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The Treasures in Our Pockets

18th January 2016

I hate the cold. I despise it. My body despises it. As a measure of precaution, I live in the South, where we list our wintry sixty degree days as a perk. So this morning, when I checked the weather to find it felt like a balmy 20 degrees out, I went to work from the comfort of my down comforter.

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As the hours passed and the guilt rose, I got up the courage to head to the closet and pick out as many layers as possible, determined to keep my word to myself to lace up for five miles.

At the back of my closet, I stumbled upon the Better Sweater. A few winters ago, I saved up to buy this cozy little vest. While its name should ring full of blissful adventures, over the years it has become my last ditch resort for keeping warm on a chilly morning run. I zipped it up, put my hands in its fuzzy pockets and found a single stick of chapstick.

As a kid, I would hide little trinkets in the pockets of my winter coats. Barbie shoes, a dollar, a 25¢ ring, it didn’t matter the value, but more the reminder. It was as if some brilliant figure from the past had sent treasures into the future to say “I don’t care how miserable it is out there, look at these awesome things we used to have!” Those Barbie shoes had been gone a year, so naturally this was a sign of something good to come. The treasures were my way of reminding myself that it wasn’t going to be all doom and gloom for the next four months.

In this scenario chapstick is grown up treasure, until it isn’t. Chapstick means I probably I went for a run, my nose tried to fall off and I couldn’t feel my face for three days. This is what we have to look forward to, Better Sweater, Chapstick and I, no noses and sore faces.

I begrudgingly laced up my shoes, zipped up the Better Sweater, took one last deep breath and zipped out the door.

I’m home now, five miles faster, and while my nose did try to fall off, the Chapstick was a true treasure. It’s a reminder that when you get your butt out the door, the miles aren’t nearly as bad as you make them out to be. As an extra perk, Chapstick does soothe red lips and sore noses miraculously fast, and I don’t know how it does it.

Next time your brain tries to trick you into thinking treasures are for suckers, remember someone in your past put them there for a reason. Oh and Spring, you can come any time now.

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Friday Favorites: Edition Six

8th January 2016

We made it to the first REAL Friday of 2016 (January 1st, as you were spent on the couch, you don’t count). While the weather may have reverted back to its ugly face, this week was filled with warm, sunny surprises. In the figurative sense at least.

On holiday lights

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Fun fact: The Twelve Days of Christmas begins on Christmas day, meaning I insisted we soak up the holiday through Wednesday. January 6th, known as Three Kings Day or The Epiphany, celebrates the day the three wise men reached Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The meaning behind this part of the season is something I fall more in love with every year and gives us an equally opportunistic chance to listen to N’Sync and pause to consider the joy that comes with the kings’ journey.

Tuesday night we made it out to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the holiday light exhibit and it did not disappoint. Bonus points: it wasn’t crowded, it was actually cold enough for s’mores and the Christmas music was still blaring. My holiday heart can rest happy until Advent 2016.

On baby bulldogs

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This week I had two opportunities to get back in touch with my UGA roots. First, I enrolled in Grady’s student mentorship program late last fall and met with my mentee for the first time this week. If only she could take me to class on Monday, it would have been perfect. Next up, UGA’s Give a Dog a Bone campaign kicked off this week, with my stack of cards and envelopes arriving Thursday. The campaign asks alumni to write cards of congratulations to incoming freshman (class of 2020) and is still seeking volunteers if you’re interested. It’s also a fun excuse for me to practice envelope calligraphy.

On sparkly things

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I put my new Peal Ex Powdered Pigments from Paper Ink and Arts to work this week after receiving a set from P for Christmas. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write in plain, black sumi ink again. So far, the rose gold is just to-die for. Since the inks are powder based, I can mix as much as desired for each sitting. I can’t wait to experiment with mixing a little into some of my other colored inks as well.

If you’re new to Friday Favorites, this is a series where I catalogue random happenings from Monday to Friday that bring joy to what can feel like the boring part of the week. Weekends shouldn’t get all of the life credit you guys. You can catch other posts from the series here.

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2016, I Dare You

4th January 2016

I have never been one for resolutions, but when I stumbled upon a few friends sharing a single word to challenge themselves by for the year, it sounded like something I could get on board with.

Words? I love words. If you were to dig into my computer history, you would likely find the Thesaurus to be my most commonly used app after Keynote. I spend my working days choosing the perfect word. Choosing one for myself should be easy. The only problem with this grand not-a-resolution-but-kinda idea being that while I love words, choosing a single one has never been my strong suite.

Then this morning while listening to this track on Spotify one popped into my head.

Dare.

Maybe it was the slightly dark lyrics or the ‘I could run a marathon’ beat that forced the word dare into my head, but almost immediately it felt right. When I headed to the Thesaurus and the first entry was “be brave enough”, it was settled.

Growing up, dares were something to be feared. A dare was likely something you weren’t supposed to do. A dare was going against the plan. But what if I could think about dares differently?

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Instead of a year of firsts, 2015 was the year of, “OK life, let’s do this”. It was a year where I was thankful to find focus in work, in fitness and in marriage. It wasn’t a year of puppies and rainbows, but 2015 brought me some of my most challenging, rewarding and beautifully simple days. And while every article we read about our twenties screams for us to go out and find independence, 2015 taught me to embrace never doing life alone. 2015 brought me fierce partnerships through friends, coworkers and my ultimate truth or dare partner: my husband.

In 2016, I’m daring to leave what’s comfortable, to embrace the risks, and to be brave enough to finish the next 362 days having shared a better version of myself with those important people.

Daring to trust that it is all part of the plan

Daring to show grace, not competition

Daring to trust my gut

Daring to eat the cupcake and not feel guilty about it

Daring to listen before speaking

Daring to run the hilly route instead of taking the flat one

Daring to take my time

Daring to be imperfect

Daring to choose where to eat the first time P asks

OK, so maybe that last one is a bit ambitious. 2016, here we go. I double dog dare ya.