My favorite holiday is this week! I am so excited that we only have two days until Valentine’s Day, but I am well aware that a lot of people are either dreading the day or just not looking forward to it. Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite days of the year — despite being single for many of them. It’s great having a holiday that’s just meant to show how much you love the people in your life.
Here are an few fun ideas of things to do if you are single this Valentine’s Day:
1. Treat yourself to a massage. Couples massages are great, but you don’t need a date to have a relaxing day. If anything going alone just means you can take your time and enjoy the sauna and other amenities a spa has to offer before your treatment.
2. Binge watch a show and order delivery. This was one of my favorite things to do to relax when I was living on my own in New York. I loved watching Gossip Girl with a pizza from Joe’s and top it all off with a cupcake from Sprinkles. Now, there are a million different murder mysteries on Netflix,The Office and Parks and Rec both have great Valentine’s Day episodes, or there’s always The Hallmark Channel for hopeless romantics.
3. Splurge on expensive truffles. One of the best things I’ve gotten for Valentine’s Day was an enormous box of Godiva truffles. I used to think they were overpriced (And I mean, they totally are), but it’s worth it for a one-time thing.
4. Go dessert hopping by yourself or with a friend. Check out Yelp for the highest-rated places and taste a few things from each of them. Bring a box to keep the leftovers for the next day!
5. Deliver Valentines to your friends and family. Valentine’s Day has always been a day to celebrate the ladies in my life. My mom and I have always gone all-out for this pink and red holiday, and several of my friends like celebrating it with me, too! I usually celebrate a few different days to get all of my Galentines in, but it’s also a lot of fun to see friends’ faces when you deliver something on February 14th.
So whether or not you have a date this Thursday, make it a day to just love yourself and splurge a little. It’s always so much fun to have things to look forward to in life, and Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to just be excited about all of the love you have in your life. I hope you all have a fantastic day, and feel free to tell me what you’re going to be doing in the comments!
It’s so funny how much web traffic I got on September 22 and 23. I guess a lot of you guys must have known our wedding date! If you’ve ever gotten married, though, you also know just how crazy the time leading up to the wedding is, and then the week or so after.
I am finally back and have lots and lots to write about! I’m excited to share some of my stories about wedding planning, offer advice on what I’ve learned through the experience, and most of all, share what it’s like being a newlywed! So far it’s been really great and so much fun, but it’s also been a lot busier than I expected. I can’t wait to share more with you all! In the meantime, here are a few pictures our photographer, Katie Nesbitt took.
One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t.
Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,
“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.
Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.
I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.
If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.
My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reason, and there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.
If you’ve followed this blog even just a little bit you’ll know I really value the 5 different love languages. I think they can be a game-changer in any relationship — romantic or otherwise — and if you know how to use them correctly they can make the world a much brighter place. Loving someone in a way that speaks to them will make your heart warm and fuzzy, and helps people you care about feel like they are important to you.
I know that every love language doesn’t come easily to each person. My heart has always been one that feels strongly, and I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that every love language is really important to me. I feel fluent in all five, and I wanted to share some fun little ideas of different ways to love someone using their love language. This week I am going to be focusing on the 5 different love languages. Please feel free to comment other ideas that my readers can use for each love language, and take a minute to discover what your own love language is by taking this quiz.
The last time I took it my top love language was quality time, followed closely by physical touch. My love language score is really interesting because instead of heavily leaning on one thing, I seem to really enjoy a nice balance of all five love languages. I didn’t have a hard time choosing between the options for the quiz, yet I still had very balanced results.
This is kind of crazy because my entire life has had “gift giving” towards the top — and it’s still one of my favorite ways to show people I love them — but ever since Robert and I started dating things have shifted a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I still love little presents and surprises and really cherish every little thing he gives to me, but I am kind of floored that other ways to love have taken precedence over that. My favorite thing in the world is spending time with him, and if you can add holding hands and a few of the other love languages into a date with him that’s my little taste of heaven.
My heart feels warm and fuzzy when any of these languages are spoken to me, so I’m stoked to write about each of the different LLs this week. Stay tuned, and I would love to hear about what makes you feel loved in the comments!
I strongly believe there is someone for everyone in the world. No, that doesn’t mean I think that everyone should — or will — be in a relationship or get married, but I do believe if you want to have a romantic partner there is someone out there who will be a good fit for you.
There are so many amazing examples I’ve seen of people who thought they would never find true love because they were too quirky, too sick, too old, too tall, too short — the list goes on. I would like to argue, though, that the only thing that would ever really hinder someone from finding true love is being too picky.None of the other “too’s” are going to deter every single person in the world from dating you.
Something to remember in the world of online dating and infinite choices is that nobody is perfect. You will never have a partner who has every single quality checked off on your “list,” or who doesn’t sometimes get on your nerves, but that’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that if your relationship is overall a really big asset to your life, the little annoyances you sometimes have are so tiny in the grand scheme of things.
Luckily we aren’t all attracted to the same kind of person. That would make life pretty boring, and the journey to find love way too competitive — kind of like an ongoing episode of The Bachelor. People have different “types” that they’re into, and just because you are rejected by one person doesn’t mean the next one who comes around won’t like you.
I don’t know why it takes some people longer than others to find a partner when their heart is ready. Sometimes I think it really is because dating is a numbers game. The more dates you go on, the more people you meet, and the more likely you are to find someone you really click with. Other times, I think people get in their own heads about dating and can take things too seriously too quickly. I know how hard it is to want the beautiful, loving relationship that you picture in your head, but remember that love and trust take time to build and you can’t force things.
Writing people off without getting to know them is another thing that can really hurt your dating life. Whether it’s because you don’t think you’re good enough for someone or because you don’t think they’re the right fit for you, sometimes it can be really beneficial to give people who have the important things in common with you a chance. When I first became single my motto quickly became “It’s just a date.” By having this attitude I was able to chat with guys, get to know them, and give them a chance. If you really dig deeper into my own life, did it make sense that I went on a date with a soldier who was getting ready to leave for a long deployment? It doesn’t seem like an ideal situation — especially for someone who isn’t keen on doing long distance — but going on that first date with Robert and giving him a chance was one of the best decisions the best decision I have ever made. Seriously, I could not have known two Octobers ago that going out to a little Italian restaurant with someone I met online was going to be a life-changing moment for me, but it was, and despite all the hard times we had during the deployment he was worth every single one of them. Giving this cute, funny stranger a chance gave me one of the most important things I have in my life — us.
Regardless of how dating has been for you, the only way you can find what you’re looking for is by putting yourself out there and trying again. I hate heartbreak so much, but the great thing about loving and losing the wrong person is that you are another step closer to finding the person who is right for you. Hearts are fragile, but they’re resilient and can heal, even when it feels like they are smashed into a million different pieces. Hang in there, and be gentle with yourself.
I’m someone who feels deeply. That’s what makes me a great friend, listener, girlfriend, and a decent writer. I don’t think I am incredibly unique in most things in life, but one thing I think I do better than most is feel empathy.
The reason I say I feel too deeply is that I sometimes let other people’s feelings dictate my own. Those feelings aren’t always even necessarily real; for example, if I see someone eating lunch all alone, instead of immediately realizing that they might be enjoying some time to themselves to think, I make up a story in my mind about how they are unhappy about being alone because of the way they look down at the table when they take a bite of their sandwich. My heart immediately tells my head that I want to give that person a hug, and wish that it was socially appropriate to do so to make other people feel better.
There are many times in my life I have prayed to God, begging him to take a friend or family member’s pain and transfer it to myself instead. I hate seeing others hurting in any capacity, which is why my ultimate goal of writing so much is to help people feel less alone in life. I want everyone — even the people who read my blog that I haven’t met in real life — to feel like they always have me around to hold their hand through tough times.
Warning: If you don’t want to hear a sad story, stop reading now!
There, I said it. You’ve been warned.
The past ten days had been really exciting for me. As most of you know, Robert bought his first home soon after he got back from his deployment and I spend a lot of my time hanging out over there. About ten days ago I found a nest on one of the beams of his top deck. He told me excitedly that a Robin had been building her nest there for several days now, and that she had been gathering ribbons, pieces of hay, twigs, and grass to construct her little home while he worked on his yard.
I’m a huge animal lover, so I was elated to hear that we had a new little pet — and would soon have little babies to watch grow up! This was such a special gift from God, and I was going to document all of it. After all, my yard back home has a lot of baby squirrels and chipmunks, but I’ve never seen a bird’s nest so close to the ground before.
Every time I went to Robert’s I looked forward to seeing my Robin friend. She was so beautiful and sweet, and I couldn’t believe how dedicated she was to her little unborn babies. She would only leave her nest for ten minutes at a time to go out for food or to patch up her bed. I took pictures of her whenever I’d go over, and seeing her little tail feathers always made me so happy. Even though her back was to me, she would turn her head to the side to watch me out of the corner of her eye. I liked to think that she knew that I was kind too, and that she appreciated the little snacks I would sometimes leave her. After all, I was like a member of her little family, and I wanted to take care of her and her babies.
About a week after meeting our Robin friend I woke up with a start. I was at home, but my thoughts weren’t there with me. I heard the rain pouring on our roof, and I immediately felt sick. My sweet girl and her eggs don’t have any shelter from the rain, I thought. I need to fix this.
I got out of bed and hurried to get my POTS symptoms under control before I made the trip over to Robert’s house. It was a work day so he wasn’t there, but I knew I needed to go take care of our little friend. I grabbed some potential things to create a shelter with, such as a rain poncho and an oversized trash bag, and set off.
When I arrived to his home I rushed downstairs to see if she was still there. Low and behold, she was still sitting diligently on what I had imagined was a trio of light blue eggs. I smiled at her, but I knew I had work to do. A little bit of rain was coming through the cracks of the porch, but I was even more concerned with the cool temperature mixed with the dampness.
I hurried upstairs and began rearranging the deck furniture by pushing it around with my butt since my arms aren’t much of a help for heavy objects. As I was doing this, I knew I would hurt immensely the next day, but I was determined to help this innocent little animal and her family. Her needs were greater than my own, and I would rather feel like I did everything I could to help her be comfortable than have anything happen to her.
I ripped through the poncho to make it expand to it’s greatest possible size, and began sticking little objects on all four corners of the plastic to keep it from moving. I tried to place it directly above where I suspected the nest was, but it was hard to tell, as the slats were so small and it was difficult to see through the pouring rain. I was cold and wet even through my rain jacket, but all I could think about was our little pet.
After adjusting the poncho several times, the Robin flew over and perched on the fence, almost as if she was asking me, “What the heck are you doing up there, Krista?! Stop frightening my babies. We’ll be fine in the rain; God made us so that we can survive through it.”
That was when I realized my efforts, though they were well-intended, were unnecessary. I figured if it was still raining later that evening I would get some help placing the canopy above her so that I didn’t have to keep disturbing our guest.
After Robert and I saw a late showing of Guardians of The Galaxy, we trekked back to his house to relax and check on our friend. I was worried about her. I was wearing sweatpants and a windbreaker and I was cold. Cold and wet are never a good combination, and I was concerned about the possibility of hypothermia.
“Can birds catch hypothermia?” I Googled. The answer was yes, and I wondered whether or not the nest our Robin had built was as good as a typical bird’s nest. Somehow it seemed a bit strange to me that she built it on a man-made object, rather than high up in a tree, and I hoped that our bird was smart enough to trust her animal instincts.
Robert told me that we could take she and her nest into his basement if it seemed like she really needed it. I smiled at the thought, and was happy that he was either willing to humor me or genuinely wanted to take great care of this bird. Either way, I felt like I had a really great boyfriend.
We made it home and I rushed downstairs to check on her. I noticed that her tail was facing toward the door still, but she turned around to peek at me as soon as the back light went on. I smiled at her, told her she was a beautiful little bird, and to sleep well. I felt good that she looked warm and taken care of. I would be able to rest easy, and her eggs would hatch in the next few days when the sun came out again.
They didn’t, though.
Two days later as I was preparing to go to Robert’s house he texted me a heads up that he hadn’t seen our Robin in quite some time. We knew she was only supposed to leave her nest for ten minutes at a time, so it was suspect that he hadn’t seen her for 12+ hours. He said he didn’t want to tell me sooner because he had hoped she would come back home before I went back to his house.
My mind darted from one scenario to the next. Maybe she was just out searching for food? Maybe she was watching her nest from afar? Maybe Robert had just been checking at the wrong times? Deep down in the pit of my stomach, though, I knew something bad had happened. I wasn’t sure if it was only to the mother, though, or to everything that was in the nest.
I told him to peek inside the nest to see if there were eggs there. He couldn’t see, as it was too high, so I told him to take a photo with his iPhone. As he worked on that, I hung up and called the local animal shelter to see if they would have an egg incubator. Something told me that the mother bird hadn’t come back to the nest because something had happened to her while she was gone searching for food.
“Hello?” a friendly voice answered.
“Yes, hi, I know this is probably a really goofy request, but I — well, actually my boyfriend — has a bird’s nest in his backyard and the Robin who has been sitting in it has been gone for a long time and I’m afraid her eggs are going to get cold and the babies are going to die so I need an incubator to take care of them. Can you help me with that?” My sentences barely made sense and all ran together like mush.
“I’ll transfer you to the right people to help you with that,” she said, still happy despite the fact she probably thought she was speaking with a crazy person. “You’re going to be speaking with the fire and rescue department.”
I’m still not quite sure that was who she actually transferred me to, as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the time, but it was something to do with the fire department. I felt really bad inconveniencing them, and hoped that they had enough people manning the phones that I wouldn’t get in the way of a real emergency, but they immediately helped me get into contact with “animal control.” After explaining my situation a third time, they said that the mother would hopefully come back, but that there wasn’t really much humans could do to help in this instance. We just had to sit back and wait.
I figured this would be the case, but I wanted to make absolutely certain that I had done my part. I even went as far as to create a Facebook status asking if anyone had egg incubators, and was prepared to drain my bank account to make these fragile little eggs turn into tiny bodies that I could care for if the mother was gone for good. I would do whatever it took to take care of these birds.
That was when I got Robert’s text, accompanied by a picture.
“The nest is empty!”
What? How strange, I thought. I had considered that something might have happened to the Robin, but somehow the nest seemed safe since there were no signs of an intruder on the ground. Maybe she was just confused, I thought. Could she have been a little bit crazy and just thought that she was sitting on eggs in the nest? Maybe this Robin was a first-time mother and had just done something wrong.
My heart felt so much relief. Our girl is okay, and we didn’t lose any babies! I was happy. I would surely miss our beautiful friend, but she was probably just off to bigger and better things.
I arrived at Robert’s house a few moments later. I had been rushing over to his place because I wanted to be there to help in any way I could once we had reached the proper authorities.
I parked my car and walked happily up to his home. Even though we didn’t have any of our guardian duties left, I told him I would come wait at his house until my best friend came to pick me up for our lunch date.
When I walked inside, I greeted Robert and his friend who were just getting ready to play Madden. We had a friendly conversation, and I distractedly went to the kitchen to prepare for mine and Audrey’s best friend date. I had created a little box of presents for her and wanted the presentation to look nice when she opened it, so I rearranged everything.
“I’m going to go see if the Robin is hanging out somewhere close to your backyard!” I said as I started toward the basement stairs. The look Robert and his friend gave me was unnerving. I immediately knew they had found something that wasn’t good. In true male fashion, they went back and forth about how bad the scene was in the yard, and warned that I did not want to go back there. I felt tears behind my eyes, but I didn’t want to cry in front of them, so I said I had to meet my friend and rushed out.
I went to my car and cried. Like, the Kim Kardashian, “I just lost my $100,000 diamond earrings” kind of ugly cry. I buried my face in my hands and didn’t try to make myself stop. I called Audrey, as I knew she would understand — after all, she was the person I had left dozens of messages about our Robin to, and share everything with.
She offered some comfort, and told me she would be there soon enough so we could go out and have a better day together.
Overall I realize that losing a few baby birds isn’t an “end of the world” moment or even something that will define the rest of my life in any way. It’s unfortunately just part of the circle of life, and things like this happen every single day. I do think it’s really beautiful, though, that human beings can feel so connected to little creatures that don’t have anything to showcase except their beauty and innocence. It’s amazing that we want so desperately to protect little lives that seem so fragile and how our hearts can care so deeply for creatures that we really don’t even know very much about.
The way people treat animals and show compassion and care toward others can be one of the most incredible things life has to offer. A gentle heart can be a world-changer, even if it’s just the world of a small animal or a stranger you will never see again. For these little reasons, I think that it’s so important to give a compassionate heart to everyone you meet and always be kind. You never know when just a tiny bit of your love will offer someone the hope they need to keep pushing forward and working toward a better life.
The last thing this little bird reminded me was that life is such a fragile thing and we should appreciate every second we have with our loved ones on this earth. It may sound kind of strange, but every time I see a bird now I think of what a little miracle he is. He has overcome all of the crazy obstacles life throws at him — like inclement weather and predators — and continues to fight every single day to take care of himself and keep himself alive. The circle of life can be sad, but it’s also one of the most inspirational things I could possibly think of.
Robert has since seen our Robin sitting on his yard’s fence. He said that she looks happy, but she hasn’t made a trip back to her nest. We decided that we are going to discourage any other birds from building there since it is probably too low to the ground to really be safe from predators, but I know our Robin is going to be the mother of some sweet little red-breasted babies one day, and I’ll surely always think of her when I see a robin in the wild.
One of the sadder parts of having a chronic illness is when you question your own self-worth. When you’re in your twenties and chronically ill it’s really hard seeing all of the people around you traveling the world, working towards their dream job, and having fun in whatever way they see fit — whether that is going out with friends late into the night, playing sports and working out, or taking a spontaneous road trip with a big group of friends.
Some days it’s hard for me to do anything other than rest, and sometimes I have to cancel plans at the last minute because my autonomic nervous system decides that I shouldn’t be comfortable enough to do an activity. This becomes especially heartbreaking when I feel like I’ve let my loved ones down by not being able to do something that they want to. It sometimes makes me wonder why they choose me to play the special role of “best friend” or “girlfriend,” instead of someone who can be carefree and fun all the time. My chronic illness is probably my biggest insecurity.
My cardiologist must literally be an angel, as he has been so kind and comforting since the beginning of my illness. Since we have gotten to know each other, anytime he looks at my heart on an echocardiogram he looks puzzled and then says, “Krista, your heart is too beautiful for this world” with the most genuine smile on his face. It makes me tear up because I know he’s talking about something different than my physical heart — as that often beats a little too fast for its own good. He is instead referring to the core of my being. This little comment serves as a reminder that just because I sometimes feel broken or like I don’t have an as important purpose in the world as others does not mean that it’s the truth.I know other people who are sick or have struggles that make them different, and they have become even more incredible because of what they’ve been through. During times of loss, we often gain a new sense of empathy, a new appreciation for life, and a great deal of strength we never knew we had. Hardship can make us bitter, or it can be something we use to connect with others and help make them feel less alone. This is the sole reason I write so openly about my own struggles.
God puts people on this earth and lets them have hardship sometimes, not because He doesn’t love us or has forgotten about us, but instead because He wants us to glorify Him in all we do — that includes using our own heartache to lift up others. Sometimes our purpose is greater than fulfilling our own dreams.
My heart was broken. Yes, now I have an awesome boyfriend, wonderful family, and friends I know care deeply about me, but at 22 years old I had to give up my dream to live in a big city and write for Seventeen magazine and begin the fight to get my life back. Since that day three-and-a-half years ago I have chosen to push forward, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it, and never give up hope. There are a lot of things I haven’t done that I would have loved to do. I wanted to live in New York City again and I wanted to have an incredibly fast-paced, spontaneous job because that’s what I have always enjoyed so much. I love interviewing people and learning more about their stories, I love keeping up with teen trends and offering my advice to young women, and I have always wanted to make a positive impact on the world starting with our youth.
But God has a different plan for me than the one I had for myself. I can’t handle the stress or physical pressure a job in journalism has, but I can handle being vulnerable and toss aside my pride to show people that they are absolutely not alone in the world. I can handle publishing my deepest thoughts on a platform like this, even though not everyone will understand everything that I write about. Perhaps most important, though, through my struggles I have learned to love others deeply — whether or not I am their cup of tea and whether or not we have similar beliefs or values.
I still have days where I feel insecure about the way my life is with POTS, and I wonder when it will be my turn to actually live like I’m in my twenties. When I start feeling like this, though, I try to take a look at the people around me and notice how many people choose to open up to me and choose to make me an important part of their life. It isn’t because we can go out and have a wild night together or because I am able to get them into exclusive VIP parties. The people I am important to love me because of the way I love, and because of who I am as a person. There are certain “Krista traits” that are unique and special to the world. My power is that I love in a way that is irreplaceable to those who receive it. I will do anything for the people who are closest to me, and I will never turn down an opportunity to show love to those who need it, even if it means sacrificing something on my end. I strongly believe each and every person on this earth has their own qualities that are absolutely irreplaceable too.
Somehow I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this post. I think we all have our own insecurities, especially in a world where it’s so easy to compare. If I have learned one thing from having a chronic illness, it’s that people love those who are genuine and themselves. We are all so different from one another, but that’s what makes the world such an amazing place. People don’t have to have a chronic illness to be able to understand some of the things I have dealt with, such as insecurity and loss. There have been so many times where someone very different than myself has reached out to me and been able to relate to something I have written in their own very different life. We are all humans with the same basic feelings and a desire to love and be loved. Just because you feel broken sometimes doesn’t mean you are not valuable to this world and loved by so many people — some of which you haven’t even met yet. Never doubt your self-worth just because you are different. The best way to make a lasting impact on the world is often because of the differences that you have to offer.