Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Hiatus & New Start

It’s been awhile since I have committed to just about anything, including blogging. Except for that whole fiancĂ© business I have spent much of the last year in Survival Mode-that place where you’re just trying to get by. And I have gotten through many things over the past few months: the move, the other move, the buying of a home, the new city, the new job, the loss of MAO, the gain of a new volunteer endeavor, the new cat, and new dog, the acceptance of a new job offer, the engagement, and the loss of someone who meant the world to me. It’s been a whirlwind. I don’t think my brain has caught up to my body, or really that my brain has been wholly present as of late. The struggle post grad is REAL, the struggle after ending my MAO journey is REAL, and the struggle of adapting to so many major moments is REAL.
Now that the school year has ended, and life has slowed down, I was able to realize I needed something; something to focus on, I needed to be frank with myself and that meant evaluating my own happiness. Now there are plenty of you thinking “Focus on your wedding,” and I’m sure I could do that (and trust me, I’m planning away ☺,) but what I really need is to focus on me a bit more.
And in typical me fashion I needed a large-scale goal that was 1. Reflective, 2. Attainable, and 3. Not something that would become a burden but something that would be a blessing.
I’m doing 365 Days of Happy. 365 Days of blogs, I’m sure some will be MUCH longer than others. It’s sort of my extension of the Instagram/Facebook 100 Happy Days challenge. I am in the midst of that challenge (Day 85) and I realize it isn’t giving me what I need. So I’m doing my own thing. Now I’m thinking there is probably someone who has done this before, pause as I Google it….

Couldn’t find much. Guess I’m the first crazy person. Let’s pretend we’re shocked……oh wait…

In doing 365 Days of Happy blogging I’m committing to a few things:

1. My physical health 2. My spiritual health 3. My mental wellbeing 4. My relationships 5. My Bucket List

These are the things I will choose to pursue for my happiness. These are the things I will spend my energy thinking of. I’m also choosing to do this on a separate blogging platform, as a sort of standalone. Red Hot Tempered needs a Red Hot Hiatus. I also like to think it gives me anonymity….except for the 600 odd Facebook friends I share it with.

So the start of something new, my 365 Days of Happy….I hope next year isn’t a Leap Year….This is where I focus on meaningful reflection and all of the things that make me happy.

Happily, Red

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Girl Power.

Every year my Facebook feed floods with comments, photos, and statuses about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Fat shaming, calling people’s lifestyles unhealthy or grotesque, insinuating the women must having eating disorders, not to mention the frequent comments objectifying the women on the runway. I’m so done. Over it.

The models who walk the runway dedicate their lives to being fit to appear. Are some of them very thin? Yes. Are they some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen? Yes. Should they be accused of having eating disorders merely because they are deemed to thin for what our society considers “average?” Absolutely not.

And yet tonight there will certainly be the posts that are some variation of….

“I wish I could look like them! They are sooooo [insert adjective here that I think I absolutely am NOT} OMG I wish I was that skinny/tall/blonde/leggy. “

Let’s have this talk….chances are you don’t look exactly like a Victoria’s Secret Model. You know what? You’re still beautiful. You’re still worthy of time. Respect. Love. And opportunity. Don’t use this as an opportunity to convince yourself of what you are not. Use this as an opportunity to look at some cute bra’s, drink some wine with your girlfriends, listen to overplayed pop music, and celebrate.

 Celebrate being a woman. Being a strong, capable, confident woman. The sooner you learn to embrace as much as you can about yourself, the happier your life will be. We all have things we are dissatisfied with, just as many of the woman who walk that runway probably do as well. Nobody looks in the mirror 100% of the time thinking “DANG, I’m fine.” Nope.

And remember…. As women the sooner we remember to stand together, the better. Care for your fellow women, respect your fellow women, and support your fellow women. Don’t use this as an opportunity to shame yourself or other women; it’s not the point. 

Now pour yourself some wine and enjoy the show J

Saturday, November 16, 2013

13 Things I Learned in 2013

It’s been awhile. Like 100 some days awhile. And in that time I have done virtually nothing besides move cross country, start a new job, move again, adopt two new pets, buy a used car, and generally realize Utah and Michigan are about as opposite as salt and pepper.

These last three months were just a small portion of what I have been kindly referring to as the “Year from Hell.” In fact, I am keeping a countdown until 2014 (46 days) in the hopes that it can be a very symbolic, and significantly improved, year for me. On paper, 2013 had many highlights: new job, exciting city, finally getting a puppy. At the end of the day though, 2013 has been the most emotionally exhausting year of my, and Chafonda’s, life.

My hiatus from blogging has been predominantly because of my exhaustion. That and my mother taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say you don’t say anything at all. And frankly as 2013 was coming to a close I had nothing nice to say. Until now. That and people kept bugging me so I caved (honesty is always the best policy.)

Without further ado, the 13 Things I Learned in 2013.

13. I was definitely not wrong when I watched Mary-Kate and Ashley movies: I was meant to be a twin. And this spring I learned just that. The most important point here is that you know your body better than anyone. Listen to your instincts, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re “fine” when you feel anything but. Be your own advocate at all times, no matter the situation.

12. You will wait forever. No one can be responsible for your happiness. They can try, and bless them, someone will try so very hard in your life. When it comes down to it, you’re the one that has to make changes, you have to alter your own path, and steer yourself to happiness. Don’t expect someone to do it for you.

11. Tattoos on fingers hurt the most. This is not yet a scientifically proven fact, but it should be. They also must be redone often. I still love mine.

10. AMEN. People make choices, decisions, mistakes. So do you. Just because you think you have made a better one does not give you a right to judge. And a constant need to judge others just leaves you empty. Don’t assume you are better than someone. The moment you do you have already lost.

9. This goes without saying much. Some people won’t like you. Ready for my harsh truth: get over it. Move on. Who cares? Happens to the best of us. 2013 was a great teacher of that for me.

8. There will come a time as an adult where there are no take-backs. Sometimes you can’t unsend the text, you can’t rewind your words. Always choose them carefully, especially with those you love. It is possible to communicate anger without being hurtful. Don’t let yourself learn this lesson the hard way. If your words appeared on your skin would you be more careful with what you said?

7. There’s a place called “Dunford Bakers.” They have the best donuts in the world. I’m not kidding. My favorite part of Utah? Not the snow covered mountains, the Dunford Donuts. Game-changers.

6. After college, or after being in close proximity ends, you find out who your friends are. Which people will still be a part of your life, and who will show they want to be? Who are the friends that will transcend the all nighters, late summer nights, and tailgates? Who will stand up with you at your wedding? Who will genuinely care about your happiness?

5. It’s okay to have really good days, and really bad days. It is okay to eat a chocolate donut on those bad days. It is not okay to let yourself make every day a bad one. Sometimes you have to stop crying, put the Oreos away, wash your face, and go for a walk. Maybe that means telling yourself today will be better. One day you will believe it more than others, and it will get better.

4. Life is WAY too short to safeguard your opinions from the judgmental eye of others. Own up to how you feel and what you believe in, even if it is unpopular. Don’t apologize for being who you are. Utah has only reaffirmed this in me lately. I am definitely not in the majority here. My motto, “Oh well!” I’m proud of how I was raised.

3. This is the lesson that my mother has attempted to instill in me since I was in utero. Not only is it okay to say “No,” it is wise. It is a sign of maturity. It is key in controlling your own destiny. You don’t have to always be the “yes-woman.” Leave that nonsense to politicians.

2. Take a giant risk. Go for it. Move cross country 1,500 miles away from the world you have known for 23 years. It will be scary, and you will cry in hotel rooms from Iowa, to Nebraska, to Wyoming, but some mornings you will wake up and see the sun rise over the mountains. That’s when it all feels okay for the moment. Without these risks comes the “what if,” and that translates to regret.

1. Your own self-doubt is the greatest barrier to your wellness, and success. The voices in your head, they will hold you back more than 99.9% of the voices of others. This also goes with risk-taking. Sometimes you have to ignore everyone else and do what is right for you. I took two opportunities this year that I knew weren’t right for me, but I felt I HAD to take them. When I failed (which I knew I would), I felt so embarrassed. Quickly, I realized I have to focus on my positive intentions, abandon the self-doubt, and do what my gut leads me to. Very rarely is my gut wrong, and most often she leads me to great Pad-Thai. 

Thanks 2013, here's to a new year. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't Let Your Fear Decide Your Fate

We have officially survived day two of our epic adventure. I’m sitting in Cheyenne, Wyoming, also known as “Cowboy Country” eating sushi (weird mix I know). Today was highlighted by: Nebraska.

For those of you who are planning your next family vacation/road trip let me make some recommendations: don’t drive through Nebraska. If the dense fog, endless corn fields, longest single interstate straightaway in the country, or the 400 mile wide state don’t turn you away, then maybe the fact that the highway is missing in half the state will. BUT we made it safely to Wyoming, which has already won me over more than Nebraska (Sorry cornhuskers!)

The middle of any long move is the hardest time. For me, yesterday was “easy.” We had just left home and had eagerness on our side, and tomorrow as we pull into SLC we have excitement on our side. (Plus you have the best road snacks the first day!) Today though, in the middle of the country, I am over 1,100 miles from my old home, and nearly 450 away from my new one. And this is the beginning of a transition that will probably take a while. And on my top ten list of favorite things to do, transitions aren’t my favorite. They’re a solid 36.

But there is a theme for the day. Matt kept playing a song every few hours and the chorus said “Don’t let your fear decide your fate.” It. Was. Perfect. My fears about this huge move, and all of these transitions, were certainly surfacing on day two and this was my gentle reminder to take it all in stride. Allowing my fear to take control and consume me was only going to make the transition so much worse. So this evening, I deep breathe, snuggle Peaches, and look forward to arriving in my new home tomorrow!

Here are some pictures from today!

Peaches, probably begging me to not stuff her in the car again!

So much Nebraska fog.

This was train #8 today.

Wyoming: already a HUGE improvement on Nebraska.

Sushi :)

Delicious Japanese food. YUM.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cross Country Move Day One: Cornfields

24 hours ago I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to make it through today, mentally/emotionally/physically. Here we are, 24 hours later, safely reporting from Omaha, Nebraska- the corn state (not sure if this is true but it should be because let me tell you, there is some CORN here).

4 pitstops.
5 states.
10 hours of driving.
635 miles.

And we have arrived in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. So far the driving has included a few milestones:

Leaving Michigan.

The Chicago skyline from afar.

World’s largest American flag.

Many a construction barrel.

Crossing the mighty Mississippi.

And corn.

So. Much. Corn.

I have yet to realize that I’m not returning to Michigan this time. It’s not like visiting before to set up accounts, or lease my place, or tour my school. This is the final time/real deal. I even was saving quarters for the “toll on the way home” when Matt politely reminded me we were headed to a new home (and thus didn’t need toll for Illinois). Don’t get me wrong, I’m WAY excited- new job, new city, new place, new experiences. BUT as is always true, so many new things are a lot to deal with at once.

I find the best way to deal with this is to take it in a little at a time. So today I made it to Nebraska. Matt, myself, and Peaches are all in one piece and for tonight that is alright. Now we eat pizza, watch ESPN, and for a moment I forget I’m in one giant cornfield. I promise tomorrow to have significantly more insight or intellectual thought!

XOXO Natalie

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


A note before we begin: This is the longest I have ever gone without blogging. Sowwy :( 

As I sit here eating homemade sorbet (which will change your life) I have been driven to blog for two reasons. The first being that I am getting messages/texts/etc. from people who keep asking if I am still alive (I am! Chafonda didn’t win!)  The second being I am to the point where I need some kind of catharsis from the stress that is living inside of my world. Stress that screams to me from unpacked boxes, piles to take to Goodwill and a general chaos that is causing my cat to pull out my hair. Seriously. I have a collection of photographic evidence.

She sits there, and eats my hair.

This stress stems from something I call: My mom was right. Yes, you heard it hear first. My mom always seems to be right! How does this happen? She pays someone I swear.

From the time I was about 8 years old I wanted to be 12, and by then I was headed to 16, and at that point I frankly wanted to be graduating college. To say I wanted to be ahead was an understatement. SO many times I would tell my mom, “Why can’t I be doing this right now? I wish ___________ was over (_________ was usually high school and then freshman year and then summer, etc.) Often, in all of her astute wisdom my mom would prescribe ice cream, a bubble bath, and a “Don’t wish your life away Natalie O’fallon” to slow me down.

And while my mom had the right idea, to slow down and relax, the world had, and has still, a very different one. Often you enter college and the first year people tell you to take your time and enjoy it, get settled in. Then after you have survived that they ask you, “When do you graduate?” They want you to hurry up and get there, wait out freshmen year, hurry up and graduate, and then what?

It’s all hurry-up and wait. Hurry up and apply to college, but wait to choose which one is right. Hurry up and finish college, wait for a job in this economy. Hurry up and find a partner, but don’t you dare get married, wait. Hurry up and figure out the who, what, where, when and why of your life, but wait to actually get any of those things in place.  I know I can’t be the only one who used to dream of a time where I would have a job in my field, a reliable used car, and maybe an apartment that actually would make me proud to have people over (you laugh but I’m 100% serious, and also 100% grateful of what I do have). So I patiently hurried along all of the things I was supposed to and now, for a year, I have been waiting.

Soon the waiting will be over. In less than 10 days I am moving cross country to pursue that career I hurried up to get. In the meantime this year of waiting, and in many ways a year of trials and disappointments, has served to teach me that my mom was right. Don’t wish your life away. The periods of rush-rush and the periods of waiting and longing, they are there for a reason. This year has showed me what I really want, and that is something to be valued. This year has also showed me why Ben and Jerry’s may be an excellent stock option.

After waiting months to be gainfully employed in a new classroom of 8th graders, in a matter of days (1 month from tomorrow to be exact) it will be the 1st day of school in a new school, new city, and a new state. So here goes nothing!

XOXO Natalie

P.S.- On my tip cross country I will be blogging every night in the hotel with pictures of the journey and experience, cause let’s be real, how often does a 20 something give up everything they know and pursue their dream job? Oh right, everyday. Be brave people, get out there!