life

Time Capsule Blog Update!

So, we’ve made it. We are officially in the future!

If you remember a few months back—actually I just checked it was in JULY!­—I made a time capsule blog, a blog-sule, if you will, using FutureMe.Org. I gave myself 10 questions to answer and then I sent them off into the universe, promising I would review and re-answer the questions the day before the Olympics started. (Note: The letter didn’t end up arriving until this morning at 2:15, so technically I have to answer them the day of the Olympics, but we won’t worry about the technicalities)

Let’s see what my answers were!

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1) What day is it?

My answer then: Sunday July 9th, 2017

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer then: HOT. AS. HELL. Well, at least it was earlier. It’s actually not bad now. There’s a nice breeze happening and I’m here for it.

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3) What did you do today?

My answer then: Taught in the elementary class at church, went to Quiznos with my mom, then spent the entirety of the afternoon battling the swarm of ants that have taken over our house. #ant-pocalypse2017

Note for past Kim: OH MY GOSH, ANT-POCALYPSE. I remember that day so clearly now. Don’t worry, your efforts paid off! 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer then: Thunder by Imagine Dragons

Note to past Kim: This song will probably always hold a special place in your heart because it helped you run 1000 miles last year!

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer then: I think the Broadway Melody, though if we really want to get into the meat of my television/movie watching ways, LET’S TALK ABOUT GAME OF THRONES. How did Season 7 end? How are we doing with the way it ended? Oh my gosh I’m overwhelmed by all the questions I have.

Note for past Kim: No spoilers to anyone who is behind on Game of Thrones but, past Kim, it was EMOTIONAL! And now we have to wait almost two years for another season and it’s awful. Also, my favorite part about this question is knowing that after watching Broadway Melody, I watched about 70 more movies before the end of the year in order to accomplish my goal see every film that ever won best picture. Those last two months of the year were HECTIC. Procrastination at its finest. 

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer then: A text to Natalee & Rachel in our Roomie text string, in regards to #ant-pocalypse: “they were slowing down pretty good earlier, we found some minor survivors, but applied the appropriate force. I’d hold off on calling for now. Let’s see how the next couple days go.” Follow up question: how DID the next couple days go? Did we win the war of the ants? Did we have to call the Terminix guys and let them take our money?

Note for past Kim: The next couple days went well. After we all had minor panic attacks when the ants returned, we called an ant guy who was an actual, real live superhero and he knocked them out completely. So yes, we did win the war of the ants, but yes, we did fork out some cash to win it.

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer then: Publish a book

Note to past: In many ways this is a long shot, but the way I see it, even if a book isn’t in the cards, working hard and putting yourself out there is going to pay out to something. So just keep dribbling!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer then: At this exact moment, this time capsule blog, but in general I’m excited about the possibility of getting a book out there in the world, I’m excited (and nervous) about my brother leaving for college, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities the future holds if I work hard enough!

Note to past Kim: see above. winking-face_1f609

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer then: Not accomplishing anything I want to. Being sad, alone, and covered in left over ice cream. The ants coming back. The Dodgers never winning a World Series in my lifetime.

Note to past Kim: Wow, I was feeling pretty down/snarky that day. Don’t fret, past Kim, good things are coming your way! And while the Dodgers still haven’t won a World Series, they did make it to Game 7, and you actually got to go to Game 6!! Bet you never saw THAT coming, did you?! 

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer then: You know you still like the “outstanding invoice” joke from your book. Just admit it.

Note to past Kim: You’re right, I do still love that joke, though only a few people have heard it, since “my book” is not really a thing yet. Maybe one day everyone will hear it. Like I said, keep dribbling!

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Okay now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved that. I felt like I was having a great conversation with past me, checking in on where she was then and where I am now, so we can now move forward into what’s coming next. In fact, I think I might just make this a thing. For now I think I’ll stick to the same questions, just to keep things consistent, and then I’ll check in about every 200 days. We’ll call it the 200 Day Time Capsule! You are welcome to join me! If you missed the first time capsule blog, try this next one!

Here’s how it works:

1) Go to FutureMe.org

2) Fill in your email address & put “200 Day Time Capsule Blog” (or whatever you want) as the subject line.

3) Copy and paste the questions below into “Your Letter”

  • What day is it?
  • What’s the weather like outside?
  • What did you do today?
  • What’s your favorite song right now?
  • What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
  • Who did you last text and what did you say?
  • What is your biggest goal right now?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • Tell yourself a really bad joke.

4) Answer each question

5) Set your “Deliver on” date to 200 days from now, so: August 28th, 2018

6) Click “Send to the Future!”

Note: It will ask you to verify your email before it “officially” sends, so after you click “Send to the Future!” go to your email and click the verification link to make sure your letter officially enters the internet machine!

Note #2: After you click that link, it will take you to a page that tries to get you to donate money. You do not have to donate money. If you want to, you can, I’m sure the lovely people at FutureMe would appreciate your generosity, but otherwise you can just close the window. 

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Come August, we’ll check in on how we’re doing, which I hope is fabulous!

If you did participate in the first time capsule blog, I’d love to hear your results! And if you have any suggestions for future questions, I’d love to hear those as well. If you can’t tell, I’m minorly nerding out about all of this, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the future!

Sometimes Friendship is Gummy Bears

About 3-4 years ago I was going through a period of my life when I genuinely believed I didn’t have very many (see: enough) friends. I considered myself a master of acquaintances, succeeding in keeping most people at arm’s length to ensure that a) I wouldn’t get hurt and b) I wouldn’t disappoint anyone. Some days I told myself I was satisfied, other days I wasn’t so convinced.

Combined with shyness and bouts of social anxiety, I struggled knowing what kind of friend I should be. I read articles and watched how other friendships worked, and though I wasn’t necessarily dissatisfied with my relationships, I constantly worried that other people were. I thought I was too boring, I thought I was too quiet. I was too this or not enough that and I drove myself crazy, making notes on what I could improve on or what I should do differently.

In time, I came to realize that these fears were all linked to the insecurities I felt as a person, rather than the weaknesses I had as a friend. I’m not saying I am or have ever been a perfect friend, however, in not accepting and loving the person I was, I was doing a disservice to both myself and to anyone I tried to start a friendship with.

These days, I consider myself very lucky to have an amazing group of friends. And while I would still consider myself a guarded person, I have a much easier time opening that door because I’m proud of the person I’m introducing on the other side. In light of this however, I still find myself having those doubtful days. With a constant stream of articles, quizzes and social media anecdotes that define what friendship should look like or feel like or sound like, sometimes I’m still left wondering if I’m a good enough/entertaining enough/honest enough/etc. friend.

For example, the other day I read an article that was titled something like, “You Can’t Consider Yourself Best Friends with Someone Unless…” and it went on to list a number of conversations and experiences the author considered defining for a friendship. I clicked on the article in hopes of finding relatable experiences I could share with my friends, however, as I read through it I didn’t recognize myself in a single thing. Does this mean all my friendships are fake? Of course not! Does it mean that we live in a world where friendships are as unique as we are and should be understood accordingly? I’d like to think so!

The way I see it, friendship is what you make it. There is no definable timeline, there are no parameters and there are no “you’re not actually friends unless…” Friendship can be big, it can be small, and it can be shown with words and actions alike.

About a week ago, after having a terrible day and coming home on the verge of tears, my roommate, Rachel, presented me with a small packet of gummy bears. It was the last packet leftover from my sister’s birthday—which featured a taco piñata full of mini alcohol and candy—thus making it precious cargo.

“I just want your day to be better,” she said as she handed them to me. And it genuinely was!

I know it sounds silly and small, but in that moment it made me feel loved and understood, which is really what friendship is all about. It’s not about being a specific this or that or talking about this or experiencing that. Sometimes it’s just someone willing to give up their gummy bears. And when you can find people like that, you stop worrying about whether you have “enough” friends, because having even one friend like that is a far greater gift.

34 Things that Make Me Happy

While reading Lily Collins’ book, Unfiltered, I fell in love with a chapter where she listed things that maker her happy. She made sure to be specific, which I thought was important because it made the list unique to her, and I can only assume made her smile while she was writing it. After reading through her list, I was immediately inspired to make my own. So, here are 34 things that make me happy:

  1. Writing (figured I’d start with an obvious one)
  2. Night driving with loud music
  3. John Cusack movies
  4. Laughing at commercials that shouldn’t be funny
  5. Macaroni & cheese
  6. Watching sports (on TV or in person, both ones I know and new ones I can obsessively ask questions about so I can learn the rules)
  7. Converse shoes
  8. Chocolate milk
  9. Watching awards shows and crying when people achieve their dreams
  10. Getting even one Jeopardy question right
  11. Houseplants (especially those that don’t die right after I buy/plant them)
  12. Fishing
  13. Harry Potter
  14. Finding the perfect gift
  15. Collecting ticket stubs, programs, menus, or any other souvenir I can get when I go somewhere new
  16. Proving myself (and others) wrong
  17. Listening to podcasts when I get ready in the morning
  18. Saying words that end in “-sts” (a.k.a lists, casts, etc. I just love that noise!)
  19. Ice cream in waffle cones
  20. When waiters bring you mints with your bill
  21. A clean house
  22. Making people laugh
  23. Dangly earrings
  24. Excel spreadsheets
  25. Going to church
  26. The Olympics
  27. Trying every single new flavor of Oreo
  28. Crossword puzzles
  29. Dancing at weddings
  30. Requesting Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” at weddings
  31. A good playlist
  32. Big cozy jackets
  33. Finding weird places to stop/things to look at on road trips (i.e. WLRA’s)
  34. Ending this list on my lucky number (17) multiplied by 2. (a.k.a nerdy math-ish things)

My Google Search History

Did you know there is a limit of Internet windows you can have open on your phone? Did you know that it is extremely possible to reach that limit?

Well I do, and I have…5 times.

The first time was an accident—well actually, every single time has been an accident. I’m just a very curious person who will Google anything and everything, if only to level up in the fun fact department. Though I suppose that doesn’t necessarily explain why I never close any windows. Maybe I subconsciously keep them open in case I need to refer to them later, like it’s my own personal detective’s notebook. Or, more than likely, I just Google something and then turn my phone off and never think about it again.

Regardless, as I am once again approaching the window limit, I thought I might look back at (at least some of) what got me there. Let’s take a dive into the mind of past-Kim.

(Wait, is this a good idea?)

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1) Dodgers radio

My best guess why: I was desperately trying to find a way to listen to the games leading up to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series…which we ended up losing. Ouch. The wound is still fresh, let’s move on.

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2) How long are diced tomatoes good for?

My best guess why: It was a classic “I’m so glad I saved this Tupperware of diced tomatoes so I can make the most of the groceries I bought. But, uhhh, are these still any good though? Strictly speaking, what are my odds of dying if I eat these?” You know, one of those conversations you have with yourself—too often, probably—and so you turn to the Internet for guidance. FYI: when stored in a Tupperware, diced tomatoes are good for one week in the fridge.

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3) The best of 80s fashion

My best guess why: A friend of the family was having an 80’s themed birthday party and my mom and I were at Target next to the chokers trying to figure out if we wanted to go halfway or all out. Spoiler alert: we went all out.

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4) Cajeta

My best guess why: Whenever I go out to eat and find an ingredient on the menu I don’t recognize, I look it up both for educational purposes, and to ensure I don’t accidentally order something spicy because I’m a giant baby and would start profusely sweating/crying/begging for milk, etc. FYI: it’s essentially caramelized goat’s milk.

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5) Prohibition Facts

My best guess why: Your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea when or where I would have needed/wanted to drop knowledge about Prohibition, but apparently that conversation happened at some point.

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6) Last minute Halloween costume ideas

My best guess why: I’m really not a Halloween person, so “last minute costume ideas” is really just code for, “someone made me dress up this year.” That being said however, I’d like to think my costume this year wasn’t a complete and total failure. I put on my best set of nerdy glasses and a dinosaur shirt I bought at a greeting card store, and then I spent a solid hour gluing Smarties to my pants, thus transforming me into “Smarty Pants.” Fun fact: my sister stabbed plastic knives into cereal boxes to become a “Cereal Killer.” Sorry not sorry for the puns.

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7) Chow Chow Dog Yoga

My best guess why: My sister gave my dad a “Dogs Doing Yoga” calendar for Christmas last year and this image headed one month:

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It instantly became one of my favorite images of all time and so sometimes when I’m feeling down I give it a glance. It’s almost a foolproof strategy for joy, if you’re ever looking for one.

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8) Rapper with Pointy Teeth

My best guess why: My roommate asked me, “have you ever seen that rapper with the pointy teeth?” And then I said, “What are you talking about?” And then Google was like, you mean THIS GUY:

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I’m still traumatized.

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9) GOTR abbreviation

My best guess why: While on vacation in Colorado last year, my best friend and I saw Needtobreathe in concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. As we waited for the show to start, we came across a guy in a shirt that said “GOTR” across the front. A Google search would reveal the initials represented a band called Ghost of the Robot, but before doing so we decided to make out best guesses:

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10) Brian & Brittney Kelley Fashion

My best guess why: In September of last year I went to a Florida Georgia Line concert where I was showed a series of photos of the band, some of which included this jacket:

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Upon arriving home that evening and over the course of the next few weeks, I was OBSESSED with finding this jacket, unfortunately to no avail, and this website is a residual breadcrumb. It’s the clothing brand of one of the lead singers of the band, which I’m pretty sure I tried to put a hex on after sifting through every single page of the website at two in the morning and coming up empty. Apologies for that, Brian and Brittney, I’m sure the clothes are lovely if not severely overpriced and completely lacking the one item I was looking for. I’m totally over it though. I’m not bitter and I’m not spiraling back into Google to find the jacket that I still need would very much enjoy owning. I’m totally in contro…

Just Keep Dribbling

There is a boy in my neighborhood, probably about 12 or 13 years old, who is constantly dribbling a basketball on the sidewalk in front of his house. When I get home from work, he’s out there. When I go to the gym, he’s out there. When I sit on my couch trying to find inspiration for a blog post, he’s out there, just like he is right now. Dribbling and dribbling and dribbling.

Now, I don’t know what this boy’s dreams are. I don’t know if he wants basketball to be his life, or if maybe it already is. I don’t know if he wants to play in the NBA or if dribbling on his front porch is just how he blows off steam. But when I hear him out there, I smile, because I recognize the habit or the vice or the passion or whatever basketball is to him. For me, it’s been writing, it’s been photography, it’s been books, it’s been sports, and a number of other things.

These passions, these vices, these dreams all start small. They all start with just a dribble. And in order to make them real, to turn them into something tangible and successful and satisfying, we have to keep dribbling. Even when the days start to go by faster, even when our schedules start to get fuller, even when our bodies start to grow tired.

In my life, there are things I want to accomplish. Tons of things. Heck, I even have lists of them on the Internet. But while some of these things may seem impossible, some of them may seem far-fetched or unlikely or incredibly difficult, some of them might even be things I’ll change my mind on in a few years, what’s important is that I’m trying. Day in, day out, I’m trying. I’m working. To make myself better. To make myself stronger. To remind myself that no matter what life throws at me, I can keep working.

When I see that boy outside his house, I wonder what he’s working towards. If it’s basketball, I wonder if there are days when he sits inside with the ball in his lap, telling himself to just give up. Then I think about the things I’m working towards, some of which I’ve grown frustrated with the lack of progress on, and I ask myself if it’s because they’re not meant to be, or if I’ve just spent too many days indoors with the ball in my lap.

At the end of the day, it’s all about taking those small steps. As hard is it is to believe, they do add up and they will pay off. We just have to keep dribbling. And dribbling. And dribbling.

The Lavender Milk & Honey Cocoon (Adventures at the Spa: Part 3)

If you’ll recall this post I wrote a couple of years ago, I was…anxious about my first ever massage. But since I survived, and—with some reflection—understood there were in fact benefits, I decided that once I hit my 1000-mile running goal, I’d give massages another go.

Before I ever went to a spa, I used make passing comments that if I did, I’d rather they “wrap me in a leaf” or “put me in mud for a few hours” than give me a massage. While one of those wishes was more or less fulfilled a few years back (which you can read about here) I decided that this post-running spa trip probably would (and should) consist of a massage.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the Friday after Christmas. My mom had put in an extensive amount of research to try and make my spa day dreams come true, and as we sat on cushioned lounge chairs in white cloth robes, waiting to be called back to our individual rooms, I was both anxious and excited.

“Kimberlee,” a woman said as she approached us.

“That’s me.”

She guided me down a hallway and pointed to a white door, all the while explaining what would be involved in my lavender milk and honey cocoon. (Yeah, remember that leaf I’d always wanted? That idea went out the window the minute I learned of the opportunity to go full insect on the world.)

I walked into the room and my masseuse, Natalie (the same name as my sister, a.k.a her first win in my book) told me she was going to step out of the room for a few minutes. In that time, I could adjust the lighting, the music being played, the temperature of the room, and finally, take off my robe and lie on my stomach.

I didn’t end up changing any of the settings she mentioned, but on par with both of the other spa experiences I’ve had, I spent a solid amount of time on the underwear debate. Do I keep it on? Do I take it off? Should I have taken it off before she led me back here?

With my robe already off, and my underwear in my hand, I paced back and forth across the room—in perhaps the strangest way I’ve ever thought something over—and eventually decided to tuck my underwear in my robe pocket. When Natalie knocked, I was under the covers with my face stuffed into that pillow that always seems one size too small.

“Alright Ms. Kim, we’re going to start with the body buff.”

And for the next twenty minutes, I was quite literally buffed. Using a scrub that felt like sandy soap (in a good way?) I felt like she was exercising every imperfection out of my skin. The only hiccup was when she reached for my stomach and my skin literally moved away from her hands, like a cartoon character fidgeting away from danger. Luckily Natalie seemed unfazed and finished the spiff job like I was a classic car going to auction.

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She then asked me to stand up, rinse off in the shower—which I didn’t even notice was there—then come back in with my towel open in the back and sit up straight on the table. It was pretty straightforward. And aside from feeling slightly like I was at the gyno, I was excited for step two, a.k.a THE COCOON.

Now, it’s probably clear—or if it isn’t, allow me to clarify—I am a human girl. However, once my masseuse began to lather—not sprinkle, not dab, LATHER—the honey & lavender milk mixture on my skin, I quickly began my transformation into a mouth watering KFC biscuit. And while I kept wanting to feel, I don’t know, gross because of how much I undoubtedly resembled a human flytrap, I managed to maintain a head space of bliss rather than bleh.

I’d like to say this was from my newly found spa-maturity, however, I’m 100% sure it was attributed to the fact that after she finished a section of my body she would layer on hot towels, making me feel like a moisturized mummy, something I never knew I wanted to be. And if that wasn’t great enough, once I was to honey what Eggo waffles should be to syrup, she pulled the sides of the weighted blanket I was laying on over me and tied me into it.

I repeat, SHE TIED ME INTO IT.

It was like I was a 5 year old being burrito-ed into bed by my dad all over again and I was LIVING. FOR. IT.

As a final step, she turned off the lights, giving me an ample atmosphere for my caterpillar/peasant to moth/full blown goddess transformation. Then, after just the right amount of time (i.e. long enough that I could have grown honey scented wings but not so long that I’d develop cocoon claustrophobia a.k.a a level of fear I never want to unlock) Natalie slowly lifted the lights, unzipped me and told me to rinse off in the shower again.

Once I was back on the table, we began the 50-minute massage included with the package, which was substantially less terrifying than my first one. Mostly because I knew what to expect, but also because by that point I felt like Natalie and I had been through a lot together and I trusted she wouldn’t do anything to break the strong (probably one-sided) bond we’d built. In the end, I’m happy to report the massage went off without a hitch, save for the few minutes at the end when the music changed to what sounded like the soundtrack to The Godfather, and I lost focus on relaxation and started thinking about you know, murder.

When Natalie was finished, she heated my robe in…umm…a magical robe heater…I assume—I honestly have no idea—and then she once again stepped out, giving me privacy to get dressed. As you can imagine, getting up sounded impossible at this point, let alone getting dressed and reentering the real world. But I managed to muster up the strength (see: courage). Afterwards, Natalie led me back down the hallway to the cushiony lounge chairs where it all began. She also gave me an apple and a magazine with an article about JK Rowling in it, making me wonder if I should just propose. Before I could decide however, she was gone.

The Year of Patience

As my final wrap-up post for 2017, I want to talk about my word of the year. As mentioned in this post, each January my mom, sister and I seek a faith-based word to focus on for the upcoming year. In 2016, my word was “give” and this past year my word was “patience.”

Ouch, right?

I had tried my best not to hear “give,” but when I started hearing the whispers of “patience,” I all but invested in earplugs.

“Don’t you know…” I asked at the start of the year. “Don’t you know I’m not really in a position to be patient right now?! Don’t you know I have things I need to get done and questions I need to get answered? I need to move, I need to work. If anything, my life could use a heavy dose of impatience.”

These prayers however, did little more than assure me that not only was patience my word, but it was also, unknowingly, my greatest need.

I am at a point in my life when there is pressure coming from a lot of angles. Some of it real, some of it imagined. Pressure to move forward, pressure to settle down, pressure to make a name for myself and start on the path I was meant to follow. And while I’ve been desperate for answers, I’ve also been too impatient to hear them.

To me, patience looked too much like hesitation and sounded too much like indifference, and I didn’t think I had time for that. This world has us convinced that life is passing us by. That if we don’t move fast, we’ll miss the opportunities given to us. But the truth is, opportunity is everywhere, and the only way you’re guaranteed to miss it is by not looking—or in my case, not listening.

I am a creative person, with a lot of hopes and dreams of where I can use the gifts I’ve been given. As a result, I’ve tended to make plans of where I want to go, how I want to get there and how fast. Then, when I sit down to pray, I essentially lay out blueprints and ask for a signature.

Newsflash, Kim: that’s not how it works.

And while I knew this, it was clear I needed it spelled out for me. And so it was:

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Over and over…

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…and over and over again…

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If I were to give God the voice of a millennial teen, it would sound something like, “YO, CHILL. I GOT THIS.”

And while it took me a while. A LONG while. We’re talking most of 2017 type of while. In the last few months of the year, I finally started to listen. And even more, I started to understand.

Patience is not laziness. It is not indifference, confusion or failure. Patience is listening. It’s waiting. It’s breathing. It’s listening for what you need rather than demanding what you want. In being patient, you are being proactive. For patience is not a pause in productivity, but a path to it.

I will always be someone who wants to make plans. Who wants to move and work and make something of myself. But what I’ve learned this year, and what I hope to keep close to my heart in the years to come, is that I need not worry about the plans, for they are not really mine. And while that may be scary to accept because it means I’ll never have the blueprints, and I’ll never know all the steps, I can be comforted in knowing that the steps I do take are in the right direction.

So as I move into 2018, the year of…wait for it…SURRENDER. I again turn to the words I’ve been handed so far. Trust and then give and then patience. They all add up, and they all have purpose. For they are the steps. They are the answers. They are the plans that I’ve been looking for. And I need only listen to let them lead me forward.

2017 Goals Final Check-In

So I’ve decided to use this week as a kind of “wrap up” for 2017. Monday was the last episode (in 2017) of All the Good Things, and today we take a final look at my 2017 goals. Let’s see how I did:

1) See Star Wars

COMPLETED

That’s right folks, I can finally unlock a new level of society because I have officially seen all the Star Wars films. Well, at least all of them except the new one. But to be fair, that one wasn’t on the list because I didn’t know it was coming out. So as of now I’m counting myself among the I’ve-been-too-busy-with-the-holidays-to-see-the-new-one-yet breed, which is exactly where I want to be.

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2) See 5 WLRA’s

COMPLETED

WRLA (pronounced wool-rah) is my nickname for the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions, which I became addicted to sometime last year. It is among my life goals to see them all, and so I’m chipping them off slowly. This year I shot for five, and ended up seeing the fifth one just under the wire. My sister and I drove out to see the World’s Largest Donut on New Year’s Eve Eve. The other four I saw this year were the World’s Largest Paper Cup, Fishing Fly, Thermometer and Monk.

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3) Try this jean rug DIY

COMPLETED

I did most of the prep for this project back in September, but didn’t actually sew it together until this past weekend. On one hand I could say I’m glad I was ahead of the game (at one point) because when I finally sat down to sew it together, all the pieces were already cut. But on other hand, I wish I would have just taken the time to sew it together back then, it might have been a tinge less stressful. Regardless, I’m very proud of the end result. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s something I actually sewed with my own two hands and, like, HOW COOL IS THAT?!

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4) Run 1,000 miles

COMPLETED

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It’s almost unfathomable that I can write “complete” on this goal, but it is, in fact, COMPLETE! I, Kimberlee K, ran 1000 miles in 2017. EEEK. You can read all about this ridiculously crazy feat here.

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5) Complete The Ultimate Fit Bit Week

COMPLETED

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At the beginning of the year I decided to make my own Fitbit achievement known as “The Ultimate Fit Bit Week.” Essentially I wanted to see if I could meet every goal (i.e. steps taken, calories burned, active minutes, etc.) every single day for an entire week. Let me tell you, it was not easy, but it’s one of those things that I can now say that I did, which is cool. You can read about it here. Also, if you’re reading this, Fitbit, make sure you name this challenge after me if you ever make it, you know, a thing.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

As I’ve said in previous check-ins, this was one of my favorite goals of the year, which made it a no brainer to add it to my list of goals for 2018. I’d highly encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer if they get a chance. It’s truly one of the most rewarding experiences!

These were my five for this year:

  • Food Forward (5/21/17)
  • Children’s Hunger Fund (6/24/17)
  • My Stuff Bags (8/10/17)
  • Food Forward (8/26/17)
  • Children’s Hunger Fund (10/7/17)

You can find opportunities to volunteer here.

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7) Go to a sporting event of “every” kind (i.e. baseball, football, hockey, basketball, & soccer)

60% COMPLETED

When the year started, the NFL, NBA and NHL were all in the tail end of their regular seasons and moving into the playoffs, thus making tickets to the games way out of my price range. So, since I knew baseball would be an easy one to check off (because I’m a huge Dodger fan), and soccer season was just about to start, I decided to channel my energy into those and put the other three checkpoints on hold until the end of the year (a.k.a the beginning of a new season). In the end, while I was lucky enough to be invited to a hockey game (in a suite!! Thanks, Sam!) I never found my way to a basketball or football game this year. But don’t fret! At the end of the day, not going to a basketball or football game doesn’t make my year a “failure” or this goal a wash. And it would be a waste to get caught up in the parameters of the goal and obsess over the failures rather than celebrate the successes. For among the casual weeknight Dodger games I got to attend this year, I also got to see Game 6 of the World Series, and got my family out to see an LA Galaxy soccer game, which we probably never would have done otherwise. When I think about it like that, I’d say it’s a pretty successful goal.

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8) Try every class at the gym

VETOED

The lack of progress on this one began with a lack of facilities, due to water damage at my local gym. It was back up and running in April, but then April turned into May and then June and then July, leading me to believe that procrastination had taken over. While that was definitely part of it, the truth was, I was scared. By July I had hit the 500-mile mark of my running goal, making the finish line something I could actually picture, and I was scared to do anything that might prevent me from reaching it. So around October, I more or less forfeited—or rather vetoed—this goal for 2017 and decided to add it as a bonus goal for this coming year. I still want to get a taste of what my gym membership is getting me and I figure it will be a good way to stay in shape.

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9) Do The Princess Diaries painting

COMPLETED

You remember this iconic scene from classic RomCom The Princess Diaries, right?

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I mean I think it’s safe to say we were all jealous of that mother/daughter arts and crafts session. Lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends and family that dove headfirst into this project for my 27th birthday.

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You can read about that day here.

Also, I recently got a chance to hang the end results up on my wall and it makes me smile every time I pass by.

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10) Find and try the “Best of” restaurants in LA

COMPLETED

This was another goal that I was super excited about and it did not disappoint. I’ve always wanted to take more advantage of my access to downtown Los Angeles, and I feel like this search for the “best of” restaurants in my five favorite food groups (i.e. pizza, burgers, ice cream, donuts and sandwiches) helped me scratch the surface.

Here are my five finds:

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11) Watch every film that has ever won Best Picture

98.88% COMPLETED

As of my last check-in, I had 60 movies to watch before the end of the year. When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I only had one. Before you “awww”, know that this was intentional, as I realized (too late) that the last movie on the list was the final film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I haven’t seen the first two…

…DON’T GIVE ME THAT LOOK. I realize this is another cardinal sin of cinema and I’m going to make right, okay? I’m adding this trilogy as another bonus goal for 2018.

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12) Learn to Longboard

VETOED

Similar to goal #8, I more or less quit on this goal after I became knee deep in my running. It just seemed too likely that I’d fall off my longboard and tweak an ankle (or worse) and I wasn’t willing to give up the progress I’d made. So, again, this was postponed. Hopefully I’ll find the courage to *shred* in 2k18.

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13) Learn to do a headband braid

COMPLETED (I GUESS)

Have you ever adopted a new hobby and put in a bunch of time to get better at it, only to realize that your skill level is and always will be pretty basic. Yeah, well that’s how I feel about the headband braid. After spending the year watching a bunch of different tutorial videos and knotting my hair a bunch of different ways, I more or less accepted that I’m just not good at headband braids. I get the basic concept, but my end result always looks like I let a little kid play hair salon. SO, I’m forfeiting my pursuit of the perfect braid. The way I see it, at least I can say I tried, and at least I have a handful of friends that are willing to do my hair.

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14) Reach the 100,000-mile mark on my car

COMPLETED

This was another highlight of my year. After hitting the 100,000 mile mark, my family and I loaded up into Jeffrey—wearing sparkly hats and homemade glasses no less—and took a ridiculous amount of pictures and Boomerangs to commemorate the occasion.

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You can read all about Jeffrey’s (my car) big milestone here.

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15) Do a bar/pub crawl

COMPLETED

As if it were destined for my attendance, when I Googled “bar crawls” in October, I found 12 Bars of Charity, which divides its attendees into “teams” and gives them t-shirts to showcase the charity they choose to support. My friends and I were on the “black team” which supported the Boys & Girls club. And while we only made it to three of the twelve bars—because we spent too much time talking at each one shrug_1f937.png—we still had a great time, and talked about going again next year to go to the bars we missed. (Though at this rate it will take us 4 years to see them all)

If you’re interested, 12 Bars of Charity has events all over the country. Check here to see if there’s one near you.

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16) Sing Karaoke

COMPLETED

Much to the surprise of my pre-2017 self, karaoke became somewhat of a staple for my year. My friends and I found a favorite place and made many an appearance on a Saturday night. I found that it is one of the best ways to blow off steam and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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17) Complete Project Lightbulb

COMPLETED

Project Lightbulb is the nickname I gave my family’s dream vacation to Iceland. And while it became clear that this goal would be impossible to complete this year, I decided that as long as we made steps towards planning and booking it—a.k.a inching it to a reality—I’d call it a win. That being said, this year we did take steps in the right direction by officially opening a savings account so we can slowly save up enough money to make this thing happen! Iceland here we come!

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And that, as they say, is that! I completed 14 of my 17 goals, which is an accomplishment in itself, and what I didn’t finish, I plan on carrying over into this new year.

But the ultimate win here is the I CAN that comes alongside the setting and completing of goals, no matter what those goals may be. This list of 17 goals inspired me to get completely out of my comfort zone, which led me on new adventures I never would have experienced otherwise. I can only hope that the goals I set for 2018 can do the same.

If you are someone who is looking for some inspiration in your life, I highly encourage you to set goals. Whether big or small, artistic, athletic or otherwise, write them down, put them out into the universe, and then go for them! You might surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.

Happy New Year!

30 Good Things that Happened in November

I have good news and good news. I have only good news!

As mentioned in this blog post, at the end of every month I’m going to highlight all the good things that happened in that 30-day (or so) span, to give ourselves a break from the well known bad.

You can find last month’s here.

Happy November to you!

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1) The Dodgers took out a full-page ad in the Houston newspaper to congratulate the Astros on their World Series win

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2) These childhood sweethearts got engaged

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3) Lin Manuel Miranda’s son saw the first act of Hamilton

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4) These sisters perfectly showcased what it’s like being sisters

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5) This dog liked his new carpet

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6) This stepson gave his stepdad an amazing surprise

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7) Actress Gabby Sidibe responded to a nasty Instagram comment in the best way

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8) This police trio got warmed up

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9) This homeless man got the ultimate payback after a helping a woman with his last $20

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10) This boy gave out some great encouragement at the New York Marathon

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11) These passengers turned a delayed flight into a party.

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12) This 102 year old man met the nephew he never knew he had

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13) This cartoonist created a series that reminds us to be thankful

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14) This boy saw clearly for the first time

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15) Australia voted YES

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16) This Australian man proposed to his boyfriend using his water polo team

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17) This mom wrote a beautiful letter to her nurse

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18) This cop went above and beyond the call of duty

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19) This man danced his heart out

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20) This chef offered some help to a customer

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21) The lead singer of Imagine Dragons posted this great reminder

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22) This boy got some camera time during his mom’s yoga video

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23) Thanksgiving

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24) After accidentally inviting the wrong teen to Thanksgiving last year, this grandma invited him—and he accepted—to spend the holiday with her family anyways. This year, she invited him again and he brought his girlfriend.

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25) This man spent his Black Friday paying it forward

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26) This puppy made a new best friend

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27) This girl got flowers from her dad

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28) These Indian women who are victims of acid attacks walked in a fashion show

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29) This woman became the first contest with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant

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30) This woman got an amazing surprise from her grandmother

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

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You’re Free to be Great, So Go for It

This past week I officially hit the 900 mile mark of my 1000 mile running goal for the year. It’s been a trying 11 months to get here, and I have a feeling this final month will take everything I have to finish. My body is tired. It’s been sore and achy and fatigued more days than it hasn’t. And yet, I still feel strong. I feel like I can do anything.

Over the course of this year, I’ve looked for and found a variety of different things to listen to/watch while I’m running, the most prominent being my ever changing playlist on my phone, aptly titled “Running.” Consistently among my favorites on the playlist is “The Greatest” by Sia.

The song starts as follows:

Uh-oh I’m running out of breath, but I’ve got stamina.

Uh-oh I’m running now I close my eyes, well I got stamina.

And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb

But I got stamina

For obvious reasons, this first verse makes sense on a running playlist. I mean what else besides stamina—and the slightest bit of insanity—do you need to get yourself running? To add to that, in the next part she sings:

Don’t give up

I won’t give up

Don’t give up, no, no, no

Which again, is exactly the kind of mindset you need to have while running.

The part that really hooks me though, is the chorus:

I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive

I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest

The greatest, the greatest alive

The greatest, the greatest alive

I tell ya, whenever that chorus kicks in while I’m running, I break out into a sprint. Because aside from being the kind of inspirational “go team” type of sentiment that I need when I’m exercising, it fills me with motivation that I can take further.

I’m free to be the greatest, she says, I’m alive.

In other words: I’m free to be the greatest I can be, in anything I choose to try, because I have the great privilege of being alive. I firmly believe that the idea behind these words is what gets me out there running every day. It’s what put the idea in my head that I could run 1000 miles in the first place. For there’s truly nothing greater than making your dreams a reality and your doubts fiction.

So, I encourage you to chase them with everything you’ve got. Because as of today, as of this moment, you are completely free to be the greatest you can be, so you might as well go for it.