It’s Friday, I’m in Love: vol. 1

Let’s take a moment on this lovely Friday to discuss a few things I am currently obsessing over.

1. Music of the folksy-indie-alt-rock variety. Specifically I am obsessed with Of Monsters and Men, but Mumford & Sons, She & Him, Florence + the Machine, The Decemberists, The Shins and a few others are getting frequent plays on my iPod right now.


2. Goat cheese. I’ve always liked goat cheese in that ‘I’ll eat it, but I’m not going to go out of my way for it’ kind of way, but right now I can’t.get.enough. The obsession actually started a few weeks ago with a wild mushroom and goat cheese flatbread from Blackwood Grill, but it peaked this week in the form of Trader Joe’s Blueberry Vanilla Chevre smeared on a toasted English muffin.

3. Gossip Girl. I just finished season 4 on Netflix, and I’m currently warring with myself over season 5 (the current season). I can watch them on Hulu Plus, but only the 5 most recent episodes are available which leaves me a 13 or 14 episode gap. I could buy these off Amazon or I could just suck it up and wait for Season 5 to be released on Netflix. I don’t REALLY want to wait, but my cheap side hasn’t caved to buying them yet.   I’ve been tearing through the books as well, but in all honesty, the TV series (which is really vastly different) is WAY better.

What about you? Is there anything you’re obsessing over? Should I be obsessed with it too?

On Making Friends and Of Monsters and Men

Making friends is something that has always been a struggle for me.   I’m shy to begin with, and a history of lousy friends has created a lot of self-esteem and trust issues for me.  I tend to question people’s motives and whether they really want to be friend or if they’re just being polite.  I wonder about my “value” as a friend and whether or not I’m a “good” friend.  Over the years, I’ve dealt with most of my issues so they don’t usually interfere with my friendships, but they still make it harder for me to develop new friendships.  I find myself uncomfortable around strangers.  I think I’m terrible at small talk, and  I tend to feel really insecure when making new friends.

This is even true when it comes to making blog friends.  It’s not like I don’t have things to talk about, like we don’t have things in common, but  I have just as much trouble approaching people and engaging strangers in the blogophere as I do in the real world.  It’s not that I don’t want to make friends with my fellow bloggers; I just pretty much always feel like a creepy lame-ass emailing a blogger saying something like “Oh hi, I really like your blog; can we be friends?”  I know I shouldn’t worry about stuff like that, but sometimes insecurities get the best of me especially when there isn’t a face to face or immediate interaction involved.

I have a very close knit group of friend that I’ve been friends with since high school.  Over the years we’ve gone our separate ways and come back together in time.  To me these people are just as much family as they are friends.  I didn’t make many new friends in college.  When you combined my struggles to makes friends with the fact that I already had a great group of friends my logic became, I already have great friends so why do I need to make new ones.  While I was dating my ex, I sort of fall out with the group.  I was still invited to (and attended) the major events, but I was all but nonexistent in the day-to-day.  After my breakup with my ex and my breakup with my best friend shortly thereafter, I realized I truly needed to work on re-developing and nurturing these relationships as well as forming new ones.

Over the last two years, I’ve been working really hard to build new friendships and develop closer relationships with friends I already have.  One of my Mission 101 goals was to make a new friend.  I’ve been trying to put myself out there more, open up to old friends, and take risks that the “old me” might not have taken.

Last Friday my friend Val and I had our first one-on-one “friends date.”  Val and I have known each other and run in the same circles since high school, but we’ve never been particularly close.  (Heck, I thought she actively disliked me for many years!)  We’ve been getting closer and building a stronger friendship over the last year or so – bonding over things like  wine and getting healthier and not being pregnant.  I’ve helped peel price stickers off vases and make tiny gum paste leaves for her wedding.  A couple weeks ago she asked me if I would be interested in going to see Of Monsters and Men with her.  She had two tickets and no one to go with her.
Of Monsters and Men is a new band (Their album just released in the US two days ago.)  I’d only heard one of their songs prior to the concert, but it sounded like fun so I said yes!  Truthfully, the me from two or three years ago probably would have turned her down.  Even though we’ve gotten closer over the last year, I don’t know that the “old me” would have been comfortable having one on one plans with her.

Before the concert we went and grabbed dinner at Cafe Babareeba.  I haven’t been there in years, and I had totally forgotten how much I love that restaurant.  We had spinach and manchego stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese baked in tomato sauce, roasted dates with bacon and apple vinaigrette, butternut squash and cheese toast with kale and apple salad, scallops, spaghetti squash and cranberry vinaigrette, and of course a pitchers of the white peach sangria.  Everything was delicious although we both decided the scallops left something to be desired.  I will definitely be making a return trip sooner rather than later! After dinner we walked the mile to the concert venue and arrived just after the opening band finished.  It was a short show (it’s a new band afterall), but it was fantastic.  I have absolutely fallen in love with the band, and I bought their CD (er, well, the mp3s since CDs are sooooo 90s) on Amazon on Tuesday.  I’d be listening to it non-stop if I’d bothered to replace my headphones after slamming them in my car door.
Ultimately I had a great time, and I can’t wait for our next concert (Anyone remember Out Lady Peace?!) on Sunday.  It makes me so happy to be building friendships and putting myself out there more.  I still feel insecure sometimes, but ultimately, positive experiences only boost my confidence.

A Moment of Reflection

I’m a big fan of meta-blogs and posts about blogging.  I think it’s important to consider what our purpose and motivation as bloggers is.  Are we blogging to inform, reflect, share, document?  What’s the why?

The funny thing is, as important as I think it is to consider these things, I’d never really thought much about them myself, in terms of my own blog, until the other night that is.  As I was caramelizing onions for something like my 300th version of BBQ chicken pizza, it occurred to me why I had such a difficult time connecting to my old blog, and why I’ve been so much more excited about this blog.

When I started my Girl Can, I was in a very different place than I am now.  I was a very different person.  I wasn’t in a bad place, per se, but I definitely wasn’t happy though I spent a great deal of time telling myself and everyone around me I was.  I was learning to embrace a healthy lifestyle and lose weight.  I was working on being the best, happiest version of myself.  I was actively trying to change myself and my life.  I was pursuing things that would actually make me happy.  Personal growth and change is normal, and I would settle for nothing less. I will always be working to be the best possible version of myself in any given circumstance.  I have no doubt I will continue to change and grow, and as a result this blog will change and grow over time too.  In theory, my old blog should have changed and grown with me.  As much as I tried to make it, I don’t think it ever really did, but it wasn’t until the other night that I realized as much.

The problem with my old blog wasn’t so much that I grew or changed and whether or not my blog did or didn’t.  The problem was that my motivation,t he place I was coming from changed.  When I started Girl Can, I was coming from a place of wanting to escape.  I was documenting my attempts to escape a life I was deep down unhappy with.  I was escaping an unhealthy lifestyle.  I was escaping unhealthy relationships.  As I escaped these things and found myself in a much better place, the paradigm in which I now function,  I was no longer blogging as an escape.  I was blogging to document and remember, to have a written record of my newly found happiness.  But my blog didn’t change in that regard, my blog as still rooted in that escapist mentality.  It seems to me, in retrospect, that even the tagline I created in my final attempt to revive the blog came from that same place of wanting to escape.  It’s probably, even likely, that this is a distinction that’s only clear to me in my head, but it made a world of difference.

So, what’s my why?  It’s to document my life.  It’s to share lessons I learn, thoughts I have, and things that are important to me.  I want to remember, to relive, and to create something I can look back on.  Because, like my tagline says, it’s about more than just crossing the finish line.