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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How Roller Skating Gave Me a Huge Confidence Boost

roller skating maine

Back in February I started roller skating again after probably 15 years. I didn't do it alone, I joined an open enrollment "fresh meat" program for a local roller derby league, so it's been much more than just skating, it's also been training for a physically demanding sport. I was beyond terrified. The thought of re-learning how to skate in front of a ton of strangers, falling down, looking stupid, failing, and simply interacting with new people scared me more than I can put into words.

I've wanted to join a roller derby league for over a decade but there was always a reason not to. I didn't have money for gear, I didn't have time, the local league was falling apart, I lived too far from a league, I was moving away soon... but my most recent reason was that I was too scared. I knew about this league for over a year before I finally worked up the nerve to get involved.

As of September, I will have been living in Maine for 3 years and it took me over 2 years to finally start putting some roots down and getting involved locally. It wasn't until after we bought the house in January that I realized how unhappy that was making me. I thought buying a house would make me happy and make all my problems disappear, but instead, I was just a sad person who happened to have recently purchased a house. Something was missing and I knew that if I didn't try roller derby now, I probably never would. So I reached out to the league, committed to coming to a practice, and surprisingly didn't flake out.

The loaner skates I started out with
Instead of sitting on the sidelines and watching during my first practice, I got on skates immediately and didn't make it far before I had my first fall-- I fell hard on my butt when I was only 3 feet away from the chair I had been sitting in. I fell a lot during that first practice and I felt so stupid, inadequate, and like a burden. But I kept coming back to practice.

For about 2 months, each time before I went to practice I would feel incredibly nauseated from my anxiety. There were a couple times that my nausea lingered and I had to sit out at practice for a while so that I wouldn't hurl on the track. I wouldn't want to go but after practice, I always felt amazing.

I usually quit things whenever I experience anything slightly uncomfortable, and I've had lots of uncomfortable moments with skating. I wouldn't have continued to come back to practice if it weren't for my league. Learning how to skate again and learning derby moves has been so nerve-wracking and difficult, but I've had an incredible support network with me each step of the way.  There have been many times when I was stuck on something and I felt like I just couldn't get it-- and there will be many more times like that-- and everyone did what they could to help me and keep my spirits high, whether it was explaining the move to me in a new way or sending me a supportive, heartfelt message after practice.

There have been so many times when I've cried the whole drive home from practice because I couldn't do something and I didn't feel good enough. But the feeling of finally nailing something that I felt like I would never be able to do is incredible. I was really struggling with one thing in particular and I think I celebrated for a full 2 weeks after I finally got it (lots of #treatyoself moments). After I got it down, I truly felt like I could do anything on skates and so much pressure was relieved. I started taking more risks while skating, which led to more progress.

I am by no means a skating or roller derby expert. There are still tons of things that I can't do on skates and I have a lot of progress to make, but I am so excited to keep working at it. It's been a very long time since I've cared about something so much, been so determined to learn something new, felt so confident, and since I've been so proud of myself.

roller skating maine

My advice to anyone who wants to start skating/join roller derby: 

  1. Don't hesitate. If you want to do it, don't think about it, just do it. I highly suggest getting on skates immediately instead of going to a derby practice and watching people skate. If I had sat on the sidelines and watched others skate, I would have been intimidated to pieces and probably wouldn't have come back. I laced up my skates as soon as I got there and I wasn't focused on what other skaters were doing, I was focused on myself and what my coach was telling me to do. 
  2. Falling isn't a bad thing. You will fall. A lot. Everyone else who skates will fall a lot, too. As soon as I accepted that falling was part of the learning process, I started making huge improvements. Embrace falling and don't let your fear of getting hurt or looking stupid hold you back.
  3. Learn with a friend. I went into this knowing nobody, but I quickly got close to a couple people in particular and having them there learning with me always makes me feel better. Even if it's just a friendly acquaintance, it's always good to have someone to skate with. 
  4. Cross-train. When I started, I thought that going to practice 4 hours a week would be enough. Nope. I started seeing major differences in my skating when I started working out in between practices. I am always working on my strength, balance, and endurance. 
  5. Don't feel like you have to break the bank. Getting skates and protective gear can be expensive, which is what deters many people from skating. If you want to join a league, they may have loaner gear for you to use or you can check out the Roller Derby Recyclables Facebook group to find some great deals. (I've listed my gear here in case you need ideas of where to start.)

In a nutshell-- skating is magical, roller derby is magical, and this has made me realize that I am capable of so much more than I thought 🌞
Saturday, July 21, 2018

Life Lately + Link Love #13

Life Lately + Link Love is a series where I talk about what I've been up to and share posts from the blogging community and from around the internet that I think you'd enjoy. You're always welcome to share what you've been loving lately in the comments.

nubble lighthouse maine

Life Lately:

Guess what, folks. I'm officially over summer and I'm ready for Christmas. Before you start throwing things at me, let me explain. I don't have air conditioning (though that will be remedied soon), the traffic is insane, tourists keep walking out in front of my car while I'm driving through downtown Camden, I've realized that I simply don't know how to dress for summer, and things are so busy right now. I constantly feel bombarded with supposedly unmissable events that I feel obligated to say yes to because I know once winter comes, I'll be snowed in and bored out of my mind. #NewEnglandProblems, am I right? 
Today I'm saying goodbye to some friends who are moving to China and then one of my best friends, Mary, arrives for a visit! Mary and I last saw each other in October 2017, so I'm very excited to see her and show her around Maine a little bit more. Plus, she said she would try rollerskating with me, and I can't wait for that. 
This is the first time that anyone has come to stay at our new house and I've been running around in a panic, trying to make the house look as presentable as possible. There are tools, paint cans, ladders, and boxes everywhere you I'm just going to shove it all in one room and tell Mary not to go in there. 
friends monica's closet, the one with the secret closet
Besides all that, look at me, I'm back to blogging somewhat consistently! Now that I'm back at it, I'm really powering through and I already have a ton of posts planned through February. Plus, I'm planning something really fun that I haven't done before and I'm so excited to see it come together. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you haven't already. You'll find out what my secret project is before anyone else and get access to other subscriber-exclusive content. 

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Link Love:

  • Lauren and Chris made a Drunk History-inspired video on how they met and started dating, and it's hilarious. If you're like me and could watch Drunk History all day every day, check this out. 
  • Have you heard of the shitstorm with the popular brand, Feminist Apparel? Oh boy. Well, Valery sums it up and talks real feminist apparel. 
  • Instagram. Oh, Instagram. Cathy perfectly details why she doesn't follow bloggers/Instagrammers who cheat their way to those huge follower counts, and why those people are hurting the blogging industry. 
  • Palm oil-- it's in so many products that we use on a daily basis, but more and more people are shifting away from it, and for good reason. Check out Rosie's post on what palm oil is, the problems with it, and how you can avoid it. 
  • I loved this post from Lauren about how exploring fashion helped up her confidence.
  • On Monday Lindsey will be moving abroad and I can't wait to read her posts about this new adventure!

Broaden my horizons! Link what you've been loving lately in the comments!
Thursday, July 12, 2018

6 Months in the New House

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and/or make a purchase with one of those links, I make a few cents at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Poppyseeder!

fixer upper victorian house maine
lamp - chairs - table - wall shelves - storge shelf - record player

Well, hi! It's been quite a while since I last gave a house update. We've been busy, so the progress has really slowed down, but we're still doin' things. I think we finally realized that we couldn't possibly turn this house into everything that we wanted in only a few months and still keep our sanity. Plus, the snow is finally gone, we need to get out and explore while we can! So we're just going about our lives and working on the house when we have time. It's frustrating to not have the house all put together, yet relaxing at the same time. 
fixer upper victorian house maine
rug - couch - mirror

• Got a new couch
We desperately needed a new couch-- our old one was a thrift store find and didn't match our style, although it was super comfortable and durable. There aren't really any furniture stores nearby that have products that match our style and budget, so we started looking online, which was very daunting. Couches aren't cheap and returning a couch doesn't sound fun, so we wanted to make sure we did our research and got a great one. We've had our couch since March and I absolutely love it so far. Stay tuned because I'm going to write a whole post on purchasing a couch online since the hunt was such a process. 
• Finished painting the kitchen cabinets
This project took waaaay longer than it should have. We painted the cabinets themselves within one day, but not the doors and drawers. We took them off and because it was winter (spring in Maine is basically winter, too) didn't really have anywhere to paint them and let them dry. But with this warmer weather, we finally got it done and the kitchen is now put back together! All that's left to do in the kitchen is install a new sink, garbage disposal, and get new countertops. 
luxury vinyl tile floor

• Put a new floor in the kitchen
The linoleum floor in the kitchen was probably from the 80's, dirty beyond hope, and just looked horrible. We replaced it with some "luxury vinyl" that you peel and stick to the floor, and it's groutable to make it look more like real tile. It was a great, inexpensive option for us, especially since our floors are a bit uneven. The new floor looks great, I love it, and we're planning to put it in our bathrooms, too. 
• Continued working in the guest room
The progress in the guest rooms has been slow. When we moved in, guest room #2 had disgusting stained teal carpet, and I couldn't wait to rip it up. It also had flat paint on the walls and a wallpaper border, because man, the previous owners sure loved their wallpaper. We steamed the border off and painted the walls white, but in a satin finish, which instantly made the room look so much cleaner.
We ripped up the carpet a few months ago and found that the floors underneath were in great condition, though painted brown and covered in carpet glue. We got some black patio paint and painted the floors, which only took about an hour, minus drying time between painting the two coats. 
cheap easy window coverings
I took down the pukey-pink, dust-caked blinds and replaced them with some Redi Shade blinds, which you can get on Amazon for under $10. I've been using these for years. They took great, they're cheap, and they're easy. 
We also finally set up the trundle bed that we got on sale from Wayfair during their Presidents' Day sale. We bought 2 MORGEDAL foam mattresses from IKEA during their annual mattress sale (usually in January or February) for only $169 each (usually $199 each). I need to purchase some duvet inserts and sheets before those beds are ready, but that's just not a priority right now. 
• Started researching heating and cooling options
When we bought this house, we knew that the boiler would need to be replaced within a year-- the thing is probably 50 years old. I kinda forgot about that as soon as we got through the winter without it crapping out. A few weeks ago when I was about to get in the shower, I noticed the water wasn't heating up. We had someone come out to look at the boiler and he was able to fix it, thank goodness, but he referred to it as a "Frankenstein boiler" and said we definitely needed a new one ASAP. 
We definitely need to figure out what to do well before cold weather arrives or we're screwed. We've been exploring options for new boilers and getting lots of quotes, but also heat pumps for heating and cooling. A heat pump would drastically cut our bills and having air conditioning definitely doesn't sound bad! This is all going to be a huge expense and I'm dreading it, but at least we'll have more efficient systems and peace of mind.
• Still dealing with the washer/dryer fiasco
In my last update, I briefly explained the washer/dryer fiasco-- they weren't going to be delivered on time, so we got a floor model, and the guys who brought them to our house seriously messed up. They scratched our walls, door frames, the appliances, and they caused the washer to flood our laundry room. Back then I reported that we were currently in talks with insurance companies for the damages done. Well, we're still talking to insurance companies and nothing has been fixed. In fact, there isn't much talking because people keep passing the buck, ignoring our calls and emails, claiming that they've filed our claim but then there is no record of our's been a nightmare. They are obviously trying to jerk us around so that we give up and they don't have to fix anything for us, but damn it, that is not going to happen. This ordeal has been absolutely maddening and I never want to buy a large appliance ever again. 
• Started some landscaping
We planted some trees! It doesn't sound that exciting, and the trees are basically twigs right now, but it's going to be so great when they start to mature. Our yard gets a lot of sunlight, which kills our grass, which makes our yard look sad. To eventually provide some more shade, we planted a weeping cherry tree in the front yard and a buffalo wing maple tree in the backyard. We're also mapping out some more landscaping, we really want a lush and private yard. I grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia (as in Colonial Williamsburg) so I have always adored colonial style gardens and I am definitely drawing inspiration from those. 
maine home design
The living and dining rooms back in January 
Progress has slowed, but this house sure has come a long way. It's definitely been more work than we anticipated, but worth it! 

You can see more behind the scenes stuff on my Instagram and follow the hashtag #thefawnhouse.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Escaping the Heat on the Bold Coast

west quoddy head lighthouse

Maine has been stupid-hot lately, and the lack of air conditioning has been killin' me. We're exploring different options for getting AC put in our house, but in the meantime, we have to deal. On Sunday we headed up the coast in search of a cool ocean breeze with no particular destination in mind, but of course, ended up at Quoddy Head State Park. This is one of my absolute favorite places in Maine and I had been dying to go back since our first visit last September.

campobello island

lubec maine

We were anticipating the park to be packed with tourists, but it wasn't bad at all. The sun was shining, the tide was low, and the ocean breeze caused me to wear a hoodie for a while. It was so nice to not be sweating my butt off for once!

bold coast maine

The first time we visited Quoddy, the tide was high and the waves were crashing so we couldn't go too far down on the beach (but it made the views so beautiful and dramatic!). This time I was able to explore the beach for quite a while and I checked out some tide pools.

downeast maine, bold coast maine, visit maine

After exploring the beach we continued down the trail up on top of the cliffs. It lead us into such a lush, mossy forest. All I could smell was pine trees and sea salt-- my favorite smell and I have yet to find a candle that even comes close. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the end of the trail. Right as we got to a little wooden ladder that continued up the cliff, I felt a piercing pain in my knee, so we turned around. I was a little bummed, but I certainly intend to finish that trail during our next visit.

gulliver's hole

If you're in the Lubec area and you skip Quoddy, you're crazy. It may not be the biggest park or have the most dramatic views or challenging hikes, but it's so beautiful, peaceful, and there's something about having to turn my phone on airplane mode to avoid international data fees (since the park is smack-dab on the Canadian border) that makes the park seem even more serene. I get to totally tune out for a few hours. This whole region of Maine is vastly underrated if ya ask me.

wild blueberry land maine

Bonus: on the way home, we stopped at Wild Blueberry Land, located in the town of Columbia Falls. In case you didn't know, I love kitschy roadside attractions and sadly wasn't able to visit last time we were in the area. This place has been on my list for a while and we finally went in, smelled the pies, walked the grounds and grimaced at the creepy mannequins scattered around. This place is a treasure.

How are you beatin' the heat? Kitschy roadside attractions, nay or yay? Tell me in the comments!