Too Excited

Too Excited | lovely letters

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Dear Friend,

I read an article the other day entitled “Are We Addicted to Stress?” I thought to myself, “what a ridiculous notion. No one would willingly allow themselves to be stressed.”

I have this concept that stress is a reaction to sticky situations. That when hard or bad things happen then stress appears. Cause and effect. Pretty simple.

After reading this article, though, I think I’m wrong. The article essentially says that stress is a habit and even sometimes a choice. People tend to get stressed in consistent ways, so when your brain recognizes a stressful situation coming it just automatically turns stress on. After a while, your body might be stressing out proactively. It might anticipate a familiar situation and BAM! full-force stress. Other people choose stress in a variety of forms. They stay busy and keep their calendar full so that stress is just built in to every day.

This woke me up. Big time.

The end of last week was some of the best days of my life. My mom came to town on her birthday. We had an incredible dinner and were able to catch up after too much time apart. We spent the next two days shopping for wedding dresses. There was so much love and so many tears of joy in each of the bridal salons, I can’t even explain. Then on Saturday, my future in-laws threw us the most incredible engagement party. It was completely beautiful and filled with so many people who love and support us. Never has there been such an amazing party. Finally, on Sunday morning my dad hosted a brunch for our families and a few friends who were still in town. Again, more love, more champagne, and more food. All of the good things.

The catch?

I had a migraine for the majority of the fun, which put me out of commission for some of it. Migraines happen way too frequently in my life and have happened for as long as I can remember. They are also a pretty common side affect of stress, but it took this past weekend for me to finally connect the dots that my migraines could be stress related.

I get these kinds of migraines when I get too excited, when I’ve had a lot of time to look forward to something, when all of the attention is on me, etc. It started when I was young and has become a theme, so much so that I’ve started prepping for big events by preemptively taking ibuprofen. I have basically given in to the circumstances and have pretty much started telling my body when it should be stressed. The triggers are always the same and so are the results.

So, in addition to keeping track of my headache days and increasing the amount of water I drink to deal with potential dehydration, I’m looking into stress control. I don’t really know what that means or what that will look like but I’m looking into it. I’m trying to make yoga a more serious part of my life. It’s something I’ve loved in the past and want to be more consistent with. This is all in hopes of having a migraine-free wedding day a year from now and really a migraine free life!

How do you deal with stress in your life? 

xx Katie

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Superpowers

Superpowers | lovely letters

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Dear Friend,

Superpowers have been pouring into my life from every angle recently. This is SUCH a bizarre trend, but really they’re everywhere.

Obviously I’ve seen movies where there are super powers and maybe once or twice at camp I was asked what my superpower of choice would be as an icebreaker. But never in real life has a superpower come up. Until now…

Emailing wedding photographers.

This is essentially what consumes my downtime, my lunch breaks, even my dreams. I spend a lot of my free head space coming up with questions for photographers, itemizing potential costs that might make photographers as expensive as they are, contemplating how I might get along with various photographers and whether or not that would show up in the photos, etc. I have been in talks with upwards of 10 photographers – all amazing, all incredibly friendly and excited, and all shockingly expensive. Basically what’s happening is the price tag outweighs any personality and I move on to the next.

Until the other day.

I stumbled upon the most beautiful site belonging to a married couple who does wedding photography. They charge just a little bit less than everyone else, and in addition to following up with a price estimate they sent a link to “getting to know you” questions. I’m a total sucker for personality quizzes and random games of 20 questions, so I jumped at the chance to talk/type about myself. The questions were unique and interesting and I was thrilled to answer them especially because I’m basically internet dating photographers at this point. If I answer the questions with sincerity and vibrance, maybe we’ll hit it off! Anyways, the last question… “what’s your superpower?” I had never seriously considered superpowers, but this scenario felt like I should give it some thought.

Pre-massage paperwork. 

Two friends gave me the incredible gift of a massage gift card. Well done friends! So on Saturday I went in for the massage. Part of the “get there fifteen minutes early” suggestion is to settle in, get some basic additional pampering, and fill out a little form that lets the masseuse know of any potential injuries and particular areas of tension. This form however, took it a step further. The last question was “real or imagined, what is your superpower?”

This article. 

Kate Arends beautifully wrote an essay dedicated to wellness and mental health advocacy. She is eloquent and honest and compassionate. One of her final lines states, “You have an opportunity to turn what makes you special into your very own superpower.”

SUPERPOWERS EVERYWHERE!

So long story short, I’ve thought a lot about my superpower recently.

The answer I’ve landed on is a real “superpower” – implicit trust. 

I’ve never, never had anything remotely in the neighborhood of trust issues.  I always believe what people tell me, unless of course they’re insane – I’m not gullible. Good or bad that’s what it is. And so, I’ve decided to take this quality and see it as a superpower.

Oh! and just so you know, for the photographer’s question, my leading man and I answered for each other. His superpower from my perspective is superhuman strength and healing, and mine is mind control over him! Silly guy.

What is your superpower?

xx Katie

Dear April

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Dear April,

I missed March! I missed the whole thing!

I didn’t actually miss it, but part of my birthday gift to myself was downtime. As such, any and all downtime that came up was savored. It was a great choice and here’s why.

Sometimes (most times) I get caught up in just about everything. I hold on to details longer than I should. I procrastinate on making decisions that carry a lot of weight. I take in and overanalyze every opinion that’s offered. Basically, all of the things that hinder confident decision-making and cause emotional breakdowns, I do.

Enter wedding planning.

I am so beyond over-the-moon to be engaged. I can’t express to you how much fun it is to tell the proposal story ten times a day, to wear a sparkly ring that means forever, to be all in with the best guy I know, and to essentially start thinking about what a lifetime with him will look like. Wedding planning, however, is a different story.

I will be the first to admit that I am a perfectionist and a control freak. I enjoy doing things with a focus on the details. I like doing things myself when I can. And most of all I enjoy following rules. None of this makes planning a wedding yourself easier. As such, I’ve already gotten stressed and broken down and cried too many times. However, I have finally (after the gift of downtime) come to the realization that it doesn’t need to be a full-time job and that there are no rules.

The ceremony and the party that follows will be a tribute to the next phase of our love story. We will be surrounded by people who love us and want to support us. People will dance and sing and have a blast. All of this will happen regardless of the color of the carpet or the number of flowers on each table or the flavor of the cake. All of the good things will happen simply because we are getting married and couldn’t be more excited to do so.

My goal for April (and the next year) is to keep all of this in mind when I find myself getting wrapped up in things that are trivial. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

What’s on your plate this month?

xx Katie

Friday Fashion (8)

Fashion Friday (7) | lovely letters

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Dear Friday,

I am, and maybe always have been, in a serious 50’s glamour mood.

I want full skirts and red lips and a hat for every outfit just like the classic beauties from what seems to be my spirit-animal-of-a-decade. However, it took quite the style roller coaster to get me here.

When I was younger I sort of walked a fine line between tomboy and girly girl. I never identified with one or the other because even though I spent most of my time in jeans and ponytails, I filled most of my daydreams with glamour and style. But realistically how many 14-year-old girls have the confidence to take on a full-skirted shirt dress and matching hat? Maybe 2? I sure didn’t so jeans and t-shirts were it for me.

Fashion Friday (7) | lovely letters Fashion Friday (7) | lovely letters

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Then freshman year of college rolled around and Lord knows what unbridled freedom and a city like Tacoma can do to one’s sense of style… (I hit a hood-rat phase). Shocking. I can’t even elaborate because it was such a strange time.

Slowly but surely, I stepped out of my gold flecked Nikes and oversized sweatpants and realized that I could wear whatever I wanted. I had been so intimidated by the idea of being over dressed and what people might think, that I hadn’t thought to be worried about people’s reactions to how severely underdressed I had been.

Obviously, post sweatpants intervention, I still spent a decent amount of time in casual wear, but it was no longer shouting at people, “I don’t care about myself at all!”

The real change came when I started looking for jobs senior year. This was the moment I had been waiting for. My daydreams of glamour and style were about to come true because I would be joining the forces of corporate America and could wear pencil skirts! I took every interview I had as an opportunity to wear snappy clothes I loved more than an opportunity to learn about the jobs that came with them. Misguided but nonetheless I ended up hired.

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Fashion Friday (7) | lovely letters

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I left lovely Tacoma for San Francisco where I imagined impeccably styled city life.

Shockingly enough the tech world doesn’t have a significant amount of dress code standards and as a result there are far too many individuals who need a sweatpants intervention. However, city life is incredible in this arena because of the diversity of styles squished into one area mixed with people’s callous disregard for what anyone else is doing. People honestly and truly don’t care what anyone else is wearing. They might not like what someone else is wearing but there is no right or wrong and there sure as hell is someone else who is wearing something weirder. People just get dressed and that’s it.

What’s really happening here is maybe more than changing environments. It’s bigger than Tacoma versus San Francisco and more in line with freshman versus senior. What’s happening is my attitude and self-image has changed. Even though what people think of me still weighs on me, I’m starting to realize that what I think and how I feel is more important. I’d much rather dress for myself than for a random audience of strangers who’ll never notice me or ever see me again. Plus the people who do know me and will see me again appreciate me for me and nice clothes are just a bonus.

Friday Fashion (7) | lovely letters Friday Fashion (7) | lovely letters

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So bring on the glamour is what I say! And besides, Coco Chanel spelled it out perfectly when she said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Here’s to being remembered for who I am and not for the raggedy sweatpants I used to live in.

Has your style evolution been a dramatic one or inspired by any one decade in particular?

xx Katie

Lucky Lady

Lucky Lady | lovely letters

Dear Friend,

What’s worse than a ten-hour flight when all you want is to be home? A ten-hour flight where the flu sets in around hour 7. This is unfortunately the situation I was in on Saturday morning.

Everything started off fine. Of course waking up at 4:00am on a Saturday isn’t anyone’s idea of a perfect start to the day, but I was miraculously headed to first class courtesy of a random upgrade! There would be so much sleeping room! NO PROBLEMS ANYWHERE!

I got to the airport without a hitch and settled into the first class lounge. This is where I became incredibly aware of what I have been missing my whole life by flying coach… the champagne bar. Yes, at 5:45 in the morning there was a champagne bar, which was of course enticing, but come on… 5:45am!? Obviously I passed and went for the fresh hash browns instead.

Soon enough I was on the plane, in the air, and dead asleep.

Cue hour 7, when horrible things began happening. Those who have had the flu please feel free to fill in the blanks here, and for those who have not had the flu, count your lucky stars and don’t even ask about the blanks. I proceeded to turn into my most dramatic, childish self and literally cried for my mom on the plane.

After getting to know the flight attendants all too well, one of them asked as she put me back in my seat for landing if I would be greeted by a loved one or by a taxi. She brought me around to the realization that I, in fact, would be met after baggage claim by a loved one! The saving grace of this whole ordeal was knowing that my leading man would be picking me up at the airport. SUCH COMFORT!

~

To get off my little soapbox here and to unabashedly start pouring my heart out, let me just say that I am one lucky lady. I am loved by a man with such compassion and grace that he managed to not only take care of me all weekend but he had also, in preparation for me coming home, had my car cleaned, finished the laundry, and cleaned the house. To say I am lucky is completely an understatement, but nonetheless my gratitude for this selfless man is unparalleled.

Even after all this time, 

The Sun never says to the Earth, 

“You owe me.”

Look what happens with

a love like that. 

It lights the whole sky.

I find that it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day routine of living with someone let alone being in a relationship. It’s shocking how fast I adapt to someone working to take care of me and how quickly I lose sight of what an effort that is. My flu situation highlighted how much I take for granted, not only my health but also this incredible man who would (and does) drop everything to be with me/take care of me/pamper me/what-have-you.

Lucky Lady | lovely letters

In light of all this and in an attempt to grow, I am adding a resolution to my list. This year I am dedicated to expressing my gratitude consistently. I will be aware of the acts of kindness taking place around me, and I will thank the selfless people for the beautiful things they do.

Have you added anything to your list of resolutions since the year has started?

xx Katie