Fall feelings

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I am unusually excited for fall this year. I think it’s because I had such a good summer. I was able to get out and enjoy it so much and I feel totally fulfilled by this season. I think normally I get to the end of summer and wish I had done more. This summer I prioritized my happiness above everything else and it definitely paid off. I had lots of slow mornings, afternoons by the pool and evenings on patios.

So, as August drew to a close I couldn’t help but feel ready for the crisp air of fall. The leaves changing colors. The freshness that comes with a new season. I’m ready to put out my pumpkin candles and hang my fall wreath on the door. I’m ready for big batches of chili and warm drinks. I can’t wait for the first day I get to slip on a cozy sweater, zip up my tall boots over jeans and put on my favorite dark lipstick.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I think I will also always associate fall as a new beginning because of the start of school. I always loved heading back to college in the fall. The feel of the campus. The hope of a new year. Seeing all your friends and how much you all grew and changed over the summer, whether it was spending time abroad, experiencing an awesome internship or just taking a really fun vacation.

Summer has been so good to me and I feel more than ready to close this wonderful chapter and start a new one. Here’s hoping for a nice, long fall that we can all really soak in.

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28

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Pretty flowers Eric got for me.

I turned 28 on Monday. The day was fun and low key. Eric made me a cake and bought me some flowers. I had lunch with a couple of old coworkers and then Eric and I went out for a few drinks in the evening.

It always seems so strange to cross over into a new age. Like wait a minute, didn’t I just turn 27? In some ways I feel much older than 28 and in other ways I still feel 18. I think this age is kind of an interesting one because it signifies a decade since you were in high school, starting college, becoming independent etc. It also signifies that my twenties are nearing their end. I’m not really one to get upset over age, but it is just so crazy to think about all the changes that have happened over the past decade and how in two short years I will be entering my 30s.

I’m looking forward to what 28 has in store for me. Hopefully lots of happiness. I have a new niece on the way this fall, so I’m really looking forward to meeting her. I’m also looking forward to hopefully getting out wedding planning back on track. And mostly just enjoying life with Eric and my friends and family. Most of 27 was spent overworked and stressed out, so I’m hoping to have a more relaxed year this year.

I really love that my birthday falls around a time when the seasons are changing. It always brings a nice fresh start to the new year of life. Bring it on, 28!

Table for one: Thoughts on eating alone

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I eat out alone a lot — and I really enjoy it.

I can’t remember when I first started feeling comfortable doing it. Maybe when I got my first job out of college and had lunch breaks? It was easier to just go grab something on my own rather than try to coordinate meeting up with someone. Then when I moved to Pittsburgh I didn’t have a choice because I didn’t know anyone. I saw it as a way to make friends, and I did. One of my now good friends was the bartender at a restaurant I used to go to when I first moved here. (Hi, Chelsea!)

I never really realized it isn’t something most people do until recently when several of my friends have commented about it. They usually say they would never feel comfortable going to a restaurant or bar alone. And then I realized that you really don’t see too many other people alone. For me, it’s just easy. I enjoy eating alone. I enjoy going out to grab a couple of drinks alone. I spend most of my days talking to strangers and interacting non-stop. It’s kind of nice to just enjoy a meal and a drink without having to think of something to talk about.

I can see why some people wouldn’t want to though. They worry about people judging them for being alone or feel uncomfortable with the possibility of strangers talking to them. And in some ways their fears aren’t irrational. There’s been many times where I’ve had to deal with the random creepy guy or the overshare woman next to me, but overall, it’s a great way to relax and have a different dining experience.

Here are a few of my tips for eating out alone.

Start slow: Trying going out for lunch alone. There tends to be less of an inclination for strangers to talk to you during lunch if that’s your concern. There is also usually less of a crowd and wait time.

Grab a table instead of sitting at the bar: This will give you somewhat more privacy and a chance to sort of tuck away in a corner if you want. Sitting at the bar is a surefire way to get people to talk with you, so you might want to wait until you feel more comfortable.

Don’t feel awkward: I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years and I never care when I wait on someone who is alone. I think a lot of people worry their server will judge them or not take good care of them because they are alone, but that is rarely the case. Just own it. If you really feel uncomfortable, then just tell your server you are out having a “me day” or make a slight joke about it to break the ice.

Embrace the unknown: I’ve met some very interesting people while having dinner alone. Take a few minutes to exchange a few words with the person next to you if they strike up a conversation. You might find you have a lot in common. And most people will get the hint if you aren’t feeling a conversation. Just be polite and then get back to your meal. It helps that a lot of places now have televisions that can serve as a distraction. And there’s always your phone, too.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you go out to eat alone after reading this!

 

Summer bucket list

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Go to a Pirates game.

I think going to baseball games is so fun. I love the atmosphere and, of course, all the stadium food.

Take a weekend trip to Erie

We won’t be taking a proper beach vacation this year, but I’d like to go up to Erie and spend a weekend on the lake to get our beach fix.

Go to Sandcastle

I love lying by the pool in the summer, but I’ve never been to a water park. Sandcastle has a lazy river, a wave pool and a bunch of slides. I’d love to go spend a day lying on a raft in the lazy river.

Go kayaking

Eric loves to kayak, so hopefully we can go at least a couple of times. Venture Outdoors has several locations where you can rent them on lakes and the rivers.

Eat & drink on patios

There’s something about eating and drinking on a patio that seems to make everything better. I want to try out as many as possible this summer. The Abbey, a new restaurant in Lawrenceville, has a really nice one I want to hit soon.

Some thoughts

It seems silly to write something like a blog post about something trivial when there is so much going on in our country right now. So, I’m taking this one post to write down some thoughts I have about a more serious subject matter than I normally talk about.

Mostly I want to talk about having understanding, compassion and respect for human lives. And I don’t mean only human lives that mimic your own. Or only human lives that are in your inner circle. Or only human lives that have the same beliefs that you do.

I’m talking about humans, as in, the life force on Earth. As in, all of the people who have exactly what you have inside: the same red blood and the same beating heart.

Take away all of the exterior things that we so often base our judgments and opinions on. Stop seeing skin colors. Stop seeing religion. Stop seeing income. Stop seeing sexual orientation. Stop seeing a political affiliation.

Why, why, why are we still dealing with such a division of people in 2016? Haven’t we all fought so hard over the years to get away from this very thing? To become more inclusive and more understanding? Not the other way around.

We need to remember that it’s okay to disagree with someone and then move on with our day. Remember that it’s okay to have a different religion, skin color, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, opinion on politics, etc. and still respect someone. To be able to say, “I disagree with you, but I understand why you have that opinion.” To say, “I’d like to learn more about why you feel that way about (insert subject here).” To say, “I’m really glad we were able to talk about (xyz), I’ve never really looked at it from that point of view.”

I have friends who believe much differently than I do on lots of things, but you know what? We still get along because we respect each other enough to know where each other is coming from. That’s what it’s all about, folks. Our whole person is not defined by one thing. We are a sum of many ideas, opinions, beliefs and actions. There’s enough evil in this world already, why create more?

Let’s all try to open our minds more instead of closing them. It’s a much more peaceful place.

“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” – Jimmy Carter