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Meandering Backwards

Do y’all ever look back on a time in your life, where you felt like that was the closest you’ve felt to yourself? You were exactly where you not only were meant to be, but you were happy, feeling your best, enjoying life to it’s fullest?

For me that was when I moved to Orlando, FL just after college for an internship at Disney World.

You know how we all have that one relationship, where when looking back, we just hang our head, because there are just no words? I was in that at the time, nearing the end of college, having no idea what my next step was going to be. We were “engaged” (yes, parenthesis are beyond appropriate) and I was looking not only for what I was going to do next, but also a way out.

I randomly heard that recruiters for the Walt Disney Co. were going to be at my school, and they had a photography internship available they were going to be talking about. Out of curiosity I walked my happy ass there to hear what they had to say. I had a few free hours so why not?

They sold me. So I applied, went through a couple phone interviews, then come graduation I said PEACE! Off to Florida I went!

I was nervous, but excited. I knew not a soul, would be hundreds of miles from family and friends, but it was exactly what I needed.

I shared an apartment with 3 other girls, in a complex full of other Disney Interns for 7 months.

During that time I almost died from heat stroke (ok, slight exaggeration, but taking a Midwest native and planting her outside for 8 hours in the Central Florida June sun? Holy Hell. It was a brutal adjustment.), learned how to country line dance, explored on my own, wore a bikini for the first time in my life, made some great friends, learned what I was and wasn’t made of, and met my future husband.

Some of my favorite memories from that time are both social and professional. Care to take a momentary trip with me?

At the time, Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney was still a thing. There were dance “clubs” and free cast-member nights. Some of my friends went weekly, and I’d tag along at times. Pleasure Island no longer exists, and Downtown Disney is now Disney Springs, and I’m so glad I was able to experience it as it had been.

The internship I had was for a new department at Disney World, and being at the *almost* beginning was such a great learning experience. I had the opportunity to be on multiple opening teams, watching how a business changes as it grows and transitions, learning what worked and what didn’t. One of my biggest takeaways was Customer Service. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of jobs I’ve had, but the training I got was invaluable, and changed how I view the customer relationship. It’s because of the training I had and my time with Disney that I love providing great customer service!

Thursday and Saturday nights at Cowboys, “Orlando’s best Country Nightclub.” Oh-ma-lord, the times had there! My roommate first introduced me, as I’d never been line dancing or to a Country bar before, and I’m SO glad she did! The dancing blew me away. I had been expecting boring old people dancing to lame country music, but not only was it full of people my age, they danced to both country AND hip hop at times! Then there were the contest nights, where they had the girls in bikinis, and the guys in boxers. Those were fun nights, haha!

Of course, there were the trips to the beach. Both Cocoa Beach and Clearwater Beach were roughly the same distance from where I lived, so I’d go to both. Clearwater Beach though, on the Gulf side, was much more enjoyable to me. I remember one time heading there with friends, I’m not sure why but we ended up in Ybor City driving around. On this one street there were a lot of busted looking homes real close together, and all of a sudden we come upon a house with a bunch of chickens! I was shocked as shit, as that was definitely not something I would have expected.

Then there were the nights when I didn’t feel like going out, but I didn’t want to just sit around in my room. I’d head upstairs to the neighbor guys’ place. They were my go-to for a fun chill night.

Orlando is best known for Disney, but one of my most favorite places ever is in the often overlooked downtown Orlando: Lake Eola. I spent more evenings than I can count walking around that lake. Watching the colors change on the fountain, the ducks and swans swimming with their babies. As the evening turned darker and darker, jumping as the huge outlines of Palmetto Bugs dashed across the pavement at my feet. They always made me jump like a damn girl!

Of course, meeting Oscar, who would become my husband, takes the cake! The days spent working with him and others in that area of the park were SO much fun, it almost didn’t feel like work at times.

I write all this because I’m finding that past experiences tend to get lost these days in my mind. I’m fairly focused on the present and the future, and while it’s not a good thing to get stuck in the past, I find I really enjoy letting my mind wander to the past. It gives me a chance to relive fun events, experience some of the feelings again that I’d had, reflect on what I did successfully, what I didn’t do so well, and helps influence how I move forward. Sometimes I find there are things I’ve done that are still weighing on me that I need to rectify. Sometimes I’m reminded of an activity that made me feel alive.

Many times it reminds me of how quickly time is passing, and how important it is to enjoy the present.

Every time it reminds me of people who will always leave an imprint on my heart, who I could never forget, and were such an important part of my life.

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Why Hello Again!

Hey y’all, wow it’s been a minute.

I’ve been saying for a while that I want to get back to writing here, but I couldn’t figure out what my focus would be. I had to have the perfect idea, with the perfect things I could write about, and I had to have it all perfectly organized. So today I made a decision:

Fuck that Shit.

I’m just going to start. I don’t know what direction this will take, or what I’ll primarily focus on. At this point, I’m just going to write what comes to mind, post some photos, and go from there. Expect lots of Mama focused posts, as that’s my current season in life, but also just musings on life in general, music, photography and possibly some food related stuff.

Who knows. It’ll be an Odyssey for all of us!

I looked at this last post that I’d written, way back in September 2013, it’s kind of surreal to read. I wrote about how I was thinking about Asheville, that Oscar and I wanted to settle there one day. Fast forward to now, 2 years and 6 months later, and life finds us living here! Technically we’re just over an hour southeast of Asheville, but none the less, Oscar works in Asheville, and I go there every few weeks. Our plan was to move to where we are to get our feet back on the ground, then move to Asheville. You’d think after 32 years I’d get it that nothing ever goes “as planned”.

We moved at the beginning of August 2014, and here we are, still not “on our feet”. When we moved I was 6 months pregnant, and it’s been a roller coaster. We’re here though. We did what we needed to do in Illinois to be able to move, and we made it happen. So I know we’ll make the next step happen when the time is right (and we figure out what it is, haha!).

I’ll talk more about that another time, for now, I’m enjoying the feeling from reading that last post, knowing where we’re at now. Asheville, and Western North Carolina, is absolutely beautiful. We’ve had our share of culture shock, but more and more I enjoy the beautiful mountains, breathing the air, the friendly people, and my day trips into Asheville!

 

 

Swirling Thoughts

As you can tell things have been quiet here. I have some thoughts I’m working on turning into something though. It’s been hard for me to get on here and post without a clear direction as to what I want this space to be. I think I’m getting there though. Stay tuned! 🙂

Music That Makes My Heart Hurt | Mana

If I’m not mistaken this song is originally by Juan Gabriel. While I enjoy some of his music, this version of Hasta Que Te Conoci by Mana is so striking. I feel it to my core. I also love when musicians switch up the rhythm, so towards the end when it moves to Cha Cha it pulls me farther into it’s notes.

 

(via)

52 words.

I can’t bring myself to sit down and actually write a post. Except this. I could get myself to write this.

I entered an essay contest last month, and was a finalist. I didn’t win, there were many great entries. If you’re interested, you can read my essay here

Until next time….

Never invisible

Thursday was the first time I mentioned to anyone that I had started this here blog. Granted I’m only a couple posts in, but none-the-less.

For shits & giggles I checked the stats info to see the traffic, fully expecting to see nada, and HOLY CRAP. Um. Ok, so I’ve been getting hits. The most I’ve had in one day is 4, but regardless, I’ve consistently had at least 1 hit a day for about 4 days, having told not a soul. Now, I don’t think any of those hits are repeat hits, but it’s interesting that people I don’t know have found this blog, even if just once. Of course, it’s probably just the web bots out there trolling around, but, whatev, I’ll take it!

I’ve historically not been good at keeping up my blog. I started a photography business, and a blog to go with it, that I just never was able to keep up. This time, however, I’m hoping will be different.

I’ve been inspired by Molly Mahar and Stratejoy, so I’ll be using all the fabulous writers and content there for inspiration to keep this up!

Where do you look to find inspiration or motivation to do the things you want to do, but aren’t always great at actually doing?

The Sun is Shining

What a stunningly beautiful day. It’s 80 degrees, in mid-March, outside Chicago. Yesterday was just as beautiful. This past winter was one of the mildest I’ve ever seen, and considering my disdain for winter, I fully appreciated it. But now I’m feeling apprehensive. The 10 day forecast shows us expecting 70+ degree weather for the next 8 days, followed by 60’s. It’s only March. I KNOW we have at least 1 more snow in us. I’m fairly certain we’ll go back to the 30’s, most definitely the 40’s, and as much as I’ve appreciated the mild weather, this warmup has me spoiled me, and when the temp drops again, I’m going to be downright pissed. I know I know, not very grateful of me.

ANYwho……The thing about it for me, besides disliking the cold, is that I need sunshine and a warm breeze to keep my mood up. I have challenges with bout of depression, and the winter months are even more challenging for me. Now that the sun is shining later, and I can have the windows open, something about it stirs my soul, and I feel more…..alive I suppose, cliche as that sounds.

Today was a day off for me, and in the winter, I would have spent it in bed until about 10 or so, gotten up, eaten breakfast while watching one of my dvr’d shows, then once it was over, figured what the hell, I’ll go ahead and watch another one. Once that was over, I would have realized I need to go to the store to get something for dinner, but that would also entail I get dressed. So. Much. Work.

Today though, with the warmth and sunshine, I was up before 8, ate breakfast while watching one show, then headed out the door to my p’s to let Coco and their dogs run for 45 mins, hit the grocery store, lunch, back home a half hour walk with a friend, photo editing, some magazine reading, and now, at 3:15, I’m typing this out.

Clearly this weather agrees with me!

Do you find that certain weather condition effect your mood and energy levels? Surely I’m not alone here!

First World Problems

Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. The world.

I’m having one of those days. I can’t be the only one who has those days, right? Physically I feel like crap. Not from a sick stand-point, but from a I feel like a total fat-ass stand-point. Then I spent too much time online today, looking at blogs that can be inspiring, but instead, today, they leave me hating where I’m at in life, and wishing I was somewhere else.

Somewhere warmer.

Somewhere with more flavor.

Somewhere more exotic.

Somewhere that would give me awesome memories and experiences.

But I’m here. Outside Chicago, in March. It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, and there’s jack to do.

Today was supposed to be a good day. I could tell last night that today was going to be a good day. I was going to have breakfast with my mom before she leaves on a long-ass vacation, then I’d have the afternoon open, I’d get some grocery shopping done, cook something fun for dinner, and possibly/probably go see that movie tonight that we’ve been trying to get to.

At 7:45-ish though my phone rang. I ignored it, cause it was too early. I felt it vibrate that a message had been left, so I glanced to see who called at least, and it was a number not programmed into my phone, so I check the voicemail.

Ugh.

It was that call that I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of, “Hi Candace, just wondering where you are, you’re supposed to work this morning.”

Umexcusemewhat?!?!?!

Yeah, who knows how it happened, I swear I double checked the schedule, but regardless, here I was, barely awake, with a good day ahead of me, and now I had to rush to get ready.

It took me a good hour being discombobulated to finally wake up.

Then I was all good. I enjoy work, so all was well. I got off at noon, so home I go to cook lunch, and entertain my insane dog.

I had a couple of shows on dvr waiting for me, so, while eating, they were my entertainment. What shows you ask? Why, Khloe & Lamar, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, of course! Quality, educational television.

I’m just bitching, realize. Sometimes you just gotta vent, get it out, then hopefully move on. I work the rest of the week, and have a busy schedule, so I think that’s what bothers me the most about the shift in todays plans, I had been mentally prepared for my last day off before working the rest of the week.

Such is life, eh?

Hope for a better tomorrow!

Yo!

Well here we go! Me first post! I’m working out all the kinks, course, you won’t know that, because by the time I tell anyone about this here blog, I’ll most likely have worked said kinks out. That’s all. Gracias