City of goodbyes

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A LONGER, SAPPIER VERSION OF MY INSTAGRAM FAREWELL TO KELLY.

And, for those of you who skimmed past my ridiculously long Instagram caption the other day (I really don’t blame you because as I said, it was ridiculously long and reading is hard), I said goodbye for now to one of my best friends. Kelly booked a cruise y’all!!! SO proud of that human. She leaves to dance her way around the world aboard the Regent 7 Seas Navigator in about a week after stopping by home. Taking her to the airport was such a bittersweet moment for Kristyn and I. Definitely had all the nostalgia feels (tell me why I started crying when I saw a sign that said “airport”….annoying) and couldn’t help but replay this last year in my head a million times. We’ve all come so far, but freaking Kelly literally accomplished her biggest goal in under a year!!! Incredible. I feel like a proud mom over here. Buuuuut. I definitely have a selfish side of me that wishes she was still gonna be around for the next 6 months because #twinbeds. Luckily one of the best friends that I’ve made out here, Annie has now become my twin bed mate (I say mate because she’s from Australia). Then I’m like, oh shit I can’t get too comfy here cause she leaves to go back to Australia in November…and then I got to thinking. Damn, there have been so many friends that I’ve made out here that I have already said goodbye to and many more that are coming up.

I guess that’s part of living in such a creative city that has its roots embedded so deeply into the entertainment industry. People come here for the opportunities…I know I did. That doesn’t necessarily mean you stay here for whatever those opportunities may be. Obviously there are a lot of jobs in the city, but there are just as many (if not more) that travel. Which is so cool because who doesn’t want to see the world? I definitely have a bit of a travel bug, so I don’t blame anyone for leaving. I would do the exact same if I booked a dream job that led me elsewhere (for a short period of time anyway). People are coming and going. Frequently. Then those jobs connect them to other jobs that travel and the cycle continues. Honestly, LA kind of just feels like a temporary home to creatives. Myself included. Don’t get me wrong, I really do see myself as a lifer in California. I mean I’ve been wanting to live here since I was about 10 years old…but I know I won’t stay in LA for the rest of my life. But for now, it makes sense for 22 year old me. I’m loving the Clippers and I feel like my journey in this city is just getting started.

It is kind of funny that I ended up here, though…since I am the worst human in the world at goodbyes. Like do I hug you? Will I see you again? I don’t really miss people that often so I probably won’t miss you that much…or will I? What if you fall out of touch with me purposefully? And I swear to God it takes all I have not to sarcastically say “see ya never!!!” when I should actually be taking the farewell seriously (public apology to anyone I ever said that to). Living here and being thrown into constantly making friends who peace out of LA has helped me grow as a person though. I definitely went through a phase during, and even after college, where I didn’t know how to #emotion. And while I definitely still struggle being vulnerable, I’ve realized how important it is to tell those influential people in your life how much they mean to you and just how hard the goodbye (or see ya later) is for you.

 

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What just happened (August in a nutshell)

I feel slightly as if I have just been placed inside my NutriBullet (the best) and blended into a soft smoothie. That is Holly speak for “Holy shit this month was &#*@&$^ crazy, what day is it?” From my first choreography weekends with the Clippers, to a whirlwind trip home to teach and see friends, to our first annual college reunion, to a trip to Utah and ending with Las Vegas…it’s a shock that I’m somehow in one place with minimal things missing and forgotten in any of these states (round of applause for me cause this seriously never happens). Tired, a bit dazed and definitely groggy, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly thankful for all of the insane sights and incredible people I got to spend money I don’t have with this month. And consequentially slightly scared for a September of savings and hermit-living. Let’s avoid that thought and dive in.

Home is Where ze Heart is

Originally I was supposed to head back to Iowa the first of August to do some choreography and stay there until just before my birthday. After making the team, I had to rearrange my travel plans a bit. It was crazy how willing everyone was to accommodate to my new schedule. It felt like it was truly meant to be. Going home is always a bit of a challenge for me. I’m always stuck somewhere between wanted to make up for lost time with everyone and wanting to be glued to my couch with my dog in my lap and my parents by my side. This time, since I have no clue when I’ll be back to Iowa, I spent the weeks leading up to my trip home (which now happened from the 10th-18th) frivolously planning the next week. No like I literally had a shared google document with my family so they knew when I was going to be where….#extra. Long story short, and so so so not surprising, I put way too much on my plate. As in I spent a total of 2 nights at my actual house. Between teaching and visiting friends (visits that were LONG overdue), I went from Minneapolis to Cedar Rapids to Des Moines to Oskaloosa to Cedar Falls to Pella over to Ankeny to Eldridge and finally to Hampton before heading back to Minneapolis to catch my flight home. Exhausting, yes, but spending the time near my birthday surrounded by my best friend, my parents, my extended family and my second family (the Carrikers), was exactly what the doctor ordered.

WE AREN’T IN COLLEGE ANYMORE

Which brings me to the college crew and I’s first annual college reunion back in Los Angeles. Since I had to change travel plans last minute, I ended up missing the first 2 nights. But believe me when I say we made up for it once I got back into town. We started with lots of catching up and reminiscing. So wild what different lives we all live. I mean one of us is responsible for the lives of elementary students for God’s sake!!! Even after all this time, the support and pride we all have for each other’s accomplishments is so special.  It’s rare to find a group of friends like these girls. We all are equally horrible at keeping constant contact with each other, but the second we all sit down it’s like no time has passed at all. That is until you try to drink alcohol the way you did the last time you were all reunited. I truly believe something happens to your body when you graduate that says NOPE to alcohol. I had just turned 22 and the day after was my first….drum roll please….TWENTY-FOUR HOUR HANGOVER!!!!!! So fun!!!! What a perfect way to spend your ride in the passenger seat to  LAX to drop off the first few friends!!! Feeling slightly green in the gills and sad to see my friends leave, we headed back for one grand finale with Payton and Maddi (the last two standing in LA). By grand finale I mean we ate Italian food and fell asleep before 10 pm. It was, yet again, a successful trip filled with way too many laughs and a few too many drinks. I’m so thankful for you guys and even more proud to call you my friends.

Why am I in Utah??

The next weekend I found myself at Zion National park with Kelly and my friend Josh from high school. Come on friends meeting friends!!! I hadn’t really paid a visit to many national parks before my 3 day venture to California with Kelly and her dad; we had stopped off in Utah and went to Bryce Canyon last November. Since then and because I am becoming #LA my newfound love for hiking has surfaced and I’ve been dying to visit a few more parks. Wish granted. We spent our first day hiking doing an 8 mile round trip hike to Observation Point. Lol. Eight Miles. Not going to lie, it kicked my ass a bit. We all kept each other motivated (crucial for anyone trying to hike anything like this) and hydrated (also crucial) an let me just say- the view was SO worth it. Also there were cute af little chipmunks up there that really wanted to be my friend. After four miles back to the shuttle bus (thank god for that) we were dead tired and ready for Josh-made tacos. That was our go to the entire weekend, by the way…tacos on tacos on tacos. The next day we did the hike through the virgin river (yes, any joke you can think of was already made during our hike). So let me start by saying this hike was a bit of a beast of its own. You’re pretty much walking in water anywhere from ankle-level to shoulder-level the entire time. And the surface we were walking on was less than stable. Slippery rocks for everyone!!! And what’s more, I’m apparently awful at footing. Put it all together and what do we have?? Me face-first in the water about 242842 times…and lots of random strangers getting quite the ab work out from my antics. All was made well when I snagged a high five from a squirrel i affectionately named Brutus.

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Meet Brutus.

Viva Las I’mNeverGoingBackTo Vegas

I spent Labor Day weekend in Vegas with my new Clippers fam. So. Fun. We filled our cars full of snacks and plenty of 2000’s hip hop and headed out of LA on the 4 hour drive. We started off pretty mellow (is that a thing in Vegas?) with 1Oak the first night. We went for 2 chainz and stayed for Hannah’s dance moves. What I mean by that is that Sir 2 chainz was about 2 hours late to his own show and w hen he finally came out it was 2:30 am and he was in a wheelchair….definitely quite the sight to see.

On Saturday we did the LIQUID pool at the Aria followed by a BOMBASF (free) dinner at TAO before going to their night club. A few funny things to note: any and all dancing (or falling) that happened at LIQUID, all videos in slow motion are 1 million times better, I scored some really stylish flip flops from TAO because #HeelsareHard. What’s even harder is the drive home from Vegas (shout out Courtney for that). Aside from the 24 hour hangovers I now endure from just looking at alcohol, this weekend was so so needed. Can’t wait for the rest of the years with these gals and am pumped to be back to the rehearsal grind after the long weekend.

Stability…ish?

Lit (actually sorNow I’m back in LA from here on out. While this past month was quite honestly the time of my life (seriously I felt like I lived out all of my summer dreams in 31 days), I’m so so ready to be back and refocused with new goals as I come up on my ONE YEAR LA ANNIVERSARY!!! How in the world.

Buuuut the craziness isn’t over yet- we’ve got one roommate moving states, one moving out, an Aussie moving in (hey Annie), another roommate heading aboard a ship for 6 months and me moving apartments. It’s definitely hard to find consistency in this crazy place, but this has been the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so ready for even more new ones. *Insert shameless plug for the 3-day juice cleanse I’m starting tomorrow and the blog that will commence afterwards #adventure #staytuned #signingoffnow*

This summer is LIT

Yes, I said lit. Am I sorry? Not really.

I have finally decided to take a second to breathe and give a little update on the last two months out here (which have been, you guessed it, lit).

I spent a lot of time in May fine tuning my goals. I wanted to perform, network and ultimately improve in all aspects of my life from mind to body. Seems lofty. To make sure I was headed in the direction of all of these things, I held myself accountable to doing the proper behind the scenes work. As long as I was doing something each day to get closer to where I wanted to be, even if it’s just visualizing or writing it down, I chalked it up as another day of moving the needle forward. Staying positive and not being hard on myself has always been a struggle of mine (those who know me know I’m the world’s biggest perfectionist), so making the commitment to switch from my biggest critic to my biggest fan was most definitely the hardest part. But holy moly is manifestation a real thing.

In June, I finally got to perform. Not just once, but three times. It’s crazy how quick you forget what it feels like to be on stage. It truly is unlike anything else. It’s ultimately why we, as dancers, sacrifice so much to pursue this career. Always in pursuit of that feeling. Not to mention, I was able to meet so many incredible people and further current relationships in the process of rehearsing for these performances. From there, I had so much momentum rolling. So much motivation and so many things on my plate but I LOVED it. I was busy every single day (hence why it’s August and I’m just now talking about June). My mind was in the right place and I was seeing a direct link to my dancing. Auditions were going well, opportunities were coming my way and LA finally felt like home. Feels like home.

Then it was July.

…which wish literally 4 seconds long. I started off with a great holiday weekend spent with awesome friends and rooftop fireworks that left me overwhelmingly thankful for the relationships I have made since moving to Los Angeles. So many outstanding individuals that have played a huge part in making the transition here a seamless one. I continued to stay busy; started a new job, continued to audition, took class, spent way too much money on foodie things, rehearsed for performances and even a video shoot and then somehow fit some time in there to have a visitor.

At the end of July I auditioned to dance for the NBA as part of Clippers Spirit. I went into the audition optimistic but also aware that there were probably going to be near 400 dancers who are just as talented and qualified as me (if not more). Throughout the audition process, I tapped into that same mindset that I had at the beginning of June. I had gone to a lot of auditions prior to this one just because they were open call and I had happen to hear about them. I’m not signed yet, so I literally go to any and every audition I hear about. But this one was different. I wanted this. Badly.

After lots of dance, nerves and sweat (seriously I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower), my number was announced. Second to last might I add- talk about stress. AHH. I could not believe it. Still can’t. I’m so so thankful for this opportunity and now that I’ve had my first rehearsal weekend and I have my uniforms (!!!) it finally feels official. This next year is going to be such a ride and I can’t wait.

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SHAMELESS PLUG AHEAD (you’ve been warned):

You can read more about my audition experience here! Before auditioning I  looked all over for a blog from former members, so I figured I would start keeping up with my experience for other people who are also interested. Stay tuned for more updates!

I ended July with a bucket list evening at the Hollywood Bowl with Kristyn and Kelly. Have I mentioned that I freaking love musicals??? We got cheap af tickets to see Mama Mia and I’ll just start off by saying that I was already crying before the National Anthem was over. Nice. I must say, if you haven’t been to a show at the Hollywood Bowl then PUT IT ON YOUR TO DO LIST. We had so much fun (and you can read about this experience here). ← shameless plug number two, oops.

And now we are officially caught up. It’s August (MY BIRTHDAY MONTH DON’T YOU FORGET IT) and great things are on the horizons. I start regular rehearsals for Clippers, head home to teach and see family, TURN 22, have my dysFUNctional friends come to LA, AND head to Utah at the end of the month.

Wahoooo! Until later, friends.

When the beach teaches you more than you learned in college

I’ve been trying to explore a little bit more. As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in the stretch between North Hollywood to Studio City. Which is great news that I’m sure my friends and family back home love to hear! I’M COMFY HERE!!! But now that Summer is around the corner and I feel at home, I decided to make a list of places and activities I need to accomplish or see. Time to branch out and really explore California beyond the valley. And let me tell ya, I’m finding some good stuff. Like did you know there’s Yoga on the ocean?!!??! It’s literally called YOGAQUATICS. I’m 200% sure I’ll fall off the board but that’s a for sure on the list.

I started my quest this week with El Matador State beach in Malibu. I’ve been craving a solo beach day pretty much since I moved in. Now that it’s finally hot and I have a few performances coming up this month, it’s the perfect time to get my tan on. I’ve been bad lately (mom don’t read this part) about not wearing sunscreen and, learning from Kristyn the lobster’s mistakes, (okay mom, start reading again) I doused myself with SPF 15 before heading out the door. My whole ride to the beach was filled with good jams and light traffic- finally starting to get the hang of the traffic patterns.IMG_1743Once I got there, I noticed that it was pretty overcast; cold, even. Even so, I figured I would spend a good three hours there and that it probably felt different once I got down to the actual beach. Figuring all this in, I paid for 3 hours of parking up front. Oh and I forgot to mention I got beachside parking. That literally never happens.

It seemed like the stars were aligning for me to have a fun-in-the-sun beach day and who knows, maybe I’ll even meet some cool new people on the beach since I’ve been on a roll with that! If not, I already had plans to call back the 27392 people who I’m still lucky to call friends after absolutely SUCKING at staying in touch (shoutout to you guys!!!). When I finally got down to the beach, the people were sparse, the wind was strong and it was even colder than I thought it would be. Great.IMG_1763In my head, I was initially pissed that I had just driven 45 minutes, paid for parking and hyped up this day so much. I went back and forth between wanting to find a beach beach, thinking that maybe if I walked down far enough, I could just keep my same parking spot? Or maybe I should just go back to a space that I knew. Zuma? Maybe even by the pier. But then I looked around…

Damn. This place was beautiful. I felt like I was on the set of Lemony Snicket’s version of the Little Mermaid, complete with rocks and full of cloudy gloom. How did I miss all of this when I first arrived? How did I ever even have the thought to leave?IMG_1757Naturally, when I began to take in the beauty of El Matador, I pulled out my phone to post photos on every form of social media I could. Dumb. And the beach said “nope.” There is absolutely zero cell service down there. It’s like I was meant to be there alone with just my thoughts and the crash of the ocean against the rocks. Completely disconnected.

Not going to lie, I struggled at first. But I learned so much from my adventure that day. IMG_1798After a few hours of writing, thinking and exploring I packed up my things and headed to a cute little place called Sun Life Organics (another spot on my list). They literally have a drink with all of my favorite things: banana, raw almond butter, hemp milk and even coffee. That’s basically Holly in a shake. AND IT’S CALLED THE BLACK GOLD. Fricken GO HAWKS!

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How cool ^^^

Driving home, Black Gold in hand, I wasn’t so lucky with traffic. But I did have plenty of time to reflect on my exploration at El Matador and what the beach had taught me that day.

Sometimes you don’t get what you expected, but you get what you needed.

Word vomit

If you saw my Instagram or Facebook post then you probably knew this was coming. And quite honestly, I imagine this being a little bit difficult to type. Really I’m not even sure if it’ll make the cut and be published but here we go anyway.

As you may well know, I have two dogs who are, as I like to say, “old as dirt.” Had two dogs. Yesterday, I received a message from my parents asking me to give them a call after  my dance class. Of course my intuition immediately knew that something was up. I wondered if I had sent them a text that I meant to send to a friend or maybe they got a few of my parking tickets in the mail. Especially when I called on my way home and they said it would be better if I waited to take the call until I was at home and out of the car. By then I had had it. I needed to know what was going on and when I asked for a hint they simply said “It’s about Bear.”

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This didn’t come as a huge surprise to me. When I was home a few weeks ago, we had noticed that she was moving a little bit slower. My dad has basically had Rottweilers his entire life and most of them had some sort of issue involving their bones ranging from minor joint pain to full fledged bone cancer. We assumed that this may be the case, and so did her vet, so we ended up buying her some treats that were designed specifically for joint pain. We noticed an improvement, but we also noticed some strange lumps forming on her belly. Those aren’t related to joint pain…

They had grown a decent amount between the time I left for California and when I returned home last month. We had had the vet check them out a few times and we had basically decided to keep an eye on the lumps and her disposition to see if there were any changes for the worse.

If you read my last blog, you also know that I did I shitty job of seeing all of my friends back in Iowa. For some reason I couldn’t get myself to leave my parents or my dogs. Now it makes sense. I spent the entire week cuddled up to bear. My parents said they hadn’t seen her that social and lovey dovey in months. She knew. But I could have never prepared myself for the phone call I received last night.

She was gone. They took her to the vet to have her lumps, they had grown significantly since I had returned back to California, drained and checked out. The vet found more than what he had bargained for. It was cancer and it had spread. A lot. Still on the operating table, the vet called my parents. They were faced with the decision of putting her through extensive surgery, recovery, pain and (maybe) a few more weeks of life or letting her go in peace.

Bear left us around noon yesterday. I can’t imagine how different my house in Iowa is. No one to steal the good couch or squeeze on with. Fluffy (our other dog) is probably lost. In fact, I know she is. But I also know that she knows what happened. She got in the habit of leaving a few little crumbs of her soft food for Bear to finish off. Last night, my parents said that she ate every bite. She knew Bear wasn’t coming home. I just can’t help but wish that we had the same instinct.

It feels like my family is down one member. One unconditional lover who didn’t care if we got fired from a job or had a shitty day or even yelled at her one hour before.

I’m beginning to learn how I work a little bit better and called today off specifically for this blog post. I had full intention of doing what I normally do. Go on as if I’m unaffected, afterall, I’m halfway across the country. But I stopped. Called my dad and said “not this time.” I needed to get this out. I needed to deal with it in the moment and be present in it. In the painful, empty and sheer realness of it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel it x20 in three months like I always do. To make this even more of a growing experience, I challenged myself to write this in public. Why? Because I knew I would cry and crying in front of people makes me want to crawl out of my skin. But I let it happen. I needed to let it happen, to not wear a mask as I so often do.

So to finish up, thanks for reading this. Sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better is just letting my fingers do their thing on the keyboard while I turn my brain off. That being said, I’m making the choice not to proofread this.

 

Give your furry friends some extra love today. They can teach you so much.

 

Weekend getaways & why they are 1000% necessary

It’s May. That means it’s about to be one year since I walked in the commencement ceremony at Iowa. Wtf. As I sit here typing this, in what might quite possibly be the polar opposite of where I would have typed this a year ago, I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed and proud that I made the leap. And while LA is great and all, I think I kind of forgot that life existed outside of good ole La La Land. This huge bubble of a city. Luckily for me, this realization that I needed to gtfo for a hot second came at the perfect time. So I put my wheels to the road (and also reimbursed my friends for gas monies…thanks friends) and have spent the last four weekends basically running around like a crazy person.

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Let’s start with my first weekend trip away from LA in the 6 months I’ve been here: Coachella. I caught a wild hare the day tickets went on sale and treated myself to weekend 1 tickets with my coworker #splurge. And yes I still made rent that month (god bless). I’ll preface this by saying that contrary to popular belief; I had never been to a music festival of any kind until Summerfest in Milwaukee last June. While that was literally the time of my life (shout out to the squad that weekend), Summerfest and Coachella have little in common other than music and alcohol. You may be wondering what more there is to a music festival? Well first of all, three days in the desert heat is HARD. Yes everyone wants that “do it for the gram” photo moment at Coachella, but dang I don’t know how some of those people survived the heat in those outfits. I tried to choose my wardrobe wisely and made sure to have a bandana to protect my lungs from the dirt/dust/sand/god knows what else that’s blowing around all day and night. I was blessed to have gone with some ‘Chella vets, so I had a bit of an upper hand on the must-do’s.

We had an absolute blast frolicking through the desert, people watching and of course finding open space to do literal choreography. It really is so special to see SO many different types of people, enjoying the festival in whichever way they felt fit (and there are about 1 million ways to do so), coming together because of music. And let me just say that the music was INSANE. Especially Bon Iver, The XX and Gaga. It made me realize how many different types of people are in California. Duh, Holly that sounds like a no-brainer. But in North Hollywood 98% of everyone I come into contact with is an actor, dancer, singer etc. Yeah, I definitely gravitate towards those types anyway…but it was a good reminder that there is so much more to see outside of LA. And it’s so wild that these different places and sights are right at my fingertips. Coachella always seemed so far away when I admired pictures from afar growing up but now that I finally got to experience it for myself, It was only a three hour drive, filled with snacks and catching up away.

After returning back to LA, I had a whole three days to recover and head home for the first time for a few short days. Going home, even if it’s just from college, is always a tough one. There are a million people you want to see, sights you want to revisit, and events happening…where do you find the time to relax?? For me, the challenging part of this trip home was leaving my dogs and my parents. I spent the whole first day cuddling next to my (very old, like fossil old) poochies and watching movies with my parents. The next few days were spent trying to see everyone I possibly could in a short amount of time. I started by going to an old dance friend’s wedding and WOW was it great to see her so happy, as well as all of my old friends from the studio days. I could have sat and talked to each of them for hours, but time is limited and my trip was so so short. Next, we met as much of the family (AND MY BEST FRIEND THANK GOD!!! If you know India and I you know we have the most polar opposite schedules ever) at ice cream in between the wedding and our next stop, the Carrikers (aka my second family). We enjoyed a night of home cooked food, drinks and multiple desserts. Before I knew it, I only had one more day left. I had enjoyed a lot of down time so I was PUMPED to spend it dancing.

I taught my first class, since moving to LA, at Dance Vision. To say that I was inspired by the dancers that attended would be an understatement. I always get so stressed before teaching. I start questioning myself, doubting my choreography, my class structure and my qualifications. But from the second the class began to the final time doing the combination I felt so respected and at ease. I left with my heart SO full and even got to see my Des Moines crew (minus 1 @kaylameyer) for dinner before heading home. What a good freaking week. I said my goodbyes, and hopped on a plane back home. I was inspired and ready to crack down on my eating, workouts and goals.

I started the week back with a trip to Trader Joe’s (my favorite). I’m gonna write a separate post eventually about this, but I decided to commit to the #PaleoLyfe. Not so much because it’s trendy, but because I do so much better when I have specific guidelines. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater but calling myself “paleo” with specific do’s and don’ts makes it a challenge. And I love a good challenge. Especially when it comes with so many health benefits.

After a week of getting back on track, Kelly and I headed to Vegas for an audition on a whim. We woke up at 3:30 am, packed some healthy eats for the day and headed down the road. Although the audition didn’t turn out how we had hoped, we decided to make the most of our little adventure to Vegas. One of Kelly’s old friends from Illinois happened to be there so we headed to the nearest bar for a few drinks. I may or may not have ordered a dirty martini at 11 am. The bartenders treated us to a few on the house which then led to us sneaking into the pool at the Aria thanks to our new friend, the old man security guard. Lit! After a few hours of sun, we hit the road…after all we were heading back to Vegas in 4 short days for Kristyn’s 21st. HERE’S THE BEST PART. We stopped to see the Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation in the middle of the desert, which honestly made the whole day worth it.

Like I said, we had plans to head back to Vegas for Kristyn’s 21st birthday extravaganza with me, Kelly, her coworker Rocco, and of course the birthday girl…AND BONUS GUESTS the Hoffman superiors!!! I had been working with her mom during the weeks leading up to the trip to surprise her. For those of you who know Kristyn, she is the absolute hardest person to surprise. But we did it, y’all!!!! Between the nightclubs, day clubs, casinos, shows, restaurants, surprises and memories, the weekend could not have gone better. To say that she rung in her birthday the right way would be an understatement. I can honestly say I have never laughed that much in a weekend…ever. Our abs were actually sore and definitely not from working out during that weekend, although we did do our fair share of dancing. As in we literally never stopped dancing. So now the 362 clan is officially all legal…and very over drinking after this last weekend’s liquid diet (so in line with my paleo-ness)

SO. I’m back in LA, most likely until I go home in August for a bit, back on track and can’t wait to continue this kick I’m on of being adventurous. Seeing all there is to see and meeting everyone there is to meet.

I think a lot of times people our age get too caught up in the whole “I’M BROKE” mindset. Yeah. So are we. Who isn’t at this stage? It does not by any means equate to staying in your apartment to “save money.” Not only are you making yourself miserable by focusing on your lack of extra money, you’re missing out on SO MUCH of the world around you. Pack food, skip the expensive drinks, Google free shit to see. It’s out there. Stop making excuses.

 

I’m only doing this so my mom doesn’t yell at me

How many times have I resurrected this blog by now? At least three or four I think. But hey, guess what. I’m doing it again! This blog is like a fricken cat, man. It has 9 lives and I think by now I’m running low on how many times I can start this back up again. But if you are familiar with the whole “Boy who Cried Wolf” thing and wanna believe me this time, I’m actually going to do better at this whole blogging on a schedule thing. And like I said, half of the reason is so my family knows that I’m alive (hi guys!!!).

So I’ll start by saying that in the short time of living here I’ve learned a lot, no surprise there- I feel like that’s what everyone says when they move away from home. It’s been waaay cool to have people from the Midwest reach out to me about what the transition has been like. Even cooler when they tell me that they have been toying around with the idea of making a big move. So I figure for my first post back, I’d kind of do a fun little month by month recap of some big lessons I’ve learned each month. Like anything in life, it’s peaks and valleys for sure..but I figure if I can help some people believe that they can make the leap, then cool. And if that’s not why you’re reading this, I hope you at least get some gigz out of me trying to adult (rest assured I’m still just awkward as I have been my entire life).

Okay so last time you heard from me was November so let’s start with

DECEMBER – it’s all about the company you keep

Moving here during the holidays was a strange choice on my part. As I said in my last post, I came here just before Thanksgiving and had already been back home once before then. By the time December rolled around, I opted to stay in California through Christmas and New Years since I had just made the trip back for Turkey Day. So here I was, newly in LA about to take on orphan Christmas. Christmas in NoHo is essentially a ghost town. Many of the friends I have out here had plans to travel home to be with their family and at the time I made the decision to stay, I had no idea if my roommates were doing the same. To my relief, Kelly and Kristyn decided to as well. While I value tradition, I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a traditional person. I think this kind of helped me accept the change up. We went into the day with pretty low expectations. We took some time to talk about all of the Christmas traditions we had growing up and met in the middle to make it feel like a Christmas we would have at home.

Making a furniture-less apartment feel homey is a little bit of a tough task. Although we didn’t even have a couch at this point, my aunt had sent us a mini christmas tree in the mail and we made a quick trip to pick up some holiday decor to go with it. It didn’t look like a winter wonderland by any means, but it was a start. Our parents had also sent us a few packages in the mail so that we would have some boxes to fill the empty space under our tree.

 

Somehow, all three of us grew up waking up to cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning so that was something we made sure to incorporate into our day. My mom even sent me some of her BOMB ASS caramel corn she makes every year. And since technology is freaking WILD, I was able to FaceTime my parents and watch them open up the gifts I had sent them (and my dogs, who are basically my sisters). From here the day only went up. We headed down to the pool, Kristyn grilled us some steaks and we (Kristyn) made us a HUGE Christmas feast. And when I say huge, I mean all of us had to unbutton our pants to make room for seconds, which were obviously a huge priority. Who only gets one serving of Christmas dinner..??? Stomachs full and cheeks sore from laughing all day, we scooted over to this sports bar called Big Wangs and enjoyed a few drinks (ON THE HOUSE CAUSE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IS THE BOMB).

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It was that day that I knew I was going to be alright here alongside these people. I felt so lucky to have walked into this living situation. A new family. A new year filled with all sorts of new traditions. And how lucky am I that I get to meet a completely new set of humans and hand-select those in my life that fulfill me (and vice-versa)?! Change can be horrifying, but a new normal is so much easier to find when you surround yourself with people who keep you grounded and thankful.

JANUARY – make yourself a priority

Once January rolled around it was all aboard the New Year’s Resolution train!!!!! Which was a cool idea in my head until I found myself working 45 hours a weak on a schedule that didn’t allow me to do anything that I came here for. Now I know those of you who maybe went a more traditional route post-grad are probably like “boo hoo poor Holly had to work normal people hours.” But I came out here on a limb to pursue my love for dance and obviously several of my goals for the new year (and since I was like five) revolve around that. And as with any goal, it takes more than just having it to make it happen. Who woulda thunk?!

I’ve spent my entire life as a perfectionist, probably to a fault. Even as a kid I remember trying out new games at recess or different sports and being so upset with myself if I didn’t win or do it right the first time around. My parents would spend hours explaining to me that it takes time to be really really great at something and that to reach a goal it takes effort and patience.

So this January I kind of found myself falling back into old habits, forgetting to devote time to nurture my goals and myself in general. I would feel so beat down from my work situation (not just the hours but I’m not going to dive into extreme detail) that when I would finally have an off day that aligned with a dance class or time to devote to my fitness goals, I would feel like a piece of shit if I didn’t take it or execute it to perfection. Stuck somewhere between wanting to relax and taking advantage of living in a place with so many opportunities at my finger tips, I realized that I had stopped making time for myself. When you share a two bedroom apartment with 3 other people, you have to physically schedule some alone time to goal set, call your friends and family or for me, to write. Once I started giving myself some more time to enjoy this beautiful state, I found a lot more clarity and enjoyment.

FEBRUARY – you are in control of your own life

I think at this point in my journey, I hadn’t fully comprehended that I was actually living here. It kind of felt like some strange extension of college that was only temporary. Looking back I can see that I was putting SO much pressure on myself to do so much in the short windows of time that I had free. To the point where I was unable to give 100% because I felt like if I wasn’t perfect in that one chance I had to dance that week, I had wasted my chance to grow just like I was wasting my days way at work. I was so stuck in my head. For those of you that know me, I’m sure this is not surprising to hear.

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Something had to change, and like I said, I had started scheduling days in my planner (around my paydays) that were devoted to me and nothing else. Even if it’s as simple as getting my nails done or spending some time alone on my balcony. But even still, I felt a little bit stagnated.Coming home and complaining about my day and waking up the next morning to do it all over again.I had more or less turned into the post graduate version of myself that I wanted to avoid and what was I doing about it? Nothing. So FINALLY I took control over my own life and made a change. I found a job with a schedule that allowed me the time to pursue my dreams. I realized that if you want something, you can’t just wait around for it and hope that it magically happens, especially out here.

To tie these thoughts together, I would say that understanding the importance of patience is also something that came with this realization. I LIVE here. It’s not like I have one week to make all of my dreams come true. I have an unlimited amount of time in this amazing city to sort it all out, create myself and meet some insanely incredible people in the process. If you want something, make it happen. And if you can’t right away, surround yourself with the people and opportunities that will set you up to do so.

MARCH – don’t be afraid of self-expansion

Alright, alright, alright. March was a great month. I started a new job. Picked up a few side adventures. Met some new friends. Became a member of a contemporary dance company. And I called this crazy place “home” for the first time. My family even came to visit and surprised me with 4 of my closest friends and one more came later this month; I was feeling energized and more ready to grow than I had been since moving here.

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Also got my first tattoo with my best friend on Hollywood Blvd ayyyyyy

Isn’t that kind of a weird thing to say when you think about it..? You shouldn’t be unready or afraid of growth. I don’t even think I knew that I was afraid of it until I realized that I had been holding myself back. The whole first job situation in February helped me see that. Why the heck would I waste my time complaining about something that is COMPLETELY in my control? It’s almost like I subconsciously liked being unhappy from time to time. I think I liked that I could place the blame on all of these external factors. With dance too….In reality, I only had myself to blame for being discontent and failing to do anything to change that.

So I continued the flow of taking things into my own hands. I started checking things off my checklist. I got my headshots taken and have begun to take myself more seriously. And, most importantly (and perhaps for the first time in my entire life), I started to actually believe in myself. I’ve started trying to knowledge my strengths as a dancer, and as a person, and hone in on them. I am unexplainably grateful for all of the opportunities to test the boundaries of comfortability in a new and unfamiliar place.

I’d say what I’m most thankful for is the support of my family and their undeniable ability to talk me down from a tree. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard them say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” but they’re right (I HATE THAT I JUST SAID THAT PUBLICLY).  I guess what I’m saying is if you’re considering doing something outside of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t involve moving to a new place, freaking do it. And do a better job of updating everyone on your life than I have.

Alright, that’s all for now. Expect to see more of me on your timeline. Byeeeeeee.