Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moving Tips - Feeling at Home

Moving to a new city is scary. You feel lost, and it's worse when everyone around you is happy with good friends and fun things to do. Apparently, it takes at least a year to get settled. I've had it easier than most in that I already felt comfortable in Austin, but I'm still working on feeling completely at home. Here are a couple of things that are making it easier on me:

1. Find the closest grocery store, gas station, pet store, drug store, hair dresser, park, etc and claim it. I have my HEB for groceries, my Central Market for flowers, and my hair dresser as well as a my local gas station and favorite park. Whenever you mention it, refer to it as yours. The same goes for when you refer to your new place - it's your home. It sounds silly, but it really does make you feel a connection to the place.

2. Volunteer. You may or may not make good friends there, but at least you're helping others. This should help you to stop fixating on your situation. I volunteer at a children's hospital and love it. It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when you're spending time with kids.

3. Join a group. Depending on your city, the type of activity will vary. For example, Austin is very outdoorsy - people are all about running, sports, and outdoor activities. One group that I've heard about is Hill Country Outdoors (HCO) - an outdoor, sporting and social events club. Events include everything from hikes and kayaking to comedy clubs and bowling. There are also quite a few running clubs including RunTex and AustinFit. I'm still planning on joining a running club, but want to work on my cardio before having to run in public.

4. Get out of your comfort zone; whatever that may be. At least once a week, try to do something that you've never done before. I'm not sure how this helps with feeling at home, but it should, at least, keep you entertained. I have to take my own advice on this one; I'll try to start next week and keep you posted.

Have you moved recently? Can you think of any other tips to help get settled and feel at home? Let me know!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pretty Things

I have managed, over the course of these past 3 months, to collect some pretty things for my apartment. They are little things, but, after all, it's the details that count! Hope you like them as much as I do!

I bought that little guy in a market when I visited Chiapas, Mexico. It's hand sewn and works wonders holding open the balcony door.

This jewelry holder was a present from my best friend. Isn't it lovely? I love how the St. Patty's day plate looks hanging from it. It never fails to make me smile!

 A girly and frilly way to hide the dirty laundry. I bought this bag from Urban Outfitters and am absolutely in love! It goes perfectly well with the following item:

Anthropologie towels! I am currently obsessed with their home collection. Almost everything from my apartment wish list comes from Anthropologie.

Finishing off my bathroom is this little gem from Scentsy - looks good, smells great!

This statuette is keeping my kitchen from looking too formal and practical. I bought it from PartyLight years ago and completely forgot about it. I came across it while packing up and am thrilled!

These vases were a housewarming gift. They are blackboard vases and come with chalk for you to decorate. Fun! Right now they are covered with my favorite quotes; who knows what they will look like next week.

And, finally....

My mom gave me these figurines - so sweet! That is a picture of her from wayyyy back in the day! Wasn't she adorable?

So there you have it - pretty little things that never fail to make me happy and feel at home.

Thanks for reading! Happy Friday!!

The Most Fun I had Last Week

Last week was my birthday: March 17 to be exact. It was a milestone, but I'm surprisingly ok with it. This post, though, really isn't about that. It is about the craziness that is Austin the week of Spring Break / SXSW/ Austin Rodeo AND St. Patrick's Day, and the most fun I had last week.

Now I've always been thrilled that my birthday is on St. Patrick's Day because it helps people to remember it, and everyone seems to be out and about celebrating me... or him, whatever. This year was no exception - I had an amazing time! It was, however, a tad overwhelming, which seems to be the problem when there are too many things to do, and you have no idea as to how to go about doing any of them. I technically didn't go to SXSW. I walked around downtown and heard lots of great music but didn't get the real experience. In all honestly, if you are doing SXSW for the first time, do it with someone who knows what they are doing. I had no idea what to do this year, but am already planning to be in the loop next year. I'm also crossing my fingers that ACL in October will be easier to decipher!

St. Patrick's Day was great - lots of green, lots of beer, lots of college kids out on Spring Break. The most fun I had last week, however, was, surprisingly, the Austin Rodeo. More specifically, the BBQ Cook-off at the rodeo. Yum! We went on Friday early so as to avoid some of the crowds. And I have to say, if you've never been, you are missing out, my friend!

For the price of admission, you get all the bbq you could ever want - pulled pork, brisket, chili, sausage, etc - and drinks - beers and margaritas all around. The margaritas were amazing! Needless to say, after a couple of those, everyone was in great spirits, enjoying the live music and walking around. Austin really does have great people, everyone is very friendly!

All the bbq people ask of you is a donation to charity: not a bad deal. You get to help the kiddos by eating and drinking to your heart's content. My only regret was missing the Dierks Bentley concert, which really has nothing to do with the cook-off, but I just thought of that right now.  I did get to watch him at the Mercedes Livestock Show though; can't really complain. Anyway, for future reference, I recommend the Austin Rodeo's BBQ Cook-off...unless you don't eat meat, then you might not have fun.

See you there next year!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Apartment

 Alright! Let's get started. The first thing is... my apartment. It's tiny! You walk in and automatically get tunnel vision - there is no division between the kitchen and living room. I am working on that, though. My awesome cousin gave me the idea to add some bookshelves and create a divider. So, I'm hitting up Ikea to get the Expedite Bookcase in white. I'll post some pictures as soon as it's up.

Other than that, I LOVE it! The appliances are new and I have a balcony with a great view to a fountain courtyard. There is nothing better than getting a nice breeze in through an open balcony. My dog is probably the balcony's biggest fan - he can sit out there all day and pretend he has a backyard.

I moved here almost 3 months ago and have managed to buy a mattress with box spring, a tv, and a nice Ikea sofa table. I also bought a couch about 9 weeks ago, but that has yet to make it's way to my apartment. I'm using an inflatable mattress as a couch for now. I refuse to show any pictures of that, and I'm also quite embarrassed about my neighbors peeking in the open balcony and seeing it! So, this is what my living room looks like without the ugly mattress. Boring, huh?

That's about it for now. I'm starting to dream about decorating the place. I need color and pretty things! Any ideas?

Why did I move?

I love Austin. I have been in love with this city since I was 7 years old - learning English and riding the train in Zilker Park. I love the atmosphere, the people, the parks, the stores, the music.

After graduating from Boston University in 2003, I decided this is where I wanted to live. I was going to move to Austin. Unfortunately, my plans were sidetracked by home sickness and a general fear of not knowing what to do with my life. So, I took the easy way out; I moved back home. Little did I know that once you move back to your hometown, you get sucked in to the life you had before you left, and it's nearly impossible to leave. I got a real adult job, bought a real adult car, and coasted along. Everything was fine, but I was not 100% happy with my choices. The life I had did not, in any way, correspond to the plans that I had for myself. This lasted for 7 years. Finally, I decided that as soon as I finished my MBA, I was going to move to Austin. And I did!

I figure moving is the first step in leading the life I've always wanted. I have quite a few goals and dreams that I'm moving towards. Hopefully, I can share these along the way and maybe inspire you to do the same.