{Source via Pinterest}
Like I have mentioned before (I think?), I quit my job of 6.5 years as a psych rehab worker back in June.  It started with tears on a Sunday night because I was dreading the next day, Monday, of work.  There weren't any deadlines I was behind on or anything.  I had just reached a point where I just had enough.  Husband, being the ever supportive and sweet man he always is, just said "why don't you quit?"  And that is what I did the very next day.  And I immediately knew it was the right decision as once I made the decision to just quit (without a back-up) I no longer dreaded going into work (well, other than to tell my coworkers who I love dearly and consider to be some of my closest friends). 

This was a decision I decided to keep from my parents.  This was a decision I needed to make for myself.  I knew they would not approve and words would be said that would be difficult to take back or easily forget.  I decided my last day of work would be the day I left for my first trip abroad to Ireland & Scotland with my sisters to visit friends for two weeks.  The three of us met in Philly and while waiting for our red-eye I shared with my sisters that I had quit my job and hoped to keep this from our parents until I was ready to share it with them.  

We had a great trip but as it goes with family, and especially siblings, spending every waking hour together and in small spaces we started to get a little annoyed with each other.  But hey, I knew that was inevitable and did not let it ruin our trip.  We parted ways in Philly again en route to our respected corners of the world.  

Little did I know that one my sister decided to take it upon herself to share with my parents that I quit my job.  And as you can imagine, my mother was not too happy that I kept this from her.  However, I did not know she knew until my old coworker called to let me know that my mom called where I used to work to see if everything was okay with me.  Apparently she was worried because the sister who decided to share this said I had changed. 

And she was right.  I did change.  And for the first time it was for me.  And me only.  For years I had been looking for excuse (go to school for Exercise Psychology in Miami) after excuse (get pregnant) after excuse (move to Tampa, FL) to leave that job.  I started to feel stuck where I was.  Like I had no direction in my life.  Looking in all the wrong places and ways to happiness.  

My parents have always and always will want what is best for me.  But only what they feel is best for me.  So this was a decision I needed to make on my own.  As much as I hated lying to my parents I am glad I made the decision I did because I am not sure I would have been brave enough to make such a leap knowing that they felt it was the wrong one.  And to this day it was the best decision, the decision to leave my job, I have ever made.

While my experience of working as a psych rehab worker toward to the end was more bitter than sweet I will always cherish what I learned over the years.  And one of the most important lessons I learned was that change, while terrifying, can be a good thing.  And just because someone (no matter how important they are to you) doesn't necessarily agree with said change, does not mean it is wrong.  If it feels right to you then it most likely is.  

And for the first time in my life I am happy.  And for no reason at all.  Just happy.  And I contribute that to making the changes I need to make for myself and to stop living how others feel I should live.  Because, after all, it is my life.  

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Sunday Social

Husband is downstairs helping a friend fix their work computer so I thought I would take this rare time to myself and post my first link up with Sunday Social.

1) What is your ideal way to relax?
Wrapped up in a blanket or my robe on the couch with either a coffee or tea watching a show or reading. 

2) Where is your favorite place to be?
Anywhere near a body of water (lake or ocean) surrounded my favorite people.  

3) Who do you consider your biggest role model?
That would be difficult because there are many in my life.  My mom, dad, sisters, grandparents, great-grandmother, friends, husband.  I honestly can't just pick one because they each influence me in different ways. 

4) What does your life look like in 3 years?
Hopefully a little Cornman (or Cornwoman) running around with plans to travel somewhere we have never been before.  

5) If you could go back and change one decision, what would it be?
I wish I had studied abroad in college.  I let my fear of flying get in the way and it has something I have regretted ever since. 

6) What is your biggest accomplishment in life so far?
For the first time in my life I can say I am happy and honestly love my life.  Where I am right now I would not change one thing.  Well maybe win the lottery:) 

Sunday Social

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Things I don't understand.

1) Why on earth are there more than one Judge Judy type shows on television?  

2) Why is February the longest month of the year when it is actually the shortest?

3) Why do I seem to always get sick just when I start to feel the most motivated?

4) Why aren't there more options for Amazon Prime members for movies and shows?  

5) Why is it necessary to get my car inspected EVERY year (stupid PA)?  And why is always so expensive at the most inappropriate times?  

6) Why can't my hair be just curly, and not frizzy, all of the time?

7) Why do I think it's so funny when people fall down? 

8) Why does time seem to go by so much faster the older I get?

9) Why does change have to be such a scary thing? 

10) Why do we wait until the last weekend in January every year to finally take down our Christmas tree?  

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Heading into week 6:)

I was actually on top of uploading my photos to Flickr this week.  YAY!  Makes for a stress free and less overwhelming 365 post:)

 Jan 19, 2013.  Day 30 of 365
"Saturday Morning"

Jan 20, 2013.  Day 31 of 365

Jan 21, 2013.  Day 32 of 365

Jan 22, 2013.  Day 33 of 365
"Winter Sky"

Jan 23, 2013.  Day 34 of 365
"Winter light" 

Jan 24, 2013.  Day 35 of 365

Jan 25, 2013.  Day 36 of 365
"Street lamp" 

I cannot believe 5 weeks have already passed since starting this in December!  Time really seems to be flying.  

I just looked outside to see it has finally stopped snowing since this morning around 10.  Although I am happy it has stopped it sure was beautiful from inside my living room:) 

Happy weekend everyone! 

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Starting over

{Source via Pinterest}
This really speaks to me as of late.  For some of you who know me know that I hoped to start a photography business.  And some of those of you who know me even better know I am not a go getting, business minded person.  Never have been.  And I have finally decided I no longer want to try to pretend that I want to be one.

When I first started taking photos, I did it because I loved capturing a moment in time and sharing with others what I saw.  When I was first asked to take portraits of people I was beyond flattered.  Still am.  But the joy of taking a photo was no longer there not because of the people but because of the pressure I put on myself to take a perfect image.  That was when I started to lose interest in photography and to use my camera less and less.

So, I am going to start at the beginning.  Back to where I first fell in love with photography and capturing whatever moves me in that moment.  Does this mean I am not going to be photographing anymore portraits?  No.  Photography is what fuels me and I think going back to where I started, just taking pictures, is where I need to be.

So, no "I'm not giving up, I'm just starting over."

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Case of the Mondays

It's been quite a while since I had a case of the Mondays.  One because I usually don't nanny on Mondays and two because I really love nannying.  But today was just one of those days Mondays.

Started off with a bad night's sleep waking up two times and not being able to fall back asleep for what felt like forever.  Continued with the 9 month old I nanny for having another cold and not sleeping well.  Then not having the appropriate foot attire (black ballet flats with no socks) for the unexpected 4 inches of snow Pittsburgh got today.  Which resulted in a negative attitude which led to the Red Box not accepting our late return at the first kiosk so I had drive into town (an extra 5 mins) to try another one (thanks to the Red Box gods it did because today was not a day to really test my patience any further) THEN when getting out of the car to finally be home my shoe came off so I ended up with one bare foot in 4 inches of snow.  At this point I just had to laugh.  So now I am cooling off relaxing with a new favorite cider:)

With that I bring you another Music Monday.  Since Mondays seem to be so mean what better way to brush it off then with a good tune!

Anywayyyyyy,  today I would like to share with you a band I have been jamming to since oh 2011 but have recently been introduced to their older music.  And I am obsessed.

City & Colour - "Sleeping Sickness" 

I hope this brightens your Monday as well!  And if you've heard it before I hope it brings good memories:)

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 1/14/13: Day 25 of 365
"My Favorite Muse."

 1/15/13: Day 26 of 365
"Night Light"

1/16/13: Day 27 of 365
"Time's a Tickin'" 

1/17/13: Day 28 of 365

1/18/13: Day 29 of 365
"Winter Road." 

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Check-in #2

Tonight, I am linking up with Lauren from Kisses from the Mrs again for my 2nd Strive for my Five:

Resolution #1: Be healthier 
If I am going to be honest with myself, and anyone who reads this, I have not really been very healthy nor have I tried that hard to be.  But I will not let that be my excuse to forget this resolution/goal like the old Alyson would do.  Since I got sick and pretty much fasted/got rid (although not voluntarily) of everything I decided that would be a good way to push me in the right direction to seriously start cutting out gluten and dairy from diet.
I haven't run or looked into any kick-butt classes yet but still have to plans do both in the near future.  I just wish it wasn't cold (or every) in January.

Resolution #2: Complete a 365 Photo challenge
Like I mentioned in this post, I am loving this challenge a lot more than I thought I would.  I assumed I would dread it eventually but have not found that to be the case in the least.  And I love the positive feedback I have been getting from others.  Some have even shared they want to start their own project which I love to hear!
And not only has this challenged me creatively but technically as well.  A lot of my photos have come back with an orange-ish tint to them which is never good.  Up until this weekend I shot with the Auto White Balance but have been manually changing it once I realized my mistake.  And I am happy with my results so far!

Resolution #3: Make more time for us
Husband and I have been hanging out more often and I am loving it!  I recently bought a Groupon for lunch at local restaurant in Pittsburgh so I am hoping for a date day in Pittsburgh on Friday.  Otherwise, we pretty much have just been cuddling on the couch over recent Red Box rentals.  Hey, I am cheap date:)

Resolution #4: Spend more time with friends
I met up with my old coworkers, who I consider to be some of my closest friends, last Tuesday night.  It was the first time we got together since the new year.  It was so nice to see them and catch up!  I really do miss seeing them everyday (but not enough to go back to the job;)).

I cannot believe it is already mid January!  I hope the second half goes as fast.

Kisses from the Mrs.

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By and by

While jamming to my new favorite Whitley Pandora radio station yesterday while uploading and editing the last 8 days of my 365 project, this song came on.  And I fell in love with it immediately.  His voice, the lyrics, the gui-tar... just perfection (in my humble opinion).  Besides, who doesn't appreciate the occasional talented ginger every now and then?

Brett Dennen - "By and By" 

Happy Monday night!:) 

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The 365 Project: Do not eat the seafood bisque...

at Whole Foods that's been sitting out all day.  Or at least that is what I thought was wrong with me until I woke up to husband getting sick this morning:(

Okay, let me back up a little bit.  I have been without a car since our little escapade to get to STL for the holidays so husband picked me up from "work" (aka nannying) on his way to work so I could kill time at Whole Foods while he worked his massage magic.  I was looking forward to some Alyson time browsing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while grabbing dinner at the Whole Foods cafe.  I finally decided on the seafood bisque, kale chips and my favorite Fiji Water with cider from a local cider house for dessert.  I felt great and was looking forward to our weekend as we had actually had plans to go to Mad Mex for our gym's After Christmas Party.  I love Mexican food and Margarittas so needless to say I was pretty excited.  However, my gut had a different plan for me.

I woke up around midnight Thursday night/Friday morning to my my belly rumblin'.  I went downstairs  to take an enzyme in hopes that would settle her.  Without going into too much detail, my belly rejected the enzyme and everything I had for dinner.  And a few times throughout the night.  I didn't leave my temporary sick bed (aka the guest room.  Don't worry, it's been disinfected) until 2 Friday afternoon where all I was able to do was turn on the TV (but not change the channel) and fall asleep again.  The whole time I assumed it was food poisoning as I didn't feel any of that cold sweat achy feeling that is usually an indication of the flu.

However, this morning husband woke up with the same problem and has hardly left the couch since he parked his bum there at midnight last night.  Poor guy.  The only thing I am thankful for is that we did not get sick at the same time and I am now able to take care of him.  Since I am a pro now, I know what will make him feel better (i.e. eating ice cubes and laying on the heating pad).

This is also my excuse to why I have not posted my lastest photos for my 365 Project.  But since I am starting to finally feel myself again (and while husband naps for a while) here the last 8 days:

1/5/13: Day 16 of 365
"Night Lights BW"
"Night Lights" 
"Night Rider BW" 
"Night Rider" 

1/6/13: Day 17 of 365
"1985 Mercedes" 
"Melting Away" 

1/7/13: Day 18 of 365

1/8/13: Day 19 of 365
"Boiling Point"

1/9/13: Day 20 of 365
"Letter C" 

1/10/13: Day 21 of 365
"Happy Hour"

1/11/13: Day 22 of 365
Since I didn't leave my new friend toilet much on this day I thought it only appropriate to take a photo of it:) 

1/12/13: Day 23 of 365

1/13/13: Day 24 of 365
"Music To My Ears BW"
"Music To My Ears"
"Music To My Ears" 

What I have learned this week: 1) I really need to make sure to upload and go through the photos on a daily basis.  I spent like hour this morning going through 5 days worth of photos.  No fun.  Just need to stay super healthy the rest of this winter.  Hello Vitamin C shots! 2)  I really need to pay closer attention to White Balance.  Some of my photos have turned out too orange for my liking.  Boo.  

And I would like to end this post with 2 positive things: 

I got a nice email from Lauren from Kisses From The Misses saying I won a 35% off discount code to Rebecca's Etsy shop A Sweet Little Note.  My first time winning a blog give-away!  I completely forgot I entered this so it was a nice surprise to wake up to:)  Thank you, Lauren!

And check out my new signature!  What do you think?  I have been wanting one of these for a while so I was uber excited to see that Melissa was offering to make blogger signatures for FREE just for liking her Facebook fanpage.  And guess what!  You can snag one too! 

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All that matters.

{Source via Pinterest}
While my parents generation shocked their parents generation it seems my generation (Gen Y) seems to be the most shocking yet.  I have often heard older generations describe Gen Y as selfish, impulsive, highly indulged, narcissistic, needy, disloyal and in need of constant praise.  Overall they feel we are entitled.  And I would have to agree with that to an extent. I mean we are living in a world where such things as the No Child Left Behind Act exists so why should the fact that Gen Y feels entitled surprise anyone.

But I feel Audrey was onto something in her day and way ahead of her generation with the above quote.  If there is one thing I believe everyone is entitled to, it is happiness. And that is not something to be ashamed of.  If Gen Y is considered selfish, impulsive and needy because we may spend our money more freely or if we quit our jobs just because we aren't happy then so be it.  Because, after all, if you aren't happy then what is the point?


Do yourself a favor...

and check out the Outkast station on Pandora.  It's pretty hard.  You're welcome. 



The return we've all been waiting for...

How typical of you, hockey.  Trying to out shadow the return of my favorite 2012 drama, Downton Abbey.  But don't worry, Downton, I would never forget you:) 

{image via google images}



Husband and I spent Christmas in STL again this year.  Even though it started off rather stressful, we spent most of the time relaxing, playing games, drinking and catching-up.  And looking through old photos.  Grandmal (dad's mom and that is how we pronounce it so that is how I am going to spell it) had to recently sell her house and move into an apartment.  With downsizing comes going through boxes and boxes and boxes and deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  My dad met up with his two brothers, after they sold the house, to go through the various boxes and to decide what goes home with who (or whom?) or what went to the curb.  And much to my surprise he actually came home with a few bins full of old photos and other various items.  Needless to say, Christmas day was spent in front of the fire place going through all the bins.  It took us a couple of hours but it was well worth it just for the many laughs we had over amazing outfits and my mom's awesome hairstyles.

Mom & Me, Christmas circa 1984.  I don't look too sure about Santa (who looks kinda confused by the way) but appears I was bribed with a candy cane.  Good work, Mom.  Good work. 

Shootin' hoops with Dad.  For those who know me, this may come as a surprise but I am actually pretty athletic.  I may trip and fall a lot but I do so with an athletic grace (HA!).  

Me Christmas circa ??  What. Is. That. Pose.  How on earth did I ever find that to be comfortable?  

I look like I may be constipated in the first one and a bit shocked/frightened in the second one.  Sometimes I wish my mom was more of a pack rat.  I bought a sweater t-shirt thing similar to this just this fall.  She could have saved me $15!   

I think this was in Orlando.  I am actually happy about taking a photo and don't have that awkward/half smile/confused look on my face. 

My twin sisters.  M is on the left (she had more hair) and C on the right.  And can you spy my chubby leg and Nike kicks in the background?  And see that car?  It was my mom's first car and the color of puke green.  Gross. 

I think we are at the Memphis Zoo here.  Look at our shorts!  Again, Mom what I would do for those shades.  You should have recycled your clothes to us kids at an earlier age.  Hey KDKA! 

M on the left and C on the right.  I am not sure what is going on in this picture but they both look concerned.  Maybe C is concerned about that itch she has?  

Me and M.  I'm not sure why I am dressed up and she's not.  But don't worry, I don't have a case of early childhood acne.  Just chickenpox.  

Destin, FL.  See that awesome plastic bag on my arm?  Yeah, I broke my elbow when I was in kindergarden practicing a gymnastics move on our swingset.  FAIL.  

The fam checking out the new addition, Moi, in the hospital.  On the far right is great-gran, Honey's mom.  She was such an amazing woman and I was lucky to spend many of my younger years with her.  She smelled like peppermint and always had frozen Snicker bars in her freezer:)  

Mom bringing me to her mom and dads (Honey & Grandaddy) from the hospital.  I was the first grandbaby for Honey & Grandaddy.  Don't they look so happy?  

Perhaps my most favorite picture of my dad and I.  Check out my armpit fat rolls.  And please ignore that nasty brown splatter on my arm.  It's not a birthmark, just got dirty over the years.  

And by far, my most favorite photos I found were of Grandmal and Grandaddy's wedding day.  Don't they look so happy?  I cannot wait to find frames to hang them up.

Showing off her bling.  You go girl! 

Don't they look famous?!  Like someone you have seen before but you can't quite place?  Such a gorgeous couple!

I hope you have enjoyed this journey down memory lane.  Luckily the internet didn't even exist when I was young so this is the first time these photos are surfacing on the world wide web.  Phew!