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28 while 28

October 10, 2014

Part of my absence from blogging lately is due to a semi-life-crisis over turning 29 which feels like days away from turning 30 which feels like OMG-I-should-have-my-act-together-and-be-where-I-want-to-be-but-I-don’t-and-I’m-not. My birthday was a few weeks ago and I still haven’t processed everything that’s going on in my head.

When I saw Amy Tan’s 35 while 35 list of things she accomplished in her 35th year, I knew I had to create this for myself as a little confidence boost. Plus, 28 is my favorite number so why not?!

28 while 28

  1. Participated in plank, abs, and wall-sit 30-day challenges
  2. Wrote 36 notes for More Love Letters
  3. Took at least five small trips (Charlotte, Atlantic City, Virginia Beach, Cedar Point, and around North Carolina which you can read about here, herehere, and here) and one big trip through France and the Czech Republic (read about the trip here, here, and here)
  4. Won three awards at my employer’s chili cook-off
  5. Cried over my Grandpa’s failing health and the Cory Monteith tribute episode of Glee
  6. Laughed at nearly every Jimmy Fallon video, especially Ew!
  7. Spent as much time as I could with my three grandparentsBen, me, Grandpa - my 28th birthday
  8. Completed three Dirty Girl mud runs in three different states, a Run for Their Lives 5k, Turkey Trot 5k, Jingle Bell Run 5k, and a Foamfest 5k
  9. Designed the sixth and final family Christmas t-shirt
  10. Participated in my second 25 Days of Giving
  11. Attended eight performances: Sō Percussion, Bryan Adams, Rob Thomas, Alton Brown, Lacuna Coil & Sick Puppies, Ethan Bortnick, Fall Out Boy, and Lady Antebellum
  12. Created Date Week, a week’s worth of dates with John
  13. Participated in my second Great Strides walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  14. Tried – and fell in love with – rock climbing and hikingJanelle hiking
  15. Helped my family successfully grow basil, tomatoes, edamame, and cantaloupe
  16. Started getting more active, working with a personal trainer, and making my health a priority
  17. Purchased only three new pairs of sneakers
  18. Ate endless amounts of sushi, pad Thai, summer rolls, and scrambled eggs
  19. Baked with J-slice, my mom, friend Sara, and my book club
  20. Finally tore down the Todd Richards shrine and removed other memorabilia from my childhood bedroom
  21. Took 17+ photos of sprinklesMaggie Moo's sprinkles Charlotte NC October 2013
  22. Started taking a build-your-business course which I hope to “complete” in my 29th year
  23. Took some major steps towards working on more creative projects and potentially selling them (a happy/scary/big goal of mine)
  24. Practiced asking for and accepting help when I needed it
  25. Blogged nearly every weekday except for a few breaks
  26. Established my role in a women’s soccer league and I’m now slated to begin a run as President
  27. Learned more about who I am, who I want to be, how to get there, hard work, and making it happen (although to be clear, that is a constant work-in-progress)
  28. Enjoyed music, traveling, seeing Hootie twice, playing soccer, learning, growing, investing in myself, loving, smiling, laughing, hugging, dreaming, and living

Reflecting on my 28th year by making this list helped me feel like I did something with my life these past twelve months. It makes me feel better about what I can accomplish in the next twelve months, both in terms of things I can do and ways I can and will grow. I won’t say I’m necessarily looking forward to this upcoming year but I am excited to continue moving forward, learn about myself, spend time with my loved ones, and take more sprinkle photos!

Hello again! How bout an update?

September 25, 2014

I’ve started this post a number of times, mostly in my head. I’ve crumpled up those virtual pieces of paper, dumped them into the trashcan, and started over. There’s so much I want to tell you and yet the problem is… I can’t figure it out myself. I’ve avoided the computer for weeks. My head is still foggy, my schedule is still nuts, and I’m still taking on too much. When will I learn?

For now, here’s an update:

I’m reading again! I hadn’t read since March. I tried a few books but wasn’t into them and/or I didn’t have the energy for my brain to process what I was reading. That’s the biggest break I’ve taken from reading since college when I only read what was required. I finally picked up a fiction book that I’m excited to read and equally importantly, I’m making time to read.

I’m still active. HOORAY! This has been the biggest win. I’m making activity a huge priority, even above other things that would normally be at the top of my list without question. I’m playing soccer three times per week, doing personal training once per week, and walking and hiking when I can.


I’m in physical therapy. Boooooo. Increased activity has always pissed off my knees but it got really bad about two months ago so I finally went to the doctor. In addition to soccer, personal training, and walking/hiking, I also get up early two mornings per week and go to physical therapy. Part of it is easy and part of it hurts. It helps a lot but also tires out my legs. It is simultaneously working and not working which tells me we still have progress to make.

Hootie and her mom visited! They were here for about ten days and Hootie is already planning her next visit. This time is always bittersweet because we look forward to it for months, love every second of the visit, and spend time talking about the next time we’ll see each other. But the time goes so quickly and seeing her makes me miss her even more when she leaves. Ugh. We’re planning a trip to Germany and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a rough goodbye. But why am I even thinking about that already?!

me, Hootie, Erika

I celebrated my 29th birthday. I use the term “celebrated” very loosely. I did more freaking out than celebrating, to be honest. I might be in life-crisis mode. Send help in the form of hugs, empathy, advice, and a life coach. Please?

I saw a dietitian. This is new to my plate (ha) so I’m just getting started with “let’s eat more balanced meals” and “let’s try not to eat every sweet in sight every nite.”

I’m hiking as much as possible. I registered for an event that is almost definitely way over my head. You guys… it’s sixteen miles. I’ve never gone more than seven in my life. I don’t know exactly what I’m getting into or what the course is like. I hear it’s part-road and part-trail so John and I have been getting out as much as possible and putting in some miles. I have a soccer game the day after the event so please revisit the part where I mentioned my knees suck. And if I didn’t mention it already… I need to get my head checked.Janelle hiking

So I’m a little busy, eh? There are more things I haven’t even mentioned. I don’t wear “busy” like a badge of honor; instead I’ve been trying to make it known that I have a few priorities right now and I’m focusing on those. That often means I ask for help, get John to take the lead on things I normally would, ask friends to be understanding, and ask around for advice.

I’m very much an open book and happy to share if someone is interested and wants to listen. You should interpret that as… it’s not that I haven’t wanted to share things around here, I just haven’t had my head in the right space to sit down and do so. There are a few things in my life that aren’t sitting right at the moment and I’m trying to figure out how to get them settled. Obviously food, my body, and my activity level are biggies.

I really want to come back into this space with you guys more often. I have very much been wanting to share everything with you. I’m not sure I’ve shared everything with anybody yet, which I understand contradicts my previous “I’m an open book!” notion, but I’m ready. I think. ha. Or maybe it’s one of those “do something before you’re ready” things.

Thank you times 3740958710643 to everyone who has emailed, texted, messaged, or thought about me and checked in to make sure I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. I assure you I am alive and (mostly) well! Please update me in the comments on what’s been going on with you! What’s been the highlight of the last few weeks?

Let’s chat again soon :)


September 4, 2014

Now arriving at gate B3…

Erika and Hootie

Hootie and her mom!!!!!!!!

My parents and I greeted them at the airport super late last nite with homemade signs, hugs, and smiles plastered on our faces.

I know these next nine days will be gone in a flash but I’m just so excited for them to be here. Shopping, talking, eating, talking, exercising, talking, more eating… it will be a damn good nine days!

In a Funk

September 3, 2014


I’ve been in a funk lately. A deep, lonely, lazy, confusing, questioning funk.

This being an adult thing is hard. Could someone just give me the answers please? And make sure it’s the answers I want to hear! haha :)

It’s not blogging; I actually do have lots to tell you and things I want to share! Everything just seems like an immense hurdle. I think I’ve been over-analyzing everything in my head and that’s affecting little decisions and even bigger — my priorities.

Have you ever seen the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon rolls dice and lets the dice make decisions for him? I could probably implement that and feel a lot better, although I definitely can’t pull off the intelligently annoying spray of facts that come out of his mouth.

So I just wanted to pop in and say hello.

hello card

And let you know that I’m not, uh, dead or anything. Today I actually do feel better! Much more optimistic, feeling like I can tackle things again. It probably has something to do with the fact that Hootie is in the air right now. Literally. Flying! The countdown has gone from months to weeks to days and now hours. I cannot wait! Her positivity and wisdom can pull me out of any funk ever. Plus her being here means more family time which always makes me feel great!

So if you don’t hear from me for a week or two, or you hear from me sporadically (Clueless style), now you know why. It’s not my usual style but I’m choosing to prioritize and get my shizz back on track.


Currently – 8/26/2014

August 26, 2014

currently - 8/26/2014

Growing baby maters and canteloupe but the edamame and basil sadly kicked the bucket.

Beginning the countdown to seeing Hootie… one week!

Re-reading The Giver with J-slice (his first time) and I’m loving every word just like every other time I’ve read it.

Planning fun things for the three-day weekend ahead!

Organizing my art and craft supplies – thanks to my Mom’s help – so I can actually use what I have.

Needing to get some restful sleep.

Worrying about my knees and the physical therapy required to get them back to functioning properly.

Appreciating that John and I have been able to plan together without arguing or having any miscommunication.

Envying those that have been traveling lately, yet I opted to stay home this weekend. File that under #makesnosense

Eating a crap ton of eggs in all forms recently.

Hopping back on the green smoothie train after consuming weeks of cottage cheese with fruit for breakfast.

Feeling proud of J-slice for starting 6th grade tomorrow, of John for getting a great review at work, and myself for making a few things happen for my soccer league!

What’s currently going on in your life?

PS – I know. I just squeaked this post into the 26th. It’s actually 11:30pm right now. Oops. More on-time fun to come later in the week, hopefully!

Web Wandering

August 22, 2014

web wandering

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Killing time at work till 5pm? Or want to read some fun things this weekend? Let’s wander the web together!

I have to start off with the concept of brainwriting, something I do fairly often at my job and absolutely love. (Found via Elise’s weekend links)

Before peach season ends, you better believe I’ll be making this caramelized peach, mascarpone, and dark chocolate grilled cheese. Sounds odd and also insanely delicious.

I am guilty of some common email blunders; our clients at work are generally older so I guess I get away with it. Regardless, I should probably learn how to send better email.

If you feel a little self-conscious or inferior at times, here’s how to be confident and passionate.

Ever go to write a blog post and feel like your brain is completely blank? Write about the last thing you learned.

Summer and Fall to me speak “s’mores everything!” Let’s s’more up some cookies with this s’mores chocolate chip cookie cake.

I love love love this concept of earning your sleep by doing something you’re proud of and being the best you that you can be.

I’m considering creating a 30 Before 30 list and for each item on it, I will be asking myself these questions.

Have you been wandering the web too? Got something to share? Link to it in the comments!

Southern Travels: Summer Vacation Wrap-Up

August 21, 2014

Students are heading back to school this week and next week which marks the unofficial end of summer. I figured I should do a wrap-up post from our summer vacation to North Carolina before it doesn’t feel like summer anymore! I have a random smattering of photos I want to share with you!

Our summer vacation this year consisted of a roadtrip around various parts of “North Cackalacky,” including the US National Whitewater CenterNC Zoo, and Carolina Beach.

We got in lots of quality time with John’s three nieces and nephew, as well as with his brother and sister-in-law.

John and nephew A

The two oldest girls and I baked a cake together. I almost typed “cookies” because we always bake cookies… but not this time. They cleaned up in their signature classy style of bowl-licking.

niece E cleaning after baking cookies

The cake was for J-slice’s birthday. He turned 12 shortly after our trip but we wanted to celebrate with the family. Plus, umm, any reason for sprinkles, right?!

J-slice's 12th birthday in NC

After a major slight argument and begging on my part, we spent a large chunk of a day at Carowinds amusement park. You know how much I love rollercoasters!

John and J-slice at Carowinds

The Carowinds property crosses into South Carolina so there are several areas where you are crossing between the two states. Or in the boys’ case, you can straddle the border.

John and J-slice on the NC and SC border at Carowinds

Letting his nerd side show, John wanted a picture with Dale Earnhardt. I’m not sure that’s a blog-worthy highlight but John looks darn handsome here so I’ll let it slide. To each his own.

John with Dale Earnhardt

Short and sweet! Just wanted to wrap up sharing our vacation with you guys. It’s been on my to-do list forever so I can finally check it off. Best feeling ever!

I have a friend (who’s reading right now, probably!) who didn’t take a summer vacation. Whaaaaaat?! Crazytown. The only excuse I will accept if you’re in the same boat is that you spent all of your vacation days on skiing.

So tell me about your summer vacay! Are you a relaxer or an adventurer? Do you like to stay near or go far? Do you save up for nine months or just wing it and pay for it after the fact?


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