My Favorite Things About Spring

I decided I wanted to write a post about my favorite things about Spring because I feel like as I’ve gotten older I’ve despised Spring for a couple of different reasons.

  1. Allergies – I never had this problem growing up, unlike my brother Chris who suffered horribly growing up. But as an adult, holy crap it’s awful. It seems the only thing that works for me is Flonase, and even that I can only do every other day because it gives me nose bleeds. I mean, it’s a beautiful time of year but it wreaks havoc on my allergies.
  2. The weather is unpredictable – rain one day, 75 degrees another, 45 degree mornings and then 70 degrees mid-day. I know, I know, dress in layers…but come on!

So, those are a couple of things I don’t like about Spring, BUT there are many more great things than bad so I thought I’d round them up.

  1. Though the weather is crazy and unpredictable, when we do have those 75 degree days, and almost warm evenings it’s a hint of summer nights to come and it always gives me a nostalgic feeling of summer evenings when I was a teenager.
  2. Some of my favorite holidays are during the Spring and Summer. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, my birthday, mom’s birthday, countless friends have birthdays during these months as well – it’s just a time to celebrate others.
  3. Travel! I seem to travel more during these Spring and early Summer months. It’s a good time to get out of town and hangout by a pool.
  4. Mani and pedi colors move into those bright happy colors (at least for me), not so much of the purple, black and reds, but bright and light pinks, and pedicures are more frequent ūüôā
  5. Concerts! I’m a huge music lover and it’s the time that music festivals, and summer tours are beginning to launch. This year, just like last, I will kick-off summer with the BottleRock Music Festival in Napa over memorial weekend.
  6. That’s the other thing! 3-day weekends! We go from having a ton of time off during the holidays to just trudging through the workdays and weeks. The warmer months introduce 3-day weekends a plenty.
  7. Your skin warms up and if you’re like me, so does your hair! I’m pretty fair complexion, and as I get older and freak out about being in the sun, I am gradually whiter and whiter every winter (hahah) but the natural warmth your skin color takes on during the warmer months is always nice, and naturally my highlights grow a little brighter too.
  8. It’s lighter out longer! Does anyone else agree that it should always be light out until 7pm? I mean, it just lightens everyone’s mood! Though, don’t get me wrong, I feel like it takes me 3 months to get used to losing an hour, but it’s worth it!
  9. There are baby animals everywhere! Little baby birds, baby squirrels – it’s the cutest and how can you not appreciate Spring for that one thing alone?
  10. Everything is green! If you get enough rain – which we hadn’t in many years – but have in the last couple, then you have a tiny bit of time to enjoy rolling green hills before they quickly turn brown during the summer months. It’s not long, but it’s enjoyable while it’s here.
  11. No more being sick! I mean, a spring or summer cold is still common, but bye bye flu season and all that other nasty stuff that is floating around during the winter months.
  12. Windows can stay open all day and night! I have to admit, I’m one of those people who will leave my windows open even just a crack until I can barely stand the cold any longer, so when you can leave them open all day and night for that spring/summer fresh air it’s amazing!
  13. Outside activities…and I don’t mean running, biking etc. outside, I mean one of my favorite outdoor activities which is wine tasting. I live very close to wine country that I think only locals know about (Livermore Valley), and it is one of my favorite things to do. Granted, I will go wine tasting whether it’s storming rain or not, but it’s so nice to pack a lunch and sit on the grass in the sunshine, drink your wine and visit with friends and family. Day drinking anyone?
  14. BASEBALL! I’m a huge Oakland Athletics fan (you read that right, I live in the Bay Area and I am NOT a Giants fan, it’s all about how you’re raised right?) Anyway, Spring indicates that baseball is back and whether you’re heading to Spring training in Florida or Arizona (which I’ve done many times), it means opening day is around the corner, and there is nothing more relaxing to me then sitting in the ballpark on a mild evening or a warm spring day and watching some good old baseball, drinking a beer and eating a hot dog.
  15. It’s wedding and baby season! I have to admit, this is the first year in a long time that I don’t have a wedding to attend this spring, but there’s plenty of babies being born! I guess that’s how it works, right? Weddings galore in your twenties, and then booth the babies start like 5-10 years later. Either way, it’s a reason to see friends and again, celebrate!

What are some of your favorite things about Spring? I’d love to read them!

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31 Days of Gratitude: Days 7 – 19

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Holy moly! I don’t know where the time has gone, other than to say that a big IT project my team is working goes live on January 9th so needless to say tempers are high and the work is insane! However, that is NO excuse to neglect my 31 days of gratitude- because let’s be honest though I’m grateful, I need to make this a priority! With that said, here are days 7-19.

Day 7: What place are you most grateful for?¬†I think I am most grateful for Disneyland. This may surprise people, but I have very fond memories of visiting Disneyland as a child, one of my best friends got engaged while we were all in Disneyland, I’ve celebrated birthdays and bachelorette weekends in Disneyland, and it’s been my escape a time or two to mend a broken heart. It literally is the happiest place on earth. If you don’t smile when you walk through those gates then you probably didn’t have a magical childhood like I did, and I can’t wait to do that with my kids someday!

Day 8: What memory are you grateful for?¬†There are so many days I am grateful for, the day my Dad had his heart transplant surgery, the two days my beautiful nieces were born, the list can go on and on. However, I am going to go with a very memorable day…the day I passed my graduate oral exam. This was an interesting time for me because I had just broken up with my ex of 5 years, my parents were not living in California (they were in Nevada), and it was the middle of the day. I remember getting up that morning and trying very hard to not throw up because I was so nervous. I put on a nice sweater and a pair of black slacks. I took one last look at myself in the mirror and headed out to the college. I was going to be meeting with three professors who knew me very well (they had also been my professors while I was in school for my bachelor’s degree). I got there on time, sat down on one side of the long intimidating table and the three professors walked in, and sat down across from me. I had submitted a ridiculously long exam that I had written pages upon pages of answers for – which I was not going to be interrogated about. It lasted about 2 hours and when it was complete they asked me to step outside and wait while they basically sat there and decided whether I had passed. Literally, 3 1/2 years of work, the stress, the tears, the worry had all come down to a 30 minute deliberation between 3 of my professors.

They called me back in and before I could sit down one of my professors said “congratulations.” I barely heard him, and I just kind of stared at him dumbly. Then he said, “Nikki, did you hear me? I said congratulations, you passed.” I said, “Oh!” And everyone started laughing. The funny thing is that I don’t know what I expected, maybe balloons? A procession? No, that was it. Just a simple congratulations. So, that was it. I now needed to walk back to my car and do something. Anything? I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked out, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, it was a really nice day, and I had just passed my master’s oral exam. Naturally, I called my mom to tell her – and I can’t really even remember what that conversation consisted of. But, getting into my car and taking a deep breath, I began to cry. There was a lot behind those tears, and that day was the most anticlimactic day of my life, but also the most satisfying. I will never forget that day, and that day was 100% mine – and I didn’t experience that with anyone else by myself today, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Day 9:¬†What book are you most grateful for? This is a hard one for me because I love to read, and have read more books than I can count, but I found a love for art history books my first year in community college. My bookcase today is full of art books and I cherish them and would never, ever, not in a million years get rid of them. My love for these books started when I was in community college. I had told my counselor in high school to sign me up for an art class. What I had meant was like a drawing class or something (my family, and myself at times included, is very artistic). She placed me in an “Art 1” class – cool with me. When I went to pick up my text books my art class had a book! I was slightly excited because I just love books in general, but when I saw it I was VERY confused. It looked like a history book.

Turns out it was Art 1 – history of art. Like, literally starting from the beginning of time art work. I LOVED it! I fell in love with the topic, and I fell in love with my professor – figuratively that is. I have always held my fantastic and passionate teachers on a pedestal. They inspire me and motivate me which I find admirable. And Professor Zuliani did just that. I had never met a professor who was as passionate about art history as she was. She inspired me to take all of her art history classes, and at times toyed with the idea of exploring a career in the area. Alas, I didn’t because my options were small – either teach it or curate it – but nonetheless Professor Zuliani ignited something in me that made me love and appreciate art, learn it’s importance in our world history, and how indicative art is of what is socially and politically happening in our lives at the time. So, having these art history books that remind me of that passion I discovered and still have is something I will always be grateful for.

Day 10:¬†What taste are you grateful for today? Coffee – especially on the weekends. I LOVE coffee, but may no means am I a coffee snob. However, coffee on the weekends is one of my favorite things (and Ruby’s too). Ruby knows that if I get up and don’t hit the shower first, that means my next stop is coffee and then either climbing back into bed to snuggle up with Ruby, or to plop on the couch, watch HGTV, snuggle up with Ruby and my cup of coffee. Coffee is also one of those things that brings people together, or keeps people’s connections alive. Coffee – the taste of waking up, staring your day, and these days with uber cold weather – helping me keep warm!

Day 11:¬†What holiday are you grateful for? My birthday (no, I am not being selfish – read the next line), and my mom’s birthday. I realize these are two holidays, BUT they are very important to me because I believe it is one of the things that connects my mom and I the most. I am born on July 11th and my mom is born on July 13th. Some might think, oh no what a nightmare, two cancers under the same roof? Well, yeah sometimes that’s it, but most of the time it just means that we say the same things at the same times and like the same stuff. To have a mom that I’m not just genetically connected to, but also emotionally and spiritually is something I am grateful for and I’m happy that we celebrate that connection every year when we celebrate our birthdays that are so close to each other.

Day 12: What texture are you grateful for? Anything soft and fuzzy Рnot only does it make your brain relax a tiny bit upon touching it, but it reminds me the fuzzy scruffy thing I call my pup РRuby Sue.

Day 13:¬†What abilities are you grateful for? The ability to write. I have always had a passion for words. I was the kid that would be up until 1am reading instead of sleeping. But when I discovered that I also loved to write, and that I actually wasn’t half bad at it, it became something I am grateful for. It is the thing that made me a good student and the thing that has given me a successful career thus far. I get complete joy from writing and it’s something that happily relaxes me.

Day 14:¬†What season are you grateful for? The holiday season. It encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Fall/Winter. Thanksgiving is all about eating all day – who doesn’t love that? Christmas is about magic – and is just that much more fun now that my nieces are here and Fall and Winter just seem a little more relaxing, and the excuse to sit on the couch cozied up with blankets – watching holiday movies!

Day 15: What sight are you grateful for today?¬†The sight I’m most grateful for was one I saw/created that was the pile of Christmas gifts I just wrapped up. I’m grateful for this because I am capable of giving gifts to my friends and family this year, and I’m grateful to be showing the people I love how much I appreciate them.

Day 16:¬†What about your body are you grateful for? My legs. These legs have run a handful of 5Ks, one 10K and 3 half marathons (13.1 miles). I admit that I don’t use them as I should for 30 minutes every day ūüėČ But I am definitely grateful for what they have been capable of doing in the past, and what I know they are still capable of doing in the future. Full marathon someday? Hmmm…I’ll have to come back to that one.

Day 17:¬†What knowledge are you grateful for? One of the key pieces of knowledge I took away from college (and ironically enough, not academic) was to always have my resume updated and ready to go – no matter how secure in your job you feel you are. The professor who shared this with the class I used to think was completely insane, paranoid, crazy tree hugger (mind you, I am and Independent, middle-of-the-road type of person), but he was a extreme liberal. He also said that I should always have my passport up to date and handy. I have since consistently strived to do both (despite how crazy he sounded when he said it). For that piece of advice though, I’m grateful.

Day 18:¬†What piece of art are you grateful for? Oh boy – this one is hard. I can’t choose just one, but as someone who once wanted to major in art history ¬†I feel like I appreciate art on many levels. For example, I am very grateful for an original piece of art that my brother made for me. My brother Dustin’s style of artwork is unique and so beautiful. I will forever cherish the painting of my pup Ruby Sue that my brother created for me and gave to me for Christmas last year. Best present ever!

Day 19:¬†What touch are you grateful for today?¬†Puppy kisses. Ruby doesn’t give a lot of kisses, but when she does it’s the best – love that pup to the moon and back.