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12 Things I Secretly Love About Being (Legally) Single at 31

By boys, financial wisdom, lifestyle, lists, ruling at life 6 Comments

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{the ring I bought myself in St. Maarten when I just the teeniest bit jealous of all my engaged friends}

In honor of today’s date (12/12/12), my friend Nicole asked me (and every other blogger on the planet) to write a 12-themed post for her link-up party. I knew I wanted to write a list, but I’ve been struggling to come up with an original topic all week. I was even on the fence about this one until I checked in with the boyfriend to make sure he wouldn’t be offended.

I say “legally” single because I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost five years, so I’m not really that single; I’m just not married. Also, this is not meant to be an anti-marriage post or offend any of my married friends. Being married has its pros and cons, and so does being unmarried. You’re only getting one side of one story here — 12 of my personal favorite things about being (legally) single.

When I was in college, all I wanted to do was graduate and get married. When I think about it now, I’m nothing but grateful for the last 10 years and the fact that I haven’t gotten married yet. Here’s why.

1. I’m the only one with access to my bank accounts. For the last six years, I’ve been exceptionally proud of my money management skills. I’ve got several retirement accounts, an HSA, two savings accounts, both a personal and a business checking account, and a few credit cards. I balance my accounts every two weeks after I get paid, and I know exactly what my financial situation is at all times. While I’m responsible for exercising some self-discipline in order to maintain financial order in my life, I also don’t have to justify my spending to anyone else. I can spend or save my hard-earned money however I choose, and I take great pride in knowing that as of this moment, I can support myself financially pretty much indefinitely. It also makes it easy to do my own taxes every year.

2. I still have my own room. You know how some people go back to their parents’ house and get to sleep in their old bedrooms? I don’t really experience that anymore, partly because my parents have moved a few times since I left, but mainly because, while it’s been relocated a few times and evolved into a more grown-up version, I still have my old room, and yes, it is still decorated in Hawaiian print. Also, there are no one else’s clothes in my closet — just mine. It’s all mine. =)

3. I spend plenty of time alone. Anyone who knew me ten years ago can attest to the fact that I hated being alone. I pretty much attribute every anxiety attack I had between the ages of 10 and 23 to being alone. And I don’t mean being single. I just mean being literally alone, by myself, with no one to talk to. Luckily, over the years, I’ve learned to really enjoy spending time alone — so much so, that I spend at least a few nights a week at my own house, doing my own thing, sleeping alone in my own bed. I value time with myself just as much as the time I spend with anyone else, and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to figure that out.

4. I can still plan my future wedding in my head. I don’t do it obsessively like some girls, but I’ve been known to occasionally save a photo of a pretty dress or party favor. I’ve been saving a magazine with a picture of a cake in it since, I don’t know, like 2002. The fact that I’d choose the same cake now as I would have 10 years ago is actually kind of awesome.

5. I’m free to do pretty much whatever I want without asking permission or checking in. If a few of my co-workers ask me if I want to have dinner or go to a movie after work, and I don’t already have plans, the answer is yes. I don’t need to ask anyone else. Being married (or even just living with your significant other) means you’re expected to be there, so checking in or asking first is  a considerate thing to do. Since J and I don’t live together, I never have to do that unless I’m making a change to plans we already have. Most of the time, we do let each other know what we’re up to, but it’s never expected, and it’s always appreciated.

6. My friends and family rarely pressure me about having babies…mainly because they’re still busy trying to figure out when I’m going to actually get married. (Except for Kristy. She doesn’t care. She just wants me to have babies.)

7. Some of my best friends over the last 10 years have been guys. Granted, I don’t have many close guy friends in my life anymore — most of them moved away, some got married, etc. — but I’m thankful for the time we were friends and that I had the chance to meet them. If I had gotten married years ago, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

8. Some of my best friends over the last 10 years have been roommates. Again, some are still close friends, and some aren’t, but the fact of the matter is that I probably wouldn’t have even met any of those roommates if it weren’t for the fact that I wasn’t married and I did need someone to live with. I still have a roommate now, and J and I both consider him a close friend. =)

9. No one else is depending on me financially. Technically, I could quit my job and go wait tables without even asking anyone’s opinion. I’m 99.99 percent certain I’m not going to do that, but some days it’s just nice to know I could. 😉

10. My boyfriend and I are still “dating.” You know what that means? We regularly go out to nice dinners, movies, etc. It’s never assumed that we’re going to just hang out at one of our houses and do nothing all the time, and we never get sick of spending time together — probably because we spend plenty of time apart, too. That’s not to say we’re not serious about each other. We live within walking distance of each other; we have a dog; and we share a Costco membership.

11. I’m not obligated to spend time with anyone’s family but my own. That’s not to say I don’t love hanging out with J’s family — I certainly do! But I hang out with them because I want to, and no one ever makes me feel guilty if I have other plans. Neither one of us has to worry about how to split our time for the holidays because it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to go see my family for Christmas, and J is going to stay here with his. We’ve been rotating Thanksgivings, but again…that’s because we both want to, and not because either one of us feels like we have to.

12. It’s a total coincidence that my boyfriend and I have matching cookware. It has nothing to do with a wedding registry, and we don’t live together. We’ve just happened to have matching cookware since before we met. I feel like I just kind of have a strange appreciation for that fact that I wouldn’t have under other circumstances.

Thoughts? J seemed to think this post would be controversial. Like I said, these are just my own personal favorite things about not being married. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan to get married some day or that there aren’t things I dislike about not being married. It just means I’m completely happy with my life the way it is now, and I’m in no rush to make any major changes.

I’d love to know…are you single? Married? What are your favorite things about whichever one applies to you?

30 for 30 Flashback

By fall, fashion statements, outfits, ruling at life, style, you might learn something 2 Comments

Right around two years ago today, I was in the in the middle of Kendi’s 30 for 30 challenge. Maybe you remember the rules? Take 30 pieces from your closet (including shoes, but not including outerwear and accessories) and remix them into 30 different outfits over 30 days. I had lots of fun doing this, and as it turned out, I was able to turn 30 pieces into not just 30, but 50 outfits. Whenever I feel the urge to shop too much or buy something I don’t absolutely love, I try to keep in mind the lessons I learned about my closet over the course of this challenge and that since I still own most of these pieces, I have plenty to wear.

30x30-collage

If you want, you can read a little more about the 30 for 30 here.

Midsummer Magic

By holiday fun, life's a beach, ruling at life, virginia beach 3 Comments

If I could begin and end every summer day at the beach the way I did today, I would be eternally happy. I squeezed in a refreshing, early morning bike ride before work, and I toasted the summer solstice with a champagne picnic at the ocean’s edge at 7:09 p.m. — complete with shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, and the boyfriend. =)

On this first day of summer, I vow to make every attempt to spend as much time enjoying the sun, sand and surf as possible — riding my beach cruiser at dawn, strolling the boardwalk at lunch, catching those last few rays after work, and taking plenty of cool dips in the Atlantic.

Come September, there will be no, “Oh, I wish I had spent more time outside” or “Where did the summer go?” or “I should have found the time for more beach days.” Not this year.

The summer is mine to squander or fill with magic moments like today, and I choose the latter.

Scenes from the Long Weekend

By holiday fun, life's a beach, ruling at life 6 Comments

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It was three days full of beach time, sunshine, bike rides, dog walks, and get-togethers. I wish the entire East Coast could have enjoyed the weather we did for Memorial Day weekend. I started my “staycation” on Friday evening soaking up some sun on the beach, followed by a nice dinner date with the boyfriend. Saturday shaped up to be a leisurely morning of shopping, an afternoon on the beach, and a night out with John and Vince that ended up in a midnight walk on the beach and a barefoot bike ride home.

On Sunday, I crammed in as many activities as I could — a bike ride to breakfast, a mid-morning walk along Rudee Inlet, some quality time with Diesel, progress on my sunglasses organization project, and two birthday parties involving margaritas and lots of beer. =)

Monday was meant to be a day of doing nothing, but we ended up hosting an impromptu cookout for just a few friends, and it was the perfect way to close out an easygoing, beautiful weekend.

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{see the rest of this outfit here}

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Words of Wisdom for a Long Weekend

By food, holiday fun, life's a beach, lists, ruling at life 4 Comments

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I plan on making the most of the next 72 hours…starting with the fact that I’m already lounging on the beach. =)

As far as I’m concerned, the next three days are a mini-vacation. No work, no stress…just fun, sun, and more fun.

That being said, here are just a few ways you can celebrate the start of summer this weekend.

1. Wear sunblock. And keep wearing it all summer long.

2. Don’t drink and drive. There are cops everywhere, and I hear getting arrested sucks.

3. Drink a piña colada. It’s summer, and you’re on vacation.

4. Relax. Spend at least a few hours reading, snoozing or sipping champagne outside, whether it’s on a porch, near a pool or at the beach.

5. Listen to some fun music. My soundtrack for the next three days is shaping up to be Reel Big Fish Radio on Pandora. Nothing like soaking up some sunshine to the tune of some upbeat ska.

6. Don’t show up to cookouts empty-handed. If you’re too lazy (or hungover) to cook, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. Spread one package of cream cheese over the bottom of a medium-sized microwaveable casserole dish. Top that with one can of Hormel chili (no beans), and top that with one package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Voila! Taco dip! Pop it in the microwave for seven minutes when you get where you’re going. Serve it up with some tortilla chips and beer, and you’re golden.

7. Take at least a few minutes to remember what Memorial Day is all about.

8. Cram in as many other fun activities as possible. You only ring in summer once a year. =)

And that’s about it. Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. I posted this from my iPhone, so please pardon any typos or formatting issues. First attempt. =)