I wasn’t going to say anything. I knew what was happening and I knew how I was trying to handle it was not going to work. But, I let too much “noise” get in my head and tell me that nobody wants to hear it. Or, that it’s been long enough that I should be over it. Or, the worst one, the voice of my ex boyfriend, immediately following the events, who kept saying “you’re too obsessed about it – you just have to get over it”……….
So, as per usual, I filled myself with temporary distractions. So many distractions actually, that I ran myself in the complete opposite direction, straight into pure exhaustion. In doing that, I seemed to forget one little detail……exhaustion is one of the two biggest enemies of my chronic condition. And thanks to all that madness, here I sit………my body in total rebellion and if I’m being ridiculously raw, my heart sutures, a little busted.
And the only way I know how to feel better, is to write. You see, no matter what you personally think of my words (or of me, for that matter), I don’t write them for you (or maybe this time, I actually do). I write them because out of all the things I don’t like about myself, and out of all ways I question what the heck I am wondering around this planet for, typing words is the only thing I’m sure of. It’s the only thing that boosts me into dealing with whatever I need to (yes, even if it’s a funny dating story). And more than that, it’s the only thing that I KNOW is meant for something bigger than me. I know if it’s taking me to such an uncomfortable place to write/type them, then it’s also meant for someone else to read. Even if it’s just one person. I think it’s even more cool that my job is to write it and release it. It’s not for me to know where it lands from there.
Sorry, I digress. I came here to admit and face today. Not to over explain myself. So, Hi, my name is Alicia and I’m hurting. I’m also angry. I want to be in a different place and I’m not and I know it won’t go away until I tell you about it. Why the universe puts me in these positions to open myself up to so much, I’m not sure….but I’m definitely gonna address it when I get in front of the big guy :p!
Five years ago this last week, at around 4:30 in the morning, I sent an email to my core tribe of friends, telling them that I was in serious danger and needed help. I asked them not to contact me until I could escape and make contact with them. I admitted that I hadn’t been truthful with them about what was going on in my life. I confessed that I was terrified of what would happen to me. For a few seconds, I questioned whether I was being too dramatic in what I was saying. I couldn’t use my phone, and I wasn’t even sure if any of them would check their email. Then, he woke up. And it all started again. Nope, definitely wasn’t dramatic in my email. To this day, I firmly believe that if he hadn’t have passed back out from being so drunk, that he would have followed through on his promise to kill me. And that was the start of a living hell on earth.
My deliverance from abuse was nothing short of carefully orchestrated moments and miracles. Period. It just was. I wish I could tell you more. But I can’t. Even after five years, I am yet to be able to sit down and write it all out or tell the story in any translatable format. For someone like me, that is so foreign. I’m a story teller after all. Yet, it never fails that people come across my path and the story (or the parts that are needed to) come up. I share and exhale. And then I swell with gratefulness. I struggle with why I’m not supposed to share the “cool” parts of the story with the masses. But, I have to trust that it’s to come where it’s supposed to.
Let me bring the point of this a little more together and wrangle it in.
- It still hurts. It hurts differently. But, it still hurts. I’m not sure that it will ever go away. And that’s ok. I’m not where I was. And healing doesn’t always mean it all goes away. Being tough doesn’t shield you from the sneakiness of the triggers. Those little brats show up out of nowhere. I’m more than thankful to be equipped with the right tools and right people to help me through them. There is no shame in the admittance of the triggers, the asking for help or the sitting and simply feeling them.
- I shouldn’t have ignored the triggers this last week. I knew it was coming. This anniversary and a few other dates ALWAYS trigger something. Thankfully, it’s smaller triggers, like simple unsettled feelings and a general uncomfortable feeling. I start sleeping less EVERY SINGLE YEAR during this time (the thief comes in the night, right?). And I try to ignore it. Because, according to others, I should be over it already. And EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I end up here. Completely drained. Mark these words though, it will be the last year that the ignoring happens. Next year, it’s a tropical vacation of poolside sitting and feeling it all. Raw.
- The physical scars and abuse went away. The mental mountain has been way harder to climb. I’m SO PROUD of all the work I have done and the network I have had to get over “him”. You know what lingers the most? The first person I dated after. The one I said “ok” to and opened myself up to. The one who I knew before, the safe one, who pursued me. The one that I gave ALL the trust I had left to. The one I trusted with my completely shattered heart and damaged self. Yeah, that one hurt the most. Because he was the one who couldn’t deal with the Alicia that I was. I know it’s not completely his fault. I wasn’t in a place that I should’ve been dating at all. And I said that multiple times. But he still worked to gain my trust. And I gave it to him. And when I let myself love and be completely me, even the broken parts – he couldn’t handle it. And in what I’m sure he thought was just tough love and brutal honesty, his words and actions (or serious lack there of) completely ruined me. They were the “nail in the coffin”. And what maybe would’ve been another year of work and healing to be past the abuse, has now lingered a very long five years. And that’s all ok. Because no matter what story he tells himself or others, or how happy he is in his own moving on, he served his purpose in my journey.
- I’m still grateful.
LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW…….
- If you are in an abusive situation, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get out. PLEASE ask for help.
- If you are dealing with anything traumatic – feel it. No matter how big or small the situation seems, if it is impacting you – then it’s real. If you feel it, it’s real. And you NEED to feel it. I can remember SO MANY days of checking the clock and thinking “ok, I just made it through an hour.” and I would take a deep breath and try to make it through the next. That is as literal and truthful as can be. Hour by hour. I couldn’t even make it through a day. I had to take it hour by hour. And it wasn’t until I acknowledged and owned that feeling, for that time, that I could even think about how to make it through a day.
3. If you are a friend of someone in that situation or of someone who has escaped….WATCH YOUR WORDS. Watch your judgement. Period. It’s not about you. It’s not up to you to decide how they heal or how long it takes. If you can’t play the role, then don’t. That’s ok, too. But you do not accept the role and get to dictate how the victim deals. You just don’t. I’m sorry. I know it’s seems so easy to help and for them to see how they should just be ok. They are out, they are safe, so they’re good? Nope. Not how it works. And if you can’t step outside of yourself and choose to love unconditionally – then you DO NOT deserve the person in the first place. You just don’t. Because your judgement and impatience is doing more damage than being thrown up against a wall will EVER DO.
4. If you come into a person’s life long after the event, consider yourself a sacred part of their life. You probably won’t understand, why five years later, on a Monday night, they are texting asking for random prayer. You might not understand why they seemed fine a few days ago and then all of the sudden just seem cranky, and puffy, and tired and stupid sensitive. Just hold on for a minute and love them anyway. The hardest thing I have ever had to do is let people like me and know what the past few years have held for me. And at the same time, the easiest thing for me to do is to cut you right on out if you screw with what little trust and heart I have left.
5. Let me make this clear one more time. You DO NOT get to tell someone that how you made them feel isn’t valid. You just don’t. You don’t have to agree with how they feel. You can think whatever you want. But, if you truly love them or are truly their friend, you HAVE to acknowledge that their feeling is just as valid as yours. Read this again: YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE HOW SOMEONE FEELS OR HEALS.
I already feel better, even in the midst of busted sutures, that unfortunately have left me more vulnerable than I care for……. and even in the midst of a lot of things piling on (of my own doing, for trying to be tough and hide feelings) and a to do list still a mile long. Writing with all those feelings seeping out of me is the best therapy (accompanied by a great playlist). You can think that is dramatic if you want to. Maybe it is. Maybe I just feel that hard. And maybe I’m done apologizing for that. I will never fully heal if I don’t shut those other voices of doubt and judgement out. To be honest, it’s probably those things that have kept me from healing, way more than the abuse memories have.
And in it’s own twisted way, and with all those rambling words above, it’s actually beautiful how something so awful keeps coming up at all. Because each time it does, as painful as it is, I can’t deny how much I have learned. I mean it when I say that it truly is a beautiful story. It seems like it keeps coming up so that I don’t forget that I have climbed a damn big mountain 🙂 These pics were from my first beach trip, ever in my life, which happened to come not long after my escape (one of those cool parts I reference). Just digging those out again and including them here makes me reflect on how surrounded I was. The things that happened were amazing.
I am stronger. I KNOW that I have shared it with those that needed to hear it for whatever reason. I am wiser. I am more intentional. I am protected from ever going through that again. I found out that as much as my core and heart can be shattered, that it can also be rebuilt (sometimes even better than before).
Released and now I can rest. I look forward to a good night’s sleep. Thanks for reading.
Well, COMPLETELY against my will, and apparently for the single purpose of getting my blog juices going again, I watched The Bachelorette premiere tonight. I didn’t necessarily mean to. But, some of my family, inclusive of twenty-somethings are here for the night and convinced me to put it on. My 22 year old was just as annoyed as me and I can honestly say that I don’t know if I have been more proud of her! :p In theory, I would continue to watch the season and keep writing. In reality, I’ll consider it a success if I finish the premiere.
First, I need to apologize to anyone who thought I was smarter than this. I know you’re disappointed in my choices. But, I have to appeal to all the people. I am lover of all (except those few that did me dirty :p jk jk – kinda). So, as much as I love my investigative shows and documentaries, I have to venture out to see what the rest of the world is up to! 😛
Anyway – let’s get started. I only came in a few before Lucas entered and already can’t remember half of their names. So, tonight’s commentary is a bit scattered and will focus on the things that stuck out the most to me.
Let’s begin with the dummy (no, not the human guys – although there are already a few dummies fo sho). That stupid puppet has more game than my last 5 dates. I wish I were lying.
The Bachelorette herself:
I can guarantee you she has already eliminated more than half of these dudes, in her mind, within the first 10 minutes. She is not impressed by some of you fools. She seems smart, but all brain cells can be altered with 31 yay-whos in a room trying to get your attention.
I like to think I could get along with her, because she cannot hide how she feels, on her face – and anyone who knows me, knows I can’t either. I’m hoping this is our common bond that helps me survive this episode.
When she says “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world”, I couldn’t help but think – OF COURSE YOU DO! You have 31 dudes at your disposal and nobody is calling you a slut for talking to all of them at once! You also are getting to juggle 31 somewhat normal-isn dudes who will be on their best behavior. You’re not in Tinder anymore Dorothy. Congratulations.
Now to the boys: again, I came in late and I am overwhelmed, so some of them just get nicknames.
In general, guys do not sit around and talk like this and analyze, do they?? I mean, I know most of it is for the show
Kenny, the wrestler – I don’t hate you. Don’t let me down.
Lucas – it should be obvious all the things I have to say about him. But, for the sake of warning the rest of Americans who haven’t had the pleasure yet, I’ll throw it out there. DO NOT talk about your testicles through a megaphone on national television. And stop shaking your face. Nobody even understands your existence yet, except for the fact that every season has to have the one crazy. HOWEVER, I do owe Lucas a Thank You! I almost forgot that I hadn’t blogged about my last dating story that is one of the top three of all time! You’ll have to stay tuned for that to understand how Lucas reminded me of it.
Attorneys – I get it. You put them on there because she is one, and the ones you chose are handsome. One is proud of himself (Josiah) and one can’t get his eyes or head at a normal level. But, I think we can all agree that attorneys are a direct spawn of the snake in the Garden of Eden. (sorry to all attorneys out there and please answer my call if I ever need you)
Vacuum dude – I like your approach. Any woman who says a man with a vacuum isn’t hot, is lying. But, you’re trying too hard running that dang thing while she is trying to talk. My hope is that you have more to offer than this.
Tickle Monster (as in he legit lists this as his job) – I can’t hate you. At least you are calling it a job versus the 4,236 guys I have come across that say “consultant”, which really means they are unemployed. But show me one person who isn’t annoying after the first 3 seconds of tickling someone (keep it clean!).
Male Model – “I would be so devastated if I didn’t get a rose. Yeah, I don’t know what I would do”. Yes, you’re right. Your life would be over. How would you ever walk out of there and find a woman? I get it. Must be horrible, with that deep voice and chiseled jaw line.
Marine – Asian guy – you win, simply because I love marines…..and Asians. You. Are. Adorable. You are one of my top 3.
Penguin guy – nope. Not giving you more than this space. You are a copy cat, and a terrible one at that. There is no other costume entrance like shark girl from last season. Stop tryin.
Aspiring Drummer – every season needs the emotional one. You win. Quit cryin, it’s only the first session.
Chiropractor – you had me at “I could get free adjustments for the rest of my life” – but when you went for a kiss on the first night…..and went so hard that she couldn’t breathe AND for so long….I was out on you. However, if she boots you and you’re just looking for something to do, I’m usually free on any day that ends with Y.
WAIT – WHAT??? As I’m typing that last line, that’s who she steals to give the first impression rose to? Ok, girl. I see what tone you’re going to set here. S M D H
Ok, now I’m done. If I were there, I would be right in the middle of the ego fest inside and wondering what the heck just happened. PLUS, the way he kisses just makes me uncomfortable. It gives me the same reflex as hearing the word moist. (acckkkk, I can’t even type that without gagging).
Ah, there is Cry Baby Magee. The one that gets kicked off that cries. You talked to her for probably a total of 3 minutes and got let go, and now you’re crying because you brought lots of outfits you won’t get to wear. No. Boy puh-lease. Welcome to every girl who has ever been stood up. Imagine all the wasted outfits out there. YOu ain’t the first. You won’t be the last. Pssshhhh.
Here’s what we do. This show has been around long enough. It’s time to switch it up. You bring in a fat girl (ack hmmm). You bring in all these guys. As they get out of the limo, they are clearly shocked. They aren’t used to someone not looking like a model, what kind of trickery is this? They go into the main house and homegirl hears them talking about her. She is so distraught that she runs away. BUT, secretly, she is going away to fat camp. She gets a naughty body to the point that she is unrecognizable. They bring the guys back and say “sorry we trick you, we have a different bachelorette now”. Enter, “new girl”, who is really old girl. Their mouths start watering. And in another twist, she automatically cuts the ones who talked about her and lets the actual nice ones that would’ve given her a chance, stay.
Call me Hollywood, I’m here for you.
I think I may be the only person who was genuinely excited about the storms today. I finally got to wear my new, glittered rain boots, so rain didn’t bother me at all! I never got to do much in the rain as a kid. If we had rain boots, I don’t really remember them, but I can bet that my mom was not having us messing in mud puddles. I had no idea what I was missing! It was the most fun I have had in the last couple (of very challenging ) weeks! I would love to share some encouragement with you on this rainy day. Because you can make fun of the cheesy revelations all you want, but I have no shame in fighting through this crazy world with rainy day revelations!
Anyway! See my video rambles today while I willingly stood out in the rain (and had a fantastic dance party to HARD LOVE by Needtobreathe). I was actually so in love with my little break that I didn’t even take time to remember to care what I looked like or what angle things were being done at……..and that might be the most freeing thing of it all!
And check out these great rain boots!
I have been a pretty tough and optimistic cookie lately. You know the old “power through, I am tough, it could be worse” method…I have even kept my mouth relatively shut vs confrontation (shocking, I know). But, when I just pulled into my parking lot after a long week already, I discovered my eggs, that I just bought, were broken. I needed them to make a dish for someone who had surgery. I was trying to do good. Yet, here I sit. The eggs did it. They sent me over the edge. I don’t even want to walk up the stairs to my apartment. So here I sit, in my car. Turning my music up, taking a deep breath and writing 5 good things that happened today and 5 things I am thankful for, on a crumpled napkin. Oh, and writing this terribly formatted blog while it’s fresh on my mind.
I refuse to cave into misery from an undesirable day (or couple of weeks for that matter). I just can’t. I am too tired to do that anymore. I am only interested in forward movement, solutions and goodness as end results. I can’t do what I used to in going inside, eating something terrible and zombie-ing out on the couch, pouting about how bad things suck.
I’m not typing to be a guru, inspirational, cheesy or declare that I am on a higher platform than another (because if bad food and wine and tv is what you need after a terrible day, then you do you, boo). I’m not publishing it for the secret stalkers to interpret as “Alicia is so negative” or “oh look, Alicia is falling apart and can’t handle rough times” or “Alicia is being dramatic”.
I’m typing it out loud because I need to read it for myself. And I know that there is someone out there who might need to read it too. And if there are a hundred bad things about me, there is at least one good thing in that I have usually been decent with words. I’m typing it to be transparent in the fact that I have a ton of good days and stories and outfits to share, but I am also human (despite my capes and glitter accessories).
It’s ok to have a bad day. It’s ok to say or type it out loud. It’s ok to cry over cracked eggs. But now that this song I was blaring is over and my car did the auto shut-off (and I am realizing its freezing with no jacket)…..it’s time for me to move along. And you can bet I am. I actually needed this to force me into other action in an effort to do something about current situations.
You can acknowledge the bad out loud and you can even feel it however you need to. You just can’t stay there.
Here’s to cracked eggs and hoping my recipe tastes good with wine as a substitute 😝😝😝😝😝. I already feel better!!!
Yep. I typed it. Out loud. And I will give you all a few minutes to delete me out of fury before we move on to other sentences.
I’ll start by saying that I fully recognize some REALLY crappy things happened on 2016. Good people died. Politics made us rethink what the living heck is actually happening here. Personally, I went through another set of “I really like him” moments, only to be disappointed. I found myself in other situations I never thought I would be in and I watched my gran die.
But, it wasn’t the worst year ever. It wasn’t worse than the year(s) millions of Jews were sent to their demise. It wasn’t the year that we lost 4,000 people from planes crashing into buildings. Once again, not discounting terrible things that did happen this year (so don’t start typing your hate letters just yet).
I’m also not lessening other’s interpretations of “worst”, either. If you feel it, it’s valid. Whether I agree with it or not. All I am saying is that for the majority of us, it wasn’t the worst and here’s why…..
- If you’re reading this, you’re still breathing. And I don’t care how awful life may be for you, if you’re breathing, that means there is a chance for it to get better.
- If number one is applicable, and you really think it was the worst, then you are also in a position to affect change (and I’m pretty proud to say I have lots of friends out there who are forces to be reckoned with in this area). If my dad were here, he would give me about 5 minutes worth of a pity party (or maybe one gripe on social media) and then he would expect me to figure out what I’m going to do next to move from where I’m at. And sadly, I never realized how lucky I am to have had him be that way with me, til he was gone. If you’re passionate about some of the terrible things that went on this year, use that passion to do something (besides post online) to contribute to making that terrible thing a little bit better.
- No matter how terribly you took it that celebrities died or that the election didn’t go your way, there is someone out there who had it way worse than you (insert any Aleppo photo here). So if those two things were really the only awful things that happened to you (and I’m just as guilty as the next of jumping on some of those meme bandwagons – and I believe in the protection of Betty White) – then it still wasn’t the worst. And before you jump on the election tirade, please refer to number two.
- There is always still good. You just have to find it. And you have to want to seek it out more than you want to cave to the ease of jumping on the bad bandwagon. We all know how easy it is for viewpoints to be skewed or for only certain things to be placed in front of us via tv or social media…….so if that’s too much for you, make a conscious effort to seek out the good. I thought about making it even easier for you by placing some links here of “the good stuff” (start with the World Series documentary)….but that would defeat the whole challenge of you making yourself acknowledge good. And a little leg work never hurt any of us. I’ll gladly list my personal “good” from the year though, because I need to do my own reflecting of just how good I have it despite the world telling me that I don’t. How about we all get a little more purposeful in following, finding, happening upon good people and good things. Keep following the bad too, for all I care, but if you’re going to grow at all, challenge yourself to sprinkling in a few good finds and see if over time, that doesn’t chisel away some of that bitter 2016 chip on your shoulder. If you have no desire to do anything but wallow in the misery that you have chosen to associate with, then we have nothing further to discuss, really. 🙂
So. There it is. I said it. Since I’m used to not being the most popular for what I say, it probably won’t be a shock to me if this isn’t received well. But, it had to be said (or typed). I appreciate a sarcastic meme, joke or calling out of things just as much as the next social media junkie. I realize that some post in jest and truly don’t feel like this was the worst year ever. But, there are some of you out there that are truly paralyzed in the belief that this was it, it was the most terrible year ever. And we need you to get unparalyzed quick-like so that we can have more good! 🙂 If you truly have the belief, then I hope that you passionately commit to making sure your corner of 2017 is better than the last year.
I refuse to let 2017 be a year where my feed is filled with anger and hate and all the bad feels. I will gladly support and encourage (and make glittery signs of support) all of those who, even though they don’t agree with me, are using their anger to fuel a fire of making a difference and taking ACTION in any part of their lives. I’ll just be over here working on my own refinement in trying to be a better human, trying to smile more and listen more and trying to make sure that should I die tomorrow, that people know my heart only had love left. That last part alone is going to keep me busy enough that I shouldn’t have time to worry about whether Sally voted for Hillary or Trump and if that decision means I can have coffee with her.
Love and peace!
Oh, and here are my highlights from the year!
- Had the most perfect “faux daughter” in the form of a high school foreign exchange student (til she had to leave me in June)
- NEW YORK CITY for my birthday/spring break!!
- Spain!!!!!!!!!!!!! The most incredible trip of my life! Plus, I survived a near plane crash :p
- DOLLY PARTON concert!!!! And friends who embrace my obsession for her!
- New friends that come with neon signs of “we were meant to cross paths so that you’ll see that you need to cut that other part of your life loose”
- Growth in my career (and getting the best boss ever) – despite saying “orgasmic” in a meeting with the president of our company :p
- Standing up to someone and seeing their true colors in a situation where, even though I might not be right, I didn’t allow their words to send me backwards. I still hope to visit her in her glass house someday, but I’m also pretty proud to see personal growth (this one isn’t as glamorous for you to read as it is for me to look back on – and that’s ok).
- Seeing my mom find true happiness and blossom into the most happy person I have seen in a long time.
- Best World Series ever! (even if you didn’t like either team) This event alone should’ve brought you a little glimmer of hope and made you happy about life, for at least the week that it was happening!
- Countless work travel. Even though it was a lot of time away from home and in hotels (which oddly enough is really the only true gym time I “enjoyed” over the year), It took me out of my comfort zone and afforded me meeting some pretty cool new people, with some pretty neato stories and lives!
- One of my very best friends moving back and settling “back home” – her open home, open arms, open ears and adventures with her cool kiddos have been the best therapy for me this year!
- Learning that cultivating and figuring out who my “core people” are is one of the best exercises I’ve done in a while. I’m truly loved by people and for the first time in my life I really believe that. I shutter at the thought of how many years were spent believing in every fiber of me, that nobody truly loved me. My happy and my smile are sacred and genuine these days! I have some pretty awesome people to thank for that!
Ah, the holidays! One of the most fun times of the year! Christmas decor, holiday parties, ugly sweater goodness and now A NEW DOLLY PARTON MOVIE (just what I needed to continue to feed my love for her)! In honor of her Christmas movie airing today (that I have been anxiously awaiting for and assume you’re watching), I’m not only sporting a snazzy, what I hope would be Dolly approved outfit to work, I’m giving you a sneak peak into my holiday party outfit options. Even though I have a feeling I know what Dolly would pick, I’m going to let you vote on your favorite look! Whichever one gets the most votes (no matter which one I’m partial to, you know, kinda like an American election), is what I will wear to the party. Promise.
In addition to some great outfits (or what I feel are great outfits), I’ve also put together party prep list!
Enjoy! I can’t wait to see which outfit wins!
Party Prep Checklist:
- Understand the party dress code. Then, wear what you want anyway.
- Make sure that what you wear won’t get you fired.
- Look in the mirror and say “This is going to be so much fun! I look fabulous”
- Take pictures and show the internet (no matter how badly you don’t want to and no matter how worried you are at what people will say of your cheesy shots, that you had a blast with…..not that I’m talking about the pics you are about to scroll through or anything)
- Pre-game. This step is important. Do something to relax you before going into the potential sea of judgement and lame office jokes (thankfully, our office party is guaranteed to be lame free so I’m not even worried. I’m just saying you should be aware of the potential for you to encounter lameness). Have a couple of glasses of wine. But stay away from shots of tequila (until you get to the party and you see your boss throwing them back). Turn up some good music while you’re getting ready and dance like you’re a star in a Paula Abdul video.
- Make sure if you’re taking a date, that he/she isn’t lame.
- Go to the party.
- Laugh, have fun, don’t make a jerk out of yourself that could later haunt you (like getting too drunk, lashing out at people you think hate you and slamming car doors……I’ve heard of that happening)
- Assume everyone that is staring at you is only thinking how fabulous your outfit is and how they wish they would’ve dressed more fun.
- If there is music, dance. Even if you wouldn’t normally do such a thing.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do (other than stay sober enough not to stick your foot in your mouth).
Now, the outfits!
The party is a dressy casual event. Most will wear jeans and a nice top or a fun dress. When discussing the attire during our staff meeting, it was well established that they could make whatever decision they wanted, but that I would be wearing snazzy stuff no matter how casual they decided 🙂 Funny enough, nobody in the room seemed surprised by my announcement!
Sequins and Jeans (which also happens to be the outfit I am wearing to work today. It’s completely justified as explained in this previous blog. Click here to read it real quick)
I was worried this look would look too plain. Turns out, I ended up thinking it has the perfect balance of casual and snazzy!
I am in love with this skirt and how well the necklace compliments the outfit!! Guess what else? The skirt has pockets!!!!!!! Winning all around!
I don’t want to influence or rig the voting (too soon?), but I cannot deny that this one is my favorite thus far. It’s magical. Just look at how fun it is and how it fits!
Jeans/Peplum Jacket/Red Shoes: Lane Bryant
Varsity Jacket: JC Penney
Black Top: Melissa McCarthy for Lane Bryant
Necklace: Rue 21
Interwebs, please meet my Madrid familia!! In case you are new here and were unaware, I hosted a high school foreign exchange student. She is from Madrid and lived with me over the last school year. I fell in love with her and her family, so when an unexpected opportunity came up to visit them, I took it!
I hadn’t seen her since June so when I first arrived, naturally there were happy tears. But, it was the first night of family dinner, when everyone was gathered and laughing, that it hit me. I was experiencing true Spanish family….and a family that I now claim as my own! It was emotional to say the least.
Before I introduce them individually, I have to tell you (although my limited vocabulary is not nearly enough to do so), that these are the kindest people you will ever meet. Their hospitality and love to two handfuls of American girls, has gone unmatched. They went out of their way to be our taxis, tour guides, cooks and to make certain that our stay was more than we could’ve imagined. I don’t know how I will ever repay them! And currently, after so many days and SO MUCH shopping, I am just extremely grateful that they didn’t put us on a plane earlier.
Meet Susana – The Madre
From the time I knew Monica was coming to live with me, Susana has been the best support. She is humble, kind, PATIENT (heavy on the patience), positive, understanding and if she was ever frustrated at any point over the last few days, we haven’t even seen a hint of it.
We got to spend some time with her a couple of days that was just with her. Even on her birthday (Sunday), she toted is to the CRAZY street market (more on that later) and never complained about walking THE WHOLE market, not once, but three times, just so we could find “that one” thing we wanted. She entertained us with participating in silly tourist pics. And if she didn’t want to throw us out of the car after the thousandth “oh let’s stop and get a pic here” moment, then she just might be a real saint.
She is an artist who is way too humble about it. Look at some of the work she has done at their beach house! She is also the one who painted a portrait of Moni and me and sent it for my birthday! Definitely one of my most treasured gifts!!
Meet Jose – The Padre
Oh how he loves. There is no way that you don’t know it when you’re in his presence. He is comic relief. He is agreeable to all the ladies of his household. He has just the right amount of facetiousness about him!! He shows love. That’s quite different than what I grew up with and I couldn’t help but sit in awe of how he is constantly hugging, picking on and kissing on his girls. He creates a house of love and protection. He is a good papa!!!!
Meet Mari and Moni – The Girls
Most of you know Moni from all I shared on social media while she lived with me. What you may not have known is that she has a twin sister Mari! Mari also did an exchange program and lived in North Carolina. I have missed Moni EVERY SINGLE DAY since she left. She took a part of my heart with her when she left America! However, seeing her “in her element” at home and adding Mari to the mix has been the most fun to watch! I didn’t think I could love them more until I came here this last week. Now, I have no idea how I am ever going to leave them!! They are just the right mix of opposites and definitely the hardest studiers I have ever met (seriously, they studied the whole time we were here….smart girls, they are)! Beautiful inside and out!!!
Meet the Cousins and friends
Well, meet some of them! I apparently failed to get a pic with a couple of them 😞 (SO SORRY LUISA)!! They are just good. The most welcoming and precious girls! I felt like we had already been friends forever! It was approximately five minutes before we were all laughing, making jokes and picking on each other!!
Meet the Abuelas and Tias
Can you even handle them? THEY. ARE. PRECIOUS. The abuelas have wisdom and pure grace. Abuela Luisita made me a total crying mess with her swet words. Abuela Maricarmen is just a smart cookie. She exudes it from the minute she enters a room.
Then there is Tia. Oh my. She is our very own American version of “gives zero cares”. She loves to sing and recite poetry. And believe you, me, she did her fair share during our visit! Check her out in tgis video!! All the love and feels for Tia. I offered to bring her back with me, because duh, America needs her! When I get old I will be her!
Meet Cleo – The dog
Last, but certainly not least, there is Cleo. She has about as gentle of a spirit as I have ever seen in a dog!
It’s hard to even type about them without getting emotional. I don’t know how I am going to leave them! How lucky I am to have not only visited this country and take a great vacation, but to have this family come into my life, is not (and will never be) lost on me. I do not deserve them! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
P.S. There is also Jose, the brother!! He just wasn’t around for photo ops and visiting til family dinner tonight. He is a complete sweetheart and I am not sure anyone on Earth treats their dog as good as he does!
Well. HELLOOOOOO Madrid!!! We started the last leg of our trip today. Madrid had a lot to live up to after such amazing times in Marbella and Barcelona. What I have been most excited about for this part of the trip is the family aspect. I have been anticipating a true Spanish family feel and have NOT been disappointed (you’ll meet all of them in tomorrow’s blog).
I wasn’t sure if the city exploring was going to live up to what we had already seen. Then, once we got off the metro, it was like Madrid said “girl, please….get over here and let me show you what we got”
At first it was cloudy and colder. We needed to sit by the heaters to enjoy lunch outside. But then, the skies cleared. The bluest sky came through and we enjoyed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL park walk. This park made Central Park feel uninteresting and underwhelming (Sorry NYC, you still have great pizza going for ya). Most of my pics were taken on the real camera today (thanks Apple for crappy iPhone battery life these days), but the ones I did get on my phone didn’t even need a filter to make the colors pop! The sky really is that blue!!!
The very first thing I noticed when we got into the park (after I scooped up a pair of fake Nikes from the street vendor) was how it could be so easy to fall in love here. There were people kissing, street musicians playing, little rowing boats. Ah. I couldn’t even hate it! If my future husband is reading this, go ahead and book a trip for us……kiss me by the fountain, buy me an ice cream and then let’s rent a segway and laugh at how clumsy I would probably be on it😝
It will be hard for America to convince me to have certain things again, like cappuccino and tuna. I don’t know of any places that could match what I have tasted here. The food is just so good. I neber thought I would be this rmotional about food or even have that mich to carry on about it. But here, you definitely do. So much in fact, that when we shared a table with some other people who didn’t even show ANY emotion over their tapas, I was annoyed at them! The homemade food is even better! Tonight for family dinner we enjoyed homemade paella and a pear dessert that is probably illegal somewhere, it’s so good!! I LOVE that dinner in itself here is an event. It’s not just eat and done. We visit for hours with lots of laughter! If anyone in this country goes to bed hungry and sad, they are crazy!!
I hate shopping. I truly do. But I sure found a way to love it with all the fantastic shops here. Any shop you could ever want. Our fav from today was Primark. It’s 5 stories, cheap prices and good stuff! I fell victim to so many things that I have had to buy another suitcase. How silly of me to declare before I came that I wasn’t interested in buying anything I was here. I really thought I meant that 😜
Today was good! Tomorrow is family lunch with the WHOLE Madrid family and I can hardly stand the wait!!