Monday 5: ‘Modern Romance’ & other things to be excited about this week

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I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was filled with quality family time and (if you’re a mom) some well-deserved rest. Friday night we met up with some friends at one of my favorite spots in Charleston, The Vendue Hotel, which has a sweet rooftop bar. My go-to drink there is called Takes Two to Mango which is yummy and just a little bit spicy.

Saturday entailed of some Mother’s Day preparation (and a long-awaited visit to the gym) as well as some volunteer work with the Charleston Food Bank.

Sunday was mostly dedicated to Mother’s Day celebrations, including waffles and a trip to the beach.

Regardless of whether you are ready for Monday or not, here are some things to be excited about this week.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Blue Away!

I borrowed this nail polish from my mom and loved it. The color is such a perfect summer shade and as someone who hates to sit around, I really appreciate the Insta-Dri part.

Article on self-compassion

One of my favorite sites for good reading is called Mind Spirit. Here they combine psychology with spirituality  with a really wholesome perspective. I get so much good advice and inspiration from this site and especially appreciated this recent article on self-compassion. As someone who can be pretty critical of myself (and sometimes others), I think this article really hit the nail on the head with the idea of self-compassion. It’s hard to extend kindness to others when you don’t show it to yourself first.

The Giver

This weekend we watched The Giver, a YA post-apocalyptic movie based on a book. It takes place in a ‘Utopian’ world where people can no longer experience emotions, see colors or have memories. I liked the movie because it depicted well the importance of accepting the good with the bad. With all the struggles, hardships, pain and suffering, there is also redemption, joy, beauty and of course, love. While sometimes not feeling anything seems preferable, life is good because it is an adventure, which includes adversity. I also appreciated that the hero was motivated by fatherly love for an infant he grew close to. He endured much suffering and gave up a lot to save the baby. This was a nice change from a lot of the other YA books/movies out there which focus on the romantic love a lot more. While not ground breaking cinematography, I thought the movie was well done and especially appreciated the message it conveyed.

White jeans

Saturday also included a trip to Goodwill during which I found a pair of white jeans which I’m really excited about. While I’m definitely more of a dress person, I think white jeans during the summer can be such a good look that is super versatile. You can easily dress them up or down depending on your top or shoes. And even more exciting is when they only cost you $5…right?!

Aziz Ansari’s ‘Modern Romance’

This book was loaned to me a while ago by a friend who suggested I might find it interesting (shout out to Mark if you’re reading this). He was right. Aziz poses a lot of good questions a lot of us have about dating today and his responses are definitely food for thought. While I don’t agree with some of his stances, I think he largely represents the average dating millennial today and it is always good to  know how people are thinking and feeling about a topic before confronting it.

What are you excited about this week?

xo

Miranda

 

 

 

 

 

‘All the feels’: What 40 days without music taught me about the emoticoaster

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So 40 days without music might be a slight exaggeration. What it really was is 40 days without music…in the car. As I mentioned when it started, in Christian tradition we have a period of 40 days before Easter when we often make some sort of sacrifice and/or add in some sort of spiritual practice in preparation for the celebration. This time is called Lent and it isn’t the most fun but I’ve always found it to be helpful and a good learning experience.

Listening to music in the car isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, singing along to the radio has been one of those daily joys that enlivens my routine and lifts my spirits without fail.

Why give it up then?

Lent is meant to be a more somber time – hopeful, yes – but a little toned down. To me, giving up music in the car (I drive a fair amount) would give me the opportunity to be a little more contemplative and present to this time period while also maintaining some of the seriousness (singing along to Dierks Bentley’s ‘Drunk on a Plane’ doesn’t help maintain a somber attitude).

It was hard. I love music and this was the first time since I was 13 or so (whenever front seat privileges started) that I couldn’t reach out to turn on the radio while in the car.

However even though it didn’t get easier, I did learn from the absence of music day in and day out.

My main takeaway was this: the ‘feels’ aren’t everything.

I noticed that a large part of my frustration with not being able to listen to music was that I was left alone with my often anxious and uneasy thoughts and/or unpleasant emotions. For the longest time I had been able to avoid that by turning on 103.5 WEZL (‘the weasel’…yeah) and listen to the upbeat tunes that helped me not think and feel good. Now I didn’t have the option and it was upsetting to say the least.

Music affects the way we feel. The same thing can be said about a movie, tv show, or even the book you’re currently reading. Media feeds our emotions and people who create it are aware of that. We have increasingly become a culture that is focused on how we feel.

We don’t want to think about the objective reality behind something, but rather how it makes us feel. We judge things as good or bad based on how it makes us feel. We rely on our feelings and emotions to guide us.

In a way, this is helpful. Emotions are meant to be a sort of guide, a compass. We know it’s not okay when someone is mean to us because we feel upset…our sense of justice has been violated and our emotions reflect that.

Being hurt by someone feels bad, therefore we are less likely to put ourselves in a similar situation again. We learn and grow from our feelings.

The problem with emotions is their fleeting nature…I’ve heard it referred to as the ‘emoticoaster.’

One minute you’re cheerful and excited about the day ahead of you, the next you’re livid someone cut you off in traffic on the way to work. Should you act on that emotion? Will it help to yell at the car in front of you or cut someone else off later on?

Not likely.

Like everything, moderation is important when it comes to being guided by our emotions. Not only do they change frequently and easily, they also can be marred by past experiences and hurts. Someone who has been hurt in a serious way before is likely to continue to be affected by that over the course of time. We often develop filters that cause us to interpret things in a way that isn’t in accordance with reality, causing our feelings to also be faulty and potentially lead us astray.

Sitting in the car with nothing but my own thoughts for company, I learned that it’s okay if I don’t feel excited or cheerful or even loving all the time. That doesn’t mean that I will act on those feelings. We aren’t our thoughts and we are not our emotions.

While emotions can be helpful in certain contexts, remember that there is more to us than what we feel. We have our reason, we have experience and we have the reality of right and wrong.

‘All the feels’ can be nice, but to maintain that over the course of time is unrealistic. Acting solely based on how we want to feel isn’t helpful because there is more to us and more to life than how we feel. I love listening to music in the car, and I’m certainly glad I can do so again now that Lent is over. I’m also aware that it shouldn’t be a ‘fix’ to emotions that don’t feel good. Those will typically come and go on their own…and that’s okay.

To live fully means to embrace all of life. Our emotions (including the bad ones) are part of that…but not the whole picture. It’s kind of nice knowing that a bad mood or passing fear doesn’t define you.

Monday 5: Memory jars & other things to be excited about this week

FullSizeRender (5)Happy Monday! This weekend was very restful and a lot less productive than anticipated…but what’s the weekend for?!

It’s getting pretty warm here in Charleston, which is both exciting and a little daunting. The hot months here are many and intense. However I think complaining about it doesn’t really help much. My goal is to find ways to make the absolute most out of Spring and Summer, working with the insanely not weather and not against it.

So if anyone has any tips on how to look cute when it’s 85 degrees outside, advice would be greatly appreciated!

This week was probably one the most jam-packed weeks ever. During Nicholas’ visit we got very little sleep and so much quality time! One of the best things about living in Charleston is that it’s easy to find fun things to do. Though maybe a little more sleepy than usual, I think this week certainly has its excitements.

Memory jars

This was an idea Nicholas mentioned to me, he and his roommates started the tradition while living together and I think it’s such a cool idea! As the name implies, the memory jar is meant to help remember fun moments together that you may forget over time. The way it works is by writing down something about a memory, typically a quote someone said, and sticking the note in the jar. This way whenever you feel like it, you can pull out a piece of paper and instantly re-live an entertaining/fun/sweet moment that maybe you hadn’t thought of in a while. I think this is helpful both when you need a little pick-me-up, or when you just want to reminisce on good times, either by yourself or with your loved ones.

Rifle paper co

I’ve always thought Rifle Paper Company has such cool products. I love so many of their notepads and think they make great gifts too. This one was given to me this week and I absolutely love it! It’s so much more exciting to write down all the things you need to do when your notepad has a little inspiration and is so pretty. Might seem silly but I don’t make the rules!

Embracing the unknown

Our twenties can be a time of lot of uncertainty. Maybe you have a job but you’re not crazy about it and are looking for something else. Maybe you’re graduating college soon and unsure of what the next step should be. Maybe you’re looking to get married but waiting for the right person to come along. Either way there are a lot of question marks that we carry with us daily during this stage of life. As someone who loves plans, planning, agendas, to do lists and POA’s (plans of action), this has been especially challenging. Not having it all figured out isn’t always fun and can be a little discouraging. We want to do the ‘right’ thing. In other words, we don’t want to mess up or go down a path that will make us less happy or somehow be less fulfilling. Especially with all the options out there, big life choices today can be incredibly daunting. However I was reminded this week that it’s important to learn to be okay with this…and even enjoy it. There is something beautiful about where we are right now and I think being appreciative is so important. Later on we might be frustrated by the routine, right now we learn to embrace the unknown.

Priorities

Making time for loved ones isn’t always easy. We have work, friends and typically other responsibilities as well. There’s a lot of pressure that starts early on to be ‘well rounded.’ Meaning, you don’t just have one extracurricular, you have three. You don’t spend all your time with a few people, but rather know and occasionally meet up with a bunch. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you play it safe and spread out. While I can appreciate the logic behind this, I think it’s also important to challenge this mindset with the concept of intimacy. Taking to time to know something (whether that be a skill or a person) takes time. It’s an investment. You won’t learn to play an instrument practicing thirty minutes  a week in between baseball practice and dance lessons. Pro athletes don’t play three different sports at a professional level (typically)…they excel at one. Similarly with people, I agree that it is important to reach out to as many as possible. I love to get coffee with various girlfriends and invite people I meet to different outings. I’ve also had to accept that I won’t be close to everyone. And ultimately we need to ensure our focus is on those that have been entrusted most dearly to us. This week during Nicholas’ visit, did I miss out on the opportunity to spend time with others? Definitely. Was I as productive as I could have been? Nope. Should we have made time for more sleep? Yes, yes we should have. But in any case my point is that inevitably we have to sacrifice something if we want to develop and maintain close relationships, and I think it is well worth it (of course, this is coming from someone who only had one extracurricular throughout high school and college).

Hopper

Someone introduced me to this app recently and I think it’s really helpful if you travel at all. The purpose of Hopper is to help you find the best deal for the flight you’re looking for. Over time Hopper keeps track of the price changes and alerts you of when it might be at its lowest so you can go ahead and purchase your ticket. This can save you a lot of time and effort to find the best price over the course of the few weeks before your trip!

I hope your week is filled with fun, quality time, and maybe a little bit of work.

xo

Miranda

 

 

 

Maxi-nista

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I mentioned this maxi in my Monday 5 and promised a pic…so here you go!

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I came across it at T.J. Maxx so of course it was a steal! I love how flowy the maxi style is…so fun and feminine!

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My favorite part of it is probably how soft it is…so comfy! When cute and comfy can describe one outfit I’m a happy girl.

What’s your favorite maxi dress?

xo

Miranda

‘No such thing as a broken heart’ & other things to be excited about this week.

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This weekend flew by. Literally. I don’t know what happened (okay not literally, but it went by really fast). My brother and I took the train to visit our dad in North Carolina for Easter and had a really nice visit catching up with him and some other people we know in the area. We also went to see Kong which was I think pretty well done (I’m not a movie critic) but a little violent for my taste…I typically stick to Pixar films.

I hope your weekend didn’t go by too fast, I know Monday’s always seem to sneak up on me (this one definitely did). In any case, here are some things I’m excited about this week that might make you feel a little more lively too.

No such thing as a broken heart – Old Dominion

Okay, I know I probably say this about every song I put in my Monday 5’s, but I’m seriously obsessed with this song by Old Dominion. It’s so darn cute. And I think it has a lot of truth to it too. With all the skepticism out there about relationships and marriages lasting, I think this more optimistic outlook gives us a healthy dose of ‘it’s going to work out’ that our generation really needs. My favorite line is: “you gotta treat your life like a rope swing baby ’cause the whole thing’s really just a shot in the dark…you gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart.” #carefree

Jimmy Fallon hashtags

I think Jimmy Fallon is so funny. These past few weeks I’ve been watching his Hashtag videos almost daily. They’re so great! The videos are really short so it’s the perfect pick-me-up between tasks or after work when you’re feeling a little low energy. I think laughter really is the best medicine and I’m grateful for good comedians who can provide us with a good laugh! This one is one my favorites.

The Great British Baking show

This was recommended to me a few weeks ago and I finally got around to watching a couple of episodes. It’s so good! I love to bake so seeing people who actually know what they are doing is both incredibly helpful and inspiring. Some of the contestants on there are such cool people, hearing their stories is encouraging and impressive.

Warning: Do NOT watch when hungry.

Maxi dress

When I first started to realize that long skirts and dresses were coming back in, I was pretty dismayed. Being under 5’2 makes long skirts and dresses virtually impossible to find in the appropriate length and aren’t always super flattering. That being said, I absolutely love the idea of long dresses, I think they are so romantic and feminine! I finally came across a maxi dress I fell in love with at TJ Maxx last week (any Maxxinistas out there?!) and am really excited about. Of course I had to get it hemmed but I can’t wait to wear it (and not trip).

Easter

Easter is such a wonderful celebration. I love how hopeful and excited this time of year is. Especially since it takes place in the Spring time, it brings with it a sense of a fresh start and clean slate that can be so renewing. Easter reminds us that there is so much good in life and so much to be thankful for. While there is certainly suffering, there is also victory…and we’re invited to partake in that and live life fully because of it.

Here’s to a wonderful, joyful, carefree week ahead.

xo
Miranda

 

The ‘safe space’ we actually need

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As I mentioned in this week’s Monday five, I went to the University of South Carolina on Saturday to attend a chamber music competition. Beforehand, we were exploring the music department and came across a room that was labeled as a ‘safe space.’

While I had read and heard of these before, it felt a somewhat surreal to come across one in real life; it took seeing one in person to realize that this is something that is really happening…not just a story the media is making up. At the risk of sounding insensitive, I think the concept of ‘safe spaces’ is a little silly. Not because anxiety or stress isn’t real or trivial, but because of the idea that somehow a room – like the one we found at USC – can somehow fix our emotional or psychological distress.

How is that room different from any other? Because no one can challenge you or tease you? Because it is a designated space where you can break down? How is that helpful?

If we think that four walls that protect us from the outside world will solve our problems, we are sadly mistaken.

We shouldn’t need an office at our school to hide from our problems…which are most likely not caused by our peers anyway.

The fact is though, we are distressed. More and more of us are starting to take medications for anxiety and depression. The fact that a ‘safe space’ is becoming commonplace on college campuses is indicative of how our generation is feeling.

The reality is, we do need a safe space. But it isn’t a room in the music department of a college campus with bad lighting and gray carpet…it’s our home; it’s our family.

Mothers and fathers (or other primary caretakers) play an irreplaceable role in not only teaching us good habits, but also our temperament, our ability to be in relationships with others, our proficiency at interacting with the outside world and our emotional and psychological health.

This has become more and more clear to me, especially taking a human growth and development class in which these formative relationships are especially emphasized. There is so much evidence which demonstrates that distant relationship between children and their parents is strongly associated with personality disorders (including anxiety), drug and alcohol abuse and delinquency.

The home is where we are formed…physically, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. When we come from a strong, loving, supportive family, we are able to go out into the world confident in our ability to face the challenges that inevitably will come our way. When we don’t have that stability in our lives early on, our skill to interact with the outside world and develop close relationships with others is stunted…we are immature and therefore unable to deal…hence the need for a ‘safe space.’

When we look at the importance of the family and how many of ours are broken today, it really shouldn’t be surprising that levels of anxiety, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse are increasing more and more. That safe space that a close, loving family provides is essential. Of course even the healthiest of families has it’s problems, the difference is the family that remains close despite them, instead of allowing them to separate or distance them.

I think as Americans we pride ourselves in being independent. We started off as a nation of independent thinkers who strove for freedom. However, the idea of the self-made man just isn’t true…just ask their mother. We were made in, for and to love; and that is something we can’t teach ourselves. How can we possibly love if no one teaches us how or what that looks like? We don’t expect a five year-old to teach themselves how to read…the same logic applies to this. We are born dependent on others and that doesn’t really change as we get older. You may know how to feed yourself (thankyouverymuch) but there is probably nothing more detrimental to the human person than loneliness. We need others and that is not a weakness, it is the beauty of being relational creatures.

We all have dreams and goals that we want to achieve, and that is perfectly healthy. However we have to remember that close relationships with others – love, essentially – is really what gives our lives meaning. That starts at home. Family is where we learn to love and be loved…it is the sanctuary of life. What do you think of when you think of sanctuary? Maybe some place sacred…certainly some place safe, a refuge. Nothing can replace the safety that family provides and we are seeing the consequences of it’s loss with the increasing levels of distress, especially in our young adults (who should be the most lively!).

It isn’t silly that we need a safe space, we do. But a college campus can’t provide it, and the sooner we realize this the better off we’ll be.

 

 

Monday 5: Cleveland edition

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Happy Monday! Do people ever ask you what you did over the weekend and you completely blank? That happens to me all the time and even now I’m having trouble recalling all that happened…and it’s not even over!!

The highlight of the weekend was certainly a concerto competition we attended at University of South Carolina in Columbia. There were eight quartets composed of high school students from various states in the Southeast, they were all so talented! The music was lovely and watching teenagers master a skill that takes so much dedication was pretty inspiring.

Last week I promised to share a few things about my trip to Cleveland that I’m excited about…so here they are! It really was a fun couple of days and I was impressed with how picturesque some of the areas of Cleveland are…and how big Lake Eerie is!!!

Barrio Mexican restaurant

On Monday night we ate dinner at a local chain called Barrio which had really good (and inexpensive) tacos. What really stood out especially to me was their Tuscan guacamole which had a balsamic vinaigrette, pine nuts, goat cheese (my fave!) and sun-dried tomatoes..among other things. It was seriously so good. The environment is also cute and fun, a little different from your average Mexican restaurant. We went to the location downtown but they also have one in Tremont area, Lakewood and Cleveland heights. Highly recommend a meal there! Don’t. Forget. The Guac.

Rooftop bar at Hilton hotel 

This hotel is new to the downtown Cleveland area and I’m so glad we stopped by because they have a sweet rooftop bar. It’s called Bar 32 and is (conveniently) located on the thirty second floor. The view it pretty incredible; you can really see how massive Lake Eerie is and so much of the city! It’s the perfect spot for a delicious gin and tonic (and a cool pic for Insta).

Westside market

We ate lunch here and it was probably one of my favorite parts. Walking around to see all the different vendors and eating lunch on a bench on the second floor overlooking the whole place was awesome. You can come here to grab lunch or a snack or even buy some groceries. We saw several bakery stands, meat vendors and various types of international cuisine (we chose Judy’s oasis gourmet middle eastern food where we bought some yummy Baba Ganoush, tabouli and pita bread to share). The building itself is very picturesque with incredibly high arched ceilings and huge windows that let sunlight in. This is a fun place to walk around if you’re downtown, and the amount of sweets they had was incredible.

Buckeyes 

I had heard rumors about this Ohioan dessert and was eager to try one for myself while I was in Buckeye Nation. It turns out you can’t really go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter (who knew?!). We bought a few at Westside market and they were delicious. I tried both milk and dark chocolate and somewhat preferred the milk chocolate but both were good. I really want to learn how to make these now, they seem like a fun, simple dessert to bring to a party or have people come over!

Saint John the Evangelist 

We went to Mass Monday evening at the cathedral downtown called St. John the Evangelist. It was such a beautiful church, definitely worth stopping in for a few minutes to look around. The artwork and organ are so impressive! There’s something so romantic and therapeutic about admiring beautiful churches, you kind of feel in awe of the grandeur, a little smaller. I think it’s a healthy way to focus on something larger than life (or whatever we’re currently worried about at the moment) for a few minutes…to be reminded it’s not really all about us (which is actually kind of a relief).

I hope this comes in handy if there are any upcoming trips to the Cleveland area. I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and hope to go back soon 😉

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda

 

Monday 5: Fairy tales & other things to be excited about this week

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This weekend was one of those jam-packed one’s that you wish could last forever. I spent most of Saturday helping out with a retreat for high school students at a beautiful place a little outside of Mount Pleasant called Windwood Farms. Surrounded by marsh, this enormous farm was the perfect place to enjoy the Spring weather. Walking around the property and chatting on the boardwalk was lovely.

Later that afternoon I got a blowout (for the first time in a whiiiiileee) and that night we had a soiree at a beautiful home in old Mount Pleasant. There are few things I find more relaxing than getting your hair done (or ‘did’, if you live in the south). It was good for me to have to just sit and do nothing for forty minutes, too…sitting still is not something I have a talent for and desperately need to practice.

The soiree was also super fun, we were able to listen to some beautiful music played by violin, viola and cello students, in addition to enjoying some good food and wine (what else could you need?)

Sunday I headed to Cleveland (aka Believeland) and am excited to feature some highlights from my trip (which is still ongoing) in next week’s five.

After that somewhat extended intro, here is this week’s 5! I hope your weekend was enjoyable and your Monday not too bleary.

Peanut butter chicken

Peanut butter is one of those things that I feel grateful for regularly. It’s just so good! Obviously it is delicious, but also filling and (can be) pretty nutritious. I was kind of surprised when I was told of this recipe for peanut butter chicken but I’m so glad I tried it! It is so simple which I love and there aren’t too many ingredients, and it makes a fair amount (having men in the house is expensive). If anyone wants the recipe please comment and I’d be happy to share 🙂

Human growth and development course

A few weeks ago I started my fourth course for my master’s and am really loving it. as the name suggests, we go through the process of the growth of the person. It is so fascinating and really incredible to understand how a person comes to be and how important those formative years are! Our first relationships with our parents have proven to be especially imperative to our emotional development, not just physical. Learning about the mother-father relationship, mother-child relationship and father-child relationship, you see the enormous value of the family and the irreplaceable role it plays in our lives.

This Chesterton quote

“Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” G.K. Chesterton

I came across this quote thanks to Verily’s Instagram and immediately fell in love. I think today we can be so jaded about happy endings and dreams coming true (as cheesy as that sounds) we forget that the desire for happy endings is written on our hearts for a reason…it’s what we are made for. We all hear that life isn’t a fairy tale, but while none of us are off fighting dragons, we do face challenges and continue striving for the happiness we are oriented toward…not too unlike Cinderella or Snow White. It’s okay to believe in fairy tales, I don’t think they’re too, too far from what we should strive for.

Cheese crackers

Cheese straws are a famous southern dish and Martha Stewart’s take on it is easy and tasty! I really love these and think they make a great addition to a party that you may host or go to. I highly suggest doubling the recipe though, just an FYI.

Habanero mango mustard

So I know there’s been a lot of food in this one…but this last one is especially cool. Brought to me from Puerto Rico, I’m excited to try something that is different and has one of my favorite fruits! Trying new and unique foods is such a simple way to add some excitement and novelty to our lives…even if it costs us a few extra calories ;).

I hope your week is a good one with some things you’re excited about!

xo

Miranda

 

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Monday 5: Spring & other things to be excited about this week

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Happy Monday! I want to first and foremost apologize for no Monday 5 last week! Due to some, um, inattention on my part, I was stuck in North Carolina one more day than planned…without a laptop, #nothelpful.

In any case, both last weekend and this one were nice. last weekend I got to explore some of Raleigh, NC and this weekend I was able to stay in more and get up to date on some things at  home. Weekends are just the best.

This week’s five is a combination of things I’m excited about in Raleigh and then a few others that are unrelated. I hope these past two weeks have been good and that there are things you’re looking forward to this week too!

Guasaca

This restaurant has some of the best South American food I’ve had in North America. Their specialty is a typical Venezuelan dish called the arepa, and they do it so well! The also have sweet plantains, salads and bowls. Having had authentic arepas while in Venezuela, I was impressed with how delicious these were. The owner is from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and clearly knows what he’s doing! Guasaca isn’t too pricey and has a pretty low-key environment, and arepas are also relatively healthy; so, delicious + nutritious + inexpensive = yesplease.

NC Museum of Art

I love art. One of my favorite things to do when I’m visiting a bigger city is to check out their art museum. Raleigh’s does not disappoint. The main building itself is relatively new and I love how they designed it. The ceilings are super tall and accordingly the windows are enormous which allows so much natural light to enter the building. I think this makes for a nice aesthetic and the collection itself is pretty impressive. The even had some Monet pieces! One of my favorite parts of the museum is the pathway outside. They have a garden with some Rodin imitations and then a long walkway that passes some more modern, life-size pieces and goes into the woods behind the museum. We really enjoyed the walk after and I think it’s the perfect activity after being indoors for an hour or two!

9 Months that Made You

This PBS documentary is one I found on Netflix (shocker) and it’s so good! I’m only a couple episodes in but have found it truly fascinating. The show covers what occurs at each stage of pregnancy and all the things that can happen if there’s a mishap at some point or another. For each stage they follow a person or family who lives with a genetic disorder, how they got it and what they take away from it. Learning about the genetic disorders themselves is so interesting and makes you truly appreciate the miracles that is a healthy person! It’s also inspiring to learn about all the people who don’t have perfect health and how they live happy and fulfilling lives despite that. I’m not a huge documentary buff, but I’m definitely excited to keep watching this one!

Ring on Every Finger

This is a new country song by LOCASH that is so adorable. The tune is upbeat and the lyrics are so cute! He sings about getting engaged, the excitement about popping the question and how he’ll ‘put a ring on every finger’ if that’s what it takes. I feel like there aren’t too many songs about marriage/engagement out there today and I love that they decided to write one about it, especially one that is so cute and excited!

SPRING!

I’m so excited that the new season started last week. While pollen is not fun, the beautiful weather here in Charleston is definitely something I’ve been looking forward to. I love being outside and am thankful for the perfect weather to enjoy it. Summers here are pretty brutal so I intend to make the most of this time to spend outside and smell the roses (maybe after taking some Claritin)!

Happy Monday and I hope everyone has a lovely week!

xo

Miranda

 

 

 

What being a nanny has taught me about the power of vulnerability

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Earlier this week, the 11-month-old I nanny somehow cut her thumb badly. I have no idea what caused it and therefore was pretty shocked when I picked her up and found her hand covered in blood.

Of course I immediately assumed she needed stitches and was preparing to head to the emergency room while calling her mom and very seriously telling her what had happened. The mom (very calmly) asked me to first call her husband (who is conveniently a doctor) before leaving. I did so and as it turned out stitches were (thankfully) unnecessary and therefore a trip to the emergency room also unwarranted.

To say I was panicking would be an understatement. While I knew Sally would live, I was horrified at the damage that had been done under my watch and felt overwhelmingly guilty that the child who had done absolutely nothing wrong was hurt without rhyme or reason.

When Sally’s mom got home, calm and cheerful, I broke down in shaky tears and took a few minutes to recover.

Needless to say, I went home and had a beer that evening.

Any mom will tell you that these things happen. Accidents are often inevitable and children will get hurt. The weird thing is, this doesn’t change much as we get older. While we probably won’t crawl over something sharp anytime soon (although it can’t be ruled out), we still get hurt… it is inevitable.

The nature of living in an imperfect world is that you could do everything right your whole life, be the perfect person, and still get hurt.

Mean girls (or guys), unhealthy relationships, illness, death, broken families…at some point or another we come across a situation that doesn’t leave us unscathed, often it can be outside of our control. This breeds fear. Everything we feel is for a reason (whether we are conscious of it or not) and fear generally arises from experience…when we realize that we are vulnerable.

Before this week, I had few qualms about letting Sally crawl around the sun room while I watched sitting on the floor…when I went to work this morning I was hesitant to get her out of her crib, worried of another traumatic incident.

As adults, we often act on fear from past experiences. We have learned that we can get hurt so we avoid situations that remotely imitate a painful past. We want to be invulnerable and stay in our safe ‘crib.’

But if you’ve ever held a baby before, while they are physically adorable, there is also a deeper attraction there that is more subtle. Babies are completely reliant on us. Not to brag, but if there are no other adults around, Sally can’t do much without me. And in that way, she is vulnerable. I could decide to walk out at any moment and leave her without a way to feed herself or change herself or even move around much (Lauren, if you’re reading this, promise I won’t do that). But the fact is that part of what we love about children is their vulnerability…it is inviting and draws out compassion from us that is often left untapped by our peers.

We are so busy trying to cover up anything imperfect or wounded, that we have forgotten that vulnerability is attractive. It is a wonderful and essential part of our humanness.

I’m not saying you should spill your guts out on a first date or write a dramatic Facebook post, but I think we can learn a thing or two from Sally in that she still wants to get out of her crib after being hurt outside of it. And I love her for it.

Sally is not just super cute (she really is), she also relies on me, she is vulnerable, and I see that as a privilege and amazing responsibility. Getting close to others, we will find that they too are vulnerable (even if they do know how to walk and feed themselves), and that becomes our responsibility.

When we close ourselves off from others, we deny them the privilege of truly seeing us and reaching out to us in our imperfection. Just like Sally, sometimes things will happen or people will fail us, and that is painful. But just like Sally, we have the option to get out of the crib again and give people another chance (whether it’s the same person or someone else).

Despite my doubts, I did take Sally out of her crib today, and the cut on her thumb was still there…but she was okay. She was able to bring the same joy to my life that she always has and I was able to care for her as I did before. And I am a better person for it.

Next time you’re feeling a little insecure or worried, remember baby Sally and how endearing vulnerability truly is.

xo

Miranda