Distance and Heart

This week, my boyfriend John is traveling in Israel to consult with startups in Tel Aviv as a part of a credit for his business school classes. We’ve been dating for just more than two-and-a-half years now and living together since last July, and his heart is the greatest complement to my own. So you could say I’m missing the dude pretty big right now.

Where I’m stubborn and impatient, he’s thoughtful and compassionate. Where he procrastinates or takes great care and time to accomplish certain tasks, I make moves forward and fast. When I don’t want to cook (which is often) he gets to work in the kitchen, but not before making sure I have a glass of wine in hand. Where I can chat up anyone and become best friends in five minutes flat, he’s more reserved, quiet, and introspective in social situations. He’s a school person and a history buff; my favorite TV channel is Bravo…

Sometimes I wonder and even feel insecure about our vast differences — in personality, in upbringings, in ways we do things and pursue goals — but then I think about how balanced and how safe and just at ease I feel when I’m with him. How he’s the only person who can calm me down in about 30 seconds when I’m upset, even the times I’m upset with him. He wants to do well by everyone and treat people with a gentle kindness, and I love that in him.

He can drive me half freaking crazy when he won’t get off TexAgs or group chat with his man-pals, but I could tell him I want to drive across the country for a book idea or open my own yoga studio and he’d back me up a thousand percent. I come up with crazy ideas all the time, and he never once has said or made me feel like I couldn’t achieve whatever new scheme I want to pursue.

His support is everything to me and my favorite quality in him. As confident as I am (most of the time) with my capabilities and path in life, I can attest that having someone else’s complete faith in you adds a whole new element of motivation, inspiration, and drive. It just lights a bigger fire knowing not only you think you can do outstanding, wonderful, important things, but someone else does, too.

I’ve been thinking about all of this in his absence this week, and, as though this isn’t already the cheesiest post ever, I’ve realized all that talk about distance and the heart growing fonder is kind of true. We haven’t spent ten days apart, I think, in all the time we’ve dated — so, while I do relish being pushed back into my autonomy this week, I can’t say I’m not looking forward to his plane’s arrival Sunday night.

I will say, however, this week has already been made a whole lot more fun and eventful than it could’ve been. My sister is in town to keep me company and drink all the wine that my normal wine-drinking buddy is missing. My heart’s feeling full, even if half of it’s in a different country.

This post has been in partnership with Winc, a company we’ve used and loved (and drank many bottles of) for two years. Sign up for Winc using my unique URL (trywinc.com/frecklesfigs) to receive 4 bottles of wine for $30. A few of my favorites are Upswell Cabernet, Alchymist Noir Red Blend, and One from The Quiver Torrontes. This wine is GOOD quality and affordable and comes straight to your front door. What more could you ask for?

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Say No to Eyelash Extensions

I’m taking a sharp turn from last week’s far more intense topic of being a sometimes controlling a-hole to talk about something I’ve come to truly dislike. It’s also a sharp turn from a blog post on this exact topic I wrote about a year ago, when I was singing the praises of face tarantulas — um, I mean eyelash extensions.

Most of us have heard of eyelash extensions, and many of us have been tempted to give them a try (especially us millennials — glamorous, “low-maintenance” makeup is always appealing, right?). I know tons of people who are huge fans of lash extensions, and I get it. Right after you get them done, they are so gorgeous and perfect and really open up your eyes. But after a couple of go-rounds, I’m done.

I’ll take the three minutes in the morning to swipe on some mascara to my normal-length lashes and save the $1,300 per year for important things like shoes and ice cream, thank you very much. (This has been my mascara of choice for several years running.)

I USED TO LOVE THEM. This is obvious, since I was pretty gung-ho in that post last year and got a new set about a month-and-a-half ago. But since getting them a little while ago and having them touched up once, I’ve made the decision that they are 100-percent not for me.

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Money Talk

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Recently, I cut up my two credit cards, started paying for (most) things with cash only, and made a BUDGET — like, a budget that I actually use. How boring am I? Stay with me here, because I think some folks out there in a similar life stage to mine might need to hear this.

Cutting the credit cards was the weirdest, and hardest, part of my money transformation. When I was a sophomore in college, I opened an envelope from the bank that I thought was a statement for my debit card, which was probably over-drafted. Inside, I found instead a shiny credit card, accompanied by a note saying I had 700 whole dollars I was allowed to spend.

Boy, did I spend.

At first, I was like, “K, I need to be smart about this. People wrack up credit card debt faster than they can say ‘Nordstrom anniversary sale.’ I’m just gonna use this on big things and emergencies.” Riiiiight.

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What I’m Reading Right Now

books to read 2016

I’ve always been an ardent reader, an enthusiastic lover of stories. I remember when I was little, before I learned how to read, I wanted to know how to read so badly. I couldn’t wait until the day that I could sound out more than just my first name. I would pick up my older siblings’ books and novels and just sit there staring at the pages while they watched TV or played. Between skimming the pages, I’d peek up to see if they noticed that–HELLO–I was “reading”! (Or, you know, I was looking intently at odd shapes that I assumed made up some magical story within the book I held.) They never appeared to notice or care, but I continued on flipping through pages, imagining what kind of story was encapsulated inside this or that book.

Now, it’s hard to find the time to wrap myself up inside a great book (and it’s not because I’m still learning to read). Between a busy work and life schedule, I find myself starting several books and slowly–we’re talking molasses-slow–chipping away at each of them simultaneously. The OCD side of me hates that I do this because finishing one of these books takes about, oh, a year (if I’m being generous). But, at the same time, I get to choose which book of the several I’m reading at once that I pick up, depending on what mood I’m in and what topic I feel like investing time in. Here are the four I’m working at (and loving) currently.

1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you know me personally or have read any of my blog posts, you know I struggle with finding balance between creativity and the rest of my life. This book is teaching me–in a beautifully written, yet firm, way–to SHUT UP and just get to work. Simple as that. Plus, Gilbert’s one-liners that serve as inspirational quotes to Pin forever and ever are amazing and aplenty.

2. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

John (boyfriend) and I are slowly working our way through this one–like, slower than all the other books on this list. It’s been a couple months since we picked it up–but we both agree that the main lesson is an important one. While John and I have entirely different work styles and goals, Keller’s lesson of choosing one thing, the most important thing, to focus your attention on at a time is a takeaway that’s proven useful in both John’s and my life.

3. Smart Women Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Achieving Financial Security and Funding Your Dreams by David Bach

Speaking of John, he gave me this book last year as a gift. I think it’s a sign he doesn’t exactly trust my financial skills? (KIDDING. Because, what financial skills?) I’m learning, you guys, and this book is certainly helping, even though it’s usually last on my list to pick up when I have spare time for reading. I am pretty self-aware about my financial situation, but that doesn’t mean I always know what I should be doing financially, as a young professional making a modest living. And this book is helping with that in a totally understandable way.

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The one novel I’m reading right now, this book is a tear-jerker and a page-turner. It’s about a deaf girl who, during World War II, gets separated from her father and must find her way to safety amid the approaching Germans. I am a sucker for Holocaust history and sad stories, but the weight of this one makes it difficult for me to pound through quickly. So, I’m savoring it–something made lovelier by the incredible writing courtesy of Doerr. (Shout out to John’s parents for a fantastic Christmas present!)