Life Lesson: Settling Into A New Home

If you were to ask someone if I am a free-spirit, they might reply “no”. Growing up, I was always nervous. I told on myself and always aspired to please others. I love a rigid schedule, and thrive under structure. Maybe that’s why I am a teacher. Step-by-step lesson plans are my jam. Furthermore, I know that I can get a tad grouchy when I need to be spontaneous (just ask my boyfriend). But, even if people may not say I am free-spirited, I believe myself to be. And therefore I am. I am a self-proclaimed free-spirit…when it comes to the big word, love.

Twenty-four years of what if’s, and self-doubt, began to fade when I met that one person that changed my what if’ to why not’s, and who had so much confidence in me, that I felt silly thinking otherwise. Now, this isn’t some sappy love post. I just merely needed to point out my source of motivation. Love is what motivated me to transform my life. And I find it important to point out, that your life does not need to be unfulfilled for you to want to transform it.

I loved living in Boston. And I miss the city and my friends and family dearly. But I do not want to go back. Maybe this is just my nerdy, book-loving self talking, but I don’t want my life story to end, and realize that every chapter was set in the same place. Which brings me to my big move.

January 15, 2017 I hugged my family good-bye. Tears filled their eyes, but as always, I held it in. It wasn’t until our plane flew over Boston, that I began to cry. Not tears of sadness, just tears of the unknown. Change can be a funny thing. But, now I am over 3,000 miles away from all that I’ve ever known. After a little over two months, this is what I’ve learned about settling in…

Be patient. I have never moved before, and being patient doesn’t always come easily for me. When I get frustrated, my boyfriend (who has moved multiple times throughout this life) has to remind me that everything isn’t going to happen at once. Opportunities will come, but you have to be patient. When you’re used to a certain routine, it’s hard having an open schedule. I moved to California with no job, no family (other than my boyfriend and our GSD), and no friends waiting here for me. And when things didn’t come together quickly, I started getting upset. Which brings me to my next point…

Don’t be too tough on yourself.  This has always been hard for me, so I am not surprised that I had to work on this once we got to California. Dealing with the pressure of struggling is not my strong point. Since I was sixteen years old, I always worked two jobs. I pride myself on being a hard worker. But we moved in January, and schools weren’t looking for teachers. I would sit at my computer and job hunt for hours, and I mean hours. I would act like my 9-5 job was job hunting. Which is great! I was being proactive and my loved ones saw that. But some days I would cry from frustration, and my boyfriend would have to tell me to take a break. And then, the universe heard what I was putting out there, and brought me a job (but more on that later). The point is, try your hardest to get settled, but always remember that everything will fall into place when the time is right. And that everyone struggles when they are first starting out.

Explore.  Seriously-explore, explore, explore. Get to know your surrounding. For the time being, we only have one car. LA is not that walkable, but I made sure that I walked around my town as much as I could. Now, I know the street names, the best grocery stores, and my favorite restaurants. We also explore a lot of outdoor areas, like parks and beaches. Exploring this will make you feel more at home.

 Put yourself out there.  One thing that is tough (at least for me) is putting myself out there. Before I moved, I thought to myself: I will make friends through my new job! But then, when I didn’t find a job right away (not for 2 months), I began to stress. How does one make friends if they 1. Don’t have a job, 2. Don’t have a car to drive places, and 3. Don’t feel comfortable walking up to people and just starting a conversation?!? Well, my boyfriend helped with that a little. He knew a handful of people who had attended college with him, and they had wives to introduce me to. He is also great at starting conversations with people. We took our GSD, Piper out one day and found out that our neighbor was our age and also had a GSD. Yesterday, we hung out and took our two furbabies on a walk. The process is slow and can feel lonely. But don’t worry, you’ll get there. And for the time being, fake it until you make it. You’ll be glad that you did!

Finally, Facetime has been a blessing. My family and I will agree that the distance is not as bad as it seems because we Facetime regularly. I honestly do not know what I would do without their love and support.

I hope this post helped anyone that’s going through a move!

xxo, Jennifer

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My Travels In Europe (2016-2017)

Hey, guys! Happy Monday! I hope that your week is off to a great start.

As I am sitting here, typing in my new CALIFORNIA home (woo whoo!), I could not be more excited about this post. If you follow me on Instagram (@cuteteachings) then you may have seen that today’s post was supposed to be about my travels in Europe and my big move from Boston to LA. However, there is just so much to share about my trip to Europe, that I decided to break it down into two posts. (So make sure to check back in, later this week, for my post on our move.)

The picture above is of Alejandro and I at Logan Airport. I was so excited to start our new adventure! We had just celebrated Christmas with my family, and we were heading to Barcelona to spend almost three weeks in Europe with his family. He and I have been dating for about four years now, and I had never traveled the world until I met him. It is something that I am incredibly thankful for. He continues to push me out of my comfort zone, and because of that, I have had so many wonderful opportunities to grow as a person.

There is something so amazing about traveling abroad. It is truly unlike anything else that I have ever felt before. You get this wanderlust where you just want to explore everything. When you travel to a different country, it opens your eyes to the world. To be honest, it is the most grounding feeling I have ever felt, and it happens time and time again. I am incredibly thankful for every time I am able to leave the U.S. because each time I feel like I come back a better person.

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Below are our travels to Madrid. We left Logan Airport, landed in Barcelona (where Alejandro’s aunt and cousins live), and then the very next day we got on a plan headed for Madrid. We were both so tired but so excited! Alejandro’s parents live in Africa and his sister is getting her masters in Barcelona. Because of this, we do not see them as often as we’d like. But that just makes the time we have together even more special.

Alejandro is a big fútbol fan, so he really wanted to go and see the Real Madrid fútbol stadium. I am not super into sports, but this stadium had an amazing museum that was dedicated to past and present players. I walked through and was moved by the music playing. Who would have thought. Plus, we got to sip on cafe con lache (which is Spanish for coffee and milk) while walking around. All in all it was a great day!

While in Madrid we traveled to a town called Toledo, which is known as the “Imperial City”. This is one of my favorite memories from our trip. The town is over 2,000 years old, and is rich with history. Once you enter the town, you walk up the streets (which is at an incline) until you hit town center. You have a gorgeous view to your left, and charming building to your right. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Below is Madrid’s town hall. One thing that I love about European towns and cities is how festive they get during the holidays. Many of the buildings are covered in gorgeous Christmas lights. It makes you feel like you’re walking in a dream.

Below are a couple pictures of  the Palacio Real, or the Royal Palace,  of Madrid. This palace was beyond gorgeous. I wish I could share the interior with you, however, we were not allowed to take pictures. Each room had a different color scheme and design. It was the most beautifully deecorated place I have ever seen.

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The pictures below are of Rubí (the town that Alejandro’s family lives in) and Barcelona. I have to say that Barcelona is my favorite city (so far). It is beautiful, easily accessible, and has so much to do. We spent our days exploring, eating delicious food, relaxing, and drinking espresso or cava. I had such a wonderful time and was happy to be back in Barcelona.

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We were also fortunate enough to visit the Dalí Theatre and Museum. It is a museum of the artist Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figueres, in Catalonia, Spain. Dalí is buried there in a crypt below the stage. I think this is incredible beautiful, because he is surrounded by not only his art, but his wife’s art as well. I posted a few of my favorite works of art below.

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Last, but certainly not least, Alejandro and I ended our trip to Europe with four days in Rome. It was just the two of us, and I cannot begin to explain how romantic this city is. We took as many tours, drank as much wine, and ate as much pizza, pasta, and gelato as humanly possible. I could feel my waistline expanding but hey, “when in Rome…”.

This city was incredible! The food is delicious. History is everywhere. And the people were incredibly friendly. We went to the Vatican, the Vatican museum, the  Sistine Chapel, art galleries, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and so many other beautiful, beautiful places. We had one tour guide that said “you are in the belly button of the world. This is where it all began”. This moved me so much. To be where it all started is an incredible feeling. I had been to Barcelona before, but going to Rome just reminded me of that incredibly moving feeling you get when you’re heading somewhere new.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am to have gone on this adventure. Before I left, my father told me “Enjoy it. You’re about to go on a once in a lifetime trip”, and he was right. Europe will always have a special place in my heart. I cannot wait to head back.

xxo,

Jennifer

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New Nightly Routine

IMG_0963 Happy Sunday, loves! Today may be a gloomy one in New England, but it is the perfect weather to cozy up with the ones we love. (I may or may not be snuggling my GSD, Piper, right now.) This gray day full of snuggles has me thinking about how I like to unwind at night. I am constantly on the go, and lately I have made a conscious decision to be more mindful of how I begin and end my days. I wanted to share with you my new nightly routine. Of course it may vary a bit depending on my day, but I always try to do these six things:

  1. Shower and use Clean & Clear‘s NIGHT RELAXING Deep Cleaning Face Wash. This face wash has deep sea minerals and sea kelp extract. It effectively washes away daily build-up—like dirt, oil and impurities deep in pores. After a day of taking the T and nannying, I love how this face wash leaves me feeling clean, refreshed, and relaxed!
  2. While showering, I also like to use Leven Rose‘s Apple Seed Oil for my hair. All I do is add two to three drops of this amazing oil to my conditioner, and let it sit in my hair for a few minutes. It leaves my hair feeling soft and healthy. To read my review of this product, check out my previous post: Apple Seed Oil.
  3. Once I am out of the shower, I like to put on Delia Organics‘ Restore Treatment. What I love about this brand is that it lists on their website why this product is good for your skin. (As listed below.)

    Grapeseed Oil

    Contains potent antioxidants that help diminish sun damage & reduces free radical damage by repairing and restoring your skin.

    Avocado Oil

    Great source of skin repairing fatty acids in Avocado Oil which help to restore your skin’s layers.

    Jojoba Oil

    Enhances the skin’s barrier function, stimulates collagen and protects against UV damage. Also great to soothe skin from swelling, reaction from it’s strong healing properties.

    I recently just tried this product, and I am overall very pleased with it. I am not one to normally use moisturizers, so it did feel a little oily to me when I first put it on. However, after a few minutes it dried and felt fine. Maybe I put too much on, or maybe I’m just not used to using a moisturizer yet. What I do know, is that I woke up with my face feeling healthy! So, I am a fan!

  4. Let’s face it, we are a society that is addicted to screens. TV’s, cellphones, iPads, you name it. We love the internet and all the fun stuff it provides. With all of this technology consuming our lives, I like to put aside time every night to read from an actual book. Not from a Kindle or a different app that can provide me with unlimited amount of books. Yes, I know that’s pretty cool and saves space and paper. Call me old fashioned, I just like the feel of having a book in my hands. It’s super relaxing and is a nice break from technology. Plus, I like to write notes in my books! It’s nice to reread something and remember what I was thinking, or recall the different reactions I had to certain passages. Sometimes it changes as I grow, sometimes it doesn’t.
  5. While reading, I love to sip on Yogi’s Calming Tea. It’s a delicious organic tea that eases mild tension.
  6. Finally, I love to end my day by thinking of ten things that I am grateful for. It may sound kind of corny, but with everything going on in the world lately, this is really grounding. It helps me realize how lucky I am, and humbles me a bit.

And that is my nightly routine! What do you do to end your day?

xxo, Jennifer

 

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