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Starting in November, people pick up the pace. They rush around preparing for the holidays not realizing that they are also rushing into the next year. It seems that most don’t give thought to much outside of the holidays until after they are watching them end. Then the review of the last year starts. This is not so for me. Instead, the holidays bring about a whole season of reflection, thought, and gratefulness. Life has been hectic and unpredictable since we moved to Joplin in January. This year has brought almost constant transition and has changed both Will’s and my life. We have made so very many friends and have started patching up last year’s wounds. Things are looking up and our hearts are so full. I have never been so excited for the things to come. I have never had better friends. I have never been more in love. I never understood true happiness…

… but I am sure I do now.

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This is currently what the majority of our apartment looks like right now. It’s very “bare bones” around here.I am itching to decorate this place!

THE AGENDA

– For the dining area: 1) Cover our half-mirror, half-wall with some panels. 2) Build a dining bar.

– For the live/work area: 1) Build the base for a couch and sew cushions, pillows and throws. 2) Build a large work/dining table. 3) Build a two-compartment coffee table. 4) Sew curtains and maybe a rug or two. 5) Build a coat rack and shoe caddy.

– For the sleep area: 1) Build a headboard. 2) Build an accessories area. 3) Sew curtains and maybe a rug. 4) Sew about 98,357,928,475 blankets, quilts, and pillows for our bed (I like a lot of blankets to sleep with).

– For kitchen area: 1) Sew or buy more towels and other kitchen utensils. 2) Sew a rug.

– For all areas: 1) Hang wall decor. 2) Build or find appropriate lighting.

When I look at this list, it overwhelms me a bit and I become anxious to have it done… two months ago. What makes the situation even more challenging is that I currently work 45+ hours most weeks and Will and I hardly ever have a day off together. I refuse to allow all of these factors to send me to the closest furniture store and pick out what “will work for now.” I want this place to be the home I envision.

A delightful little twist to kick-start our motivation is that we recently found out that a new friend will be staying with us for 10 days in a couple of weeks. TEN DAYS! =D November 7 will be here before we know it! If that isn’t enough to get us moving, I don’t know what will. I am very excited to see what all we can accomplish between now and then. We plan on sharing how to’s and photos and all that jazz as we finish projects. So be watching Twitter, Facebook, and here for links to check out the progress. :)

Oh yeah! And if any of you Nashville friends have a truck and would be willing to help transport some of our supplies for these projects, that would be the best! A meal and a high five would be waiting for you. ;-)

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I guess this was just a bit of a vent of how I have been feeling while at home lately. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad. For instance, I am currently listening to The Shins sing through my record player, my cute cat is sleeping in the sunlight and I am getting ready to (finally) organize our closet. It is a good day. I just can’t wait until things are even better around here. :)

love, erin

* I promise that I will stop using Photo Booth photos for all of my posts. I guess I have just been lazy. Ha!

(waves)

Hey, it’s me again. I missed you. :)

I thought you guys would like to know that I am going to attempt regular posts yet again here. This time, it won’t just be photo posting. It will be mixed with fun stuff: some things you want to see here and some things that I want to share with you. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea and want to do it.

Here are some of the ideas floating around in my head:

Playlist of the day: I listen to music all of the time. And I mean, every single moment that can be is music-filled. So, I feel it is something that would be fun to share with you all. This won’t necessarily be a daily post, just what I have listened to on random days. :)

What I am eating: As most of you are aware, I have recently adopted a completely different way of eating. I am transitioning to what I hope will be a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Nutrition and proper healthy living is something I have grown very passionate about. I would love to include you in on the journey! I will post photos of daily meals and share recipes for my favorite foods and meals. Most will be gluten free or vegetarian, which I am excited about. I’ll also be juicing a lot so I will share my favorite juices with you!

Weekly funnies: I used to call cartoons funnies. I got that from my grandpa (I think). I don’t really read Sunday cartoons anymore, but my life is filled with moments that I feel could sometimes make the cut for the weekly strips in the paper. I thought it would be a great way to document the funny stories I want to remember. Plus, you all can get a laugh out of it as well. ;) Maybe I will eventually even have (horribly penciled) drawings to go along with them!

Photos: Duh. ;-) This will be photos from trips, daily life, sessions and shoots, home projects, self portraits, and prompts that I choose or you suggest.

Possible features: I go back and forth about this. I like the idea of featuring people who I truly admire and people who I love. You know, people I think are incredible. ;) However, I don’t want people to think I will feature someone because they give me an incentive. While I think it is great that other blogs to do that… this is a personal blog. If I happen to buy something that I love, you’d better believe I will tell you all about it! Why would I have people send me free stuff so I can write about them? It just doesn’t seem right unless it is a gift just because we are friends. :)

(For those of you who receive goodies from people and feature them, no judgement will be found here. Do what you want. I was just speaking in terms of my personal space here.)

Quotes: I love quotes. I had a 3″ 3-ring binder full of quotes in high school, sitting beside my two 4″ binders full of notes from my friends over the years. I am a sentimental gal, what can I say? (<—- future hoarder?) Anyway, because I spent so much of my childhood buried in books, I learned to appreciate the meaning (and people) behind those precious excerpts. I would like to dust off that binder [Yes, I still have it (<—– h o a r d e r).] and find neat ways to bring those quotes to this place.

History lessons: No, I am not going to inform you about facts about wars and politics. This would just be little stories about me growing up, things I learned along the way, people I met who impacted my life, and other stuff.

Writing assignments: I started reading and writing at 3. It stuck. This will be a periodic post that would consist of past writings, reviews of books and my thoughts that were sparked by the content, and any of my future writings.

This one time… : My boyfriend, Will, has been a wonderful part of my life for almost 4 years. I have never met anyone who I could let loose and be completely true with. He has seen the complete Erin. I can honestly say NO ONE else has seen it. I think it would be fun for him to pop in here every once in a while and share little random stories about our life together. I really want to expand this eventually to have my family and closest friends come here and do the same. While this is taking a huge risk for me to be constantly embarrassed, I think it will finally help me become more comfortable in my own skin.

He said/she said: Most people would have a hard time believing that Will and I have never truly fought. If we ever had a “rough patch,” it was more like hashing out issues we encountered and then either getting over it or coming to a compromise/agreement together. And pretty much all of that was out of the way by our second year together. I am so thankful for that! How have we managed to stay in peaceful harmony? We are always talking. We discuss everything. We both respect each other enough to listen and accept what the other “brings to the table.” This has led to some pretty incredible conversations. We have ended tons of talks moved to tears, laughter, and excitement. I figured it would be fun to share some of those conversations with you and maybe even elaborate further here. :)

My style: I hate when someone asks me what my style is because I just don’t know how to answer that. I used to hate outfit posts. However, I am beginning to understand that not everyone who does it is doing it because they think they are the “know all” in fashion. Most girls just want to show off their new outfits or share pieces that make them feel pretty. I get that now and even find myself wanting to post photos of occassional outfits on Twitter. I have refrained for the most part due to the fact I spoke out against (most) outfit posts in the past. I am here to retract that statement and possibly start sharing little bits of my “style” here (most likely attached to other posts). Maybe you guys can put a name on it. ;)

That is all I have at this point. What do you think? Which are your favorites? Any I should get rid of or add? I would really love to hear your feedback. After all, I am trying to make this place better for both you and me. =D

Love you guys. For serious, yo. ;)

love, erin

‘Sup! I am hanging at Starbucks tonight. I am trying to edit some photos but my silly laptop is slow in her old age. She overheats and shuts down occasionally. I really, really hope to get an iMac in the next year. We actually have a fund dedicated to this cause stored in a Nalgene bottle under our bed. I am hoping that baby fills up quick! :)

So, anyway… I have been sitting here listening to good music and then started wishing that I had a friend that I could exchange and share music with. Then, I thought, “Why not post on Twitter?” Then, I proceeded to think up this plan to post on Twitter something like, “I will send something special to the first 5 people who reply saying they will send me a music mix! It’ll be a fun little exchange!” I then thought, “Hey, dummy. Why not just get some pen pals?”

Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight buuuuuuuuuuulb.

So, yeah. Who wants to be my penpal? First 4 to comment are my new mail buddies! I would say 5, but my darling friend Katja gets the first spot. ;)

I hope I get four of you to comment! I want this to be something that sticks. I love getting mail and I love to send gifts. So, please leave a comment and tell me what your favorite thing to get in the mail is. Don’t worry, if you are commenter numero 5 or higher, I may just send you something anyway. :)

**EDIT** So, I can’t say no to you guys!! You all can be my pen pals! I will just send you all stuff randomly. ;) Yay!

Other Thursday thoughts:

1. I miss having bangs like the photo above. I kind of miss having long hair. I think it is mainly because it was easier to wear most hats. ha!

2. Starbucks is crazy cold! I am wearing a long sleeve shirt, jeans, boots, and headscarf, and my jacket and I am still shivering!

3. My hair is driving me insane! I luckily have a hair appointment tomorrow. Thinking about going dark again. I think white hair is just too much to maintain right now. Thoughts??

4. I am itching to travel and to do what I want. I’m so tempted to quit my job (again) and just stop working, but this time take the boy on the journey with me. How amazing would that be? ;) Obviously, this can’t happen until all that crazy debt is gone. If any rich person out there feels the need to help out a girl with debt, feel free to get in touch. haha

5. Nashville is awesome. I make friends everywhere I go. People are so interested in getting to know you when they talk with you. It’s completely different than most other places I have been. I truly love this city.

And finally, I will leave you with this…

… Y e p.

love, erin

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When I was younger, I hated playing games. I was so afraid of losing. Being a loser. My insecurity would get the best of me and instead of taking a risk on winning or losing, I would forfeit the game completely. However, I couldn’t escape game time at church or school. And what game did the teachers always suggest?

Telephone.

I may have been too young to write more than my name and I may have only just mastered the art of drawing the perfect circle, but I could figure out that a group of kids my age will never make it to the end with the correct sentence in a game of Telephone.

Years went by and games at school went away. Then, I went away from school. I went through a rough 6 years. I made relationships and most of those were torn apart. I finally reached my breaking point. I stood (broken and somewhat lifeless) looking at my past and was so confused by it all.

How did I get here? Why did all of this happen? Why do I feel hurt/angry/scared/alone?

I decided it was time to turn inward and search for answers and insight. Fast forward ten months. July 14, 2011. I am sitting in a coffee shop (guess which one!) thinking over the last few months and how far I have come. I am mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually stronger than I have ever been. There are still BIG problems in my life that I am working on but I am finally to a point where I feel I can share with you something that I have been too ashamed to share up to this point.

I have made so many friends since moving back to Missouri 3 years ago. SO MANY! And I love all of them. However, I didn’t always think I did. Because of events I experienced, I was incredibly messed up. I didn’t fully realize my (negative) potential until about last August. I had become a person that none of you would want to be around. The friends I had made and (in a lot of cases) worked with were the targets of my horrible malevolence. I retold secrets. I exaggerated faults. I gossiped. I insulted. I neglected and manipulated. In short, I played a nasty game of Telephone with my friends most personal parts of themselves and their lives being the sentences spread around from person to person. The sickest part about it was that I justified it all because in my head I was the victim. Those friends hurt me and I was nothing to them. Anything I did couldn’t possibly hurt them but I sure would try.

HORRIBLE, RIGHT??

I know. I now feel like a criminal at times because of it. Thankfully, one of these friends called me out. I was shocked that it affected her at all. Once that shock wore off, I saw how hurt she was. Then, I realized that she wasn’t the only one probably feeling this way. I became embarrassed. Then defensive. Then ashamed. I finally realized that I had become the loser I was always afraid I’d be. I was losing much more than a game this time.

I started apologizing to everyone I could think of that I had talked negatively about or to about another. I no longer cared about what they had done to me. I just knew I needed to apologize for what I had done to them. I wrote down a list of the things I wanted to work on. I started on that list. Then, after a few months, I wrote the girl who I had considered my (former) best friend. That was hard. I missed her and hated that she distanced herself because of my actions. So, I told her these things and, thankfully, she accepted my apology.

A few weeks went by and we moved to Joplin. Instead of getting a “normal” job, I met a couple and started cleaning for them. Then, I assisted with their business. This gave me more time to work on my photography but more importantly, myself. Then, the tornado hit.

I could not believe the devastation around me. The horrible tragedy I had been a part of. And I had a home. I had my boyfriend and my family. I had my life! I had been spared. As thankful as I was, I couldn’t help but think over the past couple of years and how horrible I was. I wanted to hug each person I had wronged and tell them how sorry I was and how much I was wrong. And then I received an email from the girl who had shoved my behavior in my face and made me see the reality of who I had become. It was short but so powerful. She told me how thankful she was that we were ok and how worried she had been when she found out what had happened. Her genuine concern and thankfulness that we were ok was so evident. I cried. I wanted to give her the biggest hug. In that moment, I realized it was finally time to write her back to tell her what had been happening with me since her first email. So, I did. It was longer than I thought it would be and I had the biggest butterflies flying around in my stomach. But I finally said I was sorry. I finally made things as right as I could.

I waited for a reply, only half expecting it. Within hours, I had received it and I finally felt at peace. We weren’t quite friends, but we were ok with each other. I felt as though a fog had lifted and I saw that those “faults” I saw before paled in comparison to the woman who had the character to take the first step toward reconciliation.

If you are still reading, kudos! I know this post is long but it is so important for me to write. Why? Because it all leads up to me saying I am sorry.

Yes, I am apologizing to you. And to everyone else. I can’t possibly know on my own who all I affected with my actions and words over the past couple years. I have tried to reach out to everyone and apologize personally but I know I missed some of you. So, to you… I am so sorry. I hope you know I am genuine. If you want to express concerns, please email me and I will try my best to make things right.

And to all of you who may not have realized that all of this going on… You still deserve an apology! I am very sorry for bringing more negativity into the world. Day to day life is so tough in a lot of ways and I have no right to make it worse. Please forgive me.

To everyone: I am sorry for everything I repeated or shared that was negative, inappropriate, or private. I was generally full of it the whole couple of years. Not saying that it was all untrue. In fact, I can’t remember most of the details of all of it. Just do me a favor, if you can, and disregard anything I said that fits into the above categories.

I hope you all can accept my apologies and see that I have changed a lot for the better! I feel really good about sharing this with you all. I have wanted to for a few weeks and now just feels right. I have noticed some really mean comments being posted and actions taking place that are alarming. Not to me, but to those around me. The saddest part is that they are coming from some of the sweetest people. I realize now what it is like on the other side of the fence and so I couldn’t refrain from sharing this with you any longer.

If you are one of the people pouring negativity upon others, please stop. It is not only hurting those you are directing your aim toward, but those of us who know and love these people. Eventually, your behavior will even hurt yourself.

Pour positivity into the world and you will most likely get positivity. If you don’t, keep walking. There is no need and not enough time to waste yours on making others feel bad.

I truly, sincerely love you all. I am thankful for each of you. I hope to never make you feel bad. All smiles and laughter for you from here on out (as much as I can help it). :)

love, erin

(Photo source: http://www.eyeshadowlipstick.com/2136/blue-telephone/)

Like I said a few posts back, I have been going through my old files and finding some forgotten treasures. I plan on sharing those with you over the next few days as I catch up from the time lost during vacation (not complaining).

At our last apartment in Springfield, we had a creepy old basement. My dear friend, Amy, and I decided to take advantage of that and do a styled shoot. At the time, we had only worked together once and it didn’t go well. (Freezing temperatures without proper attire never bodes well with outdoor shoots with new acquaintances. We should have known better. ha) However, our second attempt went so much better! These are my favorite images from that night.

While searching files for content for my website, I found a ton of old photos that were never edited. So, what did I do? I went through them all and found some gems. I can’t believe I overlooked some of them! In the next few weeks, I plan on sharing them all with you. Just for kicks. :)

Here are some photos I found of my friend, Vanessa.

I really, really miss her. She is such a positive and kind person. I feel so blessed to have met her. :)

It has been storming a bit this afternoon. I am about to go have some family time while there is a break in the weather! What are you all up to?

Oh, and please read the post below for some exciting news! :)

love, erin