Somewhere New

Somewhere New

If you read my post this past Sunday, you will know that I set out to have monthly goals this year instead of a full year’s worth of resolutions. For February, my goal was to go somewhere new. As I explained in my previous post, plans to leave the state fell through, so in order to accomplish this, I decided to take a little hour-ish road trip with my mom down to Waco, Texas to visit Magnolia Market at the Silos. If you watch HGTV, I don’t have to tell you what this is, but in case you don’t, here’s a little synopsis:

This past year, the most popular show on HGTV, “Fixer Upper,” had its final season. It became a fan favorite based on the hilarious couple, Chip and Joanna “Jo” Gaines, not only because of their college-sweetheart dynamic, but their creation process for little less-loved homes in Waco, Texas–home of Baylor University. For the last five years, we have seen Jo’s incredible graphic designs and Chip’s unconventional renovation tactics completely re-establish Waco as a hot spot in Texas. On top of the work they were already doing for the community, they turned their beloved home, Magnolia Farm, into a business. Enter: Magnolia Market at the Silos. You can find (of course) a market, a garden, a bakery, and food trucks galore at this site. There are designated lots for large vehicles and tour buses and you can either pay $10 for parking next to the bakery, or you can follow the signs for free parking in an unpaved lot next to the food truck entrance. There is a also a trolley that will take you into downtown Waco which I will get into later.

◊ Magnolia Market
The market is chock-full of Chip and Joanna’s products from candles to kitchenware to apparel to books!

Continue reading “Somewhere New”

A Quiet Winter

A Quiet Winter

Happy March, everyone!

First and foremost, I should apologize. I am sorry that I disappeared without a trace after making a declaration about 2019. There wasn’t a particular reason except for the fact that I have not had any new content. Aside from continuing to regularly update my YouTube channel, life has been very slow and quiet.

Per my last post, I have been diligently trying to center in on improving the quality of my life, so I have been setting monthly goals. For January, it was all about fitness. I signed up with a gym after losing the motivation battle to work out at home and I have been loving it. I am still struggling to find the confidence to explore the weight-side of the gym because the other gym-goers are pretty intense, but this fitness journey is about small steps. Even on days when the workout isn’t great or I desperately want that extra hour of sleep, I am proud of myself for getting up and going. It has been two months of a fairly regular routine and I have reignited that desire to workout and no longer see it as a chore. Since this journey is about small steps, I am not measuring my physical changes so that I do not obsess over it and take myself down a self-deprecating path. But I like to think I am making strides.

I also decided to do dry-January just because. I don’t drink heavily and unless I am out with friends, I rarely drink at all. However, I wanted to challenge myself in social settings. I only went out with friends a couple of times that month and saw a noticeable difference in how I interact. It was at first a more negative response because I felt left out of the ‘social high,’ but I eventually learned to navigate it to where I still have fun and know when my version of last call is. I have a more well-rounded understanding of my social ‘battery life,’ for lack of a better description. While I can say I much prefer to join in on the fun, I am able to now go out in social settings and not give a second thought to the decision to stay sober. My body also thanks me the following day.

February’s goal was to go somewhere new. I had not been on a plane since October and I started to develop anxiety about flying again. Part of that anxiety, however, was because I felt an itch to get back out there. Since my job is in operations (a.k.a. no company holidays), I didn’t get that time-off refresher between Christmas and New Year’s. Not to mention, I was trying to save as much time off for a trip this summer (America, am I right?). I felt a little burnt out and needed to see some new sights. Unfortunately, all of my plans to hop on a plane fell apart, so I had to improvise. Technically, I accomplished my February goal on March 1st, but I still managed to go somewhere new: Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, popularly recognized by Americans from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines.

I will have a post about that mini road trip on Thursday (March 7th), but I am actually really looking forward to this month. I have a couple of concerts I am going to and a potential international trip (fingers crossed!), so it feels like I’m finally starting to have a life again. I am making it a point to find things to write about on here because I have ideas, but I am curious if people would be interested. I really want to write more about pre- and post-travel experiences because there are obviously times like now when I am not traveling. Overall, I want to have relevant and interesting content. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!! Let me know in the comments or on my Contact page 🙂

xx, AE

My Social Break and How It Affected My Goals for 2019

On December 3rd, I made a decision to quiet my mind for the last month of 2018. This meant less of anything that caused my thoughts–specifically negative thoughts–to run rampant in order to give myself a mental break. There are things I cannot avoid like having to interact and be ‘on’ at work, but when I get home, I try to do whatever I can that allows me to be productive without making my mind spiral. As recently written, I am finally delving into the causes for my depression and seemingly increasing levels of anxiety. But in order to do this, I needed to almost fully break down. I intentionally retreated for most of December and part of my retreat was disabling my social media.

I did not deactivate my Facebook or Snapchat because they do not give you an option to temporarily deactivate, so I just deleted the apps from my phone. Instagram, however, does give you an option to temporarily disable so I did that as well as deleting the app from my phone. It’s funny because despite the content I create and how much I enjoy sharing it, I barely spent any time on social media in terms of engagement. I only view what my closest friends are posting and then I close the apps. But that’s kind of weird, isn’t it? I don’t scroll or engage with other people because I don’t want to see what people are doing. I already know that it will cause me to start comparing my life to others’, despite my logical side completely refuting it. So, I avoid it altogether. That’s just…not good.

I am a product of my generation, so I ended up signing back in on December 30th to share my most recent project. I wrote part of this post ahead of time in anticipation of having a list of new revelations from the break; however, I found myself re-reading what I wrote on my first post of 2018 and realizing I am in the exact same position, if not worse. I am not going to sit here and talk about how disappointed I am that I did not commit to making things better for myself this past year. I wish I had a list of things that I concretely learned this past month from being ‘disconnected.’ Instead, I am making a decision that I no longer want or need to do better–I have to. I will say, if I learned anything from this break it is that my journey to love and acceptance (in all forms) is going to be a long, strenuous but necessary process. No matter how I write it, there will be people who do not understand or cannot relate to what I am talking about, but what others think is slowly becoming less of a priority.

If 2018 was the year of letting go, 2019 is the year of closure. I pride myself in recognizing my shortcomings and I hope plan to look back this time next year and say, “Look how far I’ve come.”

xx, AE

Better Late Than Never

I have said time and time again that creating this blog started out as a simple way to be connected with friends and family when I was abroad, but it quickly turned into so much more for me. It has become an outlet for me and a place where I can really be expressive. I embarked on a creative journey this year which leads me to the point of this post. I made a decision with the new year that I wanted to bring this blog back to life, so I have been cataloging my travels throughout the year in the form of vlogs (read: video logs); tonight, I launched my YouTube channel!

I figured that since people have enjoyed my photos on my blog, what could be better than actually taking everyone with me on my trips? Admittedly, the first few vlogs are a bit ‘cringy’ as I am getting used to speaking to a camera in public, and I struggled in some places due to weather conditions, but I have to say that the whole process has been a lot of fun for me so far! People have a lot of ideas and feelings about YouTube, but I am excited to share these videos with you and, I guess, the rest of the world.

As of right now, the vlogs will be uploaded every other Thursday, and they will be posted in chronological order with my first trip of the year to L.A. What I plan to showcase through this channel is not only the travel footage, but other discussions about experiences while traveling, tips for more seamless travel, and featured guests to provide a more well-rounded view rather than just hearing everything from me. My brother, Cameron, will also graciously be producing all of the music for my vlogs.

I will continue updating this blog exactly as I do now because this is the drawing board for me. It is the place where I fully tapped into my writing and what made me realize that it could be part of a larger career. Long story short, no matter what ideas come to fruition, this blog will not go away, but I am so happy to be finally sharing this with everyone just in time for the new year. I cannot wait to start creating more videos and improving on this new skill set.

I would really appreciate any feedback that people have–the only way for me to improve the content that I provide for you all is to know exactly what brings you to my blog (and now my YouTube Channel) and what keeps you here. I hope that these videos will bring you as much joy as I had filming them. For the people who knew about this or were actually a part of this, thank you so much for your support! I would not have felt comfortable continuing this if it hadn’t been for the encouragement I received in the last year.

Again, new videos will be up every other Thursday, but there are already two uploaded for you all to check out. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! ❤

xx, AE