Friday, January 29, 2016

30 Before 30

You guys. I turn 30 in less than 8 months. THIRTY!!! [Insert wide-eyed emoji face here] I'll be honest, though. For a while I was dreading this birthday, but as of lately, I've been kind of embracing it. I made a ton of mistakes in my 20s and also learned a good deal of lessons. I took a job I thought I'd never do, had friendships and a relationship end, moved multiple times, made new friends, went back to school, and completely found myself. That's what your 20s are for, though, right? I can definitely say one thing: I don't regret even an ounce of my past. It has only prepared me for a really great future. I just know it! I'm so excited to see what my 30s bring.

In preparation for this big birthday, about a year ago I decided to make a list of 30 things that I wanted to do before I turned 30. And, um, I've only crossed off about 4 items. So I opened it up the other night and made a few edits. I needed to make it more achievable. Because, let's face it, there's no way I'm going to take a cross-country road trip, fly out to Seattle, and visit somewhere outside of the U.S. within the next 8 months. Unless I win the Power Ball. Then check back with me. ;)

So, without further ado, my 30 before 30:

1. Get my Master’s degree
2. Learn how to use my camera properly
3. Run a 10K
4. Do a cartwheel
5. Visit Seattle
6. Teach myself a new hobby
7. Start (and continue) my blog
8. Take piano lessons
9. Go to a concert outside of Jacksonville
10. Read a classic novel
11. Shoot a gun
12. Go skinny dipping in the ocean [Uh. Sorry mom & dad]
13. Zip line
14. Travel somewhere alone
15. Make new friends
16. Go snorkeling
17. Camp somewhere with a great view
18. Invest in a timeless handbag
19. Say no, without explaining myself
20. Volunteer
21. Take a helicopter ride
22. Do 10 proper-form pushups in a row
23. Adopt a new pet
24. See a waterfall
25. Take a spontaneous road trip
26. Climb a mountain
27. Throw a dinner party for friends/family
28. Watch the sun rise
29. Do something that scares me
30. Send 5 handwritten letters (that aren't thank you notes)

So, there we go. It's written for all of the world to see. I can't let myself [or you] down!

Anyone else make a list like this? I'd love to hear your ideas!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Who is Lauren?

If you read my first post, then you know how this blog came about. So I thought it was only fitting to learn more about the blog itself, and the writer behind it.

Peaches and Palm Trees has always been like my child. I think about it all of the time. And now I'm so excited to finally put all of my thoughts into action! I hope that as I grow, it grows [& vice versa]. It's a lifestyle blog, travel blog and everything in between. I hope to make you laugh, cry, and feel a little bit of something every day. I hope that when you exit out of your browser, I've left you with something, anything that makes you think.

I've finally, FINALLY learned to live in the moment. But for some reason, [I blame it on the Virgo in me] I'll also constantly think about the future. I really try to enjoy every single day, but will always continue to think "What if..." Maybe it's not just a Virgo thing... Maybe it's a girl thing? Any men out there with me? I'm willing to bet that I'm not alone in this. Haha! But let's face it, life is all about planning for the unexpected. YOU think that's an oxymoron. I know better.

Do you remember on the first day of school when you went around the room and everyone in the class had to say their name and list a few things about themselves? Yes? I hated those days, too. I was such an introvert. This just proves that people can, and do, change.

So let's have a little fun, shall we? Here's my top 10 11. I'd love to hear yours, too!

1. I'm an aunt to 3 handsome little boys. Seriously, they make my heart skip a beat. Isn't it funny how children can do that to you? The joy they bring me is indescribable. 

2. I was full-time nanny for a high profile family in Atlanta. I loved every second of my job. Ok, maybe not EVERY second. But those sweet boys put the fun in my funny. They made me smile on my hardest days and they didn't even know it. My five years with their family helped me grow in ways that I could never fully put into words. Hands-down, my greatest (& hardest, most challenging, yet rewarding) experience in life so far.

3. I finally consider myself an athlete. I grew up dancing and that will always be my first love, but over a year ago, I decided to take my health and fitness to a new level. I cut out most processed foods and started working out smarter. My workouts consist of low intensity days, high intensity days, weights, and a few classes (Zumba, Barre, etc.) for fun. When I moved back to Florida in July, I lost my routine a little. Which caused me to lose muscle definition and gain 10lbs. :( Don't you hate when that happens? Luckily, I'm finally back in the swing of things and will happily share my journey on here.

4. I love to travel. Like really, really love it. I love the craziness of walking into the airport, going through security and waiting at the gate with a Starbucks in hand. I love visiting new places and returning to areas where I feel like a local. I hope to travel the world one day, both solo and with the love of my life. [This is where you're probably saying, "Everyone loves to travel!" Normally I would agree, but believe it or not, I know quite a few people who prefer to stay put in our nice little city than go out and explore. - I call these people some my friends and family. I also call them crazy!]

5.  I can count my best friends on one hand and wouldn't have it any other way. And yes, two of them are my mom and sister. What is that old saying? I'd rather have four quarters than 100 pennies. 

6. I buy an ornament every time I visit somewhere new. I love looking back on them at Christmas. I also didn't realize this until recently, but I like to collect cute mugs/water bottles and stationary (thank you cards, note cards, pretty napkins). If it comes with an elephant on it, I'm guaranteed to buy it.

7. I hate confrontation. I hate when someone is [or I think someone is] upset with me. I overthink every little detail of every single momentous [in my eyes] situation. My old boss said it best: I'm a people pleaser. I always have been and always will be. My New Year's resolution in 2015 was to start saying no more often. I failed. And I'm ok with that.

8. I'm scared of the dark. I have night lights every where and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

9. I am in a Special Education master's program with a concentration in Autism. I can't wait to work with children and their families and see where it all takes me.

10. I love love. I love the butterflies, the excitement in your heart, the sheer joy to be with another person. I love the feeling of wanting to better yourself for that person. I love wanting nothing but good things for that person. I love hurting for that person. I love all of the feelings that it puts in your mind, heart and whole body. How lucky are we to feel something like that?

11. And lastly, a few of my favorite things: hand-written letters, music (the deep, feel-the-lyrics-in-your-bones kind and the shake-your-tail-feather kind haha), naps, the salty feeling on your skin after a long day at the beach, elephants, greeting cards, the smell of books (old ones are the best!), kisses & cuddles, cold beer, red wine, and spending the day with my momma. 

So there you have it. A small little glimpse into who I am. I'm sure as time goes on, you'll learn a lot more.

Thank you so much for reading. Seriously, I'm virtually kissing each and every one of you!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Peaches & Palm Trees

When I decided to start this blog a couple of years ago, my mind went into a million different directions. I was worried about the design and layout, who would read it, if I would sound like an idiot. Would my idea of blogging about life, love, and travels really be of interest? Would people click on my blog in their google search? I questioned myself all. the. time.
But then guess what happened? Life. My world was turned upside down, and for a little while, I thought I'd never get back up. This little blog of mine got pushed to the side. I didn't think about it for months. And then one day, I did. 

All of life's moments (both good and bad), I've wanted to document. And in those moments, that's when it happened: I remembered why I loved writing so much. It was therapeutic. And I reminded myself to never stop doing what I love. Because when there is a passion behind your writing, it doesn't matter about the design or whether you'll become popular. I'm just happy to have an outlet, and am willing to bet that many of you can relate, too. I wanted to create a place where I enjoy going, just as much as my readers do. One thing that I've definitely learned over the past couple of years is that we live in a pretty awesome, but often cruel world. [That's a blog post in its own] We need to learn to build each other up. Sometimes your own personal pep talks just don't cut it. Trust me, I get it. It took me a long time to love myself enough to get to this point. And I hope that the love I put into this blog shines through and my readers love it just the same.

And that is how Peaches and Palm Trees came about.

The title of the blog was pretty simple: I was born in New Jersey, but moved to Florida when I was 9 and lived here through college. Florida means family to me. It's home. But then I moved to Atlanta. And although it was a huge change for me, and at times I hated life there, it became my home. And it had filled my heart with so much joy. 

In the 29 years of my life, there are two places where I truly discovered myself: Tampa, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. And although I don't have the heart to talk about the exact signficance at this very moment, just know that in those places you can find two of my favorite things: peaches and palm trees.