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Speaking of…

Dating and stuff.

Seems to be my thing right now 😉

I hear so often from people that certain couples, “Aren’t good together.”

“She doesn’t even know him.”

“I don’t like how he treats her.”

“What does she see in him, anyway?”

Oh hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m a culprit here, too. I have my critiques of certain pairings. But I’ve had a few directed at myself in my day and it’s seriously changing how I view other people’s relationships.

Like…When I dated my high school boyfriend.
Oh I know. You can feel the drama coming.
His friends loved me. But his parents didn’t.
Ya, major yikes.
That was tough. And awkward. And damaging to my self-esteem.
You get it.

Then, when I started dating Justin, most of his friends liked me. But I wasn’t always sure about all of them.
Just twist that knife a little further, why dontcha?

Talk about confusing. I won’t go into detail because some things are better kept off the Internet 😉 but while I was dating, I found my circle of influence colliding with someone else’s in a very unique way. I expected to be received with open arms. When you’re dating someone, it’s typical to want to impress the fam and friends. But when I hit some, uh, speed bumps, it kinda tore me up.

My inner dialogue was something like this:
“Wait, they don’t like me? I’m not likable? Why? It has to be something I did. I have to be more careful! I can’t believe I messed this up. How can I fix this? Or can I?”

And so on and so forth.

I’ve learned something from these experiences though.

News flash: Not everyone is going to like me.
And not everyone is going to like me with my boyfriend (uh, once you’re married it doesn’t really matter what the critics think ;))

So. Here’s what I’m still learning:

1. Friends and family are important. Their opinions are valuable and should be heard. But if you’re a grown adult, it’s time to start making independent decisions. So your parents think you’re boyfriend’s too goofy? That he’s not taking himself seriously?
If you really like this guy and know that he takes you and your potential future together seriously despite the silliness, it may be time to thank them for their input and then end the conversation. Your friends think your man works too much? That’s nice. But does it bother you?

Anyone you date will always be too something for someone. Whether it’s your mom, BFF, coworker, lab partner, etc who brings up what’s wrong with your main squeeze, be secure in your decision and your feelings for him.
However. If someone brings up an issue of past or current violent, manipulative or abusive behaviors – listen carefully and reevaluate.

2. People tend to be critical when they’re envious. I’ve heard women criticize their friends for dating guys who were too wealthy, romantic, God-fearing…

Gah, I knew a girl whose mother confronted her because her boyfriend spent too much time at church!

If a complaint seems like jealousy, it might be. Your friend may be doing just that. Complaining. Because her man doesn’t make a lot of money, doesn’t pick wild flowers for them (yep, I know a guy who does that for his wife), doesn’t go to church with them.
Remember, these complaints she’s making against your significant other may actually be about the things she wishes for in their own men.
If a close friend is doing this, talk to her about it.
If its not a close friend, consider making your dating life off-limits to the complainer. If you don’t bring it up, but she does – you don’t have to go into detail when talking with her. So don’t! Hopefully, starving off her knowledge of your personal life will give her less to be green over.

3. There is a chance the critic has a point.
This is the hardest thing to accept. As discussed in the last post, I don’t think dating is just for funsies. So, when someone points out an honest fault in your boyfriend, it hurts.

I remember really liking this guy once upon a time, but it just wasn’t working. I was talking to a mentor about it and she asked if I knew the guy I was kinda “with” but also kinda “not with” was already seeing another girl. And, in fact, they were going out with some other students she knew that weekend. And I needed to let it go, because they’d been talking for a while.
Talk about ouch. I didn’t need any more time to think about things after that. I was done. And I’m so glad she told me.
Even though it hurt.

If a guy is dragging you down through his hurtful words, physical abuse, threats, illegal behavior, dishonesty…and a friend brings it to your attention, then you owe it to yourself to listen.

4. If you’re playing the role of the critic – and this applies to me, too – back off! So you don’t like the guy because of something he did way back when. But he treats your friend like a princess. And has been better since he started dating her…maybe she’s rubbing off on him. Or you’re jealous because your man doesn’t visit you at work. Talk to him about it. Or you wish your boyfriend could afford to take you to that One Republic concert…or because you wish you had a boyfriend…you get the point.

It’s human to want things other people have. But it’s also destructive. Especially to your own happiness. If your critiques do come down to greenness, consider being real about it. Talk to your dating friend about how you feel. That maybe you shouldn’t talk about all the awesomeness in her love life right now because it’s hard for you to really be genuinely happy for her. And that’s ok. As long as you’re telling her so in love and with an apology. Don’t damage your friendship because of your envy.

Bottom line – no one wants to be criticized. And no one wants to be judged. So be aware of your relationship. Was what your friend said last week about your guy honest? Is it something you need to address? Was your dad just being protective, or is the way your boyfriend treats you a problem? And, are you acting out of jealousy when you complain about your friend’s relationship?

And ladies, about your man’s guy-friends – hopefully they are respectful and supportive and care for you.
But in case they don’t.
Guy-friends might be jealous of all the attention you get from your man. Or, they might even be jealous that he asked you out first! 😉
So if they don’t seem to like you, ask yourself:
“Are they single?” This will help you know more about their relational capacity. Relationships take up lots of time and attention and so on. If they are single, they may not understand why you’re hogging all of their friend’s resources.
“Do they really care about my man?” If they do, they will adjust if they see he’s happy with you and serious about you.
“Have I done something to offend them?” Don’t over-analysis this one. But if you have a nagging feeling that you’ve done something to wrong them, talk to your guy about it and fix it. Problem solved 😉

Off the soap box now. Relationships can be complicated. But they’re so worth it.

On Dating and Relating…

What a summer. I’ll have to do a recap at some point. Driving the entire length of California, some time in Denver, my families’ cabin was threatened by the Rim Fire…

Phew.

Now that summer’s coming to a close, lots of people are getting serious about their relationships. Have you ever heard of a fall fling? Nope, me neither 😉

Getting serious is fun. Being exclusive, really getting to know someone, diving into the labels and your potential future together…

But it’s also a little scary. Letting someone in and hoping he’ll accept you.There a chance of rejection and loss. And that would mean being single. Again. Starting all over.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Searching for a boy/girlfriend is so tiring. It is! When you are evaluating everyone around you, it shallows relationships. It seriously limits prospects, too. Think about it. If you go around rating people before befriending them and getting to really know them, you could accidentally sort out some keepers. And it changes how people perceive you. You might not know it…and it may not be obvious, but when you’re on the prowl, you’re distracted. You’re not your best self because you’re not all there. Carefully wording sentences, being self-conscious, wondering how others will respond to you and think of you…It’s exhausting.

Guys on the other hand…I think guys have it down. They shoot for girls who are waaayyy out of their league 😉 They go for the best. Ladies, we’re more likely to settle. Why? I dare you to seek out God’s best. Is that what you’re honestly waiting for?

Want my opinion on some important qualities and factors in a great date? No? Then why are you reading this? Stop now, it’s coming up 😉

Some things I think ladies should look for in a significant other – not necessarily in this order ;):

Ability to forgive. Let’s face it- we all mess up. Relationships are work and sometimes we fall on our faces. If the person you’re pursuing holds grudges, beware. So serious, but seriously. It may not end well and who wants a bitter ex? Or, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who is missing healthy relationships with others? Yikes.

Commitment. You wanna know that this person is in it for the long run. Do they easily abandon friendships due to conflict? What’s their dating history like? Can they hold a steady job? Did they finish school? You don’t want to be dedicated to someone who runs away from a major commitment in the long run…like a shiny ring 😉

Compassion. Compassionate people are usually good listeners, good relaters, and good supporters. It also helps at the end of a hard day to have someone emotionally-available enough to share in your experiences.

Sense of humor. It helps to break the ice on those first few awkward dates and laughing is good for the soul 🙂

Protective. Mostly a guy thing. Biblically, men are protectors and providers. They should stand up for you and defend you when appropriate. They should fight for your dreams. Also a good sign in potential fathers 😉

Attraction. I don’t think I need to explain this one.

Ability to compromise. Chances are you won’t agree on everything once you’ve been together awhile. I think most couples discover their differences after they’ve figured out their similarities. This will help you when solving your issues. Compromise is an important skill – not just in personal relationships, but also in the workplace. So stretch yourself! You can’t always have everything your way. As long as you’re not compromising about your values…not sure I need to explain that one either…Actually, I will. Read on.

Work ethic. Because relationships take hard work and a positive attitude. And if you haven’t had to work for yours yet, dig deeper. Don’t hide your real thoughts or true self to avoid conflict – it isn’t always a bad thing!

A sense of self. You don’t want to be with someone who becomes the opposite-sex version of you. That would be weird. And everything that attracted you to them would disappear.

Loyalty. If you’re going to share your secrets, dreams and thoughts with someone, you don’t want everyone to know the next day. Do they speak positively of their friends? Are they careful with others’ personal info? Or do they have a loose tongue?

Sense of adventure. Do stuff together. Have fun! Get out and go try something new. See if you have some favorite activities in common and if your SO is willing to go out on a limb to do something he hasn’t before.

A common faith. Super important. With this usually comes common values and morals. If he’s pushing you to do something that compromises you or doesn’t adhere to your standard of beliefs, be careful. Ok, more than careful. Address it and reevaluate.

Chivalry. It’s not dead, I promise. If a guy doesn’t pay for dinner on your first date without explaining why beforehand, it’s a red flag! My husband still opens doors for me. That stuff really does matter! It shows how much he values you.

Someone who’s willing to wait for you. If you’re not ready to date, don’t put up with someone who’s pushy and impatient. You’re worth it. And chances are, if they can’t put your needs before theirs before you’re dating, they won’t once you are. Just saying’. And if a guy wants to rush into talking marriage, call him out on it. He should be secure enough to give it a few months before putting a ring on it or talking a wedding-countdown. I personally am a big fan of the “dating for a year” thing. Ya, it’s a thing 😉 Then, once you’re close to that 12 month mark and if it’s appropriate, start talking seriously about timing and engagement. Otherwise, it adds unnecessary stress and expectations to your relationship. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up and talk about whether or not you see yourselves together in the future. But if you’re going to have to date for several years – like many young people do -, it’s silly to start getting antsy and anxious about wedding bells right away. And as far a physical boundaries go – if a guy is ever, ever, ever pushing you to do something you don’t want to do, move on.

As for love languages: It’s important to identify your partner’s love language so they feel appreciated and cared for. And then it’s important for you to learn how to speak their love language. It takes some time and practice (at least, it did for me), but it’s so worth it.

About dating in general…Ladies, guard your hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Have fun, feel treasured and pursued, laugh and get dressed up, write his last name with your first name on your notebook…

Does anyone really do that?

But be careful before bearing your soul. Chances are you’re going to be dating this person over a period of time, so don’t charge in. Be secure in the supreme knowledge of your heavenly Father and the plans He has for you – secure enough that you don’t feel the need to lay claim to the first nice guy that comes along. I would suggest letting any guy you’re talking to know that you take dating seriously. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree to marry him on the first date. Remember, it’ll take awhile to really get to know this guy, even if you feel like you’ve known him forever because he’s your soulmate 😉 If, for whatever reason, things don’t work out and you’ve been talking marriage and future plans since day one, it’s oh so much more painful when you’re trying to untangle your heart from that relationship. And if you’re talking marriage because you want to force the commitment out of a guy, it won’t work.

I’ve been there. The amount of Kleenex I used when it ended was criminal.

If you’re young and you’re looking at a few years before getting married, take it slow! Build a friendship, enjoy knowing you’re with someone special, but save those thoughts of marriage for the appropriate time (Songs 8:4). It’ll make that season of pre-engagement and engagement all the more exciting. Kinda like saving sex for marriage. Ok, I’ll spare you. But seriously worth it 😉

And ladies, I know telling someone that you love him is special. But if you tell him so before you’ve seen him at his worst, you could really do some damage with your reaction to his worst when you do experience it!

Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve found that guy, that guy you think is the one, consider telling him. If he’s a great guy (I do trust your judgement), he will skip cloud nine altogether and be walking on sunshine with that knowledge. But help him protect you by putting up boundaries to protect your heart. If you can’t get married for a year or two, talking about it day-in-and-day-out might be fun at first, but it will make things tough in the long run. Even setting timelines for engagement can set expectations that may or may not be reachable in the future…because a ring costs, ladies 😉 So once the subjects been breeched, be sure you’re communicating well about it. If you’ve already discussed an October engagement and the time’s coming up but you feel like it’s not going to happen, don’t assume the worst and don’t nag about it. Talk to your guy. Gently, ladies. Have a DTR and I’m sure he will reassure you and let you know what’s up and if things need to be more flexible.

Enjoy things one step at a time! And seriously, enjoy every minute of dating. It’s all about learning and sharing with someone who could possibly be your spouse!

Man, I love love. Don’t you?

Santa Cruz

Today, JBoat and I are headed to SC until Wednesday! I’m hoping we can get in some hiking and coffee time, maybe even hit the beach! It won’t be super warm, but ocean time is ocean time 😉

And we’ll be listening to the new Civil War’s album on the way down.

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Have you heard it yet? It’s incredible. And it’s about time they released some new stuff. There have been some issues between Joy Williams and John White…they weren’t speaking for a time. But at least they’ll still sing together 😉 Here’s one of my faves:

Eavesdrop
I don’t want to talk right now
I just want your arms wrapped around
me and this moment before it runs out

Oh, don’t say that it’s over
Oh, no, say it ain’t so
Let’s let the stars watch, let them stare
Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care
For all that we’ve got, don’t let it go
Just hold me

I can’t pull you closer than this
It’s just you and the moon on my skin
Oh, who says it ever has to end

Oh, don’t say that it’s over
Oh, no, say it ain’t so
Let’s let the stars watch, let them stare
Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care
For all that we’ve got don’t let go

Let’s let the stars watch let them stare
Let the wind eavesdrop I don’t care
For all that we’ve got don’t let go
Just hold, just hold me
Just hold me
Just hold me
Just hold me

Back From Mendo

Just spent 8 days in Mendocino, Ca. One of my favorite places!

We hiked, canoed, day-tripped, ate lots of Cowlick’s ice cream (and food in general…), enjoyed lots of sun (crazy, I know)…It was great!

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We also made it out to the Sinkyone Wilderness in northern Mendocino County. This state park is one of the most remote in California, accessible through old logging roads or the Lost Coast Trail. OMG, it was so beautiful.

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And yes, we went to Eggheads in Fort Bragg. I don’t actually like Eggheads, but my family does. And since this was a family vacay…you get it 😉 There are several places in Mendocino that serve a better (including better-looking) breakfast.

Headed to Twain Harte today! Definitely getting my travel on this summer 🙂

Get Your Hike On

Living in the Sacramento Valley isn’t exactly an avid hiker’s idea of paradise. It’s hot, flat and…hot. Spending my summers in Humboldt as a kid leaves much to be desired. We’re talking walls of fog, lush and drippy forests, the sound of waves crashing in the distance…

I know, I know. I should quit my day job and take this whole writing thing to the next level.

Oh wait. did quit my day job. 😉

Anyway. I’ve found a few er…reasonably-not-too-far-away hikes I thought I’d share. In case someone reads this.

And lives in my area.

That would be an awesome coincidence.

1. Hidden Falls Regional Park, Auburn

This place is beautiful! And seriously well-maintained by Placer County. There are several miles of hiking trails here, often shared by mountain bikers…cyclists…bicyclists…and the occasional human on horseback. The main attraction is, of course, the waterfall. It’s about 40 ft tall and an observation deck makes it easy to visit and soak in.

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It should be easily reached from the Poppy Trail >>> the North Legacy Trail. Note I said should be. I’ve hiked this 3 or 4 times, but when trying to navigate the complex trail system from the posted maps, things can get a little hairy. There are no takeaway maps available. I’ve made it to the falls twice and had to leave frustrated twice. 50-50 ain’t bad in my book, though. But seriously, Poppy Trail to the North Legacy Trail should do it. I hear the Seven Pools Loop is worth the trek, too!

One more note – if you’re trying to use Apple maps to get the the park, you will end up at a dead end! Google’s got it right.

2. Auburn SRA

River, check. Bridges, check. Swimming hole that’s top secret but right under the Foresthill Bridge, check.

I’m giving you majorly valuable information here, people. We Northern California folk are usually very territorial when it comes to swimming holes.

Lots of parking off 49. If you don’t have a state park pass – hear this: pay the fee! Put the thingy on your dashboard! Otherwise, you will get a ticket! And you’re essentially the reason for California state parks being underfunded. So do it!

The trail we usually follow is pretty easy to find. We take 49 to the park and then park our car just before the highway crosses the north fork of the American River. Then, walk across the bridge to the trailhead, which will lead you down to Clarks Hole. You’ll technically hike under and just past the Foresthill Bridge. Believe me, you’ll know when you’re there. The American River isn’t my first choice for swimming, but this is a watering hole! With the help of some very shallow rapids, the river’s been stopped up and pooled in this spot for who knows how long. Now, it’s a part of it’s natural flow through the canyon. Pretty awesome and shady during the late afternoon, too. No bathrooms near the water, so use the ones near the parking off 49!

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3. Roseville Trails

Ok. This one is for those of you who don’t want to drive out of the way for hiking and would rather take it easy. Low maintenance hikers.

Walkers.

These trails are beautiful. And you can access them from several different places around the city. My favorite are the ones following Miner’s and False Ravines.

There are some geo-caches here, too!

These trails are all paved now, I think…perfect for a leisurely stroll.

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There are lots of other places (Malakoff Diggins, South Yuba River, Cool…) that have amazing hikes as well. I’ll get to those later!

Mango Lassi

Today, I tried something new for breakfast.

And I think I really like it.

So, I’m sharing it with you!

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It’s super simple. Probably the simplest “smoothie” I’ve made.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk (whole milk is highly recommended for lassi)

1 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)

1 cup cubed mango (I used frozen. Fresh mango is probably way better – isn’t that how it always works? :))

4+ teaspoons honey to taste (Though the original recipe called for 4 teaspoons of sugar. I’ll probably use agave next time.)

2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)

Blend it all together!

It can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours.

Probably freezes just fine, too.

Then, enjoy 😉 yummy and not too sweet.

Oh Hey…

So, it’s been a while. What have I been up to?

Let me show you!
 shorestuff
Yep, rebranding. Apparel, banners, videos, flyers, website, social media, slides, decor, calendars, events…124 design files and lots of hours.
I’m beat!
But, excited to announce I’ve transitioned to a more flexible, creative role at my work. And I’ll be able to help my parents at the family business because of it.
Pretty neat 🙂
So I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Score.
And I should be around more often 🙂
Double score.
So lots has been happening and in short, I’m looking forward to blogging at ya again soon. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been up to!