Love Lived Here

I guess you could call this a love letter to my first, forever home.

We lived here. We loved here. Love lived here.

The inside of these walls saw smiles and laughter from all ages. From the newborns moving in to the grandparents coming through the doors.

The inside of these walls also saw tears. Lots of tears – both happy and sad.

They saw birthday parties, new pets, hide and seek in “the trees”, corn field running, Christmas gatherings, wedding showers, pool parties, bonfires.

They saw a lightning strike, broken bones, stitched up knees, surgeries, ambulance visits, grief.

These walls saw grief.

These walls saw my childhood. They saw me take my first kindergarten bus ride. They saw me celebrate high school graduation. These walls watched me move to Boston. Come home. Move to Ithaca. Come home. And finally, move out. The big moving out. The real one.

These walls saw me grow up. Fast.

I couldn’t imagine growing up any other way. I didn’t know it at the time but I needed the quiet streets, the endless backyard, the cozy fires, the food(and wine)-filled kitchen over holidays, the friends, the family.

This house made me who I am today because we lived here. And we loved here.

Love lived here.

– Rachel


Sorry, This Isn’t the Happiest Piece of Writing

This isn’t a post where you’ll finish with a smile. This post doesn’t have a heartfelt lesson or any inspiration behind it. Next month, maybe I’ll write something with a positive conclusion or a lesson learned throughout the tough times.

What about a post with a fun new recipe that I’ll never make, or a pretty photo series of my friends? Maybe I’ll publish one of those.

Today though, this is not that type of piece.

Today I choose to write how I feel. I feel confused, sad, mad – so, so mad. I feel very anxious about the future.

You turn on the news and see negative story after negative story, and you hope that your own personal network will be immune to that heartbreak and tragedy.

And then you experience it.

It’s funny – my friends and I grew up on TV dramas. We thought it was so crazy how dramatic those teenage lives were. One Tree Hill, anyone? And yet without even realizing it, the moments that occurred on TV – the heartbreak and tragedy I mentioned – they happened to us.

This isn’t a pity party. I’m not looking for sympathy here. I know as well as the next person that every single person you come across in your life has something they have been through.

And I hope each person finds their way through that something.

Between the accidents, the diagnoses, the prognoses, the horrific acts of violence, it isn’t easy to constantly read about these stories – or to experience them for ourselves – and simply move on from them with a smile on our faces just because we’re trying to look on the bright side.

I know I have a good life ahead of me. I do have faith in that. One that I hope to enjoy to the fullest whenever the time comes to do so. But even while I know my life is full of opportunity, I can’t help but think about the sad moments too. The moments that make moving forward feel so unattainable.

I guess what I hope to convey through this post is that some days it’s not easy to stay positive. Sometimes you need to be sad. You need to be angry. You need to feel your emotions. You need to talk about how disturbing the news and life and society can be – and how it impacts you.

And I hope that you too have a support system you trust to guide you through these emotions.

On another day, I’ll feel optimistic about life again, and I hope to share a little faith and positivity in an upcoming post. Because with the right people around us, I do believe we’re able to continue living, feeling, and accepting the curveballs we’re thrown.

Today though? I just can’t publish those words.


Fine With My Healthy Thighs

I was on a walk earlier that was regrettably not for enjoyment, but rather because I was counting my steps and making sure I was working off the calories I’ve been consuming.

Mid-walk I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a storefront window, and like most people I directed my attention right at my flaws. Thought to myself: how did I let those thighs get so big?

I quickly remembered though, how even thirty pounds ago, I still thought my thighs were too big. As many of you I know can relate, we’re never quite satisfied with our bodies are we? Whether the goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, etc.

I’m not exactly sure why, but I immediately found myself noticing how my legs were moving at that moment. I was looking down, taking long strides – and although I may not be in prime athletic shape right now, I have a body full of ability and I am moving.

I don’t know what led me to the observation. Maybe I got sick of my own complaining; however, I remembered all the stories I’ve read about individuals who have physical challenges – whether it’s due to traumatic accidents, military injuries, ones who’ve experienced the challenges since birth, or others who have simply grown older.

I imagine they would love my thighs – the ones that allow me to take full strides effortlessly.

Honestly, after taking a moment to recognize this, my walk then became a walk for pure enjoyment. I was taking in the fresh air (mind you I was not in the city this time), the cool breeze, the quiet hum of leaves in the wind and chirping birds.

Talk about a reality check. We can pick ourselves apart from top to bottom, inside and out, but we’re wasting precious moments in these damn short lives of ours that we could be appreciating.

I’m going to continue working hard to get my body in good shape, but I’m going to do so while still appreciating my body as it stands.

I can walk to work, I can go on hikes, I can sleep without pain (aside from the inconvenient aches of old soccer injuries, but I think every former athlete can attest to those).

My body is pretty damn fine right now because I am healthy right now – even if last year’s shorts are a little snug.


Never Be Ashamed for Needing a Moment to Yourself

*five months later* whoops.

That’s really the only statement that I can come up with regarding my blog taking a little hiatus. I’ve thought about opening my laptop over the past few months, but never seemed motivated or inspired to write. I really don’t even know where the time went. I guess I’ve been waiting for something to spark my rediscovery in writing. Apparently, this weekend was it.

This weekend I decided to take a step back from personal and professional responsibilities and just do my own thing. Mind you, it’s been a gloomy two days, so that “own thing” has been Netflix, reading, cleaning and working out.

And let me tell you – I feel fabulous.

For those who don’t know, May is Mental Health Month – and to be honest, I’m surprised that alone wasn’t reason enough for me to break out the blog on May 1. Just because I didn’t write about it, though, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind.

I technically spent this weekend doing nothing, which may be considered “lazy” to some. But to me, it was a chance to refresh my body and mind — free of a single responsibility, aside from cleaning and laundry because #adulting.

In a life where we cannot let our responsibilities fall to the wayside (#adulting again), I feel like it’s extra important to take advantage of these quiet days when we can. Supporting your mental health does not necessarily mean you have a mental illness, or that you have anything to be ashamed of if you do have a mental illness. Sometimes you just need to check yourself and your priorities to be sure that you aren’t on a path toward burnout, and that you’re able to experience life fully. This is not to say your life should be without stress, fears, or busy schedules; however, you should be able to experience life in a way that is not hindered by negative thoughts or activities that are not your priorities.

My mental health is a priority. My physical health is a priority. Do I always take care of these? No, not necessarily. Wine, cheese and sleepless nights do sometimes occur.

This is why I’m so lucky to have family and friends in my life who understand when I say I just need to take a day or two with no plans. They know that means I need to recharge, even if I didn’t technically have an “exhausting” week. For example, I may not have been overwhelmed with life this past week, but this weekend was more of a proactive mental health weekend.

I am self-aware now to know that when I travel often and make lots of plans, I tend to become overwhelmed. I know this is not the case for everyone. Some people thrive off of being constantly social or always on the go, and that is wonderful; however, I have busied myself up enough in the past to know that I need to take breaks.

Not breaks from life, though.

This is something I’ve really had to alter my perspective on and find a balance with over the past couple years. I used to just “need a break from life,” when in reality that’s not true. I feel like this was and still is such a negative way to look at mental health or personal days. As if there’s a negative connotation, but there’s not. When I have these days now — I’m aware that I have plenty of responsibilities and people around me. I’m not trying to ignore those; rather, I’m just making sure I’m refreshed enough to truly make the most of when I return to those responsibilities (in this case, Monday).

It’s not taking a break from life – it’s taking a moment to yourself to breathe so that you can continue to appreciate life moving forward.

– Rachel

A Year of Grieving – of Healing – of Living.

2017 was a year of grieving. I spent last New Year’s Eve unable to leave my bed, hurting over the loss of our dad. That night my mom was my NYE kiss, and luckily tonight, she will be right by my side again as I ring in 2018 with family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

2017 was a year of healing–a year of transferring any ounce of self-loathing into self-loving. It was a time to ask for help after years of holding back, and getting that help when I needed it most. I learned who makes up my support system. I learned how special the people in my life are, and how lucky I am to have them beside me in the years to come.

2017 was a year of life’s biggest moments. I graduated college, became employed, and moved out. I will soon move into New York City–a city I’ve dreamed of since I was just a kid visiting the Big Apple. How long will this be my home? Now, that’s just something we’ll have to re-evaluate when I look back at 2018.

2017 was a year of family–of bonding together in a time when we all needed this support the most. It was a year of continuing to fight the adversities that life throws our way. It was a year of adding a new brother, husband and son into our little family. It was a year to celebrate, to dance and laugh, and enjoy the best part of this crazy life: love.

2017 was a year of living. These twelve months reminded me what matters most in life, and from this, reminded me of what does not matter–to take a step back when I am feeling everyday stresses and pressures, and to recognize that what I’m worried about may not be worth the stress at all.

2018 will be a year to remember. I know it. I don’t know what it will bring, but I know as long as I’m surrounded by the same people that kept me going through 2017, then this new year is going to be perfect.

Cheers to the year ahead.


The Skyline I Know

As my family was passing over the Whitestone Bridge last week, I noticed how beautiful the New York City skyline was. I have seen the skyline quite a bit in my lifetime, yet every time I see the city, I can’t help but be amazed by it.

Whenever New York City is depicted on TV or in a movie, my mom always refers to it as “her city.” After all, she spent her whole life there before getting married and moving Upstate with my dad. Anytime the skyline was featured on screen we’d hear “oh there’s my city!”

And this is the sentiment of every New Yorker. After spending a couple months there this summer, I get it. It’s the sentiment of anyone when they see an image of their home–whether a giant metropolis or small farm town.

It is pride. And New York pride is like no other.

The skyline of my “mom’s city” was a skyline defined by the Twin Towers.

As we were crossing over that Whitestone Bridge, I realized that the skyline I have come to know, however, is with One World Trade Center. The skyline that I may one day refer to as “my city” is not the same one that my mom thinks of when she closes her eyes to remember her home.

And this got me thinking, remembering, reflecting.

With this time passing forward, we cannot forget – and I say this as someone who was just a child in 2001.

With a world that has become the world it is today – one that has seen horrific terror attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters – it’s hard to remember a time when tragedy was not on loop in the 24/7 news cycle, when tragedy wasn’t the norm. As a child in the early 2000’s, this is the norm to us.

But we have to remember September 11, 2001 – really remember what it means.

Every time I look to see the skyline and see One World, I’m reminded that the city my mom called home was devastated sixteen years ago.

More importantly, I’m reminded of the city’s strength sixteen years ago when faced with this devastation. This entire country was defined by its strength sixteen years ago – by every hero whose life was put on the line that day, and on the days and years following.

And for that I am so proud and grateful to live here.

I love the 2017 skyline because that is the city I know, but the history of New York City is not lost on the beauty of how it stands today.

The skyline I know is one that was rebuilt without fear. It is one that I can look at and know just how resilient New York is.

Sixteen years ago, our country was attacked. And sixteen years ago our country proved how strong and beautiful it is – and still is today.

– Rachel

One Month Anniversary: Funemployment

Today marks exactly one month since coming home from my summer internship in New York. This means it’s been one month of uncertainty. One month of waking up in my childhood bed. One month of seeing hometown friends. One month of spending everyday with my mom and siblings. And of course it’s been one month of sending in job applications–even though I told myself I was going to take a little break from that. As you can imagine, that break from the job search never did quite happen.

This was definitely a result of that feeling of uncertainty I mentioned. I am positive that I am not alone when I say how uncomfortable uncertainty makes me. Not just with careers, but with anything in life. All summer while I was earning a wonderful experience in public relations, I kept reminding myself that I would try and relax when I got home. I needed a break. I needed time to breathe after the past year–the past few years.

Yet when I arrived home, Monday morning rolled around and I couldn’t help but open up my LinkedIn profile and “just peek” at what opportunities are out there. By the end of that Monday, I had already sent in multiple job applications.

Everyday since being home I have found myself scrolling endlessly through job boards, LinkedIn and Indeed. I’ve had plenty of Netflix binges in between these applications; however, for some reason I couldn’t even take just two weeks off after ending my internship.

I constantly go back and forth on my anxieties about the future–one moment I’m anxious that I won’t find a job soon enough, and then on the other hand I’m anxious that I am not enjoying this time off as much as I had planned to.

And why?

Because I’m so uncertain about my future.

I’ve unfairly blamed this on the fact that everyone wants to ask me what my next steps are. Answering this question makes me so nervous. I don’t have any next steps. Sure I’m sending out applications and preparing for interviews, but this is the first time in years I don’t exactly know what I’ll be doing even a month from now. I don’t have a fall semester to begin or an internship lined up.

I’m so eager to enter my career, and because of this I’ve forgotten that there is nothing wrong with taking a month or two off. After all, this is it. My next role starts the “once you work you never stop” stage of my life.

I don’t know if I’ve appreciated this month as much as I should have because I didn’t feel comfortable with uncertainty–not when everyone around me seems to know what their next steps are.

I wish I could be more comfortable with living day to day, and not worrying about finding the perfect job. My life has been career-focused for so long, that I honestly couldn’t shut that part of my brain off, even for a couple weeks.

I think this is okay though. I have loved every second of being home with my mom back in my hometown. And I have relaxed as much as my busy brain has allowed me.

I’m not sure how much time I have left at home before I make the move to my next job, so I’m going to try to take advantage of that. Even if it’s just a couple weeks. It’s okay to breathe. It’s okay to be uncertain about what’s next because I don’t necessarily have to follow the same path as the person beside me.

I’m going to continue being proactive about my career because I want to be able to carve out a life that I am happy with; however, I’m also going to make sure I take time out of each day to focus on the present.

Specifically, these days of waking up on cool summer mornings and having coffee in my childhood home.