the Vodka Redbull shots and Tequila. I’ll take a nice cold class of water please.

8) Find a new volunteer hobby.

– This is really important to me because when I was in college I spent over two years volunteering in the Infant Special Care Center at UCSD Medical Center. Working with the sick babies every week was the most rewarding experience and I miss it everyday. I’m so passionate about children and I’m determined to find a new volunteer organization that I can give back to in 2013. It doesn’t necessarily need to be with kids because I’m open to new experiences but if it so happens that I get to work with some little cuties I won’t complain 🙂

9) See more live concerts.

-I really like music and I’m surprisingly not the typical “OMG I love Justin Beiber and Rihanna so much” girl. Even though I will admit I like to get down with some of their songs at the gym. I love remixes and going on Hypem and finding the coolest mash-up of my favorite song. I don’t see enough concerts though so 2013 is the year I’m going to see some of my favorite artists. I’d love to see Mumford and Sons as well as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I think their is something really special about seeing an artist live especially if you’re with some of your best friends.

10) Learn to shoot a gun.

-Most people will think this is a joke when I tell them this but I think it would be so badass to learn. I know there is all these political opinions right now about gun control (rightfully s0)  but I’m not saying I want to own a gun…I just want to know how to shoot one. Just like when people doubted that I would learn how to scuba dive or rock climb…well watch out people I’m going to locked and loaded! Who wants to join???

11) Start saving for my next big adventure.

-Well I conquered Italy…so what’s next? I’m thinking Australia. That’s where I wanted to study abroad and I have always wanted to go so I’m going to start saving up! Plus hot guys with Australian accents??? Yes. Please. Oh and I’m also a big fan of kangaroos.

12) Clean out my closet/go through my clothes.

-Yaaaa so this needs to happen big time and ASAP. Let’s be real…the jeans in high school do not fit me anymore and I need to accept that as FACT. It’s time to hand those clothes over to GoodWill who will then hand them out to the teens that should be wearing them…not me at almost 23 years old. Plus I need to update my wardrobe with more business professional clothes anyways and it’s not like I hate shopping!

13) Stop worrying about the future and be in the present moment.

-This is honestly the one resolution I will focus most on this year. I’m known as a worry wart and I’m tired of it. The truth is…I’m not in control of my life. God is. Yes I can make decisions that will one way or the other effect what happens in my life but God is the one who is in charge. He already has my life mapped out and waiting for me to experience. So why do I waste so much time worrying that things won’t turn out how they are supposed to? Too much of my energy goes into thinking that my life isn’t what it’s supposed to be. That just won’t cut it anymore. For 2013 I place my faith in God and trust Him in guiding my life. This will allow me to be present and not caught up in my head.  This year I’m going to actually smell the roses, stare at the ocean, have more patience, and remember always that I am so blessed.

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Cheers to 2013! Remember: The Best Is Yet To Come ❤

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Mixed CDs.

I was sick of the static-y radio tonight and decided to pop in a random untitled CD I had stashed in the side of my car door. I was hoping by chance I had grabbed the mix I had made awhile back with all Britney Spears songs on it just for the sake of wanting to sing at the top of my lungs and do what I call sexy seat moves but instead it ended up being a mix someone had made for me in the middle of this year.

I thought about immediately ejecting the CD for fear of bursting into uncontrollable tears but decided against it. You see the CD was made for me by someone who used to love me. The CD was meant to be heard by me to remind me of how much that person loves me. But as life would have it, feelings have changed, time has passed and I’m almost certain that love has vanished. Regardless, I decided to suck it up and listen to the CD. This time I actually LISTENED to the CD. I heard the words of the songs and thought about the meanings each song held.

I wondered if these songs that this person had chosen still ever made them think of me. I wondered if they could still evoke the same feelings they once did if they heard them. Most of the songs were about love and happiness and about knowing that two people were meant to be together. Some were about the future and all that life had to offer two people in love. But what got me most was wondering if these songs meant nothing now…like did they go back to just being “regular” songs or would they always mean something special to that other person? I want/ed to know so bad.

For me when I make a person a CD I put effort into the songs I choose and want them to hear. The songs I choose either remind me of them or are songs I know they would enjoy. Even thinking back to high school I can recall certain songs that were only important with certain friends. And that is how I feel now. When you make someone a CD those songs become special between those two people. But I guess what I’m asking/saying though is what happens when a relationship ends/changes? Does that mean the words that are expressed in the song are no longer true and have never been true? I really hope not.

I would like to think that no matter what happens between two people that the words and the music of songs remain the same. That although the feelings may be gone now, the songs are there to remind us that the feelings were TRUE and REAL. The songs are there when we doubt if that person actually loved us. They are the concrete evidence. Because even now as I listen to this certain CD my heart aches for those feelings again and heartache is proof that there was once the feeling of love.

You can’t just take away the messages and the meanings you associate with songs, especially when those songs were specifically chosen for you by another person. It’s just not possible. So in light of being sad about missing the person who made me the CD and wondering if those songs still reminded them of me I decided to change my outlook. I decided to be happy that these tender, loving and optimistic songs at one time made someone think about me. And I hope that if not now, then maybe in the future, they still could.

Back Home.

After almost 4 and 1/2 years of either living out my crazy wild life in San Diego “studying” in college or traveling abroad in Europe as an au pair in Italy I am finally back living at home. Home is my teeny tiny half a peanut sized town on the Central Coast. Home is where I moved when I was four years old and subsequently finished high school. Home is where we have no brand stores except the “Shell” gas station.  Home is where I shop for groceries at a place called “The Cookie Crock.” Like seriously?! What does that even mean???

Home for me is not being able to go anywhere in our 2 mile stretch of “downtown” without seeing a least 3 people I know. Home is where I almost won Homecoming Queen but instead lost and received the obligatory award of Homecoming Princess. (I’m never going to let that one go. Still bitter.) Home is where if I went to go buy condoms or cigarettes or hemorrhoid cream (not that I would EVER by ANY of those items) at the local pharmacy rumors would spread like wildfire because the pharmacist or the cashier knows me that well. Home is seeing my old high school teachers at church or walking their dogs at the park and stopping to have a 30 minute conversation about the last 4 years of my life. Home is going to the gym that has 4 treadmills and only old people who refuse to do any exercise except the hand bike. What muscle does that even benefit? Home is seeing a high school flame who is literally still doing the same exact thing they were doing with their life 4 and 1/2 years ago…absolutely nothing.

But here’s the thing. 

Home is where I can come to sleep in my own bed until it’s 3 in the afternoon or at least until my Mom says I’ve been sleeping enough and forces me down to the couch. Home is where my cat Charlie is even though he refuses to snuggle with me. I think he is confused with my intermittent visits home and is playing hard to get. I’ll try upping his tuna juice intake and see what happens. Home is where the Pacific Ocean greets me not only with its magnificent waves but with its playful gusts of salty mist that it throws on my freckled nose as I walk along the coast on a foggy day. Home is my Mom cooking her famous garlic bread for any and all of my friends that I have over. Home is sneaking into the hot tubs at the local hotels along the ocean and talking for hours with old friends.  Home is Olallieberry pie which everyone needs to try once in their lifetime. Home is being able to get the best of both the forest and the sea.  Home is not feeling like I have to be doing something, impressing someone, or changing something. Home is me time. Home is family. Home is where I think about the past and dream about the future. Home is where I still have all my high school pictures tacked on my bulletin board and get a flash back every time I glance up at them. Home is where thousands of tourists come to visit and stay because my home is one of the most desired and beautiful places…and am blessed enough to live here.

I used to take this place for granted when I was growing up. Complaining that there was nothing to do and whining about how the nearest movie theatre was 35 minutes away. But the thing is…back then I was blind. Back then I didn’t see the entertainment staring me right in the face. I didn’t realize the beauty of the place I live in and the energy that can come from solitude. Now with my wisdom increasingly growing I’m aware more than ever… Home really is where the heart is.

Go find home & appreciate all the good in it.

Eye Contact.

The meeting of two people’s eyes. When two people share a brief individual moment without talking.  However you define it WHY is it so difficult? Or more precisely, why is it so difficult for ME??

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Let me be clear: I have absolutely no problem making eye contact when I’m actually talking with someone. I can stare people in the eyes during important interviews and throughout casual conversations. I can look the waiter in the eye when I order food and I can also speak a silent language with my eyes to my friends because they know exactly what I’m thinking.

What I’m actually referring to is those moments out on the streets when your walking along or your in a crowded cafe/club/party and you see someone you find attractive. And then they see you. What happens next? Well I’ll tell you what happens next in my case…I look away immediately and wait until I know they are not looking at me to look back at them. I am literally terrified of that 3 second span of time when eyes lock and you become painfully aware that you are looking at someone else and they are looking back at you.

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Most of the time this happens to me is when I’m walking on the street or something random like walking into the supermarket or I don’t know.  Sometimes I will spot some guy in the distance that I think is cute (at least from that far away they appear to be) and I will literally get so anxious as they approach. I go through about 4 different scenarios of what I should do but none of them is look them in the eye and smile.

I could:

A) Make no eye contact at all and pretend they don’t even exist as to appear so wrapped up in my own world I never even noticed their hot ass body in their flannel shirt.
B) Look directly above them so it appears that I’m looking at them with not actually having to. This also consistently makes them think you are looking at them and in turn they look at you. Try it. I dare you. It works.
C) Turn down a different street altogether and avoid any and all awkward eye contact.
D) Turn around and pretend you forgot something where you just came from. This is a worst case scenario way to handle things. Because now not only are you going in the wrong direction but you are also still on the same path as said person.

But what I’m really trying to figure out is why this is so hard for me…
Some of my friends are so good with eye contact they even refer to it as “eye sex.” They can entice someone with just a mere glance.  That’s not my personal goal buttttt what I want is to not be afraid to look back. For goodness sakes I’m in my early twenties and I think I should be able to stare at someone who is staring at me. It only seems fair.  Like in the movies when handsome guy spots pretty girl and they share a moment if only a brief one and then their love story starts…well I want to be the girl plus or minus the love story depending on who I’m looking at.

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Does anyone suffer from what I’m talking about? Or you all expert “eye contacters” who find no problem whatsoever with looking at other strangers?  And then I wonder why is it easy for me to make eye contact when a conversation with a stranger is already in progress but it’s so hard for me to look at someone I may or may not ever see again?

Right now I’m on the train back from Genova, Italy and I’m in the same compartment with a younger looking business man. I just bravely looked at him and he looked up at me and I realized he has one eye that is cross-eyed!!! Does this count though??? I obviously am trying here people! Okay but really I sincerely want to be more confident in the eye contact department. It seems so simple.

Suggestions welcome.

Biography.

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Yup. That about does it.

Now Is The Start.

I’m pretty ridiculously obsessed with this song right now. The fact that it was also free on iTunes makes it even better. Kind of like a double rainbow. Anyways not only do I like the song and the beat but the lyrics are relevant to all that is going on with my life as well.

The song talks about starting new. How NOW is the start. Today. Or whenever you want it to be.

I decided that coming home from Italy is my new start. My time to focus on things that are really important to me.

God. Health. Friendships.

Those 3 things are at the top of my list.

I think that sometimes starting new is the scariest and hardest part. But this song reminds me, at least, that starting new is a good thing. It’s something to be happy about. It’s something to be excited about.

So listen.

9 days.

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In 9 days I go back to America. In 9 days four and a half months of living and traveling in Italy/Europe stops. In 9 days I will be on a 15 hour plane ride back to California.  In 9 days I will pet my cat. In 9 days I will get to hug my Mom. In 9 days I will devour a bean and cheese burrito. In 9 days I will say goodbye to a family I have come to see as my own. In 9 days I will stop being “Nicole the au pair.” In 9 days I will start working out again. In 9 days I will be forced to think about the “real world” and this crazy, wonderful, roller coaster of an experience will all be finished…