I must say, this renovation is quite possibly the quickest renovation project I’ve ever seen. This weekend we sped through multiple projects including putting together ten Ikea cabinets, installing all the cabinets, finishing the fireplace remodel and painting. That would definitely explain why I’m so effing exhausted and have woken up with a sore back every morning.
Friday night I arrived at my house right after work to start helping with the Ikea cabinets which had invaded my living room. When we first put together our timeline of events, we set aside two whole days to put together these cabinets. Knowing my past experiences with Ikea furniture and my apparent lack of ability of putting them together correctly the first time, I was amazed that by Saturday around noon, we had finished putting together all ten cabinets. They were surprisingly easy! Granted, they don’t have the shelves, drawers or doors on them but we couldn’t install them with all that stuff in there anyway so we were pretty amazed that by Saturday afternoon, all the lower cabinets were installed. This morning, all the upper cabinets were installed.
It actually feels like a real kitchen now! After they got the upper cabinets in, I had my first wave of excitement. I could finally tell what the space was going to look like!
Friday night I think both my Dad and I were feeling overwhelmed; we had a million and ten things to do and when the hell would we find time to do them?! We put together the hardest cabinet Friday night and we were probably both thinking the same thing: shit, if the rest of them go the way that one did? We are never going to get anything done! The added pressure of my Dad leaving this coming Thursday morning and my moving in next weekend didn’t help.
When we finished the cabinets in record time (I did all of the upper cabinets in the amount of time my Dad and my contractor installed the lower cabinets), I think we all sighed a huge sigh of relief. We had the entire weekend ahead of us to complete some of the rest of the projects.
I’m pretty excited about the projects we did get done. The first one we tackled after the kitchen was the fireplace remodel. If you remember, there was this huge mirror over the fireplace (with some lovely ceramic tile behind it). That was one of the first things I had designed before I had even bought the place. I wanted aged wood above it and luckily, my parents had a whole stash of old barnwood from the 1820s farmhouse that I grew up on in Connecticut. My Dad drove it out here and yesterday, we cut it down to size and installed it. It was the fastest project we completed so far and it looks fantastic. We also have this old beam from that same barn that I want to use for a mantle but we haven’t figured out how to hang it just yet. I love that I get to have this little piece of my past in my new home!
The other project was the covering up of this red wall. I loved that they made this wall that houses the coat closet and pantry an accent wall. I hated that they painted it red. Nothing against red, but I just don’t like red and feel that everyone jumped on the accent wall bandwagon and when they did? They all painted them red. I chose a beautiful teal blue and this morning, my Dad and I painted it and it looks gorgeous. I would show you a picture but my camera cannot get the color right at all. In every picture it looks royal blue! So you’ll have to trust me (for now) when I tell you how gorgeous it looks.
We are also starting the process of painting all the rest of the walls white. They are a mix of ugly beige and this olive green that just looks dirty at this point. We are starting with the kitchen and dining room and eventually everything will be painted white. It’s a big undertaking because I have 20 foot ceilings and someone who shall remain unnamed is terrified of heights and ladders.
When I wasn’t building cabinets or painting (or instagramming shots of the work being done), I spent a lot of time in my third home: Home Depot. I probably went there at least three times every day in search of paint, lock sets or some other item that we needed. I’m pretty sure the paint, the electrical and the lighting departments all know me by name. It amazes me how much money can be dropped there, and how quickly! Today I bought two gallons of paint, a quart of paint, track lighting, a pendant for over my sink, more painting supplies…it’s never ending it seems.
We still have a bunch of work to be done on top of all the painting. We want to finish assembling the cabinets, install some new lighting in the kitchen and paint and install all the molding upstairs that had to be taken out when they replaced the floor. Wednesday our counters are being measured for. Once my Dad leaves and I’m moved in, I will start the rest of the projects, like painting around the fireplace (I want to paint the beams and the shelves gray), painting my room and the little half bathroom. I want to replace the lighting in the dining room and the one over the stairs as well. Oh, and then there’s all the gardening I want to do.
I’m really hoping the tree on my patio turns out to be a money tree…
Hope everyone had a great weekend!
I’m not quite sure how I ended up with a fixer-upper. It was my goal to find a place that was move in ready with an updated kitchen, hardwood floors, outdoor space, views and lots of natural light. Sure, I’m getting all these things with my new home but it equals to a lot of long days, late nights and completely redoing the space from top to bottom in order to get that.
One of the things about this place is that it was built in 1976 and was clearly created to have a cabin/middle of the woods feel. It had wood shingles, dark wood beams, and a whole host of other weird-to-me features. Including why they decided to glue EVERYTHING together. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decorated solely in pine cone, bear and moose motives.
As we go along with the renovations, we are uncovering some of these features that someone along the way decided they were too lazy to remove before putting the new product in. Some of it much to our surprise. The counters and backsplash used to be an ugly cream colored laminate that they just put the even uglier tile over. Nothing about the kitchen counters was worth getting excited over. The flooring in the kitchen had already been ripped up prior to us buying the place so we knew there was linoleum underneath but we hadn’t actually seen it, just the remnants of the glue. When my Dad started taking up the rest of the pergo flooring (which comes up super easy by the way), we discovered what the linoleum looked like. Pretty much in perfect condition, hidden underneath all that fake wood.
The biggest surprise came when we decided to take down the mirror. It’s this huge 52″x57″ mirror over the fireplace that allows you to see into all corners of the space when you are at a viewing angle to it. I hate mirrors over the fireplace, especially when it’s the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment. It was always my intention to remove it so it was on our list of to-dos well before my Dad arrived to help out. Our biggest worry was breaking the mirror on the way down. Seeing how everything was well-glued in the rest of the apartment (the base moldings, cabinets, floor, etc), we figured it was really glued onto the wall behind it.
We duck taped the entire mirror in anticipation of it breaking and started prying it from the top away from the wall. It was coming off surprisingly easy. Too easy. It immediately became undone from the wall and we hear this loud noise from behind it. It sounded like pebbles falling off the wall. We checked to make sure it wasn’t breaking (it wasn’t) and we started leaning the mirror out further. My dad commented on how heavy the damn thing was.
See that line of white behind the mirror? THOSE ARE CERAMIC TILES. Some idiot decided that instead of removing these tiles (which weren’t put in correctly so they weren’t even stuck to the wall), they were just going to glue this behemoth of a mirror right onto the tiles. I’m amazed the mirror stayed on the wall that long!
It was a terrifying 15 minutes where my dad stood holding up this mirror that weighed a ton while we tried figuring out what the hell we were going to do without killing ourselves. I wound up removing the tiles off the back of the mirror about three-quarters of the way down until I couldn’t reach anymore before my dad lifted the mirror down two feet to the top of the wood burning stove below. My dad claims in that moment he may have had a mini heart attack.
We saved about 15 tiles from this that didn’t break and they are in pristine condition. I’ll probably use a few to put hot pots on as a token of this renovation project. It’s definitely one we won’t forget any time soon!
Tomorrow marks one week of being a homeowner and my condo has undergone a major transformation. When we put an offer on this place it had some pretty, let’s say, interesting design features. There were large shingles on the backs of the cabinets facing the dining room, a gigantic mirror over the fireplace that didn’t add anything to the space, a hodge podge of lighting fixtures, and what would have been an awful backsplash turned out to be an awful backsplash that threw up on the counter. There’s the tile on the half bathroom’s counter…the pergo flooring…the oak cabinets…
What DID I like about the place? Probably the fact that I could renovate and make it my own? Whatever it was, all these design flaws became mine.
When I found out that they damaged the lower kitchen cabinets and the countertops during mold mitigation (a pipe burst in the kitchen damaging the floors, walls, cabinets, ceiling of the master bedroom and the walls in the bedroom and closet), I can’t say I was disappointed. In fact, I probably through myself a little party because hellooooo, new custom kitchen! Goodbye hideous, ugly old kitchen!
I really wish I had been able to take a hammer to that counter. My dad got to it first. At like 6am. I feel like I need to bake all my neighbors cakes and apologize profusely for his early antics that Saturday morning.
I spent hours and hours and hours designing kitchens; visiting Home Depot, Lowe’s, expensive kitchen showrooms and Ikea. I finally settled on Ikea cabinets not only because they were less expensive, but because I could get them three weeks–at least!–earlier than anywhere else. Designing this space was the biggest headache, even for me–the Interior Designer. It wasn’t until the inspection, when I had a good chunk of time where I was alone in the space without any distractions from contractors, that I finally came up with what is now the design of my kitchen.
The original kitchen was pretty closed off. It’s a great space with lots of room but the way they utilized it was extremely poor. It had almost no counter space, felt crowded and lacked the open feel that I wanted. All the appliances and counters were jammed on one small wall and the rest of the room just sat open. I struggled and struggled with trying to make the existing layout work but it just didn’t. The morning of the inspection I was standing in the dining room looking through the small gap between the counters and the upper cabinets at where they had moved the fridge across the room when it hit me. The fridge actually fit there and didn’t block the window! IT COULD GO ON THAT WALL! And suddenly my spacious, U-shaped kitchen was born. I love those design-lightbulb moments.
It’s amazing to me how quickly this kitchen has come together. Last Sunday my Dad and I spent a few hours at Ikea ordering cabinets and wound up also buying a beautiful quartz countertop. This counter had been the bane of my existence and I wanted to punch holes in walls because I had a vision and it wasn’t complete. I had the cabinets. I had the backsplash. In my head, I had exactly what I wanted the kitchen to look like, including the counters and I couldn’t find a single countertop I liked, in my budget. (That being the key word here…) It was almost a miracle that I stumbled upon a quartz countertop that fit my vision at Ikea of all places and with the counter, we got a pretty awesome deal on the entire kitchen.
Let’s just say that I got the cabinets and countertops for $1,000 less than what Home Depot and Lowe’s were quoting me for just the cabinets alone and my Ikea kitchen has more cabinets than either of those designs did. Victory lap around my living room!
Yes, I realize that this weekend I will be in Ikea hell putting all those cabinets together and wishing I had spent the extra money but for now, I don’t really care. I’m going to have an awesome kitchen that gets done in a week and a half. BOOM.
This is also possible because of my Super Handyman father and awesome contractor who have been working around the clock while I’m at work to get this place put together. My dad spent all weekend demolishing the kitchen which came with it’s own set of excitement while trying to take down the upper cabinets between the kitchen and the dining room. After unscrewing everything from each other and the walls, we realized they weren’t budging. In fact, they had no intentions of coming down because they were glued onto a sheet of plywood with a hundred shingles nailed to it. Somehow we got six feet of cabinets down off that wall without either one of us dying and no cabinets hurt in the process!
This week we finished electrical, plumbing, drywall, lowering the wall between the dining room and kitchen even more, the new flooring has been put in and the fireplace prepped for some renovation work of it’s own (which is going to get a post all to itself…). Tomorrow the appliances and the cabinets arrive and the weekend of building and painting awaits me. This whole home renovation thing is exhausting but it’s oh so amazing because at the end of it? This will all be mine. Customized and mine!
When I arrived in Boulder four years ago, I landed in North Boulder. I knew pretty much nothing about Boulder’s geography but this quickly became my preferred stomping grounds. I found myself the wonderful condo I currently live in about a year and change after I moved here and have settled in nicely. I have said on numerous occasions that as long as I lived in Boulder, I was going to live in this townhome. Rent was cheap for Boulder standards, it was sunny and spacious, it had a backyard perfect for throwing epic BBQs (or just lounging in my hammock) and was a convenient walk to pretty much everything. I loved this place. (It’s for rent if anyone is looking, hint hint. My roommate Julia is wonderful and comes highly recommended!!)
When I started house hunting I was pretty set on staying in North Boulder. It was trendy, closer to downtown and a lot of my friends live on this side of town. I had grown roots up here. The very first place I looked at was an open house and it was right in the chic little North Broadway complex of coffee shops, small shops, bakeries and nice restaurants. It was stunning–all new everything and very modern with the most beautiful of views. I thought, this is where I want to be living! So it was somewhat surprising that I wound up buying a condo in the very southern most part of town.
I mentioned in my last post that I had always had my eye on this neighborhood and that was true. When I first moved here, my dad bought me this book on Boulder hikes. One weekend I was flipping through the pages and came across this one hike that sounded nice and it soon became one of my favorites. It’s right up in the foothills and is connected to some of the major trail systems in Boulder.
The neighborhood borders right on the open space which equals views for miles and the peace and quiet that comes with it. Also, very easy access to the trails. All were very appealing to me but I’ve never found a rental condo down there that I could afford. When I found the first place that I fell in love with that happened to be in this neighborhood, my hesitations lay with how far south it was. I was a North Boulderite! I love it up here. I saw South Boulder as the land of college students and I wanted as much space between them and me as possible.
I didn’t get that first apartment but by the time this condo came about, I had no hesitations about the neighborhood or living in South Boulder. Sure, I now have the college between me and downtown but it’s not like I go downtown all that often anyway. This condo, this neighborhood, feeds right into the lifestyle that I want to be living. I want to be able to walk out my front door and be on the trails within moments. Preferably without getting in my car. I have both of these at this place, and the trails are some of my favorites in Boulder. I will also be closer to Denver and have easier access to my friends there and to the sports and culture of the city.
It will take some getting used to, living in this very quiet, tucked away neighborhood. After the second time seeing it and realizing how quiet it was there, I joked that I was going to need a very loud noise machine to help me sleep. It’s funny but also sad because that’s probably true. (Thanks, insomnia!) I currently live on one of the busier streets in Boulder and so I’m constantly hearing street noise. It’s fine for me, but I know it’s bothered roommates in the past. I will have very little of that in my new condo and definitely won’t be walking to the grocery store anymore.
Which might actually be a GOOD thing. Cravings for ice cream will be weighted with hmm I have to get in my car…
I’m really excited for this new home in a new part of town. It’s time to hand in my North Boulder badge and trade it in for the South side of town. A big back yard for a pine tree shaded porch and a peaceful front patio with a big garden. To go from Upslope Brewing to Southern Sun. Walking the bike trail within ten minutes to hiking in the woods within fifteen minutes. There’s a whole new little world to discover down there and I can’t wait to start.
Back in early February, in an over-caffeinated burst of crazy energy one random Saturday, I came up with that elusive five year plan. You know the one potential bosses ask you about in interviews and I panic because I don’t have one. Six cups of coffee later and suddenly: there it was. I was bursting at the seams that I finally had one! A real, live, five year plan! I couldn’t wait to tell everyone. I was also pretty damn jittery from the six cups of coffee I had just drank.
On this five year plan was a bullet point that I figured would be more on the ten year plan but put it on there anyway. It was far fetched and I knew it was something that would take something close to a miracle to make happen. My coffee brain wanted BIG THINGS though, so I wrote it down anyway.
I wanted to own my own home.
The caffeine eventually wore off but the five year plan still sat there written in my journal. Tugging at the edges of my consciousness, a reminder of all that I want to do. Being that it’s a five year plan, I figured I had some time to figure it all out.
Just a couple weeks later, an email popped up in my inbox that changed everything. I’m not going to tell you what was in that email but it set into motion a chain of events that eventually lead to April 11, 2014.
The day I officially became a homeowner.
Yeah, that bottom dweller dream that I figured in five years would be pushed into the ten year category happened within a couple months of that five year plan being written. No, I didn’t discover a pile of money hidden in the crawlspace of my current apartment. But I do have help that I am forever grateful for. I have been handed an opportunity that I realize is very rare and after spending a weekend in my new place, I’m in awe that I managed to get this lucky.
I started looking at places in early March. I saw beautiful, updated condos with all the amenities. I saw small, dark, crowded spaces that made me itch to get out of them as quickly as possible. I fell in love with one place only to be told no by the other deciding parties. There were a lot of tears shed; there was a lot of anxious, sleepless nights while I stressed over finding a place that would meet all of our needs and a lot of excitement when I did see something promising.
The problem was that things were moving super fast. I would see a place that had literally just came on the market, and it would already have offers on it. I knew if I liked something, I had to act fast if I actually wanted to have a chance of getting it. Couple that with being a horrible decision maker and you get a lot of stress.
Katie, a good friend of mine in Boulder, hooked me up with her realtor and I remember going onto his website right before starting my search and seeing a listing for this condo with a hideous red wall but thinking I want this place! It was in this neighborhood I’ve had my eye on since right around the time I moved to Boulder and while it was the complete opposite end of town from where I lived, I wanted to live there. When I finally talked to this realtor, he gave me the bad news: someone else was closing on it in three days. Bubble burst, and I officially started the house hunt.
A couple weeks later my Dad and I were standing in this small condo in the same neighborhood while he was in town to help out. It was a cute place but didn’t quite meet my criteria, plus it had three offers on it and they had already counter offered one of those. Chances were slim that I was going to have a chance with that place if I had wanted it. We are about to head out the door when my realtor turns to us and said, oh, remember that condo you were interested in from this neighborhood? The buyer backed out.
You see, a pipe from the freezer had burst while no one was living there. It destroyed the kitchen flooring, the lower cabinets, the ceiling downstairs and the master bedroom walls. The condo was a bit of a mess and I guess the buyer didn’t want to deal with it so he cancelled the deal. The place wasn’t on the market yet, but was going to be.
We insisted on seeing it as soon as possible since my Dad was leaving town soon. On St. Patrick’s Day we got to see it. It wasn’t much to look at but I got a feel for the space and I liked what I saw. I would be able to get a whole new kitchen and would have to renovate quite a bit but it would have more of me in it. I would be able to customize this space more to my standards.
Things moved pretty quickly after that. Once we found out that the mold and asbestos had been taken care of, we moved on the place. There was insurance negotiations for fixing the kitchen, the inspection which went a hell of a lot better than I expected given the condition it was in, and two weeks after we started, we closed.
It’s been pretty surreal–and has been a super crazy whirlwind. I’ve spent nearly every waking moment away from work trying to design this kitchen. I’ve probably designed and redesigned it a hundred times and have been ready to throw it all out the window on numerous occasions. I have a million projects I want to do and so many things I want to replace (namely–all the lighting). I can’t wait to do it all but right now? I can’t wait to finally move in and be living there!
I spent the weekend with my Dad tearing out cabinets and the most hideous counter known to man, ordering new kitchen cabinets and counters and picking out paint colors. I’m exhausted but so happy. I own the cutest damn little condo out there and I’m totally in love with it. I cannot wait to share with you all the many projects I’m undertaking with this place! (You better believe I’ll be documenting it!)
Since when have I become so adult?!
I promise to show pictures soon and give you all a tour of this place and talk about the renovations happening right now. Two weeks till I move in!
February. Whew. What a whirlwind. A whirlwind of awesome!
Sorry, I just had to say that.
I can’t believe it’s the last week of February. This is just another great month in a line of great months, yet this one may take the cake as the best so far. I’ve taken my skiing to new levels, spent a lot of quality time with great friends and have pushed my boundaries in whole new ways. Basically, life is good. To finish off this month, six friends and I went to Beaver Creek for probably the most epic weekend of skiing, ever.
Since I’ve started skiing harder hills I’ve gotten a lot more confident in skiing and have definitely enjoyed skiing more. I have advanced more in the past three months than I have in the last eighteen years, thanks to my friends pushing me, and my willingness to be pushed. I have been working on my technique, watching other skiers and snowboarders closely and imitating as best I can. I never learned proper technique–I skied into a lodge wall, decided I needed to learn how to slow down and stop, so I learned how to snowplow (or pizza) and that was it. That’s all I did. Pizza all the way down the mountain. Goal: not hit lodge walls was successful. Now I’m learning how to french fry. It only took 18 years….
The confidence that I have found over the past few weeks definitely took a beating this weekend. I found myself way out of my comfort zone and pushed really hard these past couple days. The blues I went on were far more technical and steep than any I had been on before and there were several moments where I had to stop mid-way down a slope just to gather strength to continue. I’m not talking physical strength, but mental strength. I know I can do these slopes, I know I’m capable of it and my ability is there but the heights. The lack of feeling like I’m in control. I couldn’t get myself out of my head. I would be in the middle of attempting to go down this spectacularly steep hill–steeper than anything I’ve ever done before–and would just have to take a holy shit moment and tell myself that I can do this, over and over and over again.
These scary moments usually followed getting lost and winding up surrounded by blues and blacks. Saturday was great, I was on slopes I wanted to be on but Sunday was definitely plagued by getting lost. Lost, lost and more lost. Despite all that though? I HAD A BLAST.
I got to spend an entire weekend with good friends and new ones, laughing and goofing around, and got to spend two entire days doing what I now love most–skiing. I pushed myself super hard and am really proud of myself for doing the hard stuff and not backing out, even though I sometimes wanted to. I remember stopping once, looking back up the hill and contemplating how bad it would be if I took off my skis and walked back up the hill to the other run. The important thing was, though, that I didn’t and I kept going. I kept doing the hard hills, even if they scared me, just to prove to myself that I could. The holy shit moments were outnumbered by the holy crap this is amazing moments.
I skied hard. By the end of the day Sunday the thought of making the effort to stop myself at the end of the hill was just too much. I was that sore. And it was awesome. I literally skied until I couldn’t ski any more. I think everyone else felt the same way, too.
What a great weekend.
I’ve only ever broken one bone in my life–my toe. I stepped on it my first week at my first real job in NYC. I was holding like twenty pounds of stone samples, climbing up a foot stool to put it on a top shelf and had taken off my four inch heels so I wouldn’t break my ankle. In true klutzy Ashley style, I lost my balance, stepped back off the stool and stepped right onto my second toe and SNAP. In two places. There’s not much you can do for a toe besides buy your first pair of flats, waddle and look ridiculous for a couple months.
Now, I can’t say whether I’ve actually broken anything at the moment because I’m not about to go get an x-ray taken but I know bruised ribs and I do not have a bruised rib. This weekend was a long weekend and a bunch of friends and I rented a cabin up in Estes Park for a couple nights. There was plans of our own version of the winter games which mainly ended up being hot tubbing, competitive eating, drinking something called a painkiller that tasted a lot like a pina colada, the hardest puzzle on earth, watching a lot of skeleton on TV and Cards Against Humanity. You may be confused as to why I started this paragraph talking about my not-really-bruised-ribs, which may be implying to my broken ribs.
I wish I could say it was because of skiing, or an epic trail run, or even in making snow angels which were really ice angels because it’s been too warm and then freezing too often for nice powdery snow here in the front range of Colorado. I wish I could say it was any of those things. Instead, Friday night there was an incident with a hot tub, me being a klutz and falling. I was getting out of the hot tub when I slipped, crash landed into my poor friend Scott and his unfortunate knee and then, thinking nothing of it, carried on my merry way the rest of the weekend, complaining only mildly of how much my ribs hurt. They hurt, but I figured it was your standard bruising and since I don’t actually bruise, what the hell did I know?
Sunday morning I woke up in more pain than I’ve known in a while so I opted out of snow shoeing and went home, hit up Trader Joe’s (because TRADER JOE’S!!!!!!!!!), lounged around in my hammock in the backyard because it was 60 out and became increasingly more and more worried because it fucking HURT to lie down and it hurt to breathe and OMG DO NOT COUGH.
It was becoming increasingly more obvious that I had not bruised my ribs. I had most definitely cracked one of them. And yet I still skied on Monday, despite
screaming gasping every time I bent over to pick up my skis and we won’t mention the buckling of my ski boots. That wasn’t pretty. Ohhhh no.
Of course during skiing I was still pretty much in denial that I had actually hurt myself. So I’m giving myself a little bit of credit.
Last night I found I could only lie in one position–on my left side. I could not sleep on my back, I could not sleep on my stomach (my favorite) and I could most definitely not sleep on my right side (my second favorite). Getting up was agony. Every time I tried to roll over in my sleep I woke myself up because HI, PAIN. Today was absolute hell–to the point where my coworker made me laugh and then I cried real tears of pain because DON’T MAKE ME DO THAT.
There’s nothing I can do for a cracked rib so I’m not even bothering going to the doctor. Let’s take x-rays so a doctor can show me where I cracked my rib and not be able to do anything about it! Money grows on trees! My friend’s fiance recently broke his rib snowboarding (he was on flat ground about to go put his board away so he could eat at a restaurant so it almost makes me feel better except he was still snowboarding and I WAS IN A HOT TUB) so he gave me some pointers, like breathe deep. Something which I don’t really like doing but am trying since they have scared me into submission by saying I could get pneumonia or other lung problems. Because of a cracked rib! WHO KNEW.
Who knew I was also the biggest klutz whose only injuries ever sustained were caused only by her own doing?
Oh, yeah, everyone. Remember when I gave myself a concussion with my laptop and refused to get stitches? I still have that laptop, thankyouverymuch. And barely a scar.
At least I pick bones that can’t be mended by more than just time and patience. Right? Silver linings. Now I’m going to go figure out a way to prop myself up on my left side so that I don’t accidentally roll over and scare my roommate half to death when I shriek bloody murder at the pain it causes. Oh, and so that I can sleep. That may be important, too.
Also? My mom is going to be so mad at me that she found out I broke a rib on my blog. Hi, Mom! Look, you’re on my blog! Shiny objects! It’s really not that bad….
I quit dating six weeks ago and you know what? I don’t miss it one single bit. There has not been one single minute where I have sat and been like, wow I miss dating. Not one regret, not one longing, not one single second devoted to I WISH I WAS STILL DOING IT.
I kind of thought it would be harder than this.
I dated a lot. There’s no sugar coating that; I have spent the past seven years dating one guy after another, after another. Hell, in New York I had nights where I had two dates in the span of a few hours. One for dinner, one for drinks. Moving to Boulder definitely calmed me down but I still dated a lot more than my girlfriends. I was a little self conscious about it at first. You would think with all this dating, all this “putting myself out there,” I would have met someone. I met some great guys but in the end, I wound up quitting. Not just because I hadn’t met anyone, I wasn’t even that frustrated, but I was bored, my expectations were too high, and I have forgotten to think about what I want.
For a while I was looking for a guy to fill a void in my life, a void that I knew no guy could fill but I kept trying anyway. I’ve stopped that, I’ve filled that void myself and no longer feel that hole that was so present for so many years. My life feels full. I’ve been feeling for months like I want to find someone to add to my life, rather than be my life. Be honest with yourself, how many people can actually say that? Who aren’t just saying it because that’s what we’re supposed to say, what we’re supposed to feel? Because I sure have been saying it for the past seven years, believing myself when I would say it to friends, but I wasn’t actually living it.
The biggest hurt I ever did myself was allowing me to put my feelings, my wants, and my needs behind those I dated. I have been told countless times that it’s not ok to want what I want, that what I want will scare guys away and WE DON’T WANT TO SCARE THEM AWAY, GIRLS. Because their feelings are more important than ours. Their wants are more important than ours. Since when did what someone else want trump what I want? So I’ve accepted things that I shouldn’t have. I’ve put up with shit because I didn’t want to scare the guy off. I sacrificed what I wanted, kept in the constant fear that I would be found out, just so that I could be with someone.
I also believe that treating guys like they’re fragile, fearful beings has not given them enough credit. They can handle it. But maybe, just maybe, it has given them an easy way out of anything that may not be “comfortable.” Maybe at times in the past I’ve come across as too clingy, maybe I’ve just wanted too much sometimes, and maybe I’m a little too intense when I want something. I have both showed this side of me, and I’ve also hid it, catering to what I thought the guy wanted me to be. Neither have worked for me. (To my credit, I knew none of these relationships were right for me. There was always some red flag, something that I noticed–and ignored–that made me realize that things weren’t right, but I kept at it. I was–dare I say it–that afraid of being alone.)
I’m still waiting for someone to surprise me….ok, maybe not waiting. That makes me sound like I’m sitting on my sofa waiting for him to walk through my front door. I am sitting on my sofa but I’m just watching the men’s slopestyle skiing and men’s ice skating (INCREDIBLE, RIGHT?). Right now I’m more concerned with not giving up my life, or my wants, for a guy. I want to continue to build up a solid foundation for a great life and not give that up the minute a guy enters the picture. I don’t want to lose myself in someone. Despite all the work that I have done on myself recently I’m still wary of my ability to keep my self intact while in a relationship.
What was the point of this post? Oh yeah, it’s been six weeks of being 100% single and it’s so much better than I thought it was going to be. So much easier to do. Now I MUST go pack for my weekend with friends in the mountains performing our own Olympic winter games that include competitive snow angels, snowball fights and I’m sure some competitive drinking.
Oh, and I guess, Happy Valentine’s Day?
Do you ever feel like you have nothing to talk about? I’m sitting here, bursting at the seams wanting to write about something, anything, but nothing is coming out. I feel like when I do write, it’s very repetitive and I have nothing new to add to this space. It doesn’t really make sense to me because my life is great! I should have a lot to talk about! Things like rainbows and unicorns and unicorns pooping rainbows but…what do I write about?
I think it all winds down to expectations. I have been blamed in the past for setting them too far in all areas of my life. For guys I date (which winds to feeling like I’m being needy or clingy), for friendships (which has lead to disappointments), for my career (which has lead to feeling bored), and for myself in general. Then there’s this blog. This is my space, I know that I should not be writing for anyone else but me. However, I can’t help but feel the pressure–that only I place on myself–to write something that people will want to read, will respond to and will relate to. I constantly compare my blog to other people’s blogs, people who are much more devoted than I to creating content and making a life out of it. While it sounds nice, being able to make money off of blogging, it’s never been something I have strived for. It’s not something I want. So why do I want to be like them?
How do I get myself past that barrier that I’ve placed in my own way?
Of course this is all rhetorical. Like, why, when food falls, it always falls peanut butter side face down?
I have struggled with this space ever since I turned from anonymous to not. I don’t know why, I’ve written about it a few times before but when it comes to getting personal, to really putting myself out there, I hit a glass wall. One I cannot seem to break through. Three years is a long time to struggle with this and I’m wondering at what point I stop struggling and just put it to rest?
And sometimes when you’re in the middle of writing something, you realize oh, yeah, you just don’t like being vulnerable in real life. Really, really don’t like. Maybe that’s why you struggle with getting real on this blog, Ashalah. Maybe you should work on that first.
If you’ve encountered this in blogging, and have gotten through (or maybe haven’t), what did you do?
I was snowshoeing in the middle of a snowstorm, through this beautiful stretch of woods with my friend Katie yesterday. It was so quiet and peaceful and the snow falling around us made it even better. Getting outside in nature always centers me and takes away any stress I might be feeling (and oh, I’ve been feeling some this week). I know this remedy well, but it always takes me by surprise each time the calm settles over me once I get outside and into the woods. It certainly helps that Colorado is a breath-taking distraction itself.
We almost didn’t even make it out; we drove up from Boulder where it was nearing 40 degrees and sunny and as we got closer and closer to Nederland, it started snowing harder and the road conditions were getting a little slick. Neither one of us is a very confident driver in these conditions so we questioned whether we should make the trek back the 5 or so miles into the woods to get to this one area that would be a little more protected from the wind, but would have more snow on the roads with more potential to get stuck. We stubbornly kept going, though, and I am so glad we took the risk.
I always enjoy hiking with Katie because we always have these amazing discussions on life. I feel like she makes me really evaluate different areas of my life and helps me see things through a different perspective, something we all need from time to time. Today as we stomped around in the snow, icicles forming in our hair (hairsicles?), we were talking about relationships and the stages we’re at in our lives and she commented about all the changes I’ve been making. This past year for me has been huge, I think we can all agree upon that, and I feel like I’m finally coming into my own and figuring out who I am as a person. There are definitely parts of my life that I want to shake up and change around and for a while, I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t gotten off my ass and done it.
I am doing some serious standing in my own way. I have been bitching and moaning (and more bitching and more moaning) for a year or more now, and yet I haven’t done a damn thing! I just can’t seem to make the time, put in the effort, and do something about it.
Katie saw it completely different than I did. Yes, we do stand in our own ways a lot of the time but I had been focusing on other things–other personal developments like becoming more active, building a community and being happy with myself–and maybe I needed to focus on those first, put myself in my own way, before I could properly tackle this other area of my life that I’m not 100% pleased with. Maybe I just wasn’t ready yet.
She said she knows I’m more ready now because I’ve taken steps towards making these goals a reality. She saw a recent post of mine on Facebook about my external hard drive and my attempt to recover the valuable files that are locked on there so deeply, that the first company to attempt to get access, couldn’t. (Hence some of the stress this week.) I didn’t see it as anything big but she said that at some point in the past month, something in me has shifted away from personal betterment, and towards this other area of my life. I used to stress out over forcing myself to go for a run, or motivate myself to go do things I wanted to do but was afraid to because I might not have anyone to do them with. Now, my focus is shifting away from that, and towards this other. I’m still working on all that other stuff but I don’t need the same amount of energy that I once did to really kick start it. That energy that I’ve been placing on this active lifestyle, this community and this happiness can now be transferred over to new things and without my realizing it, I have started that process.
By the end of our trek the snow was coming down pretty hard and despite the wind blowing snow in our faces and our hair being completely coated in snow and ice, we felt like we were on top of the world. Having someone show me her observations on my life really helped me see things more clearly from inside my bubble.
2014 is shaping up to be a spectacular year.