A Big Announcement! (#yolo)

Ok friends, we need to talk. Is it serious? Yeah…kinda, and this post is a little lengthy, so feel free to skip to the end if you just want the big news I’m going to share.

I moved from D.C. to Las Cruces, New Mexico on July 18th, 2014, just barely over a year ago. The decision to move was a hard one, but at the time, it really was the best option, for a multitude of reasons. If you recall, or maybe you don’t because it happened so fast, I packed up my D.C. apartment, with lots of help from friends, and moved within a week. I was ready for a new adventure, and New Mexico was the natural choice.

You probably see where this is going now. New Mexico has been fun: I have seen a lot of great things, met many wonderful people, have eaten the best Mexican food of my life, been on some magnificent hikes, and have seen some of the greatest vistas and sunsets. New Mexico truly is the Land of Enchantment.

However, I also knew from the moment I moved that New Mexico was never going to be a long term home for me. I thought I would be here a few years, maybe 2-4. As beautiful as it was, living in a town of 100,000 after living in cities and metro areas ranging from 1 to 10 million was really, really difficult. Being so far away from my family in the Midwest and the east coast was even harder. New Mexico, as many benefits as it has, also very much has a “mañana” culture, something that I just don’t blend in with very well.

In January, things suddenly started to shift again for us. Moving away from New Mexico, both for Christopher’s job and a new one for me, seemed like again, another natural choice, but we just didn’t know when or where, which you know, are two pretty important pieces to moving.

I am the type of person who likes plans. I like dates. I like lists. I like things being in order. I typically have reports at work written 2-3 weeks in advance. My South of Vanilla blog posts are written anywhere from 2-6 weeks in advance. When I go to the grocery store, my list is organized by category AND by geographical location of items. Maybe its OCD, maybe its because I don’t really like any surprises, maybe its my German heritage coming through, I don’t know. But I really, really like order and planning. Having anything not planned out is difficult for me to deal with.

Oprah once said that:

"…the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. It's that subtle…and if you don't pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder… like getting thumped upside the head. If you don't pay attention to that, it's like getting a brick upside your head. You don't pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down…”

Since 2009, I have been in countless situations similar to the one I am facing now. I have strangely been in unstable, unpredictable, un-plannable scenarios. To say I handled this ambiguity with tact and grace would be a huge misrepresentation. Living in a shade of gray without concrete plans would throw me into full-blown meltdowns, overwhelming anxiety, and sleepless nights. I like, I need plans.

Here is the big difference this time: I’ve decided to just surrender to this ambiguity. The fact that I have not learned to modify my behavior after living through these past scenarios, despite my meticulous planning, leads me to believe that there is a life lesson here that I need learn. There is a reason why these patterns keep reoccurring. I have been resisting these seas of gray for years, and at first, it started off small, a whisper. The past few months especially, I have felt like bricks were being thrown at me.  I need to handle this, figure out whatever life is trying to teach me, before the brick wall crumbles down around me.

So it is with happiness, hesitation, pure fear, and exhilaration that I now officially announce that we are leaving New Mexico. Christopher will be traveling around the East Coast, searching for some jobs, finding a landing place where both of us will be happy; we don’t know yet where exactly that will be, or when it will happen. I will be leaving New Mexico (probably) the first week of August, although I don’t exactly know to where. I don’t have a solid job lined up. I don’t have a solid location of where I will be going. I don’t know where I will be living the next few weeks, let alone the next year. I am currently looking into doing some travel therapy jobs, but I might not- whatever job I choose needs to be the right opportunity and fit for both me and the organization. I do know that for the next couple weeks I will be doing some road-tripping around the U.S., seeing some new places, revisiting some past haunts, and hopefully seeing some people that I love. I don’t know how long this nomad, soul-discovering phase of mine will last, but its of course dependent upon things that are just out of my control right now. 

To say that I am terrified is an understatement. My life was more stable and figured out at 17 than now at 27. For the first time, I am embracing this ambiguity I once again find myself in and just going with it: there has got to be a life lesson for me here.

So what does this mean for the South of Vanilla? I will still be posting regular recipes: the uber-planner in me (of course) has worked really hard over the past few weeks to make sure that the recipes will be posted consistently while I am (maybe) away from a kitchen. My Sunday Snaps will probably reflect more of what I am doing on these trips, and I might throw in a post here and there about what I am doing and where I am. I will be posting more regular updates on my Instagram page, so you can follow along with me there. I will still be available via email, and I will be more than happy to chat or answer any questions, paleo or otherwise.

I hope you all follow along with me: this will be quite the adventure, and quite the learning experience! I am terrified, but excited, and I hope I can share it will you all every step of the way.

XOXO,

P.S. Below I have compiled a bunch of my favorite New Mexico pictures. (Which admittedly is a lot.) Feel free to swipe through them- I just can't even believe how gorgeous this state is! Definitely sad to leave these gorgeous landscapes. 












Sunday Snaps 7-20-14 (One Day Late)

It has been a hectic week here at South of Vanilla. If you didn’t see the big announcement, I’ll fill you in: I moved from D.C. to New Mexico.

As you can imagine, my week was full packing, moving boxes, goodbyes, and doing some last minute things in the DMV area that I’ve been meaning to get to…

…Like a road trip to the eastern shore of Maryland where we stayed on Assateague Island. The island has been on my bucket list ever since I heard that there were wild horses. (Where didn’t I come here when I was 10 and going through my horse obsession phase???!)





I heard from a coworker that a Spanish ship carrying a shipment of horses crashed on the barrier island, leaving the horses to roam free and create their own herds. I tried to verify this on the internets, and found similar stories, but also found more reasonable stories stating that farmers let horses roam free within the natural barriers of the island before it was a national park. I prefer the former, romantic story, so that is the one in which I will believe.


Also on this road trip? Crab Balls. A cuisine so descriptively named and so incredibly delicious. How had I not heard of this before? I have no idea. But they. Are. Delicious. Farewell crab balls. I hope to see you again soon.


Every time I move, I debate throwing out all my stuff and just starting over again. It’s a lot of work to move, and it’s a lot of work to have stuff. Once I am all packed, I feel a sense of accomplishment, until I realize I have to unpack all the work I just did. Which is why I haven’t yet. Not even the suitcase I have full of clothes that I brought ahead of all my other stuff. Everything is just in a huge pile on the floor. (I can’t find anything, so I’ve resorted to just wearing the same two things for the past 3 days. I am full of logic.) I’ve also decided that the best place to eat is on an old trunk that has somehow become a table. So there’s that. #movingsucks



Right when I got here, I went to the Farmer's Market and bought, among other things, these fabulous pasture-rasied, organic, grain-fed humanely raised eggs. You cannot tell me the color of and taste of these eggs are the same as conventionally raised ones. No filter, ladies and gents.

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Last night, CK and I went to some natural hot springs against a beautiful mountain backdrop to relax after an overwhelming couple of days. My ginger self, being super sensitive to temperature changes, loved them. Until I didn’t.



Hope everyone’s week is treating them well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Land of Enchantment: another huge announcement

Well, I’ve got some news here at South of Vanilla. It might be a little sudden for you guys, but…

…I’ve moved. I have left D.C.

I’ve meant to post this earlier, I really did. When I found out about the move, I decided that I needed to make sure that I told friends, family, work, etc. in person before they found out via social media, word of mouth, or the blog. I succeeded exceptionally at telling everyone personally about my move…. but then moving across country got the best of me. Saying goodbye to friends and the city, packing up my apartment, finishing up my current job, arranging my new job, and arranging moving details in less than a month proved to be very challenging. Near the end, I was throwing things into boxes haphazardly and bribing friends to help me take apart furniture in exchange for alcohol. (P.S. Thanks Sandra!)

So where exactly did I go? I moved to New Mexico. As in the home of the best salsa I have ever had, and more green chilies than I have ever seen.   New Mexico, as in the home of more sand I have ever laid my eyes on, and more panoramic vistas than I ever could have imagined. It’s a big change for me.

So why did I leave D.C.? There are a lot of reasons, many of which I hope to touch on in future posts, but mostly to be with my man, a new job opportunity, and the need for some changes in my life. Yes, I loved D.C., and I still very much do, but things fell into alignment and I made the decision to leave a city I passionately love in exchange for a new adventure. Moving is always hard, and saying goodbye was extremely difficult. D.C. has been such a good city for me: it gave me my master’s, introduced me to some of my best friends, taught me the importance of remaining true to myself, and showed me the way to live a life full of motivation, passion, and dedication. I have learned so many life lessons in my years in D.C., and I can say with confidence that my time in D.C. has challenged me to grow, thrive, and develop into the person I think I was meant to be. I do not think a different city could have done this for me. I still have so many memories: going on long runs around the monuments, 4 a.m. nights in Adams Morgan and H street, my first half marathon, incredible restaurants, Nats games, and infinite amounts of museums. I’ve also been incredibly blessed to make the most of my time while living on the east coast; I’ve traveled across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia.  I’ve seen a lot. I’ve done a lot. And now I get to do a whole lot more.













So what does this mean for the blog? I will continue posting, and my new (day) job actually gives me a lot more freedom and flexibility, so I hope to be posting more on the blog, especially as it seems to be gaining more and more momentum. (Ummm, I am so excited about this!) Since this move was a quick one, I actually have a lot of recipes and corresponding photos that were taken in D.C. so you might be hearing some stories that took place on the East Coast even though I am very much in the Southwest. Also…. I’ve made it my mission to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food (I’ve already had 2 burritos and 2 types of salsa since I’ve been here, and it hasn’t even been 72 hours #paleofail.), so I will hopefully be posting some recipes for Paleo Mexican dishes in the future. Also, if you want to keep up immediately on my life and blog, follow me on Instagram. (I am addicted to Instagram.)

When I was little, my mom always told me to make the best of situations and opportunities; I should experience all that I could because I never knew when things would change. When I was 5, I thought this meant to always color with the prettiest crayon. When I was 12, I thought it meant that I needed to figure out if I should focus full time on my rock collection, my shell collection, or my sand collection. (Don’t ask.) In college, I thought my mom’s persevering advice meant to drink every shot given to me (Sorry, Mom), and in grad school, I thought I needed study as hard as I could to ensure I could get the most out my degree. Currently at 26, I’ve settled on an interpretation, for now, that is guiding me to deeply explore every aspect presented to me at the moment, whether that be relationships, jobs, food, cooking, or traveling; I’ve decided that I want to live a genuine, passionate, creative, and curious life.  New Mexico will let me do this on many different levels, and like my mom always says, you never know how long you’ll be in place, so explore it while you can. I suppose that this is a Carpe Diem Wanderlust outlook on life, and seeing how well this has served me in the past, I never want to give that up.

Here’s to the next adventure. Thanks for joining me.