Monday, December 30, 2013

Ramblings and Resolutions

It is that time of year my friends, a time for new beginnings and resolutions. Now, I am aware that setting goals along with the rest of society on January 1st is nothing new and I think the idea can  often be overlooked; it is way too easy to set goals for things that we know we will never accomplish (I cannot tell you how many half marathons I would have ran by now if I had followed through with all my goals...). It is too easy to use January 1st as a day of self-redemption, a day where finally we have the chance to start living the lives we always wanted. The truth is, if you have a goal and you want to make a change, start now, don't wait for a commercialized holiday to do it. 

So 2014, you are about to bring some crucial changes to my life and all I can say is, bring it on. 
1. In two days I move to Portland, OR for the next 7 months
2. In these 7 months I will start and finish a 1,200 hour clinical internship. It is going to be a tough one, friends.
3. It will be my first time being long-distance from my much loved fiance
4.. I am getting married... 15 days after this internship ends
5. I. am. getting. married. (sorry, this life event deserves two spots...) like "changing my name and being bound to one person till death due us part" kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled and I chose this, but there is no denying that it will be different than anything else I have ever experience and will take quite the bit of adjusting
6. I hope to start developing my career (which involves getting certified and fighting for a job in an economy that finds almost no monetary value in music, let alone a music therapist).

So here it goes... My goals for 2014 
(broken into subcategories because I am nuts and way too obsessed with this... but hey, they say being specific helps right?)
This may seem like a strange goal, but as I have assessed my daily life, I have noticed how often I waste my mornings, mostly with snooze buttons and screen time. I came to the conclusion that owning my mornings (aka taking the time to better myself as opposed to rotting my brain with facebook and hitting the snooze button 10 times...yes, I do that, daily.) might be the key to meeting more than just one goal. Morning time can be precious time.
-Be up and out of bed at least one hour before you need to walk out the door
-Meditate on Christ's love for you, cultivate gratitude, and surrender 
-Take time to look presentable. You are beginning a big-girl internship, no more rolling out of bed only to throw on your running pants and fleece. This means heels. This means lipstick. This means a pencil skirt. You can do this Julie. 
-Take time to sit and eat a wholesome breakfast. No more eating on the road or not eating at all!
This one is something that I always strive to work on. Stress can take a toll on your body and it is important to fight against it. Being a person who tends to worry too much and get anxious, I have to be extra conscious of when I just need to chill the heck out. 
-take baths and drink tea
-no screen time before bed (I have come to realize the internet does NOT help me to relax, it is too easy to get overstimulated)
-Instead, read before bed (hoping to read 1-2 books per month, also my new place doesn't have wi-fi so this will really help me)
-Don't rush yourself, you will get there when you get there. You are not God, so you can't part traffic like the Red Sea. Stressing about traffic isn't going to make you anymore on time. 
I have never considered myself to be very brave, yet my biggest fear in life is to be a coward. Also, being an introvert with self-esteem issues isn't the best combination. I tend to struggle with relationships, especially putting enough time and energy into them (seeing that social situations usually stress me out). There are no subcategories for this goal because how do you subcategorize bravery? It just seems way too uncool and besides the point. My hope and prayer for this year is that I take more relational leaps of faith and I think getting married is going to be a good place to start.
I say "stay" active because I am generally an active person. I used to be un-active, and then I was way too active to the point that it was unhealthy, and now I think I have found some sort of pseudo-balance. I really want to continue working on this so-called "pseudo" balance in 2014. (I say pseudo because I think that balance can just be another term for perfection, which is not what I am striving for, that sounds awful and exhausting.)
-Go to yoga twice a week (have you ever been to a class where you regretted in afterwards?)
-Run the Portland Rock n' Roll Half Marathon (yes! I know! Another half marathon goal. But I really mean it this time, in the past my goals were too unrealistic, but this is doable!)
-Trail run more often, its better for your body!
-Incorporate more strength training (twice a week!)
And in the end, my friends, this is really all that I desire. I hope and pray that this year I can focus more on the multitude of blessings that God has given me. It is too easy, way too easy. to fall into the darkness of discontentment and complaining. So here's to gratitude and joy!
-pick up your old gratitude journal and fill it up! (this was something I began last year and yes, did not finish)
And in the end, its all about grace. grace. grace. I have learned in my young 22 years of life to not take things so seriously. If I fall, I fall. It just gives me more chances to get back up, which is where the growth really takes place anyway.
Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wedding: The Dress

Here it is, the post on THE dress! Now, this is kind of anticlimactic and very un-"say yes to the dress" like. I didn't go wedding dress shopping with the intention of finding a ridiculously overpriced gown that I would never wear again, instead I went and tried on dresses to find out what looked good on me and then, I did what I always do, I decided to create a cheaper version of what I wanted. The cheaper version of my so-called "dream dress" is not only a thriftier option, but also a sentimental one.
I decided to wear my mom's wedding dress, which two of her sisters also wore when they got married. My aunt found the dress in an antique shop in the 70's, so it was already vintage 40 years ago. The original dress has long sleeves, a high collar, and lots of unique stitching and lace.  I decided to redesign the dress for two reasons. One, I wanted to create a unique dress and well, lets be honest, I don't pull off the high collar look very well. Two, I think it will mean so much to my mom and my aunts to see me walk down the aisle in their dress and why spend thousands of dollars on a new dress when there is so much beauty in the old. (Oh did I mention that the redesign is only going to costs $300, hallelujah!).

Here is the $2,000 dream dress that I tried on (Claire Pettibone's Queen Anne's Lace). It was gorgeous and I felt like Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice, but lets get real, I am way more excited to redesign a dress that will be completely unique and not as heavy on the budget.
Here are some examples of the original dress. I don't have a picture of the actual dress because Mike doesn't want to see any glimpse of it, redesigned or not (even though I could honestly care less...). 
Pulling inspiration from the dream dress and from other dresses I have seen, I've decided to go with the low-back, lace-sleeves cut and have the front be a sweetheart/curved neckline. I think this design is best  for my body type and bone structure. Though some may disagree and be nervous to surrender their dress to someone else, for me it felt really good to hand it over to an expert. 

Here are some photos that inspired my redesign

Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 //

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reading List

Years ago I used to be a reader and now, quite honestly, I have lost my passion for it. Being stretched thin and exhausted in college might have had something to do with it. In the past 4 years reading has slowly become less enjoyable, I would tell myself that my brain only has so much space and now is the time to fill it psychology and music theory. 
I want to find my passion again for reading, to get lost in pages, words, and stories written by someone other than myself; finding common ground with the thoughts of authors and the stories of their characters. Below is a list of books I have been wanting/trying to read.
 (1) Anne Lamott has been one of my favorites for a few years, she is honest, witty, and sassy. She presents faith in such a refreshing and oh-so-human way (2) A book set in Seattle and written from the point of view of a dog, yes please.
 (1) The Light Between Oceans has a lot of good vibes around it according to Amazon, I would like to read it and find out for myself (2) I already started reading this gem. Mike and I picked it up at a bookstore on San Juan Island the weekend we got engaged. Being from the land that Steinbeck wrote about, I connect deeply with his books.
 (1) Shauna Niequist seems to put things into words that I have never been able to articulate, I've read Cold Tangerines and I am excited to read more of her. (2) I've never read Kerouac before but I have heard beautiful things about this book. I'm a sucker for books about traveling
 (1) In light of Nelson Mandela's recent passing, I want to reread Cry, the Beloved Country. Set in South Africa, this novel is a beautiful representation of suffering and redemption. I read it in high school for a literature class and I still have quotes from it written in my journal. (2) I also enjoy reading books about the culture in the Middle East (I'm a big fan of Khaled Hosseini's novels). This story is about women in Pakistan and all that they have to endure.
(1) I have been wanting to get back into running long distances again and I have heard wonderful things about this book. My hope is that it will inspire me to sign up for a spring half marathon (2) Sue Monk Kidd is an incredible author and I flipped when I saw she had a new book out. The Secret Life of Bees is honestly one of the most incredible novels I have ever read.

If anyone has any other book recommendations please comment and let me know! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Our Save the Dates have finally arrived! I found our sweet little design from the awesome website that is Minted. They have a lot of cute wedding invites and save the dates for a good price, plus each design is made by an independent artist. Addressing has been really fun so far, its amazing to see how all over the map our wedding guest are. From Chicago, to Boston, to California, to Kansas, and more. I think that more than half of our guests are from all over the country, I am hoping they make a trip out of our wedding and explore the great state of Washington.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Welcoming Winter

Life has been snow hikes, cold and sunny days, walks in the woods, coffee, and runs by the water. Winter, you are here, there is no denying it any longer.
The sun rises after 8:00 and sets before 4:30. In the Pacific Northwest, winter is a struggle, I cannot tell you how many times I hear Mike say he wants to move to California during the months of December and January. We have decided we are not allowed to make that choice during winter, we wait till spring hits, and then the thought of moving to California seems to not exist anymore. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Engagement Photos

Over a month ago, Mike and I spent the day with some lovely friends who took our engagement photos. Sam and Matt miraculously captured some beautiful shots of Mike and I (I say miraculous because we are very awkward and we are not the most camera-comfortable people). We took a ferry to Bainbridge, drank coffee, and laughed a lot, it was wonderful!
All credit to Samantha Knorr Photography