Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Slow Down!

It’s been an insanely long time since I dropped in.

Life is funny like that. I’m so busy living my life that I don’t have time to share my life on this blog. I know no one reads it. But I do enjoy going back and reading my old posts. So, I am going to *try* to post more often.

Although, I doubt I’ll be too successful with my job, Master’s Degree, wedding planning  (less than 10 months to go and SO MUCH TO DO – eeeek!), and social events always going on. But, I am going to at least try.

I was thinking recently about time. The older I get, the faster time seems to rush by, and the more I want to press the "pause" button. Sean turned 28 a couple weeks ago, and I was reminiscing on the fact that when we met, I was 22 – about to be 23 – and he was 25, which is the age I am now.

In a few short years, I have grown so very much. And it’s not just about the big “life step” of getting engaged this year. It’s about way more than that. In the last 3 or so years, I have graduated undergrad, am on my 3rd “real world” job, started paying ALL of my bills, bought my first new car (that happened about a month ago and is a story for another day…), moved 3 times, started grad school, and have seen 2 beautiful nieces come into this world…and now one of them is talking and walking and running and playing.

Life is so very, very fast. I know that lately, I have been stressed. Worried about things at work, wedding to-dos, what to buy everyone for Christmas, how I’m going to afford my car payments, looking for houses with Sean and realizing we aren't even close to having enough saved up….I need to just stop. Pause. Reflect. Live. Enjoy.

I’m so busy living life that I’m not even present in it. Has anyone else ever felt this way? I picture my wedding day, and then I picture it being over in the blink of an eye, and I don’t want that to happen. I want to wake up that morning, and just…take a few moments. Alone. I want to walk SLOWLY down that aisle, staring into the face of the man I love, and just pause, and take in his smile, and the way his eyes get green when he is teary-eyed, and etch that moment into my brain for the rest of my life.

This Christmas, I want to sit on the couch and stare at the Christmas tree, snow falling softly outside, and just enjoy those little moments. Christmas is a week from today, and I feel like I’ve been so busy going to holiday parties and shopping for gifts and working 45 hours a week that I haven’t actually enjoyed Christmas itself. It's not about the gifts, yet every year I catch myself obsessing over giving every single person on my list (and it's a looong list) the "perfect" gift. But in reality, the greatest gift of all is life, and love, and family. Without that, we are nothing.

I'm not really sure what the purpose of this post is, other than I realize I need to slow down a little. 

I have a work party today, a birthday party tomorrow, a gift exchange Friday, and another birthday party Saturday…my plan for this Sunday is to relax. To do nothing but enjoy life. No plans. Maybe lounge on the couch with a book. Play a board game with Sean. Just be present and have fun.

The Christmas wrapping can wait. The grocery shopping can wait. The laundry can wait. The wedding to-dos can wait. It can all wait for one more day.

I’ll check in on Monday and let you know how it goes!

Happy Holidays, to anyone who actually reads this, and enjoy this photo of last week's snow in Baltimore J

Saturday, October 5, 2013

-1 Anniversary

Yesterday, October 4, marked ONE YEAR UNTIL WE ARE HITCHED!!!

To say I am excited would be an understatement.

(My MOM did our engagement photos all around Baltimore in May--she is sooo talented. Such a rock star--love you Mom!)

In any case, this "almost" anniversary led me to feel really mixed feelings, actually. EXCITEMENT, of course. But it also made me realize how FAST life is passing me by. I am trying very hard to stop texting/emailing/facebooking/tweeting all the time and just LIVE MY LIFE WHILE IT IS HAPPENING. I am admittedly obsessed with social media, love staying connected to friends near and far, and I love reading blogs and connecting to new "blends" I've never even met. But, I need to realize what is right in front of me.

Last night, Sean and I celebrated our "pre-anniversary" lounging in our pajamas and catching up on Boardwalk Empire. At one point, he came over, gave me a huge hug and a passionate kiss, and said "I love you so much."

And it was at that moment that I realized that even though life is fast, and I am in awe and a bit sad at how my "childhood" and even "early adulthood" are gone, I am incredibly lucky. I have the most amazing man who loves me and supports me and doesn't just TELL me how much he cares about me--he SHOWS me. Each and every single day.

He supports my decisions. He is proud of me for my independence, for getting a higher degree than he even has, for working my butt off to get my new job (which I am loooving, by the way!). He values my opinion. He even asks for my advice, which we all know is hard for a man to do ;)

I'll stop the mushy stuff. All I can say is, I am so blessed to have this person to walk hand-in-hand through the craziness of life with.

I cannot wait to be Mrs. Cornwell next October 4!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Said "Yes!" to the Dress...and a New Job!

So, I'm sure hardly anyone reads this blog these days, but I still like to update my thoughts from time to time for my own sake. It will be nice to go back and read about these moments in the future.

First, I said yes to the dress!!!

About 3 weeks ago, my mom, Sean's mom, and 2 of my bridesmaids went to some bridal shops. Now, I had already seen "the" dress at a previous shopping trip with my mom, and AGAIN when I went to "visit" it with Sean's mom. But, I am a very indecisive person, and if I can barely decide what to order for dinner, how am I going to decide on a wedding dress?

I decided to take my two bridesmaids to a few more bridal shops (I went to a total of 5 I think?!) to try more dresses. Some were definite "No's", some were "Maybes", and some were even on the "A" list. But none compared to "the" dress.

So, on that Saturday afternoon, I called the bridal shop (and my salesgirl, who now knows me personally haha) and asked if I could come "visit" my dress. As soon as I put it on, my friends were speechless. Most importantly, I was speechless. All I could do was stare in the mirror at myself and hold back tears. I pictured myself walking down the dock (since we are getting married outside on a dock overlooking Baltimore -- sigh) towards Sean, and I couldn't see myself wearing anything else. That was it. I was sold. It was such a special moment, and I'm so glad I could share it with my friends and my two "moms". I can't wait until it comes in about 4-6 months from now!

Maid of honor, Me, Bridesmaid

So now, onto the new job!

Over the summer, I was barely nannying because the family I work for didn't need me very often. I wasn't making any money, and I knew the whole "hanging with the kids" thing wouldn't last forever. So, I casually started looking at HR jobs online (Human Resources Management is what my Master's program is). After applying to several jobs online and not hearing back, I decided to contact some friends from previous Grad School classes who already have good HR jobs. One girl immediately sent my resume to another girl who had a position open...and it turns out, I had a class with that girl as well! Double win!

I interviewed on the phone, in person the next day, and got a job offer the following day. 2 weeks later, I said my farewells to the children (which was--and still is--tough, believe me) and began my journey as Human Resources Coordinator at Bon Secours Health Systems, Inc. So far, in these first 2 weeks, the job has been an absolute whirlwind, but also a blast. The organization itself is incredible. They are Catholic-based, and were founded by Sisters. They are all about service, helping others, and wellness and good health. One of my main projects I am working on is the Wellness Committee--I am in charge of health and wellness initiatives, events, and seminars. I am also in charge of new employee orientation and a slew of other projects. It's a lot on my plate, but everyone is so friendly and helpful, and I hope I will be a part of this organization for a long time.

The only con? The commute! I was always spoiled by very short commutes, so now, driving in Baltimore traffic is killing me. It's only 25 miles away, but takes anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on the day. I'm sure I will adjust, but boy am I pooped at the end of the day!

Q: How long is your daily commute? Any tips on how to cope?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our Engagement Story (Over 2 Months Late...)

So, here is how my engagement story goes.

Sean and I met in Brewer's Hill in April of 2011, where we both were living at the time. Soon enough, we moved in together, and from our bedroom window each night, we could see Mr. Boh winking at us from the Natty Boh tower.
Our relationship continued to grow and blossom around all things Baltimore--Orioles games, local farmer's markets, trying new corner bars for Ravens games, and of course, drinking Natty Boh.
Fast forward two years. We are now living in the county but still go into the city often. On April 27, a beautiful sunny, 70-degree Saturday evening, Sean took me to Tark's Grill, a nearby restaurant we had never been to before. He told me to "dress nice" but to wear "comfortable shoes" because we were going to walk around the harbor downtown afterwards since the weather was so warm for April.

Me at dinner, unsuspecting!

The salmon I ordered.

I noticed during dinner that Sean kept glancing at his phone (which he never does), and that he left to go to the bathroom multiple times. He also rushed us out of the restaurant just as I was about to order another drink after dinner. I still didn't think much of it, because he said he wanted to get to the inner harbor to watch the sunset.

We decided to "have a few drinks" at a bar we like on the water. Well, instead of driving to Bo Brooks, Sean pulls into the parking lot of the National Bohemian tower. "I have a surprise for you", he says. "I arranged a private tour". When I asked him how that was even possible (I'm such a peach), he fed me some lie about a guy who went to his high school, blah blah blah. (For those of you not from Baltimore or unfamiliar with this landmark, click here for more info about it--it has a great view of the city, and the "winking" Boh face is a Baltimore legend.) 

Still not sure what to think, but very excited, I went with him inside, where we were greeted by the building manager. Little did I know, Sean had arranged it all in advance with him. We had the entire building to ourselves since it was 7:30ish on a Saturday and offices were closed. 

Dave, the building manager, took us up to the top floor in the elevator, where we saw the view from the offices there. Then he opened a door to the outside and pointed to a ladder on the side of the building. Sean told me to climb it and that it would be worth it to see the view of the city from the top.

When I climbed to the top of the ladder, which is literally right next to Natty Boh's winking face, there was a blanket with champagne and glasses, plus 2 Natty Bohs and 2 Natty Boh hats (courtesy of our "friend" Dave). 

I was floored. It was then that I understood just what was happening. Sean got down on one knee and proposed, and then Dave (who left us alone when we climbed the ladder) let us have as much time as we needed on the roof. We sipped our drinks, took photos of the city and of us in front of Mr. Boh's face, and just enjoyed our first moments of being engaged while overlooking the neighborhood where we first met. 

Dave then returned and took photos for us, which was great. (Side note: Dave had actually gone across the street to a restaurant and waited for Sean's text that it was ok to come back. Sean and I played a cruel joke on him by having Sean call to tell him "She said no, I need to get out of here", and when he rushed over we were laughing and joking and he though it was hilarious. Sooo mature almost-married adults, right here.) We were there for sunset and into the evening, which was incredible. Dave let us stay as long as we wanted, which was really generous because he took time out of his Saturday evening to help Sean set up this surprise.

The only "flaw" to the evening was that Sean had put a video camera (that he secretly borrows from my Dad weeks in advance!) in hiding to capture the engagement, and it ended up dying JUST as he was getting down on one knee! We looked at the footage later, and even though it would have been great to capture the proposal, there is still some great footage of us coming up the ladder and his arm around me as we gaze out over the city. Plus, we will forever have that moment just between the two of us.)

As if this wasn't enough, there was more to the evening (!!!). Sean and I got in the car and decided to go to Fells Point to celebrate with drinks. We usually take forever to pick a place, but Sean said "Hey, Kooper's isn't crowded right now, let's go there". I was a little confused because we generally like to hop around, but I agreed, and when we walked into the upstairs of Kooper's, a really cool low-key bar, 25 of our family and friends were there waiting for us! 

Sean had planned a private, open-bar, catered event weeks in advance, and the people we care most about were there: my mom & dad, my best friend and her husband, my uncle and cousins, Sean's mom and brother, and so many of our close friends.

To say I was blown away by the evening would be an understatement. Although I knew a proposal was coming (we have lived together almost 2 years, we had looked at rings together about 3 months prior, and talked about the future all the time), I truly didn't know when it would happen. Although there were some signs that I definitely picked up on (like me getting a 101.5 fever a few days before the "big day" and wondering why Sean was making such a big deal out of the importance of me getting better "immediately" haha), the thought that he put into it (and the money and time!) was just phenomenal and unimaginable. It was so "us", and so beautiful of him to include family and friends. It couldn't have been a better day, and a fantastic way to start the rest of our life together.


P.S. Sean also had my dad videotape the surprise entrance and some footage from the party afterwards, so at least we have that :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years {Birthday Post}

So. Tomorrow I turn 25. 

One quarter century of life. It boggles my mind how much I have grown, and how much I still have yet to grow. I can't believe I was just shy of 21 when I started this blog. Time passes so quickly. 

I know this is totally cliché, and is pretty much a carbon copy of every Thought Catalog
article that exists. But, I mostly did this for myself. To reflect on what is important to me at age 25, and what I have learned in these 25 years, and what I have yet to learn. I'm not trying to say that I'm expert on these 25 things. Most of these are simply things I have realized are important to me that I am constantly trying to work on. I’m sure 5 or 10 years from now, my older, wiser self might read this blog post and cringe. But, that’s the beauty of life—we are forever evolving, learning, and growing. So, without further ado, here are 25 things I have learned in 25 years:

25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years of Life:

1. Give hugs freely. They are an instant mood booster.

2. Sleep. It is not only essential, it feels like heaven to hit the sheets after a long day.

3. That problem you have that seems like a huge deal? It won't matter in 5 years (or even in 5 days!).

4. Be assertive. Tell people how you feel. Stand up for yourself when necessary.

5. Do NOT be afraid to say no. You cannot please everyone, and you shouldn't waste your time trying to.

6. Work hard. Suck it up. Take a job that you think is "below" you. These are tough economic times. Tough it up and work hard.

7. That being said, if you are absolutely miserable in your job (or relationship, or any part of your life), DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Go to grad school. Dump the jerk. Go into a place of business and hand someone your resume in person. And call to follow up. Over and over again.

8. Take a time out from social media every now and again. Yes, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are awesome. They allow us to meet new people and learn new things. Just don't forget to spend time with the people you love--without a screen in front of your face. Play a board game. Go for a walk outside. Be one with nature. Remember there is a whole world out there!

9. Stop comparing your life milestones to someone else's. At 25, some of my friends are married with 4 kids. Some are lawyers making six figures. Some are still living in Mom & Dad's basement playing guitar hero and working part-time at Costco. You know what? Who cares?! Do what makes you happy, and don't feel pressured to get married/move in with your boyfriend/have a kid/go to law school if you aren't ready, or if you just plain don’t want to, ever.

10. Avoid drama. You’d think it would go away with puberty, but it doesn’t. In some cases, it gets even worse. But you know what? It's not worth it. Leave it alone. Women need to stop hating on other women. We face enough adversity as a gender to begin with—why add to the problem by tearing each other down?

11. Quit comparing yourselves to other women. There will ALWAYS be someone skinnier/prettier/smarter/more fun/more successful than you. Find what you love about yourself and embrace it. Learn to deal with those things you can't change (I used to hate my freckles. Now? They're bad ass).

12. Take good care of your body. I learned this the hard way, through many years of starving myself, running myself ragged, and being hospitalized with a conglomeration of health problems. I WAS the skinniest girl in the room back then, and you know what? It f***ing sucked. I was miserable. Remember, the next time you find yourself "jealous" of another woman's “success”, that you have no idea what is going on under the surface.

13. More important than your body, take care of your soul. Find your passion. Read, sing, dance, explore, create. LIVE.

14. Stop trying to change people. It's not going to work. The older I get, the clearer it becomes that some people just plain suck, and they always will. Don't dwell on it. Find good, decent human beings who make you happy, and surround yourself with them instead.

15. Learn about the world. Learn about world issues. Look at both sides of the story. Learn the facts before you assume anything. Start becoming a citizen of the world.

16. Be careful what you post online. Those pictures of you and your bestie taking body shots off of a hairy man's chest might seem awesome at 21, but at 25 you will be cringing with embarrassment--as will future employers, future husbands, and your future children. Even a picture that is "untagged" or “deleted” is likely still floating in cyberspace somewhere, so please--use discretion.

17. However, it's ok to let loose sometimes. Tequila shots on a Wednesday when you had a bad day at work? Sure, go for it--as long as it isn't a daily habit. Sometimes, you just need that second (or third) glass of wine.

18. Read the fine print. Whether it's a lease for a home or car, some other major purchase, or even just some random toaster you found on Amazon, do your research. Read reviews. Ask around. You'll be glad you did later.

19. Step outside your comfort zone. It could be as small as trying a new cuisine, or as extreme as flying solo to a new country. Stretch yourself.

20. Work on the relationships that matter--and know when to let go of the ones that don't. My mom and I have had quite a rocky past. But, you know what? She's my mom, I love her, she birthed me and has provided for me, and I want her to have a relationship with her future grandkids. So, we worked it out. (Are things perfect? Of course not. But we are better than we have ever been before). It took years of therapy, arguments, and awkward conversations for us to get to such a happy point. That being said, know when to cut ties. If someone is harming your wellbeing to a damaging point and nothing seems to work to change that, it might be time to let go.

21. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is from a trained therapist or from a friend or family member, swallow your pride and ask for help when necessary. Part of being an adult is realizing when you just can't do it all by yourself. That's ok.

22. Treat yourself. Life is too short to never splurge on that fancy dinner out, that designer handbag, that spa treatment, or that saucy pair of shoes. Just make sure it is within reason, and only once in awhile. The novelty wears off if you keep doing it!

23. Stop worrying (so much) about what other people think. Of course, you want your boss to respect you, and you want your significant other's parents to like you. But guess what? Not everyone is going to like you. And that's ok. After all, do you like every single person you meet? Of course not. As long as you impress the people that matter, you're golden. (And if not, to hell with them.)

24. Say you're sorry. Life is too short to be a stubborn asshole. Admit when you're wrong. Stand up for yourself when you're right, but please...choose your battles wisely. Sometimes, it's just not worth it.

25. Love is the most important thing. Always.

I'll be back with a recap of my birthday weekend! :)


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We're Engaged!

Details to follow in my next post!

Let's just say Sean really pulled out all the stops. 

It. Was. Perfect.

So happy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Two Months

It's been TWO MONTHS since I last posted.


So, what have I been up to?

A lot. I've been busy.

Really busy.

Some good stuff, some bad.

First of all, I've been working (still a nanny to these two gorgeous kiddos!) 45+ hours per week.

I've been attending Grad School twice a week in the evenings...and I've been dominating! Can you say 98% on my first paper AND my first exam?!

I've been doing lots of fun social stuff. Hanging with friends, going to new bars and restaurants, going to Orioles baseball games (remember how I love my Baltimore Orioles?) We weren't able to make Opening Day at Camden Yards this year (work work work), but we went the next day...close enough.

Things with the man are going wonderfully. His mom met my parents for the first time last weekend, and they all got along great! Huge sigh of relief...I may or may not have taken a shot of vodka before that dinner...haha.

A few not-so-pleasant things have been going on as well. A girl I knew since middle school died in a plane crash in Afghanistan on March 11 while on deployment. She was an Army Helicopter Pilot, and she just got married in November. The viewing/wake was pretty rough. She was 27 and was excited to start her family. I was pretty torn up about it for awhile, and it still makes me cry when I think about it. Especially because I have a brother the same age who is also a military pilot...I just can't imagine losing him, and I can't imagine the pain her husband must be going through.

A few other personal things have been going on that have been difficult emotionally, but I don't want to bring negativity onto my blog by discussing it here (and I'd rather protect my own privacy and the privacy of all those involved).

However, I will say that things with my boyfriend are INCREDIBLE, so it's not that. And everyone in my immediate family is happy and healthy. In fact, my sister-in-law is expecting a second little girl--now I will have TWO NIECES to spoil!

Gah...I am so excited. I already have visions of two little flower girls at my future wedding!

Ok, time to go...I'm nannying and the baby is about to wake up...

How has your April been?

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