its that time.. that should be happening ALL the time..

Come November of every year.. everyone and their second cousin (all of a sudden!) starts to become ‘thankful’.. Posting things on social sites of thankfulness throughout the holidays (what happened to the rest of the year!?).. And knowing theres not much I can do to stop this, I guess I’ll just embrace it, knowing that hey, if people can only bring it upon themselves to be thankful and hopeful just two months out of the year, then I guess thats better than no months at all. So go ahead world! – start over-posting and filling my pages with your ‘thanks’ for two months – then come January (or Black Friday for that matter) go back to being ‘normal’.

Aside from my normal crap I blog and post about (being thankful and blessed constantly, appreciative of love – which I know most people are bored of all year long.. until, well, now – because I guess this is normal protocol just for the holidays) I do feel an overwhelming sense of extra thanks and love. And well, maybe thats why most people hold off till the holidays to express this as well (although I’m not saying it’s ok, because, as mentioned, we all really should be ‘bored’ with this thankful ‘crap’ all year long).

 

Anyway, I digress – the point of this post is to sort of play catch-up. Like I mentioned, I too, get extra sentimental this time of year, and I wanted to participate in what some people are doing this month – A ‘gratitude’ or ‘thankful’ challenge the month of November for 30 days. Since I’m so behind, I decided I can wrap this up in one – LONG – blog post and list 30 things I am thankful for this year. Keep in mind, this is/was hard for me considering I’m thankful daily (I know, I know – barf), so to narrow down my top 30 is like trying to pick 30 of my favorite birthdays! #impossible Haha, but I’m gonna try.

And to be honest, I literally updated this list like 5 times 🙂

 

In no particular order – This past year, I am thankful for:

1. waking up every single day: Given the fact that tomorrow is never a promise, I am thankful that God continues to give me more time on this crazy planet – everyday has definitely been an adventure.

2. learning to love someone: Although I am in a sad situation of loving someone who may never love me back, it’s amazing to learn how real love can actually calm you. Just knowing someone is healthy, happy, and doing well, is like a good drug – say, like coffee! 😉 And you learn to understand that it doesn’t matter how you fit into their lives, so long as you are able to continue to be a good part of it.

3. love: Yes, this is separate – because love alone transcends across many parts of our lives. Love of friends, love of co-workers, love of self, love of coffee, love of owls.. I can go on.. but you know what I mean. Just knowing love exists in some form, is grand.

4. Jeffrey Scales: Enough with the shocked faces people. Jeffrey is an amazing person. Amazing. Those who know him, probably know this already. After all this time, he is still annoyed with my unconventional way of thinking/life, and is still able to make a joke out of anything. On top of that, he genuinely asks how me and my crazy family are. That’s what I am most thankful for – he’s genuine. It’s not easy finding people who are real. And although most of our communication now is through work means, it’s a blessing to still be able to keep in touch and know we are still friends on some level. Thank you, for being you, Jeffrey.

5. new england: I know I ran away from you off to the land of hippies and lengthy coastlines, but the thanks I have for your seasons, food, patriotism, sports, holiday embrace, and traditions, can’t be expressed into words. I just cry about it now haha 😉 This would’ve been #1 if I had to rank it. I do love the move I made, but the things I have listed you can’t find anywhere else.. It’s what I miss most (second to my peeps obvi!)

6. work: The past year of work has been.. tumultuous to say the least. I am not doing what I love, but I sure have learned a lot and put myself through a lot of tests – literally and figuratively – I am grateful though, for the people I have met, the paychecks, and the experiences that have provided me a new perspective on what I want for myself, career-wise. Overall, it has been a huge learning experience.

7. food: As a self-proclaimed foodie, I am so thankful for all the new food experiences I have had. Gem deserves a HUGE thankful part of that, and so does James – more so for my everyday eating habits. I learned how to actually prepare food for work, and learned a lot about how to manage what my body needs. It’s still a learning process daily, but I am just so thankful I know how to eat such great stuff.. and know the difference #foodsnob 😉

8. owls: Ok, I mean, here’s another that probably needs no explanation. I freakin love owls! They are a little treasure of my life and I’m thankful there are so many awesome things that can come in owl-form.

9: God: 9 is a Holy number, so I gave it to God. 🙂 I know theres a lot of God-talk (or more so, non-God-talk) out there, and if you read the book, Eat, Pray, Love, the moment where she speaks to God the first time, braking down on her bathroom floor, crying.. She explains why she calls it, ‘God’ the end of that section has a line, “What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”” Yes. Just, yes. Elizabeth Gilbert did a fantastic job describing how and why she prays and why it’s to God. I can relate 110%. God is also a comfortable name for me. Either way, THANK YOU to God, who has helped me through the best and the worst this life could give me. Thank you for continuing to give me a chance to make myself better, and be better to others. Thank you for always being there, even though I’m a terrible listener sometimes. Thank you for continuing to be patient with me – even though I still struggle with that virtue. Thank you, too, for teaching me in the past year about the many things we don’t know, and how it has made me realize, to just do me.. because thats all I can do. And that those who judge me – fail to look at themselves first. This in turn, made me look at myself as well.. first.. before potentially judging. And of course, thank you, to God and the universe for always keeping me on track – and for providing a beautiful world to look at. More so, for teaching me to appreciate the simple things – seasons, first snow fall, sun sets and sun rises, rainbows, rain, all the things nature gives us – it really is a beautiful life.

10: yoga: Although there are only like 2 instructors where I practice that allow me to use yoga for my benefit, the practice itself I am extremely thankful for. It allows me to not think, and provides a great practice of mind/body connection that I have a hard time finding in other activities. It’s my form of meditation – even though I practice Bikram which ultimately is just working out in a sauna and sweating profusely – it allows me to find calmness in my hectic emotional frame. It’s sort of amazing how much anxiety I can let go of after a class. I just wish I had time to go more often..

11: wine: Need I say more? Thank you to all the grapes in the world that make this amazing beverage which helps me keep my sanity, allows for great dates, great conversation, and the best booze while you are eating well. 😉

12: coffee: Ok here’s another. Haha.. Whats that quote? “Lord give me coffee to change the things I can change, and wine to accept the things I can’t.” So really this goes hand-in-hand with wine. 😉 Another thing I thank coffee for is the fact that it calms me. I know it’s strange, but I can drink coffee before bed.. and nothing relaxes me more than a good cappuccino after dinner. I don’t know what it is.. but coffee is my tangible anxiety release.

13: birthdays: duh. You knew this was coming.. Haha! Everyone should be thankful for Birthdays! I know everyone is sick of me saying this, but you can’t deny the truth: To celebrate another birthday, at the very least, means you can celebrate another day on this earth. Ultimately, being thankful for birthdays is just another way to be thankful for life.

14: Mish: Per usual, I think of you and cry #typical. Haha! Another one of my genuine people – thank you for keeping me close to you, even after I ran off to coast of the West.. You have been my greatest rock this past year. You are the one constant in my life that, even through a month or two of not speaking, can still keep me grounded through just a text for Facebook post. (I seriously only keep it for you – I’d get rid of it otherwise) I don’t know how we do it, but it’s true, just thinking of you makes me better. You always know what to say – because, like me, you get it. You take time to understand. You never tell me what I want to hear, and not even necessarily what I need to hear either.. it’s just.. the Truth. #loveyou xoxo ❤

15: flowers: I mean, how can anyone NOT be thankful for flowers. They are a beautiful, living reminder that the universe is amazing and filled with wonderful things. I have never seen anyone who either finds a flower, or was given one, that didn’t light up even just a little.

16: fairytales:  My goodness, I am SO thankful for fairytales. As a hopeless romantic, fairytales are a non-negotialble. In fact, everyone should read this when you get a chance: http://thefickleheartbeat.com/…/11/02/why-fairy-tales-exist/ You’re welcome.

17: Stevie Ray: Yes, Stevie, I am so thankful for you! Although we met only once (the first year I moved to SoCal) you have been a part of my spiritual life every since. From that day you made me tear up talking about my life and spirituality, to now, with me tearing up just typing this! Haha.. your spirit has been with me in tough emotional times. Even the moments I chose not to ask for your prayers, I know you are/were at least thinking of me. Thank you for being my spiritual soldier, and I pray for the best for you and your journey. ❤

18: country music: Although I love country anyway, with going through a breakup the past couple months, country music really spoke to me. I had a new appreciation for the story-telling that comes with the music. Comparatively, it is way more realistic for my breakups, and how I am in general, vs other types of music that embrace threats, revenge, fighting, drama, torture, manipulation, sleeping with friends – or just sleeping with everyone.. I can go on – and not gonna lie, those other songs are sort of fun, but just not my style and how I realistically deal with my relationships (of any kind really).

19: Sweet Elle Cafe: My goodness.. for those who know me, do I even need to explain this?! Haha.. best.cafe.Ever. Thank you, thank you, for just being there, and not sucking. Haha 😀 You have the best baristas, best coffee options, best atmosphere, and with the updates and re-models, it’s even cozier. I remember the first time I ever stepped into this little cafe – theres a bookshelf wall filled with books that I stared at.. and I never wanted to leave – but I came about 15min before closing haha so, well, I had to leave. But now this place is like home. I’m glad everyone knows my name and this is my version of Cheers. I’m thankful for Grace, the owner, for having the vision and dream to run this cafe – because people like me, who need a second home.. and good coffee.. really, REALLY, appreciate it. I should also do a mini shout-out.. it’s only right.. without Daniel, I never would’ve known about this place – so thank you too, to Daniel for the recommendation. 🙂

20: Michelle: My hairdresser. Yes, I am VERY thankful for you! Haha 🙂 I moved to SoCal and began a new life, new job, new doctors, new cafes, new hairdresser.. Well, my first experience was a butchered job that cost me over $100 just for me to cry for about 4 month. It felt like forever before I even had the nerve to look for someone new. And I’m so happy the stars aligned and I found you. You saved my locks, and fixed the awful cut that made me look like my 6th grade class photo. Not only that, but color my hair to perfection as well. The best thing about you is your soul. It’s so beautiful, considerate, and honest. I’m so happy I get to see you every month.

21: Sarah: She waxes me. Haha, I know some of you reading this are like.. Really Kara!? But, yes, really. Again, moving to an entirely new state where my normal product and services are now 10,0000-mi away (I clearly exaggerate), was/is very hard. And this, was probably the worst service to look for. For those of you who are waxing enthusiasts as myself, this isn’t something you just find and are like – oh yah, eeny, meeny, miney, mo! I’ll just ‘try you out’! No.. it’s like finding a doctor. If someone is looking at you like no everyday person looks as you, you want them to, well.. for one, not be creepy, and two.. not be creepy. Sarah is awesome, the best thing about her is that, unlike other estheticians I’ve had in the past (who were still good, don’t get me wrong) she has real conversations with you to make this somewhat awkward experience, well, not so awkward.

22: the sun: I don’t know if I even need to write much about this. Everyone should be thankful for the Sun, especially if you live, or have ever lived in the NorthEast (Vitamin D!). Thank you, for literally making my world go ’round.. and for making the sky beautiful.

23: pain: Yes, pain. Whats that amazing quote from Grey’s Anatomy, “Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.” Exactly. I have felt a lot of pain this year, physically and emotionally. Physically, it has taught me how much I can do with myself and how much my mind is involved with strength. Emotionally, I’ve learned to be more appreciative, patient, and stay humble.. This way, everything is a happy surprise.

24: Eric & Amy: I am so thankful for the past two years being able to live the closest to my brother than I have in a long time. You see, he’s in the Army, and just recently I’ve been able to visit twice a year compared to my usual once-every-other-year. What makes this even more thankful is being able to be a part in my nephew and nieces’ lives. It may be a small part, but at least they remember me now when I visit compared to the first couple of times, like when I met the twins for the first time.. were already 2! 😦 Anyway, I’ve learned a lot about my brother, and have been so grateful to see him raise a beautiful family, and even better, do this with his amazing wife. Seriously, I am so thankful for Amy too because, I have never met a more determined mother-of-4 who runs like a champion, looks amazing, and all the while is home-schooling the kiddos, getting another (you heard me, another!) degree, and being a wife & mother. I’ve said this a bazillion times about Amy, but it’s true – If I was seriously just half as determined and focused as she is, I’d be doing way better things in my life, and look damn good too. So thank you for proving that even with some of the hardships the military throws at you with raising a family and making ends meet, you both are able to do this, and although it may not be easy, you make it look that way. Thank you for being amazing people to ‘look up to’ in my adult life.

25: the ocean: My first love. I’m thankful because it is the one constant I have always had access to my entire life. It’s a part of me. I grew up with it in the West.. learned with it in the East.. and now I find comfort with it.. back in the West. Since I was a child, I have loved the ocean and all that it entails – sand, rocks, the comforting sound, and the mysterious depths. The ocean is fascinating to me. In one hand, it’s where I go to play, and relax, and even cry and meditate. On the other hand, it scares me to no end, not because I’m a bad swimmer, but more so the uncontrollables. Currents, waves, sudden deep pools, so many unknowns that can literally swallow you up. It has been a great metaphor to life.

26: Paul:  OH.MY.GAWWWD. Paul, I seriously have no words to describe the appreciation I have for you in the last year and three months that we have been living together. Well ok, I have a few 😉 I am so absolutely thankful that you put up with me to start. Haha.. and that you are so giving, and helpful, and considerate. You are constantly thinking of others. I’m not gonna lie, there are plenty times where I’m annoyed with you 😉 But aside from my occasional bitchiness, you seriously have done nothing but try and help make my life better. I can’t name many people who are happy – and willing! – to go and get a drink with me when I am red-faced angry. I also don’t know many people who drive back home to make juice for unappreciative guests.. that you barely know for goodness sakes! #gah! I am just so thankful that we are friends.. and that it’s you who is on my emergency contact list.. haha. You are seriously the most caring person I have ever met, and not just to me, but to every single person in your life – from friends to family – I swear your goal in life is to make them ALL happy.. ALL at the same time! I have no doubt that you would probably succeed in that anyway, you’ve probably already done the math to support it 😉 So thank you.. thank you for being you.. and being awesome.  Anyone who has been lucky enough to have met you should be thankful. And if they aren’t.. well then.. they just suck.

27: genuine people: If you have ever been lucky enough to speak to someone who is genuine, man does it seriously change your perspective on life. So often do people ask the simple question of: “How are you?” Many of these people you consider friends.. and more times then not, they really don’t care.. it’s just an obligatory question. Shame isn’t it? Why do people ask questions when they don’t even care for the answer? Or worse even, begin to lecture you when they don’t get the answer they want. Well, please believe me when I say this, but when you do talk to someone who asks, even that simple question, and it’s a genuine request.. your heart flutters. It’s strange. You no longer have to whip out the (sorry for my language, but it’s true) bullshit answer of, “I’m good!” You can actually answer with how you actually feel. And I do understand that sometimes we are just ‘good‘. But more times than not, there is some aspect in your life that isn’t.. but yet generally speaking, bringing that detail up makes you a debbie downer – or causes discussion on ‘how to make you NOT feel that way’. Point is, THANK YOU to those who actually mean it. Thank you for providing yourself as an outlet for a possible miserable response. Thank you for just plain caring.

28: reading/writing: I love both of these and am so thankful for them for the mere fact that both provide a chance to get away. It’s an outlet to get away from the world for a minute. To escape into a story and either lose yourself in a character by reading, or let go a little of yourself by writing. Thank you for giving me an exit from this ‘real’ life and making me a mini fangirl.

29: James: I guess I should be thankful for the one I love, Haha..! Thank you for teaching me how to be patient.  Thank you for having a beautiful soul and giving me a opportunity to be a part of understanding it. Thank you for this inexplicable friendship/relationship we have because you made me see that it only matters to us and no one else needs to understand it. Thank you for enlightening me with a whole new meaning about saying ‘Sorry’. Mind. Blown. Thank you for teaching me about fitness and always answering my random questions about the shelf-life of ground-beef, or the carb percentage of an apple, haha.. #seriously. Thank you for breaking my heart. Sounds crazy, but without that I never would have learned what my heart was capable of. And of course, thank you for being you. I have never met someone so determined (and stubborn haha) to live life on their own terms than you. I can argue a million ways on the pros and cons to that, but it doesn’t matter. You do you.. and that’s what makes you amazing.

30: ME!: I’m just amazing. The End. Haha, but really I am so thankful for myself. I am thankful that I am strong enough not to conform to societal norms. I am thankful for being a sarcastic, hysterical, and sometimes bitchy person. I am thankful that I am a good person, that I am thoughtful, and that I am considerate of others even though sometimes people may take advantage of that. I am thankful that I love unconditionally even though people think that’s crazy. Because, thats not crazy, thats what love is supposed to be like. I am thankful that I know my limits and realize the people who are worth keeping close, and learning when to just close the door.. but always keeping the window open.. (only some of you get that 🙂 ) I am so thankful of the lives that I have touched, and more so, those who have touched mine.  I am thankful for being an original (I know there aren’t a lot of people out there like me) and I’m thankful for being a optimistic-realist. And I am so thankful that I love myself. Without me, I can’t love others, or flowers, or coffee, or owls..

 

 

To summarize, I am thankful for the people in my life. I am extra thankful to the genuine ones. I am thankful for the simple things in life, and thankful for the things I don’t understand. I am just downright thankful for life. I am thankful for today, yesterday, and definitely tomorrow.. because those are never a definite. Just, thank you. Everyday, Thank You.

And of course, a special THANK YOU – to this blog, and to all my readers.. you definitely don’t have to read my crap all the time, and all the posts that have sucked. But you do. I just hope there’s at least one in there that you have enjoyed, or learned from, has inspired you, or at least smiled from. Thank you.

 

Happy Thanksgiving – remember to be thankful everyday ❤

Cheers!

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tall, raspberry iced coffee, in a grande cup.. with extra ice.

I currently have three fave hotspots where I constantly spend my time: Barnes & Noble and two different Starbucks. The Barnes & Noble is lovely on days off, especially rainy days and snowy days. Its quiet, has a lovely view of the highway, several things for me to read, and a cafe. My two Starbucksss (how DO you make Starbucks plural?) are similar for obvious reasons, but the main difference between the two, is which way and what time am I going to work?

I will keep these two Starbucksss fairly indistinguishable because continuing on this post, I don’t want to give anything away of which location I am talking about. Now, it’s not that I like one better than the other, they both have their defining qualities.. Like, one has a rude manager who I’ve seen get into arguments with customers and creates fear in me. At one of them, almost the entire staff knows my order way too well it almost scares me. (Or maybe thats both..) One has an awesome older gentleman who wears THE BEST hats. One of his hats is like those beer helmets with the straws, except it has coffee cups! (and OMG he is wearing it today!!) One of the Starbucksss has amazing seating. By amazing, I mean no matter where you sit, you are close enough to an outlet (this is important because somedays I sit for almost 8 hours. Hey, I job hunt too!) One also name-drops me.. bad. You heard me! Name-Drops! I can go on about their differences, but one thing is for sure, they both have internet, coffee, and baristas (or baristOs, as Danielle likes to call them, because they are guys) who are fairly talked about amongst my friends.

These baristOs we talk about are more important than the coffee or internet, obvi. There are the cute baristOs and the baristas (yah all kinds) who you know make your coffee better than others. Is it bad that when I send a girl out to get my coffee, and they come back with something questionable, I always ask who was working? There is some validity in  knowing who is making the coffee. (A perfect example is when I order a certain drink and ask for it ‘skinny’. There is a sign in (I assume) every the Starbucksss that states: Try it ‘skinny’ = skim milk + sugar-free (or unsweetened). So when I order a ‘skinny’ beverage, why are they asking ME what that means?!  Mind you, this happens only at one of the two Starbucksss, but seriously?!) There is also the quintessential baristO-crush where you think they are flirting with you. I mean.. this happens ALL the time! RIGHT?! (BAHAHAHA I’m literally laughing out loud typing this)

And then there is the name-dropping.. Ok, I know.. if you go to any  Starbucks, you will know that 90% of the time, they will ask your name for the cup when they prep. But one Starbucks in particular name-drops like whoa! I mean, it makes me feel at home, and like they remember me, or at least something about me.. I guess thats the point.  But, a couple of baristOs at one of my Starbucksss totally made fun of my drink in front of me. They realize the drink bar is open to the public right? And what is so wrong with a tall iced-coffee-in-a-grande-cup-with-extra-ice?! Where I work, our air circulation is so terrible that it’s always about 75-80 degrees everyday.. do I really need to explain that to these baristOs?! And to top it all off, they know my name! Great.

Well this name-dropping business got me all confused. At one (or both 😉 ) of my Starbucksss I started getting name-dropped so often, I thought.. OMG do  have a baristO-crush?! I mean, for the past few weeks, I’ve had my name said.. nicely.. and with a coffee behind it! And it’s not only when my coffee is ready, it’s been right when I walk in! “Kara, you’re not normally here this late are you?” “I’m not used to you NOT ordering a coffee, Kara.” Whoa I tell you. And ok, I get that someone of my nature, (who should probably just work for Starbucks at this point) who is in as frequently as I am, name-dropping should be a norm. Whatever, I’ll see it as flattery any day.

Which brings me to my point of this awesome post. The other day, I overheard one of my baristO-crush-name-droppers say something about a girl he was ‘seeing’. WHAT?! I mean, I myself, have had a boyfriend.. for 5yrs now. 🙂 But in moments like these, you don’t want to know those personal snip-its! Its like going to watch “Magic Mike’ and being reminded that Mr. Channing Tatum is MARRIED.. happily at that! You don’t want to think about that! You just want to watch him dance around and forget there is even a plot to the movie.. wait, is there?!

Question now is.. is he playing hard to get?! HAHAHAHA no.. but is it bad that now all this fake ‘special’ treatment is now normal? Knowing that any of these baristOs really don’t have crushes on me!? Wait, are Starbucks employees paid to flirt!? Maybe. Or maybe as a girl, it was just the flattery in it all.. and knowing that somewhere, the idea of someone having a crush on you, made you feel like.. a girl.  A girl in a movie. Co-staring with Channing Tatum. 😉

So to all you baristOs out there.. if you are even pretend-fliritng, don’t talk about other girls.. it’s unprofessional anyway to the public, and all us coffee-loving ladies want to pretend you have a crush on us. the end.