No Really, I’m Fine.

It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it? I haven’t written since August and before that it was April. 20-16 must have been the year of writers block or something. I’ve had my fair share of Twitter rants and wonderings so I’m still in the game. I think I struggle most with what the purpose of this blog is supposed to be, if any. Does it need a purpose? Probably not. But since when do I do something for no reason? Never.

At it’s core, I just want to leave my stamp in the world. Years from now when memories fade or when my children, niece and grandchildren want to know more about me or how I was or how I felt or thought or dreamt or lived.. I want them to have something to refer to coming from me. Not some folklore story (like I even have any haha!) where moments were altered because the game of telephone was never that good of a game to begin with. I want someone, somewhere to be able to break all my ramblings down and be like “..she was something else. She thought differently, she understood life on a different level than others.” Something I’ve been trying to figure out for all of 27 years and I still really can never find anyone like me. Not that I really want to, I suppose. I like being me. (On the inside. The outside is another issue, self-esteem related obviously.) But it would be nice to have a “me” in my life if that makes any sense.

Of course, not everything and everyone has or will be in this blog. That’s the funny thing and maybe that’s why I have an issue with continuing this writing rambling. What’s the point if it’s only full of half of the story? I learned my lesson years ago from airing out my dirty laundry on this blog. A time in my life when I was reaching out for something, just needing to get things off my chest and be heard but the people that actually read my posts were the very ones I didn’t want to read them. No one really ever gave a shit or tried to understand what was going on in my life in those very moments of need. Lectures have never solved problems. Such is life and I lived.

Since then, I’ve had times that have come and passed without even a blink on this blog. Feelings of self-doubt and hatred. Body issues, moral dilemmas, pure livid wtf moments.. Pain, joy, death. And feelings of nothing. I’ve spent hours binge watching my favorite shows over and over. Reading stories and blogs on purpose with the intent to either cry or laugh, however I feel like feeling that day. I feel it all, just like everyone else, but I just don’t feel like there is a legit way to share anymore. You always run the risk of a co-worker or boss or friend seeing what you’ve written and they immediately jump. Instantaneously pass some kind of weird judgement as if they really really know you when all it was was a blip in your day that you just needed to write about. No biggie.

I’ve wanted to tell you so much but in a world of over-sharing, I just can’t. Any story that I have ever told or will ever tell will always be carefully arranged. It’s time to read between the lines.

Too-ta-loo.

Day 2: Badminton Anyone?

My feet hurt because I’m a lazy pants most of the days of my life. And I’m tired. We were up and out by 6 this morning. “Uffda” as my grandma would say.

Today’s post is short. We spent the day in Kansas City, MO. I took a bunch of pictures I’ll probably never print like usual. Most of them are posted below but you can check me out on the Insta to see the rest @orianoelle.

P.S. I’m further south then yesterday. Already broke my own record. Boo ya.

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Album Review: Lukas Graham

lukas-graham-652x367Music is a hard thing to write about mostly because it falls into the category of “no one understands it like you do.” Right? The way I interpret a track could be totally opposite of someone else. Well maybe not opposite, but just not the same. And sometimes you feel like you understand a song on the deepest possible level, to the point of actually feeling the words. But does anyone else feel the same? Maybe.

I’ve read a couple reviews so far on the Lukas Graham album that just dropped today. Mostly positive. YAS! I understand that not everyone will agree. Some will pull the “Never be as good as the Beetles” card in a weird positively passive aggressive way. Oh wait, they already did. First, so what? And second, how do you know? There’s no way to gauge an artists reach on day one of a release. How many people do you think doubted Elvis a few generations ago? Or Macklemore? Or Britney? No one knows how great someone will become, dream crusher.

Anyway.

I feel super connected to this album. I don’t know why. The first time I heard their single “7 Years,” I automatically was like “THIS. This is it.” I think I like the messaging and the down to earth feel I get when I listen to the tracks. They are relatable which isn’t unusual. But it’s a new relatable that I haven’t been able to feel in a long time. Mostly, I enjoy the genres that all fall within the album. It’s not just soul or hip-hop or pop. It’s all-encompassing. The background beats are easy to move to and each song has a different tone. The New York Times explained their style pretty well, I think. I’ve read about as much as I can about Lukas Graham and his band. The catch-all Wikipedia doesn’t have tons of background at this point in the bands career but it looks like I’m going to need to track down thier other releases because I just can’t get enough! There have also been numerous articles circulating since they started their U.S. promotions, which is totes awesome. I just wish they’d hit up North Dakota or Minnesota on the U.S. leg of their tour! #whereyouat

With that being said, I’m not going to analyze each track because I’ve always thought that everyone should form their own connection with artists’ music instead of being told what some blogger thinks it means or encourages you to feel a certain way. I do have to say that I really don’t have words for how many feels this album gives me. I’ve already danced, laughed, and cried. These tracks will be on repeat for months and years to come.

I rarely get my ass in gear and jump on an album the second it’s available but I did this time and I really needed it. I’ve been having a weird week. Lots of ups and downs but listening to this album however many times so far has brought me to a good spot for the end of the week and I’m glad about that. Happy April Fools day in a non-April Fools but still a feel-good way. If that makes sense.

You can buy Lukas Graham’s album on a slew of different platforms by clicking here. I can’t say that I have a favorite because they’re all so good but here’s one that you haven’t heard on the radio yet. #teardroponmyguitar Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Is it weird that I’m re-gauging my ears at age 26? Whatever, don’t answer that.

I feel like my life kind of stopped sometime around age 20 & I fell into a rabbit hole not quite as awesome as Alice. I became a secluded social hobbit.

But about a year ago this time, I decided to start doing what I want with my life. I know that seems annoyingly cliché but I don’t know how else to describe it. Before then, no one was holding me back other than myself. I think a lot of people thought Channing was holding me back for years and they weren’t totally wrong I guess. But as me, who’s been through the 20-something life I’ve had, it was more me molding into his interests or disinterests when I should have been continuing to be my own person.

He never restricted anything in my life. Ever. He actually has always encouraged me to do whatever I want but for some reason I stalled out and was stuck in thin air. Stuck in my 20’s unable to move. Thinking I always needed to be right there, always available, revolve my life around him and only him. I was wrong.. and dumb.

Now, at age 26, I’m no longer naive about the situation I was in. A lot of the things that happened in our early relationship were inexcusable. I admit that a large part of me was probably too insecure to leave. Too scared of what might happen to him or that I may never find anyone again. Mostly because of my weight. For years, I don’t know if my love for him was the same as his for me. I doubt it. I chose to live a miserable few years, that’s true. I had a good support system and could have paved another path for my early 20’s but I didn’t. Ultimately, I chose not to. And I’m cool with that.

Two, three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say that. Say that I’m okay with how life is turning out. Up until relatively recently, I had always wondered all of the what-ifs. What if I stayed gone when my mom and brother moved me out? What if I continued on to a 4-year college after Northland? What if I moved far far away? What if I never would have met him that day at the fair?

I didn’t have any kind of epiphany. I just realized that I’m tired of worrying about it. I can’t change it. Anything that I didn’t do or felt like I couldn’t do at the time, I can do now. Just because my early 20’s are gone and I don’t have hardly any good memories or stories to tell doesn’t mean that my life is over. I’m 26 for God’s sake. Twenty fucking six!

So earlier, I said my way of thinking all changed about a year ago. Nothing crazy happened, I was just like “I’m going to do what I want” whether it’s by myself or not. I’m going to go to the store, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to look for a better city to live in. I’m going to travel and laugh and not apologize.

I didn’t go on some newly 21-year old crazy streak. I sought out a better future for us. We moved to Fargo, I was able to transfer within my company and turns out I’m now in a pretty awesome place professionally and financially. I’m doing something I like. We got a cat kid named Franklin. I traveled some of the Great Lakes blue with my mommy dearest. Don’t worry mom, I won’t say “mommy” again. Ugh, that word. I remember going to a grocery story one time, years ago and this teenager said “mommy.” Pretty sure I gagged. Rant over.

But you know what? Everyone survived. Channing came with me and supported me without a struggle. After years of being so reserved when it came to my relationship, scared to disagree or say something wrong; I was worried about nothing. Over the last year and even more, Channing has more than willingly made sacrifices to help me do or get what I want. He’s never even tried to veto me on them. He supports me.

Four or five years ago, this was a different story. For whatever reason, the Universe had some kind of pull to make everything fall into place the way it has. 20-15 was a good year for us, for me. And this year is going to be even better. Funny how much truth there is to the phrase “You’re the only one that can hold you back.”

Year 2: The Hub, Boston.

Well! I’m so excited to finally say this…we’re going to Boston! I think we’re about 89% certain that it’s this year’s destination. Last year, my mom and I embarked on our inaugural mother-daughter vacation. We drove down to Madison and Chicago and then back up and around through Holland, Mackinaw City, Ashland, and Duluth.

It was so much fun and such an amazing experience. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my mom but we did things that neither of us had ever done. And most importantly, we started our journey of traveling. A dream we’ve both dreamt of for so long.

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Why Boston?
Well, we decided that now’s a better time than never to fly on an airplane. Something neither of us have ever done. My two reservations for never traveling via flight are my physical size and not knowing the process. One of which is probably a dumb reason. I feel like there are so many restrictions when flying and I never really have all the answers. I’m a super-planner. I need to know everything and when it’s not readily available, I have a mini-panic attack. What can we pack? What can’t we? Is luggage extra? What’s a carry-on? How much is that? What if I don’t fit in the seat? Do I have to buy two seats? What if the seat belt extender still isn’t big enough? Can I have a nail-clipper in my purse? What if my luggage is lost? Ect. Ridiculous, I know. But I’ve never been anywhere. Seriously.

Although last years trip was so worth while and totally amazing, we did do a lot of driving. Like 1800+ miles of driving. We’d be totally up for another long drive but we have been playing around with flying for awhile. It may cost more, transportation wise, but we wouldn’t have to be in a vehicle not experiencing the world for such a long duration.

After asking a few friends questions, doing a little research, and calling a couple of airlines – we decided amongst advice from our peers that a nonstop flight would be best for newbies like us. Fargo and Grand Forks don’t have a lot of destinations to choose from for a summer trip and we really want to go big or go home. So, why not look at MSP? There are a handful of nonstop destinations departing from MSP. One of the reasons we decided on Boston is because realistically, we know our spouses have no desire to ever tour the east coast/New England area. (Yet anyway.)

“Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.” -Marcus Valerius Martialis

So, we’re in the very early stages of planning this trip. We’re going to head east early to mid August of this year. Tourist information and travel brochures have been ordered! I’ve reached out to a few more people asking about their experience on sites like Expedia and Trivago. To anyone reading this that has been to Boston and the surrounding area, I’d love to hear what the best things to do are. The must-see’s, the go-to’s. Best modes of transportation, coolest unknowns. Are you overweight? We’d love to hear what your take on sizes, seats, seat belts are when flying. To anyone, what has your experience been with airfare and hotel packages on popular travel sites?

Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to start yet another year of sightseeing and living out my dreams!

To read about our 2015 trip, click here!

NickGFast: Subscribe + Like + Share

My brother [Nick] has recently began dipping his 20-something toes back into his YouTube channel among other things. It sounds like he has a couple of ventures up his sleeve. I’m excited to watch him travel along this new found road of cool stuff. He’s a vinyl collecting, music guru, movie nerd kind of kid.

I’m sure I’m biased because I’m his sister but he’s darn talented. I should have written a list before writing this; how unprepared of me. He can know you for 10 years or 10 minutes and I guarantee you he could mix you a playlist that you’ll be addicted to for weeks. He’ll give you and the artist or actor an honest and educated review of whatever he’s listening to, watching, or reading.

Also, he just shared that he edited a blog article for a friend of his interviewing Glass Houses. #jealousAF Doesn’t he know I’m the grammar nazi of the family? Anyway, kudos to him and I can’t wait see what else he has coming down the pipeline!

Before I forget; like, share, subscribe, follow. Do whatever it is kids do these days. Links and tags below the video because I’m helpful like that. Enough rambling, meet the man of the hour himself — my brother, Nick G. Fast:

YouTube, Twitter, Vine: @NickGFast
Instagram, Snapchat: @nickobean

I’m 26 Now, You Know

This is about a month delayed but it’s actually given me a hot minute to reflect. In case you couldn’t tell, the theme as of late is reflection.

I’ve officially entered the scary pre-midlife crisis of the late-20’s. Welp! A crossroads where excuses of immaturity aren’t accepted anymore and you are either married with kids or still chasing your hangovers at the bar every night.

I am neither.

I’m happily chillin’ with my cat Frank by my side, boyfriend watching the History Channel in the other room and the dishwasher just clicked off. Silence. I’m a homebody that looks forward to PJ’s and TV at the end of a day.

I’ve felt “stuck” for quite some time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that I (we) have just been chasing so many meaningless things for so long that life passed by quicker than we expected.

At 26, I don’t have anything to show for my life. Really. In a non-pity party matter of speaking. I don’t have anything. I haven’t traveled the ocean blue. Well, except for my first big trip ever this year but that’s all part of what this next year will bring. I don’t have a family of my own yet or a ring on my finger. I don’t have a home or new furniture. I don’t have the successful weightloss story I thought I’d have by now. My job is just fine but it’s not what I’d always dreamt about.

But this is different than posts past. Remember, it’s about reflection. I’m content where I am. Too many years too late maybe, but I’ve finally accepted the past and the present. I’m okay with where my life is at. My health is something that I’ll have to continually work towards. Babies will come when it’s their and our time. A proposal will come when it’s right. Jobs, income, finances, homes, they’ll sort themselves out and I’m finally okay with it.

I didn’t have a light bulb moment. I was just tired of dwelling on the past. Thinking of all these “mistakes” I’d made in my short adult life. Going to college instead of making memories with my senior class, putting up with Channing’s shit, ditching friends, moving and moving and moving again, quitting and accepting jobs. For so long, I wondered “what if?” And honestly, I always will. I’m always going to be wondering “what if” but I’ve come to terms with the paths I’ve taken.

If everything hadn’t happened exactly as it had over the course of the last 26 years, I might not be as close as I am with my mom. I might not know a love as deep as the one I have. I might not be as accomplished as I am in my position at work or heck, I might not have developed the work ethic that I have. If the negatives that I worry about so much hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be who I am.

Who am I? I’m bright and thoughtful. I listen and I care. I am trustworthy and opinionated. I’m a realist and a tweeting millennial. I’m not interested in going out or having tons of friends. I know that I’m smarter than half the people that spent $35K on college. I’m a cat mom, a paperback book reader, a board game lover and a Minnesotan North Dakotan. I’m me and I’m okay with that.

I know that all of the things I want in my life will happen. The worst part about being the kind of person that makes a plan to make a plan is not being able to make a plan for life. Life happens the way it wants to happen, you can’t force it.