{Put a Pin in it}

My heart is wild for adventure. I love new places. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of going to a city you’ve never been to, exploring the ins and outs of it. Yesterday, I met a good friend in the bizarre and tiny town of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Never been there. Yelp was of no help. In my experience, Sundays are typically bad days to explore small Carolina towns because they are almost always 90% closed. Something I respect and detest all in the same breath. But, at the same time, there is something incredibly beautiful about seeing a town when it is empty; When it’s virtually asleep.

Fayetteville is a quaint town. Full of antique shops and local art, there are some incredible restaurants {Circa 1800 for brunch & Pierro’s Italian Bistro for amazing Pizza}, a kickin’ wine bar, and a half cool, half creepy art gallery. It also boasts a pretty decent used book store, with an eccentric woman and a good selection of Civil War lit. We spent 7 hours wandering the streets, popping in and out of whatever was open. Seven hours asking questions, peeking in windows, and enjoying the ability to get a little lost in a new place. It was a brilliant day. A day full of observing. A day full of seeking out the unknown.

So often, we stay in our comfort zone. We don’t dare approach the hard topics or the things that will make us squirm. We don’t try something we know nothing about. We shy away from the sticky situations. This year, in my search for both adventure and relationships, I am quite dedicated to diving into the sticky. I’m coming around to the idea that sometimes I have to go somewhere I’ve never been before because it may actually lead me somewhere I’ve always needed to be. Each town, each state, each country I visit holds part of me that I’ve never known before. And it’s intimidating. Admitting my ignorance isn’t always my favorite part of a journey. But it is essential to growth. It is essential to finding out the things I don’t know.

So, go. Adventure. Admit your ignorance and dive into a place or a person or an experience. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. For bravery is not achieved unless you reach out and grab it. It isn’t innate. It isn’t something that happens overnight. It happens when you jump into it.

I don’t have much to say today, other than this. Life is worth living. It is worth exploring and sharing and experiencing with people. Life is worth the pain and the heartbreak and the unique joy that it holds. It isn’t always easy. But it isn’t always hard either. It builds strength and beauty. Enjoy today. Call your best friend and tell them how much you love them. Call your lover and tell them that they are your best friend. Call your mom and thank her for giving you life. Don’t want until tomorrow. Be brave and adventurous today. Your heart will guide you. And your soul will steady you. Dive in! Happy Sunday!

To explore my love of {travel} is to open up so many chapters of my life, that I cannot even recount them. Every little girl dreams of wild adventures in foreign lands. Every teenager of daring trips to Europe with the best of gal pals. And every woman of the escape from mundane things, for a quiet walk by the River Sine, or through the Boboli Gardens. As we grow older, our ideas of travel change. But the longing to see new worlds, that remains constant.

Two days ago, I wrote of my goal to travel to two new International countries each year. And this year it truly begins. Two summers ago, my Mother and I took a tour of Italy. Ah, beautiful Italy…It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was beautiful and fresh. It was the most enchanting experience of my life. For those 11 days, I was a different woman. A better woman. I was fully in love with my life and with the beauty around me. It was a quiet trip for me. My first time in Europe. My first time seeing something truly ancient. I spent most of my time in complete silence. I was in shock. Literal, silencing shock.

This summer, I am preparing myself to experience that shock yet again, but this time in France. In Paris of all places. And then again in Rome. The tale of the Trevi Fountain is that if you throw a coin into it, that you will always return to Rome. My mother and I, gelato in hand, eyes tightly closed, tossed a coin into that fountain. Wishing. Hoping. Praying. That it would come true. That the luck of the fountain would grant us another peek into the ancient city of Rome. And here I go.

This lovely rant about absolutely nothing has actually stemmed from the painting pictured in this post. The beautiful watercolor that now hangs in my bedroom. It was a birthday gift from my dear friend, Laura who is obviously a talented artist. A few weeks ago, while gazing at this lovely piece of art, I had the most brilliant of ideas! For every country that I visit, I have commissioned Laura to paint a new watercolor of that country. And hopefully, at the end of my life, I will have a beautiful gallery with every country on the planet represented! Brilliant isn’t it?!

Laura is not on Etsy, but I can hook you up with her if you are at all interested in having work commissioned! She is brilliant, and just the sweetest! So, there you have it!

Owning a business is pretty much asking for the world to come and smack you upside the face with the most bizarre and outrageous circumstances. You have to file about a million kinds of taxes, you have to handle people. Lots of people. You have emails that come in at all hours of the night, dingin’ and chimin’ and chachinging. {okay, I admit, I like the chaching} But running my own store is essentially the same as asking someone to run me over with a truck, peel me off the road, and do it all over again. Every day. There isn’t really such a thing as a weekend. I cannot for the love of all that is holy, figure out how to mail packages from an apartment that I’m never at, or with two kids attached at my hips, or when the Post Office closes at 5 and I get off work at 5:15. Owning a business is hard work.

But more than the hard work. It is a reward. Because at the end of my day, my very long, hard, monotonous day of making bottles, and wiping runny noses, and running to story time, and making dinner, and keeping on top of not one but two households, I get to come home to something that is all mine. Something that I’ve built with my own hands. Something that I’ve put all of my literal blood, sweat, and tears into. I mean seriously, I could start documenting ever bruise I get when my pallet wall decides to fall on me. Every time I am digging through a pile of junk and get a cut from something that was probably rusty metal and will probably give me tetanus. I would inform you of every time I have an emotional meltdown. Or every time I have to do something outrageous. Because there are a lot of outrageous things. But, they are my outrageous things. Today I am pep talking myself. Because I really want to give up sometimes. I really want to walk away. But then I remember that I would be walking away from something that is only four years old. And four year olds are obnoxious. ¬†They can’t be trusted. They need a lot of TLC. But in the end. They pay off. Because they are amazing!

So tonight, I’m giving myself a toast. A toast to not giving up. To pushing on. To building what I hope will one day become an empire, no matter how small it looks now. So, Cheers my darlings!

February always brings me a new found comfort in the idea that life truly can start anew. January is overloaded with holiday recovery and prepping for the new year, but February is usually when my sense of newness arrives. I often try to find one weekend where I can block off large amounts of time and come up with a plan. A business plan. A life plan. A relational plan. A plan for how I want to live life in the new year. I wanted to take just a moment to share with you some of the goals I have for 2015. Maybe it will inspire you, but maybe it will also inspire me. I would love to hear your feedback or thoughts. We grow together as humans. We are inspired and prompted to grow by each other. And while I have solid ideas for my life, I always welcome feedback! So, here goes…

{life.}

.find an inner peace that resonates from the deepest parts of my being.

.expand my knowledge and use of essential oils.

.begin and maintain ballet class as a student.

.make two international trips a year, with at least one being missions or humanitarian related.

{business.}

.become financially independent by the end of 2015.

.investigate and invest financially.

.hit 5000 sales by 2016.

.find a group of women who are interested in business and begin forming relationships.

{relational.}

.become relational (ha!).’

.invest time, energy, & emotion in at least one person a week.

.begin finding people who need to be loved and love them.

.explore the possibility of being vulnerable.

These are just a few things I would like to accomplish. It is not by any means a complete list. But these are the things that are on my heart the most. The three areas that I want to grow in the most. These are the places where my heart has to come alive if I truly want to be the best version of myself!

The passing of time.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 2 months since I’ve blogged. But it was a good hiatus in which I was able to focus on dreaming and pinning down exactly where I am and what I want to be doing. If you’ve ever met me, you know that I’m a dreamer. I get a thought or an idea and I run with it until I can’t run anymore. Sometimes I then pass the idea off to so done more capable of accomplishing the beautiful dream I had.  Sometimes I stick it on a shelf to explore at a later date.  And sometimes I toss it in the garbage and hope to never relive it again. The past few months, I’ve thrown a lot in the garbage. It’s a feeling I’m so familiar with from my days in highschool writing class. One sentence. Good. Two sentences. Better turn this around fast, it’s getting squirrelly. Three sentences. Well, it’s garbage. Four sentences. Crumble it up and toss it over your shoulder hoping to make a slam dunk in the trash can. Only, I can’t throw for anything. So I am normally found in a sea of metaphorical paper because I also always used a computer. But you get the point.

There has been a lot of good things in recent months as well. I have hit some huge milestones. I’ve had some incredible opportunities and experiences. And I’m quite sure that it is just the beginning. But, I had to sort  through a lot junk to get to the beautiful gems which have comprised some of my proudest moments in this period of my life. Most importantly though. I have learned to hash things out with people who not only know what they are doing, but who also believe in me and I what I am doing. I’ve learned to trust the people who push me to be greater. I’ve learned that when someone believes in you, it’s rarely without proof that they should believe in you. I am my worst critic. Always. But I am beginning to surround myself with people who trust my gut, people who Believe in my greatness. It’s a wonderful thing. Knowing that I don’t have to believe in my own strength. Find people who believe in you. It’s always worth it.

Friendship.

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In my book, friendship is definitely, always, a two way street. You give more than you take and you receive even when you don’t feel that you deserve it. Friendship is about feasting together. Crying together. Cooking together. Dancing together. Friendship is about living life together. Thankfully. I’ve been given a handful of beautiful and infertile friends here in Wilmington! Last week, this gorgeous table was prepared for my roommate and I by our darling friend Jamie. It was a beautiful evening that served as a delightful reminder that people are meant to be loved. They are meant to be catered to and doted on. Friends are meant to be cherished. So. Make a table for your friends. Serve them dinner or coffee or tea or ice-cream. But show them that they are loved and needed and wanted! Because friends matter!