Dorothy, we’re not in college anymore

roadtripIt was 2 1/2 years ago that my college years ended and my adult life began. I had to bid farewell to spring break (and fall break, and winter break, and summer break too), say goodbye to the local bar around the corner where I’d vent to friends about how stressful class was over cheap beer and cranberry vodka cocktails, and say hello to the thing I so very dreaded: figuring out how to grow up and be an adult. In those first few months after graduation when the bliss of realizing I never had to do any homework again in my life faded out and the reality of adulthood started creeping in, I couldn’t help but wish I was back in school slaving over the same essays and projects I’d just been complaining about months before. It’s days like today where I remember those feelings of uncertainty and fear (mixed with a bit of excitement) and wish I could go have a conversation with my 18 year old college graduate self to tell her to suck it up because there are a lot of awesome things in her future.

2 1/2 years ago, I never would have been able to foresee where I am now. I may not be working my dream career, but I’m working to get there, and along the way I’ve developed countless skills and even got a promotion to my first full time salaried position at work (yay!) I’ve already lived in 3 states yet it is in Florida with John that I finally feel I’ve found “home” (mom, if you’re reading, you know Columbus will always be my #1 home). Even better, I’ve finally found the courage to give my photography business a try and I’ve surprised myself with all of the confidence I’ve gained in myself as a result.

As I reflect on all of my major life accomplishments in the past 2 1/2 years alone, I realize how much time I wasted being upset and anxious about the future. And I think that’s one of our biggest struggles as twenty-somethings: somewhere along the way we get so caught up in the transition to adulthood that we forget what our twenties are for. They’re a time for growth, learning and personal development, yet we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to have things all figured out as soon as we get out of college. Instead of taking life day by day and celebrating the small stuff we accomplish along the way, we fixate on the future and get frustrated because we aren’t there yet.

So, I’m making a vow to myself to celebrate the small stuff from now on. As far as I’m concerned, baking a batch of cupcakes without burning them is just as much of a cause for celebration as that great promotion at work.

I want to hear your thoughts:
Have you ever found yourself frustrated or feeling like you aren’t where you want to be in life?
How do you deal with it and remind yourself to appreciate the small stuff?
What was your own transition from college grad to adult like?
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Image found here.

Life through my Lens #2

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The past few weeks have totally flown by, and I can’t believe it’s almost March already. I’ve had plenty of things to keep me busy, from seeing my favorite band Muse live in concert in Tampa, to having a romantic candlelit Valentine’s Day dinner at home. All of the moments captured in the pictures above are great reminders of how beautiful and wonderful life can be. Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on my face is some beautiful sunlight or a kiss on the cheek from the man I love so much. I’m learning to pick up on these things and appreciate them much more, especially when I’m having a rough day. I’m hoping that I can look back on these posts someday and remember all of the great things that were going on in my life at that time, both big and small.

What’s been going on in your corner of the world?
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Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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Yep – you heard that right – cottage cheese pancakes. And although I normally consider myself much more a waffle girl than a pancake girl, this recipe might be giving my beloved waffles a run for their money. John is a very healthy eater, so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that are healthy and flavorful. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest (get the directions at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen) for low carb, high protein pancakes! The end result is moist, light, fluffy goodness that pairs great with some maple syrup. Looks like we’ll all be able to have our (pan)cakes and eat them, too!

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Ingredients (I halved the recipe, double this if you need to!)

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I highly recommend this!)

Recipe instructions found here.
*Note: I used a blender to combine everything. Start by blending cream cheese until smooth, then add all the other ingredients and blend to combine. Add additional flour if needed to thicken the batter.

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John and I both agreed that we’ll be making these pancakes again very soon. With the added cinnamon they almost taste like french toast, which might be why I love them so much. Next time I’d love to top them with strawberries (ok, and some powdered sugar). Also, I tried out Courtney’s tip of using Crisco to grease the pan and it worked great. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you love the outside of your pancakes a little crisper.

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast dish?
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How to wear polka dot jeans (without looking like a 6 year old)

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Top: Target (available in store) | Jeans: Target | Flats: Forever 21 | Bag: Michael Michael Kors (last seen here) | Bracelets: Loft

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I LOVE edgy fashion trends, but when it comes down to it I almost always shy away from giving them a try. Take leather for example: I couldn’t stop pinning outfits with leather to my pin boards, and I even wrote a post all about leather, but I never invested in any leather pieces for myself. Why? Because I was clueless as to how to wear it and make it fit into my wardrobe. I felt the exact same way about polka dot denim, until I spotted these at my local Target.

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They didn’t originally catch my eye because of their perfection; I was initially intrigued by them because I thought they belonged in the little girls section. The denim was a lighter wash, and the polka dots just reminded me of something I would have worn when I was six. But, I had been swooning over polka dot denim for months (and obsessively pinning polka dot things) so I decided to give them a try. I headed into the fitting room and quickly learned the first rule of polka dot denim: don’t knock it til you try it. Although I was less than impressed with these pants on the hanger, they looked AMAZING on. So, I urge you not to judge your polka dot denim by the hanger alone, try it on instead…you might be surprised!

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As soon as I slipped the jeans on, I learned the second rule of polka dot denim: avoid wearing printed denim with a printed top. But Stephanie, print mixing is HOT right now! I know – but honestly, I haven’t figured print mixing out yet so if you’re new to this I recommend sticking with solid tops. When trying these pants on, I was wearing a striped top, and it was way too much with the printed denim. As soon as I tried on this adorable green blouse, my outfit felt much more polished.

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Lastly, thanks to my new neon cap toe flats (first spotted on Yi-chia at Always Maylee), I discovered the third and final rule of polka dot denim: if you want to make a statement, do so with jewelry or fun shoes. Luckily, I was sporting my new neon cap toe flats when I tried these jeans on and they were the perfect pop of color to complete my outfit. Jewelry and fun shoes are the perfect way to pull your outfit together.

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So, let’s do a quick recap:

  1. Don’t judge polka dot denim based on its hanger appearance alone. Try it on! You’ll probably fall in love.
  2. Don’t pair polka dot denim with a printed top (unless, unlike me, you are super at print mixing).
  3. Use accessories to make a statement. Add a fun pop of color with your shoes or jewelry to give your outfit a little something extra.

What are your outfit-making rules when it comes to polka dot and printed denim?
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PS- John deserves a huge shout out for these pics, and all the outfit post photos on my blog for that matter. John, if you’re reading, I love you! Thanks for putting up with me and always taking photos for me, you’re the best. :)

Take it from a twenty-something: Your parents are more like you than you think

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About a week ago, a friend posted on my Facebook page with a blog post idea. She pointed out how interesting it is to see how our relationship with our parents changes as we get older. Truthfully, this is a post I’ve been thinking of writing for a while because it is one of the biggest changes that has taken place in my transition to adulthood. Although I have always been close with my family, the dynamics of our relationship has changed so much as I’ve started growing up.

When I was in middle school I wanted nothing to do with my parents. We all went through that phase…teenage rebellion, despising our parents, wanting to be out of the house 24/7…but what I have realized as I’ve gotten older is just how much my parents are like me. They have finances to manage, jobs to maintain, relationships to work at, and on top of that they have my sister and I, their kids, to take care of. In truth, my parents and I have a lot more in common than I thought. I think for a lot of us this realization is hard to admit, because there was a point in all of our lives where we thought our parents couldn’t possibly understand us.

The truth is, our parents were twenty-somethings once too. They graduated college, had to find jobs, had relationship troubles and financial struggles too. Everything we’re going through now, our parents have been there done that. As I’ve gotten older and started to understand this, I’ve found that I look at my parents as peers and friends much more than I look at them as mom and dad. And that’s what is so great to me about having a strong relationship with my parents – I get all the benefits of “mom” and “dad” but I have some amazing friends, too.

Mom isn’t just “mom” anymore, she’s also my best friend. I’ve confided in her hundreds of times, and she’s always been there to listen to me. Now, it’s my turn to return the favor. She’s listened to my triumphs and problems my whole life, so of course I owe it to her to give back what she has so graciously offered me. I’ve found it has only made our relationship with each other stronger and more wholesome. What’s even more important is that I’m glad to be that person she can really open up to. I am more open with both of my parents now than I ever have been in my life, and in return they treat me with the same level of openness.

So I leave you with this: not only is it important to make the transition and realize your parents can in fact be your friends, but it’s also vital to focus on forming and maintaining a positive relationship with them. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten has been from my own parents, and hey, they have been through all this twenty-something nonsense after all, so who better to confide in than someone who’s been there before?

What are your views on this? Forever “mom” and “dad,” or are you developing adult friendships with your parents too?
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