Learning What Actually Matters

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Everyday I complain. I complain about my job, or my body, or my circumstances. None of the aforementioned are actually worth complaining about, and I do actively try to be a more positive person, but I still catch myself complaining (funny how that works). In these moments I try to put things in perspective. When I actively try to think and analyze which facets of my intricate life actually play some grandiose importance it usually boils down to these 4 pillars.

1. Relationships

I have been blessed with an amazing fiance. This dude just gets me. He’s patient, smart, funny, weird, and did I mention he’s pretty effing hott. He makes me better. He makes me want to be smarter and calmer. So I really lucked out there. I have a twin sister. Our bond is unlike any relationship I’ve ever witnessed. We are two peas in a pod, birds of a feather, cut from the same cloth – and whatever other phrase that describes two people meant to be in each other’s lives. Without her my life would be way less fun and way less full of laughter and weirdness. My Parents & Brother AKA endless sources of support, encouragement, love, and admiration. They are to thank for my hard work ethic and overall self confidence. Great friends that listen to my poorly told stories, and hang out with me even if they’d rather watch Netflix. Thanks guys.

2. Health

Seasonal allergies aside, I am ridiculously healthy. I eat well, exercise often but that doesn’t always make for a healthy human. I should be happy with all the activities my body can do with ease, rather than wishing for smaller legs, and an extra 3″ of height. Noted.

3. Mother Nature

I am a city slicker. An urbanite if you will. But the only thing that stands between me and the beaut that is Lake Michigan is a 4 lane highway. For me, nature is a source of energy. I love being outside; breathing in the fresh scents of budding trees, and looking out into the vastness of the lake makes me feel centered. It truly inspires and refreshes me. Mama nature matters, and I should recycle more often and take shorter showers.

4. Birds & Bees & in-betweens 

My love of animals is not limited to my little Lunes (cat), or my departed childhood dog (Hershe). While I’m no vegan, I do wholeheartedly believe animals should be treated with respect. Especially those who give their lives (unwillingly) to nourish people. As I get older, I’m becoming more aware of little ways to help all the critters. Whether it’s volunteering my time at the local animal shelter, or buying ethically raised pork – I’m trying to be a better human being.

For those of you who read that it probably sounded like a bit of a ramble. But I’ve been a bit of a negative nancy lately and this space is used to help me work this shit out via writing. Thanks for listening to me. For realsies. I’d love to hear about the parts of your life you hold near and dear to your hearts. 

Be More Empathetic in 3 Steps

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For me, empathy is one of the most endearing qualities a human being can exude. Don’t you think? Easier said than done, I know, but here are some simple ways I try to practice and improve my empathy.

1. Watch the news

Open your eyes to what’s going on in the world around you. It’s so easy to limit your worldview, but it’s equally as easy to expand it. Watching, reading, or following various news sources will help you better understand the lives of other people.

2. Active listening

Have you ever been in a conversation and you catch yourself just waiting for a pause so you can say what you think? While this doesn’t condemn you to an identity as a narcissist, it’s not the best way to be a good friend and practice empathy. Instead of thinking how someone’s story relates to you, try making it completely about them. Ask follow up questions, show you’re listening (no scrolling allowed), and really invest in what they’re taking the time to tell you.

3. Practice taking on different perspectives

This is huge for me. If you are facing a difficult decision or situation try to keep everything in perspective. If someone is rude to you, try to remove yourself from the scenario and understand where they are coming from. I truly believe people are naturally good, it’s just sometimes their actions are taken without thinking about their motivations behind them.

 

I know this post is a bit out of context here. But my life isn’t one dimensional, so I don’t think this blog should be either.

Do you have any tips on practicing empathy?

 

A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

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To My Dearest Shannon,

You are 16 years old. A sophomore in high school. Continually worried about boys, grades, your size, and still figuring out who you are. I want to tell you that I am proud of you and I love you.

I am proud of you for doing so well in high school (you graduate at the top of your class). But it’s really not the grades that matter. It’s the fact that the classes you took, the effort you put into your coursework truly shaped your future work ethic. You are passionate. You get what you want. Maybe not on the first, second, or even third attempt, but ultimately if you continue to work hard and work towards a goal you can almost always achieve it.

Thanks for investing your time and energy into your friends. The people you surround yourself with now are so good, so genuine, and will continue to be your dearest friends through college and into young adulthood.

You are beautiful. I know you are sad that you aren’t tall and lean. But you are truly gorgeous. I want you to love your athletic build, and your long, thick, sun-kissed hair. You are stunning in your own way, and I want you to relish in the beauty of your youth, for it is ever-fleeting.

You’ve met your future husband. It’s crazy, but it’s true! Learn from him, soak him up, and be kind. Listen to his stories, adopt his patience, and enjoy your pure love and affection for one another. You’ll realize how rare your relationship is in the future. Grow with him, love him, take each other on adventures, and continue to make memories together.

Shannon. You are great. You are smart, and strong-willed. Don’t be jealous of others. Continue to laugh, love, and go to innocent house parties. Enjoy your friendships, long nights with long walks accompanied by long talks. Live your youth. Don’t grow up too fast.

Much love and affection,

23 Year Old You

Weekly Wears

Holy moly we made it to Friday! I was hit with a killer migraine on Wednesday, so I am definitely ready for some weekend hangs. It’ll be another chilly couple days here in Chicago. But I am desperately trying to hold on to hope that Spring will show up at some point. I just don’t know how much longer I can dress for winter weather.

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Pirate Peasant // I was told two things when I wore this outfit. 1. “That shirt looks like you stole it fromCaptain Jack Sparrow” and 2. “Shannon, is that like a peasant bohemian look you’re trying out today?”

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Princess Polka // This oversized blazer has always proven a challenge to style. But so far I love it with this dress, and this romper. What do you think?

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Peplum Parolee //  The sweetness of a peplum meets the rugged striped tee. I love this Free People top paired with some olive corduroys. While this outfit isn’t seasonally appropriate, neither is the weather here.

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B@$iC biT(h // Hunter boots, black skinnies, and an oversized scarf. Wow. Very basic. I personally think there is nothing wrong with being “basic” it merely means you have the same interests as a large group of people. Isn’t that the foundation of making relationships…? Also, how awkward do I look here? haha

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Post-sickness Vibes // I was sick the day before, so I opted for a loose comfy tee, low messy bun, and my tried and true blue jeans. Classic.

Which outfit is your favorite?

Weekend Recap

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Hello dear friends! Another weekend has come and gone, and here we are, yet again. Stuck with an entire work-filled week. I hope these snap shots can fill your heart with hope that with time another weekend will grace us with it’s presence.

Was that too dramatic? Hahaha, sorry guys I’m just recovering from a rough Monday. This weekend was a special one for us because Logan’s supa cool Aunt and Uncle were in town. I didn’t snap any photos of the 4 of us, but I got some of the places we went, the food we ate, the cool things we saw.

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Friday night was spent sipping tasty craft brews at Corridor Brewery & Provisions. If you go I recommend getting the beer flight and at lease 2 giant pretzels. Also the fries are TDF.

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Saturday morning started with a cup of Intelligentsia coffee and a giant ass bagel breakfast sammy that kept me full until dinner.

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1st stop: Art Institute! Great art, great people, great cookies. Nuff said.

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Stop 2: The Cultural Center. This was a new spot for me, and I would recommend any tourist pop in. It’s free and right downtown. The building is a work of art in and of itself, but they also have some cool exhibits.

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Stop 4: Museum of Contemporary Art. If you have the time and $10 to spare, I’d recommend it. Definitely has some good talking pieces. Side note: Shannon 4 Prez 2016.

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The next morning we strolled around our hood and ate some delicious brunch.

Not pictured:

  • Our wonderful guests whom we like and love (a big compliment in my book)
  • 4 bottles of wine
  • Dinner at Tango Sur (carnivores unite!)
  • Watching SNL on our couch
  • Uncle falling in love with our lil Luna
  • Lots and lots and lots of walking
  • Snow in April (WTF Mother Nature)
  • Lots of smiles, stories, and catching up

 

Weekend Recap Vol. 29

Hello lovelies & happy Monday. I hope you were able to do something a little special for the holiday weekend (whether you celebrate Easter or not). And by little something I obviously mean I hope you ate some egg-themed candies (lookin at you Cadbury eggs).

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On Friday my mom stayed the night with Fiance and I. She stayed over because the next morning she was nice enough to drive us to our very first wedding tasting! We didn’t know what to expect at all, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it went. The three of us were seated in a room that was filled with wedding decor. We saw table settings, pretty plate chargers, and lots of linen samples! But clearly, the best part of the event was the food tasting. Our tongues were blessed with three apps (pictured above), 2 entrees, and 2 sides. After tasting this food, I’d say I’m pretty pumped for our wedding so I can feast hahaha.

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After our tasting, my mom drove fiance and I back to our home town so we could stay the night and celebrate Easter with the rest of the fam. Since we had the rest of the day left, Logan and I hit up the outlet mall! Talk about steals.

The rest of the night was filled with tacos, wine, and good conversation.

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Easter morning we were greeted with a bowl full of goodies! My mom is always so thoughtful when it comes to little holiday treats. Thanks mom!

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Since my family is small (5 + fiance) and my extended family is scattered throughout the country, we often celebrate holidays with a nice family meal. This Easter was no exception. Instead of the traditional lunch we usually have, my mom and dad prepared a baller brunch for us kids. I mean check out this spread! Truly delicious.

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Twin and I capped off our weekend at home with a nostalgic fun-run through our neighborhood. How amazing is this flower-filled yard? We had to pause our jog to snap a quick pic of this beauty.

Tell me, how was your weekend?!

 

Weekly Whine: Public Transportation

Have you guys ever seen the Buzzfeed series Whine About It? There’s no grand illusion, the name says exactly what the series is about. Every week the host chooses a topic and essentially “whines” about it for 5 minutes.

While I try my hardest to be a generally positive person, sometimes you just need to blow off some steam and go on a rant. What better platform to do this than a personal blog? Maybe I’ll start a series about things that make me happy so I can bring peace and balance to this lil blog. We’ll see.

As the title suggests, today I’m going to do a little compilation of complaints about taking public transportation 98% of the time. I will be airing my grievances in a visual manner, and by that I mean pairing them with the perfect gifs.

That feeling when…

Your bus tracker was wrong, and you miss the bus by 20 seconds. There isn’t another one for 23 minutes.

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When people won’t move away from the train doors, even though there is a TON of space in the aisles.  

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When a fellow Public Transportation peasant feels the need to call everyone in their contacts.

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How you feel when there is approximately 2 inches of free space and someone comes in with their giant ass backpack. PUT IT ON THE GROUND!

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When someone sharts during rush hour commute. 

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Any fellow public transportation users? Please share your grievances!

 

How I Popped The Question

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As most of you know, I’m engaged, you can read how the proposal went down here! So apparently after you get engaged you are required to plan a wedding, who knew? Wedding planning has been a total breeze so far *knocks on wood.* We’ve booked a venue, found the perfect photographer, bought my dream dress, so we figured it was about time we asked some of our very favorite humans to stand up with us on our special day!

We wanted to put a little extra effort into it; a little pizzazz if you will. After a quick trip to Michaels, Binny’s, and Marshalls we were able to start crafting the perfect little goodie boxes to pop the question.

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A little thought goes a long way, and that’s just what we had in mind when we were shopping for the trinkets. The boxes I made for my girls were pretty similar, with a bit of personal touches for each one.

They all got a pretty notepad, some speciality soap, a treat, a shot glass, and alcohol (because getting married is just throwing a giant party)!

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I think my favorite part of putting these goodie boxes together was hand making all of the cards. I love getting a little crafty, so I spent a good chunk of time on them. What do you think?

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I’m so so so happy/excited/grateful that all of my ladies agreed to the position! It was extra fun asking my twin sister (maid of honor), and my good friend who lives in Chicago because I got to see their faces light up and give them a big hug. I feel like I got a teeny tiny taste of how fiance felt when he popped the question to me.

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I’m so excited for all of the fun memories in store for the four of us. 🙂

What kinds of things would you gift to your bridal party? I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

Weekly Wears

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Happy Friday Homies! Another week has come and gone, and I’m looking forward to some chill time at home this weekend (we took a tiny trip to Madison last weekend). Here are some of the outfits I’ve warn over the past week.

Pinteresty Petals // This outfit just screams Pinterest to me! I’m not 100% sure why, but I think it’s the combination of chambray + sweater layering and the fishtail braid. This could also be classified as my “desperate for Spring” outfit.

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Wild Wild Gryffindor // A coworker of mine told me I looked like part cowboy (the boots), and very professional… I don’t care how much this Tommy Hilfiger blazer looks like Hogwarts memorabilia, I just love the fit, color, and pizazz.

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S Cubed // Stripes, sweaters, and scarves make this outfit great for winter in the workplace.

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Black & White & Red All Over // I loved the simple look of these olive green corduroys paired with a plain black tee, and giant scarf. Looking back on it, I’m not sure if I’d pair this outfit with these shoes again since my red lip serves as the pop of color.

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Highway to Wholesome // These bad ass high waisted pants add a certain flair to an otherwise classic cardigan. I love that you can tuck in shirts to get the whole high waist effect, or leave things loose and style these pants as a simple pair of skinnies.

 

Which outfit was your favorite?

Adventure Time: Madison, WI

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Hello friends and happy Tuesday! This weekend the four of us (Twin, Boyfriend, Fiance, and I) traveled up to Madison for Valentine’s weekend. It’s always nice to get out of the city for a little while, and Madison was the perfect place for us to go!

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We stayed in an amazing AirBNB, that was super close to the main square. Not only was the location perfect, it also came with two adorable little fur babies for the weekend. Gus & Baxter were purrffect roomies while we were there and it was fun having some kitty cuddles while we were away from our own lil Luna.

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We started the day off right with deluxe bagel sammies @ Gotham Bagels! I loved this place because it was SO Madison. It was littered with college kids suffering from crazy hangovers (we’ve all been there), and the vibe was just so different from Chicago. I enjoyed “The Big G” which was composed of spicy prociutto, cheddar cheese, and egg.

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Most of the afternoon was spent wandering down State Street. It felt like -10 degrees (not exaggerating), so popping in and out of the shops was a welcome warm-up. There are a ton of locally owned shops with special goodies to look at, so if you get a chance to visit Mad Town, you should definitely devote an afternoon to walking down State.

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IMG_6745The perk of the harsh winter weather was that it gave us the perfect excuse to gulp down some delicious lattes at Colectivo. The fiance and I went to school in Wisconsin, so this coffee branch is near an dear to our hearts. I am completely obsessed with their decor! If you couldn’t tell by the name, this coffee chain has a Latin American vibe, and decorates it’s walls with sugar skulls and bright colors.

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We spent some time recharging at the airbnb, but before we knew it it was time for Happy Hour @ The Merchant! These were some of the most amazing signature cocktails I’ve ever had. Be ready to wait a while for your drink because they truly are prepared with love!

No pictures of dinner @ Tipsy Cow because we scarfed it down the second it was brought to our table. We had to indulge in a pretzel starter + cheese curds, because, ya know, Wisconsin… As for the meal, I had an amazing cheese and salmon melt. YUM.

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Day 2’s main activity was a brewery tour @ Ale Asylum. For $5 you get a pint of beer, a 1 hour tour, and some tastings! I really liked our tour guide, and it was one of the more educational brewery tours I’ve been on. Best learning of the day: yeast are tiny organisms that eat sugar, poop beer, and get rewarded for falling asleep the quickest. If that didn’t make sense to you, I recommend checking out Ale Asylum for some tasty beer and quality education.

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We stayed in on Valentine’s day, because prixe fixe menus really aren’t our cup of tea. *not pictured* the meat and cheese plate we inhaled during a round of cards. Fiance made this amazing chicken wrapped in bacon, and I contributed with some sweet potato bites. For dessert we had puppy chow. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

That wraps up our weekend in Madison. What did you do for Valentine’s Day?