Snippet Saturday- Car Documents

Whenever the DMV/dealer/repair shop/oil change place gives you any paperwork related to our car, hang on to it. Get a folder or a binder specifically for this purpose and keep all those pieces of paper organized in chronological order. If you ever want to trade in your car, this is how you’re going to be able to get a good trade in value- keep all proof that you’ve put time and money into keeping your car in good shape.

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Blog Update- Changing Schedule

Hi gang!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been posting every day since I started (some days were better and more interesting than others). A big reason for this was to build up content so that if someone found their way here, there would be plenty to look at! Now that I’ve hit 50 posts(!!!) I’m going to start scaling back a little. Here’s what you can expect to see as “regular” posts:

  • A horse-related post on Monday or Tuesday (usually in the “Equine Musings” category)
  • A pic on Wednesday. I know it’s lazy blogging, but I always love peeking at the pics that pop up!
  • A lesson review on Thursday. This may occasionally get pushed back to Friday if I’m super busy, but I like to write these while the lesson is still fresh.
  • Snippets on Saturdays. I’m having fun with these! If you have any snippets for me to share, absolutely let me know.

I will likely post on other days as things pop up to talk about- for example, my living room redecoration, a recipe I’d like to share, or a discussion of riding-related anxiety. But I’m going to let those topics flow a bit more organically instead of worrying about fitting it in to my schedule.

I’d love to get your feedback on my proposed schedule! Anything you’d rather see as a regular post, or anything you’d really rather not see?

Victory Gallops

WE GOT TO JUMP LAST NIGHT!!! For the first time in a couple weeks, the weather and my health cooperated and we got to hop over obstacles. Sure, it was only two weeks since we had jumped, but it felt longer! And Addy certainly let me know how happy she was to have some “real” work to do.

We warmed up with some nice stretchy walk and then trotted big circles and serpentines to encourage the horses to reach for the contact. Addy was pretty pokey- for her, this means that I wasn’t actively trying to slow her down. I still didn’t need to add leg. We worked on our half seats a bit, some sitting trot/extended trot transitions, and she was listening wonderfully.

We moved on to canter, and she definitely woke up! She still listened beautifully, but pokey pony was gone. We think that she wasn’t taking the ride seriously until we started moving. We did some collecting and lengthening in the canter, with our lengthenings looking much less like a wrestling match than the collectings.

Then it was time for jumps! We warmed up by trotting over a crossrail a couple times- my trot jump is feeling a lot better thanks to the advice I got from you guys!- and then over a broken line in 8ish. I say 8ish because the other horses put 9. But the 8 worked so nicely for us!

Now on to the course! Presenting this week’s professional diagram- jumps were 2’6″-2’9″:

feb25_lesson_course

How this course was meant to be ridden: 1 to 2 in a bending 8, balance around the corner for the Swedish oxer, balance around the corner for the bending 4 to 5 in 6 strides (my proportions on this diagram are clearly off, I swear that was the striding), balance around the corner to 6, then you’re done.

How we actually rode it: 1 to 2 in a bending 7 once the jumps were up. Careen around the corner to the oxer. EXTRA CAREEN around to 4, almost miss it and slice it straight to 5 in 5. CAREEN AROUND THE CORNER to 6. Ask for woah. Do not receive woah. Realize that this is Addy’s version of a happy dance for a course well done.

So we did a victory gallop.

While the turns were quite tight and we probably didn’t balance as well through them as we should have (hence the wild careening about the ring), this course ended up riding extremely smoothly. The bending 7 was very comfortable, and the oxer was in a sweet spot off the rail so we got a nice close distance to it. The tight turn meant that we had to slice 4, but that worked out for the best, since slicing that line straight to the end gave us more room to maneuver around the left turn to the last jump.

We also reversed the course: 4-5-6-1-2-3. Similar turns, similar careening. This time it was the 1-2 line that got sliced- the horses build a lot over 6 since it’s towards home and pretty big, so balancing around to 1 is HARD! But the slice ended up working beautifully again.

And when we ended the course, we did a victory gallop.

Instead of getting tired as the lesson progressed, she got more excited about what she was doing and our victory laps got longer. She wasn’t trying to take off or be bratty, so I let her express herself. There’s nothing quite like being on a horse that is telling you so clearly, “I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW!!”

A couple things I noticed and was really happy about:

  1. I’ve been trying to focus on my release more and I felt that it paid off yesterday. Addy has such a big powerful jump, and I never want to discourage her by knocking her in the mouth. I don’t want to exaggerate my release by any stretch; I want to be conscious of staying out of her way so she can use herself. She responded yesterday by giving me a tremendous effort over every single jump!
  2. While the corners were tight and we did a bit of barrel racing turns to get around them, I was able to sit deep in the tack and keep a feel on her mouth. I’ve struggled in the past with getting popped out of the tack around hard turns; this time I felt more secure and comfortable, even if we were listing to port.
  3. Our distances were very deliberate. As I’ve been getting my eye back, I’ve admittedly had a couple “Jesus take the wheel” moments. Or more accurately, “Addy please get me out of this mess” moments (or even more accurately, a little of both). There was none of that yesterday. I saw my spots and either moved up or collected to reach the spot that I chose. I even asked her for a couple close spots and she didn’t get nearly as upset about it as she usually does- either she was happy to be jumping, or she finally thought that I was there to support her. Progress!
  4. I could feel her hesitating a lot and getting wiggly to jump 5- this was a very simple vertical with no filler. For some reason, this is Addy’s least favorite type of jump- she will go over any flower box, stone wall, gate, or any type of filler without blinking, but give her a plain vertical with no filler and she gets very wary. But this time instead of letting her call the shots and duck out, I closed my leg and rode more actively to the base. Once we made it over once she didn’t look at it again. I think she needed to get the reassurance that I wasn’t going to let her go it alone- I was there to help her out.

The pattern here was that this was a much more active ride than I’ve been doing lately. My requests to Addy felt deliberate and I was able to support her to the base of every jump, then get out of her way. I know we have homework to do- our downwards transitions are still sticky and getting those will  be the key to balancing around those tough corners- but this lesson felt like such progress! I finally felt that our success was due at least in part to my riding and not just Addy’s ability.

I also found out about our new plan for a first show! There’s a VHSA show about 20 minutes away on March 14th, and we’re planning on being there! They have some 2’6″ hunter classes we can do, and if things go well we may enter the 2’9″ benefit hunters. Trainer asked if I’d want to try out the 3′, but I’d like to stick to our original plan and see how Addy behaves at shows before getting to the top of my comfort zone. I’m so excited!! Anyone in the area planning on going to River Chase on the 14th?

Have you had an “aha” moment where you realized you were taking control of your ride? How do you handle tough turns in your course- do you ride them a certain way, or are there flatwork exercises that help you prepare?

Wordless Wednesday (Kinda)- Project Beginning

OK, so this one isn’t entirely wordless, since I’m going to give some backstory. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make my apartment feel more like home and I’m finally starting to follow through. Pretty much all of my furniture was donated to me by my brother and sister-in-law, so while it has the advantage of being free, I’ve been wanting to personalize it for quite a while. And you’ll get to come along for the ride! It’s going to be a pretty gradual process- changing everything at once isn’t in the budget- but I’ll be posting updates as I work my way through. My (fantastic) roommate has given me free rein since we have similar taste, so I get to really make it what I want! Here’s my plan:

  • Put up sheer white curtains- I already had some spare sheer panels, and I just picked up some simple silver curtain rods. Manfriend will be bringing over his drill and installing those for me soon. I figured this would be the best mix of maintaining privacy while still letting plenty of light in.
  • Paint tables/TV stand- I already have the supplies for this, and the two tables are currently hanging out in the back of my car until it’s warm enough to spray paint. They’ll be mostly white, but I’m going to try and stencil on a pattern in blue. Wish me luck.
  • Add pretty bright throw pillows to the couch- honestly, I would get rid of this couch in a heartbeat. It’s massive, it’s dark, and it sucks all the light out of the room. Alas, it’s also the most comfortable piece of furniture to ever exist, so manfriend and roommate would stage a mutiny if I tossed it. I’m hoping that some oversized bright pillows will help shrink it and make it more visually appealing.
  • Add some wall art- any suggestions for this? We have a beach pic over the mantle (that I took myself!) and this picture over the couch, but the rest of the walls are pretty bare.
  • Take down the Christmas decorations- don’t judge us. It’s festive.
  • Add lighting- the ceiling lights are super harsh, and the stand lamp could use some assistance.
  • Anything else that I can think of!

Please forgive the potato quality of this picture- once I get my mitts on my nice camera I’ll attempt to take nicer ones. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

livingroom_before
Starting point!

Any suggestions for personalizing a smallish apartment living room? My landlord is a total boss and has told me to do whatever I want, but I’m shying away from painting. Anything else goes though! I’d love to hear any ideas or tricks y’all might have.

Battle of the Sexes: Mares vs. Geldings

“You tell a gelding, you discuss it with a mare.”

“You don’t scare me, I ride a mare.”

“I don’t need a boyfriend, my gelding is sweeter than any human guy.”

Any of these look/sound familiar? Everyone seems to have an opinion on why geldings are the best or why everyone should ride mares. I’ll admit that I’m still on the fence.

I learned how to ride on an old mare that would cart me around as I bumped up and down on her back and stood still while I braided her tail. Jumping came a bit later on a big gelding named Mr. Snuffleupagus who good-naturedly carried me over glorified ground poles. Camp horses always ended up being spunky fun mares to gallop around with. My first horse was a studdish gelding who tossed me more times and won me more blue ribbons than I can count. Addy, as you know, is a lady-like mare who’s re-teaching me the ropes.

I’ve had so many amazing horses in my life and few of them met the stereotypes. There have been plenty of quiet gentleman-like geldings that passed through, but my boy Star was anything but gentlemanly. His ground manners were atrocious and he would not let a missed distance go without throwing a bunny-rabbit-hippity-hop temper tantrum. He had the most personality of any horse I’ve ever met- not your typical easy-going gelding.

There is a home video showing this guy bucking me off roughly 15 minutes after this picture was taken.
There is a home video showing this guy bucking me off roughly 15 minutes after this picture was taken.

There have been a few quirky mares too. But Addy has never shown a hint of being “mare-ish” in the months that she’s been at the barn, and I never have to discuss things with her. She’s willing to listen and follow in ways that geldings from my past wouldn’t.

Addy hasn't indicated that she even knows how to buck
Addy hasn’t indicated that she even knows how to buck

My vote for the mares vs. geldings debate: both! Give me a horse that I can play with and learn with, and I don’t care about anything else. I’ve had too many old-soul mares and fussy geldings to buy into a stereotype.

What do you think? Mares 4eva or geldings + u = ❤ ?? Why?

Positively Therapeutic

I’m starting to feel human again, and it comes down to two things that happened this weekend:

  1. I painted my fingers and toes a happy bright color
  2. I rode for the first time in a week and a half

It was amazing. Instead of a bulky lump of a dry-skinned icicle, I’m a happy human! I even put mascara on this morning and that’s a rarity. This return of myself was so necessary.

I’ve dealt with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for quite a few years, and I’ve learned a lot about how to handle it. But this year something changed, and instead of being gloomy and tired all the time as I usually am in the winter, it’s been more about the anxiety. As in, hyperventilating while brushing my teeth because everything is overwhelming and can I please just never get out of bed? Anyways. This isn’t a post about that (though I’m thinking I’ll write that soon), just a little background on my mental state these days.

Last week was super tough and I don’t think my pulse slowed below 100 bpm. I was so keyed up about everything- I thought I was doing really poorly at work, finding a parking spot at the grocery store was impossible, doing household chores seemed exhausting and pointless, I felt really sick (though it wasn’t the flu, strep, or mono. I’m thinking it was all in my head), and I didn’t get to ride at all.

I made a decision: I’m not going to let the cold get me down. I want to feel like myself again. I told manfriend, and he was enthusiastically on board.

So Saturday morning, I went to work on myself: I used a face mask, I actually shaved my legs, I used body lotion, I painted my toes and I painted my fingers, and generally pampered myself. All while manfriend made us bacon-chocolate chip waffles with bourbon maple syrup (yes, I know I’m totally spoiled, and yes, I promise to share the recipe very soon. They were ridiculously good).

happy_nails
They’re so bright and happy!

Never underestimate the good feelings that can come from a little bit of paint on your extremities. Every time I look down I get that sweet pop of color and it instantly boosts my mood, and I just feel more put together. I’m not obsessive about having my nails done at all times but I can’t deny that it adds a certain polish (pun intended)! If you remember, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to stop biting my nails, so that was another boost- I’m sticking to that way better than I thought I would!

Moving on.

I got to ride. Thank you Lord, I got to ride.

I’ve said before that riding is my therapy and this has never been more true than it was yesterday.

It was like I walked into the barn and a switch flipped in my brain. I had been nervous about hopping on because Addy has had a break from riding and very little turnout lately. But I walked in there, breathed deep, patted some soft noses, and instantly relaxed. I like to think Addy was happy to see me because I was absolutely thrilled to see her.

I decided to lunge her for a bit just to see how she was feeling- I wanted to warm her up in case she was stiff from stall rest, and I wanted to let her get out excess energy if she had that going on. She humored me for a few circles in each direction before coming in to me and telling me to hop on.

I know, terrible groundwork manners, but you try resisting that sweet face!

She was a rockstar. Not even a hint of sass, responsive to my aids, not caring about the snow falling off the roof. Have I mentioned how much I adore this mare? She walks out of her stall after a week of nothing and goes around perfectly.

It wasn’t a long ride since we’re both a little out of shape but it did the trick. She was happy to be working again and I was ecstatic to be back on her.

addy_selfie_goofy
I swear she was happy too, just disappointed that the phone wasn’t a carrot.

The combo of feeling pretty again and spending time with my girl had a ripple effect across my whole weekend. I met up with friends at a super cool bar near my house, I did a tasting at a local winery with other friends, and I got coffee with Owner Lady (a.k.a. we had a meeting of Addy’s Fan Club). Just last weekend all of this would have overwhelmed me, but my change in attitude made it more than just manageable, it made it incredible.

This weekend, painting my nails and getting horse time was my therapy.

How do you pep yourself up when the cold and dark has you down? What’s your “unconventional” therapy?

Bits and Baubles

A collection of random thoughts and factoids about me that don’t warrant their own post right now:

    • I recently got a super cool hat from Target and have been wearing it every day. I realized there are two types of people that wear hats: hipsters and people who just don’t even GAF  about how they look. I’m clearly not a hipster, so guess I’m in the second category. Who cares, this hat is awesome! (For fantasy nerds, it totally makes me feet like Mat Cauthon from WoT)

hat lady

    • When manfriend’s mom exclaimed over a picture of Addy, “She’s so beautiful! Her mane looks almost golden blonde!” I almost cried. My gray mare looks golden blonde.
blonde addy
Please ignore my face.
    • I absolute love the #rootd hashtag and will spend an hour on Instagram looking through the gorgeous schooling and show get-ups. I wanted to join in by posting my own, but then I realized that I have 3 pairs of breeches and a pair of boots, and I wear the same long sleeved workout shirt for every lesson. I ran out of variety after three tries.

    • After hearing so many horror stories of sisters growing up together and crazy in-laws, I’m so glad that my brothers chose the women that they did to tie down for life. I get to have sisters that I adore and we got to skip the angsty teenage phase!
sisters sisters
These are my sisters, it just took around 14 and 19 years to figure that out.
    • On the other side of the crazy in-laws, I’m so glad that manfriend’s family is totally awesome. They’ve welcomed me in from day one and have given me a home down here where I’m so far from my own home. Lucky me.
    • The cool drawings I have posted around my office are fraudulent. I taped paper to my computer screen and traced like a 5 year old. Someone commented that I was pretty good at drawing Captain America and I just nodded sagely and said it was a special talent.

captain america drawing

    • I’m not a big one for celebrity crushes; I never had posters of Orlando Bloom up around my room or gushed over Brad Pitt. But I’m pretty sure that if the opportunity came for me to be with Chris Evans, I would take it without hesitation (sorry manfriend).

    • One of the nicest coincidences in my adult life is that ombre hair came into style just when I started having to pay for my own haircuts, meaning that I am too cheap to keep dying my hair. I’ve had stylists ask me who did my ombre- turns out my cheapskate roots are trendy!
Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset
Featured on Insta. But check out those golden ends and muddy roots. Trendz 4 dayz.
    • On the topic of hair: in my head I am blonde, in my stick figure drawings of myself I am blonde, and my first thought on every form that asks for hair color is to fill in “blonde.” I can’t wait for the day when my disposable income reaches my threshold and I can head to the salon to once again end the torment of being a natural brunette.

blondies

    • I am genuinely curious as to how people cleaned their homes before Lysol Wipes were a thing. They’re good for everything.
    • Living with my oldest brother and sister-in-law for six months after I graduated college was waaaay better than I thought it would be. We got to know each other as adults instead of just as siblings and hanging out with them all the time was the best. Weird to know that I not only love them because they’re family, but I also sincerely like them as people.
    • For a couple months during my junior year of college I watched the 2009 Star Trek movie on Netflix at least once every single week. When they took it off the Instant lineup, I bought it on iTunes so I never have to go without. I still don’t get sick of that movie and it’s my go-to when I can’t think of anything else. Love original Star Trek too, but definitely a big fan of the reboot.
young-punk-kirk
GEE I WONDER WHY. But seriously, space battles = favorite.
    • Movie soundtracks are the modern equivalent of classical music and I love them. John Williams, James Newton Howard, Howard Shore, all of them. I once got so worked up about the Star Wars soundtrack that I wrote a 11.5 page essay explaining how it changed cinema (y’all don’t even realize how groundbreaking it was) and I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.
    • I don’t drink coffee. I did for a couple months ’cause I thought that’s what grown adults do, but it’s not really my jam. Cold water wakes me up way more without making me jittery. I’m not a soda person either, so the caffeine in a cup of tea is enough to keep me buzzing. To the point where I cannot have anything with caffeine in it after 1pm if I want to sleep that night. Decaf tea for the win!

Hope you enjoyed this brain dump and learned a little bit about the lady behind the blog! Stay warm and enjoy your weekend!

Snippet Saturday- Lint Traps

You probably already know this, but I think it bears repeating: EMPTY THE LINT TRAP IN YOUR DRYER! Not once a week. Not when you remember. Every. Single. Time. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and your clothes will dry so much faster. Not to mention you’re less likely to have a dryer fire break out. Do not press start without cleaning the lint trap!

Do it!

(OK I’m done.)

My (Momma’s) Closet

I love pretty clothes. Pretty things in general make me happy, but I loooove pretty clothes. Whether it’s perfect Tailored Sportsmans or an embroidered blouse or a flattering dress, it makes me happy to see. Even happier to touch.

I also love comfortable clothes. Comfortable rooms and soft blankets too, but I loooove comfy clothes. Leggings aren’t really my comfy jam, but I can’t resist those fleece-lined baggy sweatpants and oversized sweatshirts.

This poses a bit of a dilemma for me: every time I go shopping- regardless of what I walked in there to buy- I walk out of the store with (a) a dress (b) sweats or (c) both. My closet has a whole wall of dresses (arranged from casual to formal rather than by color), and a whole rack of sweats.

Clothes that are actually appropriate for my casual office? Those take up about half a rack in the back.

The only reason I even have any appropriate clothes to wear to work is because of my mother. Half of my everyday clothes are hand-me-downs, and the other half were gifts from her. Without her I would be the best dressed hobo lady at work.

So this post is really two things: it’s a lament about my own inability to buy my own darn clothes, and it’s an ode to my ever-providing mother.

I try so hard, Reader, I really do. I make lists of needed purchases- a solid cardigan, a nice blouse- and I march into the outlets ready to buy. I grab all those necessaries and I head to the changing room, and I make sure it fits. And then I put it all on the rack because booooooring.

But that dress over there? It has sequins! Never mind that I don’t have any formal events in the next foreseeable future, I’m sure something will come up. I could always plan my own gala, right?

And if there’s a loungewear/pajama section, I’m gone. I know I don’t need another hoodie, but do we as humans really need anything besides food, water, and shelter? Why should I deprive myself of that hoodie? Don’t you want me to be happy?!

Afterwards I walk out of the store whistling, sequined dress and XXL sweatshirt in tow. Can’t even feel bad about it because sparkles and cozy!

To a certain extent, my momma totally encourages this. We love dress shopping together, and she sometimes will see something “that would just look perfect” and I get a lovely package a few days later (be jealous, my mom is the best ever). In fact, most of my dresses came from her. She also knows my adoration of comfy clothes and regularly gifts me with VS gift cards. In total, she keeps me well stocked in my favorite duds.

momma_me_riiff
Dress: Mom’s. Jewelry: Mom’s. Purse: Mom’s. Good looks: Mom’s.

But thank goodness she has more sense than I do. All but two of my cardigans were hers at one point, and all of my blouses and sweaters were bought with her. Using her mom voice to say that we are only looking at sweaters that day is always necessary. She has the self control so I don’t have to. How will I ever learn?!

Shoes: the same. All either came direct from her closet or were bought with her approval. Thank goodness for a momma with fantastic style and the same shoe size. We can share everything except pants and short dresses- she’s a tiny little Greek woman and I’m 5’9 in flats.

momma_turquoise
So much fashion in such a beautiful tiny package.

I’m (very) slowly starting to even out. My one fashion rule is to not wear sweatpants out of the house, and I’ve stuck with that for long enough that I don’t want to break it. Even if it’s just jeans and a fleece, I will not wear sweatpants out. This means I need those “middle” clothes for every day, and it’s turned into a bit of a uniform.

Boots, jeans, tee, fleece quarter zip. I have those fleeces in 5 colors now (and before you ask, yes, they all came from my momma) and I make an appearance at Target whenever they do sales on basic tees.

collection of fleeces
One for each day of the work week!

Is it glamorous? Nope. Do I look like a mom from an LL Bean catalog? Totally. Do I still clean up nice when needed? You bet your butt I do.

But only because Mom is there to compensate for my terrible shopping skills.

Do you and your mom share clothes? Or would you never be caught dead in anything from her closet?

De-nial Isn’t Just a River in Egypt

It’s now officially been a week since I’ve been on a horse due to the snow and cold, so I’m going to escape from reality and look at these pictures of warm activities throughout the years.

Momma_Liv_Coach
Rollerblading with Mom and being warm.
Momma_Liv_fashion
Going to senior prom and being warm.
momma_me_siena
Traveling to Italy with Mom and being warm.
Momma_Liv_world_travel
Standing on a Mayan pyramid and being warm.
photo 1(2)
Hanging out in Raleigh in August and being totally warm.
xflower
Standing next to a gigantic flower and being SO ENTIRELY WARM.

I’m going to go think warm thoughts and pretend that I’m not wearing two sweatshirts just to stay somewhat warm.