“We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.”

I have this thing about shoes. I hate replacing them. I wear them as long as possible. To the point that they are falling apart and dead. When I came home from college for a visit I use to have to hide my shoes or my Mom would find a way to make them disappear. Need proof? Here’s what my last three years of shoes have looked like.

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My shoes are loved. They are filled with stories. My latest pair (the top picture) are past the point of wearable, and although it should be easy going into a shoes store and buying a new pair, it’s not. (It took me around 6 shopping trips to finally suck it up and purchase the polka-dot pair). When I think of everywhere those shoes have taken me, the stories that fill them, I’m not ready to part with them. I’m not a super sentimental person, but there’s just something about my shoes, where they’ve been and where they are going that makes me not want to give them up.

My last pair survived 5 weeks of Youth America Summer Camp, a week of Kids Camp and a week of Foster Kids Camp. They traveled to the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania this summer and walked through downtown Boston and historic Salem. They spent a week in Disney World making memories with family. Flew across the ocean and landed in Cardiff, Wales stepping through time and visiting castles. They boarded a train and walked all over the city of London, took a cruise down the Thames, wandered from Baker Street to Platform 9 3/4. They returned to the states and survived Leadership Conference and Christmas Spectacular.

These shoes have been a lot of places this year. They’ve made some memories. They are filled with stories, choices made, took a left instead of a right.

I guess it’s time for a new pair though. A new year, a new set of stories and memories to create. A new adventure. New Changes. Maybe this time it will be a right instead of a left. You never know what stories await you just around the corner. And as the 11th Doctor once said “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.”

-Elle

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Two Roads Diverged…

I didn’t plan to be writing so much about seasons. It’s not necessarily because of the new year that I’ve been thinking about the future so much, it may be part of it, but looking at this coming year I see deadlines, end dates, contracts up, leases needing renewed or preparations to make to move on. I’ve been in the same state for almost 5 years. It’s not that I am restless, I love where I am, I love Oklahoma but there is still that part of me that wonders if this is where I should be?

Moving on doesn’t scare me, and honestly if it wasn’t so difficult to get a Visa to live in the UK I would probably be making preparations by now.

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I’m always up for a change of pace, to see somewhere new. Staying…that’s another story. Staying means looking at the past 5 years and answering the questions of why I am not where I want to be. Why I haven’t developed deeper friendships, figured out a career, why I’m not as financially stable as I would like to be. Staying means answering those questions. Leaving means a chance to start over, a new beginning, new friendships, new relationships. New adventures to find.

I haven’t decided what I want to do, if I moved I have no idea where it would even be too. I have no idea what to pursue as my next job choice, I would prefer to find something closer to a career, something that I would enjoy and love. Maybe something with social media? Something that would allow me to travel would be ideal.

Right now I have nothing keeping me from staying, but I also have nothing that is keeping me from going either. Nothing is holding me back…well nothing except for making the decision of what to do next.

So now time to start considering where the next 6 months will lead me too…

-Elle

London Calling.

I’m a planner. I’ve always been a planner. I’ve always planned about the next trip I would take. The next place I would visit. That was until Wales, after I returned from my trip from Wales I lost my desire to travel. I loved my trip to Wales, but afterwards I realized maybe I wasn’t the type to be able to travel by themselves. I had this vision of being the type of person who could go someplace new and have this amazing, life changing adventure. What can I say, I’m a dreamer.

I thought I would be taking a break from my next international trips and than Friday night I saw the newest Night at the Museum. And in case you weren’t aware, it takes place in London. Watching the movie as they flew over London and passed the streets and places I could name because I had seen them made me realize that I wanted to go back. That I need to go back.

Over the next 6 months my lease and job contract end, and if I could find a way I would make the jump and move to London, or any other part of Great Britain (a cottage in the English country side would be ideal).

Who knows where I will be in 6 months, it may be London or Florida or Antarctica or it may still be Oklahoma, but I am ready to travel again, ready to see the world. Now where to first?

-Elle

Decluttering 2015.

It’s already 7 days into 2015. 7 days. Seriously though, where did 2013 go? And it’s already 2015? I don’t understand. 7 days into the new year and most of us are standing strong on those New Years Resolutions, the goals we have each set for ourselves, hopefully we will not be a part of the group that come March have given up completely. I heard that it only takes 21 days to develop a habit. That means we are 14 days closer to making some positive changes in our lives.

Although this year instead of focusing on a New Years resolution? goal? dream? challenge? I have opted to make a #30by30 list. 30 things that I will accomplish by my 30th birthday. (I promise to post the list, I am still working on it and open to suggestions!)

One of the things on that list is to declutter my life. I’ve lived in Oklahoma 5 years, moved here from Pennsylvania (by way of Denver) in a Chevy Cobalt. Not to much stuff can fit in two rounds in a sedan, yet somehow, 5 years later, I have managed to have enough stuff to fill up an apartment. (The trips home and my mom loading my luggage with odds and ends from my childhood probably hasn’t helped either). This year I plan to declutter. I’ve already started the process. Slowly making my way to accomplishing my 30 things. How am I going to declutter my life? I’m still figuring that out, but here’s how I plan to start.

5. Wardrobe.

Why does my wardrobe need decluttered? It’s old. I realized this at Christmas Eve Candlelight service, I was wearing a skirt (and it was adorable!) and saw a post a few days later for a friends 7th anniversary. How does that correlate? I bought the skirt to wear to her wedding. So it was time to assess my wardrobe, partly because I am in the process of redefining my style and partly because some clothes from college (possibly high school…) were still members of my wardrobe.

First thing I did was empty my entire closet. Everything out. The only things that returned were items I knew I had worn recently. If I hadn’t worn the item in the last year it was gone. If it had a hole or was beat up it was gone. The items I questioned went into a maybe pile, and than I brought in a friend to help me with the maybe pile.

If you are like me you end up with tons of t-shirts, most of them went, I mean I had t-shirts to colleges I never attended…or applied too. The only exception were two sets of paint clothes.

Socks, if it didn’t have a much when the laundry was done it was gone. (Unless you’re like my room mate and can handle mismatched socks. I just can’t handle it though)

The only item that escaped was my Dr. Seuss hoodie, it holds a lot of memories and is the one thing I couldn’t part with. But only ONE.

As I go to replenish my wardrobe I have also chosen to buy items that cost a bit more but will last me a lot longer.

4. Cabinets

Bathroom:

For some reason my bathroom cabinets tend to fill up with items and I convince myself I will use them at some point. If you haven’t used them in the last year, you won’t. Get rid of them. If it has never been opened donate to your local shelter.

The nail polish color you loved in college. Even if you find a time to wear it, it has probably gone bad.

Glitter. There comes a point where body glitter, and glittery lotion are no longer for you. Get rid of them.

Sunblock has an expiration date. After two years it needs replaced.

Kitchen:

Tupperware. If it doesn’t have a lid get rid of it.

Cups: If they are no longer the right shape, get rid of them.

3. Computer

This will take a time commitment, but your computer is full of files and dozens of pictures (of selfies, and ‘artsy’ pictures of nature). Invest in an external hard drive, save the images you must have.

Take the time to label folders, use dates if possible. Get rid of documents that were relevant 3 jobs ago. You only need 1 copy of your resume not 8 (Guilty as charged.) Music, there are somethings you will never listen to again.

2. Paperwork

Just like the computer you have tons of copies of receipts, bills, and pay stubs. Figure out what you need to keep (Google can help if you are unsure about certain documents) If you can get rid of it but would like to keep a copy, make digital copies and save them to a flash drive.

Make sure to Shred all documents that have personal information.

1. Books

As an avid reader, this one will be my hardest to tackle. Over the years I have won books and been gifted many books but lets face it, Great Aunt Opal doesn’t always have the best taste in books. It’s always been hard for me to part with books, but I have so many I haven’t read. I went through my book shelves and 3 piles.

Books I’ve Read

Books I haven’t Read and will consider reading

Books to donate

I started with the first pile and decided which books I would read again. They returned to the shelf. The second pile received it’s own shelf. I’ve given myself a year, if I don’t read it in that time they will be donated/given away. If I choose in the future that I really wanted to read it, I can go to the library.

Books to donate, pretty self explanatory. Donate to the library, goodwill or friends, a lot of times I fill a crate with books and take it to a small group, usually the crate is empty by the time I leave and I know my books are headed to a good home.

It’s not much, it’s not going to be a quick fix, but it’s a start. Here’s to a new year and a decluttered life.

-Elle