Engagement Photos!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled PonyProgramming to bring you engagement photos!

I’m beyond in love with all of them, and narrowing them down is HARD YO. Buddy Fianci and I had such a blast with our photographer and everything turned out even better than I could’ve hoped. For those of you in the New England area, I can’t say enough good things about Samantha Robshaw Photography. She was warm and funny and guided us when we didn’t know what to do, but let us be ourselves and just have fun with each other. Actually amazing.

But that’s enough of a prologue. Here are some of my favorite pics!!

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Real talk I was only barefoot because I couldn’t decide what shoes to wear
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Also it was so stupid windy. Like, tornado level windy.
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OH MY GAWD PUT US IN A MAGAZINE
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So. Windy.
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Also it was roughly 35F. I SUFFERED for these photos. There was much squawking and hopping in between the nice shots.
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Two words: worth it
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Awww he’s so giant and strong
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Comfy clothes made it moderately more bearable, but I still tried to sneak inside his coat at every chance.
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Don’t blame the photographer for this one, it was our idea. Prom pose, staring into middle distance. A true classic.
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Another classic. We were going for early-90s-Sears-photoshoot (how does he still look like a model doing this?!)
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COULD HE BE MORE HANDSOME?!
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The cute piggyback pics quickly morphed into him trying to Batista Bomb me.
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I knew he was about to pull something shady
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And I was right. Actually thought he was going to drop me in the water.
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My request to our photographer here: “So I want us to look like we’re climbing town hall, but casually. Not like we’re trying too hard.” I think she nailed it.
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I was so sick of staring into his stupid eyes.
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Like, so sick of it. If you look closely, you can see that one eye is crossed.
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She convinced me to pull myself together for a little while longer. UGH I GUESS IT LOOKS ADORABLE.
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Not pictured: both of us whispering a steady stream of trash-talking in each other’s ears
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“Quick look confused, but pretty about it”
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I’m smiling here because immediately before this shot, he whispered “I’m going to throw you in this pond”
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This was great because he pretended to drop me several times and I tensed up like you wouldn’t believe
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Again, don’t blame the photographer. She had to work with what she had.
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Turns out that our two defaults when we don’t know what to do are picking me up and smooching.
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We haven’t looked at each other since. We got our fill that day.
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Violently smashing our foreheads together
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“What if we lay on this log and stacked?”
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The behind-the-scenes of that photo
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Daring him to do pushups while precariously balanced on driftwood while I sit on top of him.

Clearly we had some fun with this. I can’t stop staring, it’s such a wonderful mix of gorgeous sweet moments while still having plenty of the fun goofy moments that are more “us.”

Now I’m even more excited for the wedding!!

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30 Things

I promise I’m working on a write-up of WEC 9, but this hop was too fun not to join in! I’m a perpetual oversharer so maybe you know a lot of this, but here’s a bunch of things about me that don’t relate to horses:

1. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in biological engineering, concentrating in biomedical engineering. I always look at people a little funny when they say how much fun college was- I had plenty of good times and wouldn’t change a thing, but it was not what I would call “fun.” It was the best education I could ask for, but it was hard.

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With our favorite prof on graduation day

2. I don’t do cold. I grew up in New England, went to school in NY, and promptly moved down to Virginia to escape the cold. I did my time, I have no interest in being cold ever again. One snow per year is enough for me.

3. I am a full on Northern Virginia convert. I love love love living here so much. It’s stupidly expensive and the traffic sucks, but it is beautiful and diverse and exciting and amazing. Like, I understand that people want to live other places, but pretty sure Nova is the best possible place.

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I can get pictures like this, and also have any cuisine I want within 5 minutes.

4. Cheese. I love cheese. All I ever want is cheese. Good day? Celebrate with cheese. Bad day? Drown my sorrows in cheese. Buddy Fianci is the best at arranging cheese plates and it’s a huge reason why we need to lock this thing down legally forever. Kidding. But it does help.

5. I love love love crossword puzzles. I do every one that I can get my hands on. Sometimes I struggle with TV or movie references since I don’t watch that much, but I can usually puzzle it out (ha) from the other clues.

6. Along the same lines, I love trivia games. I’m still in an online trivia group with my old coworkers and I play every day! I’m in a rivalry with my old CIO and send him snotty messages when I beat him. I think his ego needs it.

7. I have a really hard time doing just one thing, with few exceptions: reading an amazing book or riding my horse. Otherwise, I need to have music going, a crossword puzzle (see above), and three text conversations just to be able to watch a TV show.

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Probably the only time I’m ever completely focused (also I had to sneak more Francis in here somewhere)

8. My favorite genres to read are historical fiction and fantasy. I just really love reading about places and times and worlds that I can’t experience outside the book. The Wheel of Time series has been an incredibly huge presence in my life since I was young.

9. I dyed my hair all different colors when I was younger- every shade from platinum blonde to almost black, and even purple once. I was always a pretty conservative dresser and a good kid, so this was my way of branching out a bit. I’ve been my natural shade of mousy brunette for years now, but I still think of myself as blonde (I always use the blonde emojis).

10. I connect most with people over humor. You can be the nicest most interesting person in the world, but I’m not particularly interested in spending time together unless we can laugh. All my closest friends are sharp and witty and amazing people, and Buddy Fianci is hands down the funniest person I have ever met.

11. My heritage is 50% Greek from my mother, and 50% Scottish/Irish/English from my father. Basically, I have extremely pale olive-toned skin.

12. My mom and I traveled all over the world together just the two of us when I was younger- cruises, two trips to Italy, Mexico, etc. The most amazing trip was when I was in college, when we toured around Tuscany over spring break. I had just taken an Art History class, and she took me to see all the masterpieces in person. She’s the best travel buddy ever, and my best friend.

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Sunglasses twins.

13. My oldest brother is 10 years older, and he basically helped raise me. I went into engineering in large part because he went into engineering and I wanted to be just like him, and I lived with him and my sister-in-law for 6mo after graduating college. I’m incredibly close with both of them (I couldn’t be closer to my sister-in-law if we had actually shared a womb), and am godmother to their younger little girl!

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Living with them was the best ever

14. My other brother is 5 years older, and is so much cooler than all of us in every way. He is talented musically, artistically, financially, socially, and in any other area you can think of. He married an equally sparkling woman and between the two of them, they are probably the most-loved couple in RI. Not even exaggerating. Every single person that meets them loves them. I get it, they’re awesome.

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Totally candid normal picture, guys

15. To round out the immediate family, my dad is basically a superhuman. He’s a fetal surgeon, a professor at an Ivy League medical school, and a colonel in the Air National Guard, where he also serves as state air surgeon. He’s a true renaissance man- he loves history and reading poetry to us (and is an incredible reader), sails his boat all summer, and is beyond devoted to my mother. You can’t talk to him for 5 minutes without him mentioning how much he loves her. I talk to my father every single day, and he is the most supportive, encouraging, compassionate man on the planet.

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Best dad/person ever

16. I’m big into hydration. I drink tons and tons of water all day erry day. My Beloved Betrothed carries a Nalgene with him everywhere and I lovingly refer to him as my constant source of clean fresh drinking water.

17. I met my roommate on Craigslist several years ago, and now we are maids-of-honor in each other’s weddings. It was fate. We are polar opposites in every way, but that’s why it works (also she’s hilarious, see point #10).

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We’re gonna need to get a duplex because we need to live together forever

18. I don’t like icing, or plain sugary candies. Chocolate- yes. Sugar- no. I’ll scrape the icing off of cupcakes and cakes, and would much rather have some pie. We vetoed the wedding cake- we’re going with doughnuts instead (Dunkin 4 lyfe).

19. I have spreadsheets for my spreadsheets. Everything goes in a spreadsheet. All wedding planning is in spreadsheets. All budgeting for my life is in spreadsheets (I made a baller daily tracker). Google Sheets runs my life.

20. I grew up doing alllll sorts of different activities- I did ballet on a pre-professional track into my teens (I quit to pursue riding more); played tennis recreationally; spent most summers out on the water at sailing camp; took piano, violin, flute, and trumpet lessons (I ended up on the trumpet and was first chair in high school); ice skated often; practiced with the swim team despite never being on the team; and obviously rode ponies.

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Also went to zoo camp because I was very cool.

21. I hate loud noises and countdowns. I can be totally zen, but if someone starts saying “ten…nine…” I will FLIP OUT. Dearest Fiance thinks this is hysterical and threatens me with countdowns on the regular.

22. I don’t cook. I used to try and pretend that I would, but I’ve stopped lying to myself. I can cook, I just don’t. Baking is my fun rainy day activity, but Fiance is for sure the chef of the household- he enjoys it and is really good at putting meals together. Thank goodness, because I am queen of the microwave.

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Legit our third date he came and cooked for me. Also OMG what a baby he was.

23. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox church and my faith is very much a strong part of my identity. Getting married in the Greek church is hugely important to me, and I’m so so so grateful that Fiance is on board with that (it’s gonna be My Big Fat Greek Wedding WHATSUP).

24. If money was no object, I would probably go into tutoring full time. I love working with all ages to develop problem-solving skills. I wouldn’t want to be a teacher- I don’t do groups like that- but working one-on-one with people to learn together is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.

25. I’m a very outgoing introvert. I LOVE meeting new people and will strike up conversations with just about anyone (especially at a horse show), but at the end of the day I recharge best with some quiet time at home.

26. While most people call me Olivia, the people close to me call me Liv, and my family calls me Livy. I was Livy to everyone growing up- teachers, friends, friends’ parents, etc., but really only my parents and siblings call me that anymore.

27. I wear sunscreen on my face every day. My Nana always drilled sun safety into us and I think of her every morning when I put my sunscreen on.

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Also grew up going to the beach at every opportunity, so my fair skin has always needed lots of protection.

28. I’m a huge list person- probably why I wanted to join in this blog hop so badly! It’s why I gravitate towards spreadsheets so much- I make lists to organize my thoughts for work, personal life, etc. It’s just how my brain works.

29. I’ve only ever had one car- my Jeep, Benjamin. I’ve had him since I was 17 and now at 125k+ miles, he’s trying to die and I won’t let him. I’ll be driving that Jeep until it falls apart, which hopefully won’t be for another couple of years.

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Benjamin was there for the world’s best proposal

30. I’m not a big jewelry person except for two pieces- my engagement ring (duh), and my class ring. I feel naked without them.

I’ve loved reading all of yours, hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me!

Buying Pants: The Saga

Something you may know about me is that I have a pants obsession. A riding pants obsession. To the point where Assistant Trainer literally told me to stop buying pants. I have a problem.

My go-to has been the TS Trophy Hunters- the 26L fits like a glove and they’re super durable, so I haven’t felt any burning desire to change that up. Until now.

Partially because I really want to try some of the newer tech fabrics, partially because there are some really GORGEOUS options out there, partially because I’m a firm believer in voting with your wallet and I’m not super supportive of the TS brand ATM, and in large part because Amanda said she had breeches for sale.

It was a perfect storm to fuel my obsession.

It started simply: I asked for options in my size. She assured me that there would be plenty to choose from, and then convinced me that big sales mean the expense doesn’t actually count. I was willingly convinced.

She sent me picture after picture of high-end gorgeous pants. So so many. I was in heaven. Then she dropped the price bomb:

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In classic Olivia fashion, I quickly made a spreadsheet to keep track of all the beautiful pants under consideration (in case you were wondering, the columns were brand, color, how much I liked them from 1-5, and price). Despite wanting to take them all, I knew I couldn’t.

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I finally managed to narrow it down to the 3 top contenders. Despite originally being in the market for tan and white only, two of the three were colors. Womp womp. I have no willpower.

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My spreadsheet only took me so far. I started spiraling. How could I give up any of those pants? At those prices?! I begged for help and got only “BUY THEM ALL” back. Traitor.

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I continued spiraling. I continued making spreadsheets. I continued bombarding Amanda with a play-by-play into the workings of my brain.

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Clearly asking for help from a financial angle wasn’t working. I decided to go the emotion route, hoping that Amanda would be able to give me some clarity. No such luck. I eventually had to make the call myself.

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We both solidly threw Buddy Fianci under the bus (literally the day after he proposed, Trainer started talking to him about what a great wedding present an import would be. He is a very patient man). Buddy Fianci politely declined to buy me the pants. I’m still working on him.

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I bought the dang pants and called it a day. Then SPENDMYMONEY MCDEMONFACE started pushing SWEATERS OF ALL THINGS AS IF I HADN’T ALREADY BLOWN MY BUDGET ON BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN PANTS.

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I guess I can forgive her. After all, these gorgeous things are winging their way towards me:

Mmmmmmm pants.

And that, my friends, is how you buy pants in 34 easy steps when you’re a spreadsheet junkie, have no willpower, and have a friend with a bright future in sales.

Sharing the Warmth

It’s no secret that I hate the winter. Hate hate hate. Loathe entirely. We could just skip over it entirely and I’d be happy.

Luckily, I have something in my possession that’s making things bearable. It’s a sweatshirt. It’s my new favorite sweatshirt. I love it more than I love a lot of sentient beings. Not even exaggerating.

Here’s how it came into my possession: Lauren reached out and asked if I’d be willing to do a product review for The Plaid Horse on the v-neck sweatshirt in their “Cozy” collection. I consider myself a connoisseur of cozy clothes (affectionately called “my comfs”), so I obviously jumped immediately at the chance.

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And I haven’t taken it off since. In the 6 weeks or so that I’ve had it, it has been in every single load of laundry because I wear it every single day. As pajamas, as knockaround clothes, when I’m working from home, when I’m chilling on the couch. It’s amazing. The coral color is one of my favorites and hasn’t faded a bit (despite the constant washing and drying), the inside is delightfully soft and cozy, it’s lightweight and breathable, and I love the fit- the arms are snug enough to keep it in place, but the body is nice and loose and swingy.

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Tight where it should be, loose where it shouldn’t, and soft all over.

Just so you understand how impressive it is that this makes it into the rotation so often: I have an itty bitty tiny bedroom and got rid of a solid 70% of my clothes when I moved in, but I still have 3-4 drawers full of sweats and comfy clothes. And they are all for different occasions. I’ve got my day comfs and my night comfs, my semi-formal comfs for when the plumber comes and I don’t want to look entirely homeless (yoga pants are the tuxedo of sweatpants), my party comfs for when we’re breaking out some wine, my cute comfs for dates (no joke I broke out the sweats on Date 3 with Buddy Fianci. Reeled him in HARD). There is a comf for every season. This sweatshirt has superceded all these comfs for all occasions.

It’s cute enough for when I want to impress my guy with how great I look in loungewear. It’s soft enough to sleep in. It’s bright and fun enough for party time (and by party I mean drinking a little too much wine with my roommate and singing Disney songs poorly). It has the word “Horse” on it so clearly it satisfies that need. It is the comf to end all comfs.

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This sweater pairs perfectly with a nice Cab Sauv

I don’t usually get this excited over a sweatshirt, but I am absolutely in love with this one and I want everyone to share in the warmth and joy that I’m getting from it.

And you can! It’s a Hellomylivia first- we have a giveaway! For your shot at winning your very own coziest of cozy sweaters in the size of your choosing, simply comment here with something that’s getting you through this nightmare of a season!

I’ll use a randomizer to pick the winner out of the entries, which will close at 10pm(ish) on Monday, January 29. May the comf be with you!

The Money Talk

Everyone says that if you want to keep the peace, avoid talking about politics or money.

You’re in luck for the first- I don’t plan to ever talk about politics on this blog beyond urging y’all to get involved in your state and local governments.

But screw it. I’m gonna talk about money.

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Frankie gets top notch care and we compete at some bigger shows, all of which comes with a price tag. One that I’ve always been willing to pay because I’m an idiot who can’t stay away from the barn, but one that I could only kinda afford to pay.

I don’t know how it comes across in this blog, but I was making a lot of sacrifices to make it work. A LOT. And it was only kiiiiinda working thanks entirely to the flexibility and understanding of my support network. The bills got paid every month. By a hair.

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Every month after bills

I started making a list of all the luxury items I would get down the road once I was able: underwear without holes in it. Makeup that isn’t just a sample I got from Birchbox in 2014. Windshield wipers for my car that actually, ya know, wipe the windshield. A damn haircut. The cheese I keep seeing at the grocery store that I’ve never actually tried but looks amazing.

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How I feel about the cheese aisle at Wegman’s

I’ll be honest: if I could go back and do things differently, I wouldn’t. Budgeting down to the nickel, being super disciplined with my spending, and maintaining that level of awareness of my finances were all skills that I needed to learn and carry forward. The opportunities I got to pursue were worth every moment of stress about how to pay for it, and there is a definite sense of pride that at the age of 25, I’m able to do what I love every day because I’ve worked hard for it.  

I don’t regret any of it- given the choice between anything else and doing another class at a show, I’d pick competing more every single time. As long as Frankie was getting what he needed to be solidly ready for his job, I was fine ignoring everything else.

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Right? RIGHT?!

But I did make a few big shifts lately- changed my budget, adjusted some spending, made some huge life changes (new job, new apartment), and took some steps to get into a healthier place financially.

I didn’t realize what a constant source of near-panic my finances were for me until they weren’t anymore. There was such a physical sense of relief from making these changes that I literally giggled out loud to myself.

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After a year-ish of stress (definitely a coincidence that I bought a horse a year-ish ago) I’m finally at a point where I’m able to do both- take care of Frankie AND myself. Nothing crazy, but I can now say yes to the occasional happy hour and have non-holey underwear and get the damn haircut. My life balance is shifting a little.

For my barn life, this will hopefully mean more horse shows next season (including a solid 2 weeks in the winter at Ocala or WEC), more frequent preventative vet visits for Frankie as I ask for harder work, more professional training rides for him, and more non-traditional care- I’m excited to see how he likes chiro/acupuncture/massage. He’s a sturdy dude and isn’t showing any signs of discomfort, but I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to get some extra pampering.

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I think the conventional takeaway from the past year would be “learn from your mistakes, don’t overextend!” But like I said, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Only other horse people can understand the near-compulsion to keep coming back to the barn and trying again no matter the cost.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but holy crap am I glad to have a break. Frankie’s earned a massage (and so have I).

Ugh Real Life

This post will feature a rare appearance of my Non-Horsey Life. Mostly because that’s been busy lately. Sorry, horse.

Francis got Thursday off to Be A Horse after our great lesson on Wednesday so that his mom could go see Riverdance. Did anyone else grow up with a weird crush on Michael Flatley from Lord of the Dance and Riverdance? And watch it endlessly on VHS? I know I’m not alone in this. They came to my area and my work wife and I HAD to go to celebrate our friendiversary and OMG IT WAS AMAZING EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO. There were dance battles and suspenders and a passionate fiddler and I’ve been tap dancing down every hallway since then. Seriously, go.

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We will both be quitting our jobs to join the cast.

I actually managed to make it out to the barn on Friday! And my heart grew three sizes that day. I almost cried. Because when I went out to get Frankie and saw that he was at the other end of the field, I started trudging out to get him. I usually call his name while I’m walking to get him, mostly so I can disturb his eating so he can feel bad about making me walk that far.

But this time I called his name. He picked his head up to see who was yelling. His big old donkey ears perked up. And he immediately galloped up to me.

Oh. My. Gosh. HE DOES LOVE ME!!!! Or he thinks I have food. OR HE LOVES ME!!!! I’ve never had a horse actually come when called and it was Magical with a capital M.

And then I rode him and he was a very good boy and I figured out how to more consistently and accurately ask for haunches-in and shoulder-in and blah blah blah he’s a very good boy and we love him very much.

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I didn’t get any pics of him that day, so enjoy us both looking off into the distance in an inspiring way

And that was the last time I saw Frankie for the whole weekend. I don’t think I’ve had a horseless weekend in MONTHS. Do not like. But it was necessary…

…because Roommate and I are moving!

Very unexpectedly. About a week ago (while I was at Loudoun), roommate called and told me that repairing the water damage from the flood in our apartment a few weeks ago was going to be SO extensive that we should probably just leave. She is a gorgeous amazing creature who is more organized and efficient than I could ever hope to be, and one week later we got the keys to our new place.

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Not the view from our porch, but the view from the communal grilling area. Well done, roomie.

We’re really happy with it- more natural light, great location, two full bathrooms so we don’t have to share a shower, gorgeous pool. All sorts of good things. And it’s basically across the street so we don’t have to move far!

But GAWD moving is the worst. It’s dusty and sweaty and packing is hard and unpacking is hard and I genuinely want to burn half of the crap I’ve managed to collect over the years. Just burn it. Or like, leave the door unlocked and hope a burglar targets us. That would be super convenient. Please someone take this off my hands.

We’re also kinda spreading out the move a bit- we got a ton done yesterday, but we don’t have a Uhaul to get the furniture over until Thursday. This makes unpacking anything almost impossible, but we’re procrastinating.

Mostly because Manfriend and his very-strong-furniture-moving-muscles have been in the Mojave for the last two weeks, and he doesn’t get back until Tuesday. When he left, we weren’t even talking about moving. So this will be a fun little surprise for him.

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Welcome back from the desert, darling! Now please move all my junk.

Roommate and I plan to let the big strong devil dogs handle the big stuff. My contribution that day will be pizza and a cold six-pack.

So yeah. Real life has been a bit hectic lately and Francis has gotten a very light workload. He’ll probably only see me a couple times this week as we finish the move, and we’ll get back into bootcamp mode next week. I hate to lose any momentum coming off our show, but such is life I suppose.

TL;DR: everyone needs to go see Riverdance, Francis is the sweetest, moving is the actual worst, and I’m not a very fun girlfriend.

Where in the world is Olivia?

Friends, it’s been a crazy few weeks. Some crazy good, some crazy bad, and some just plain crazy.

I’ll start with the horse stuff, because why else would you be here? 😉

Addy and I had a couple really horrendous lessons in a row where it felt like we were not on the same page at all, and she was just nope-ing around the ring. Refusing little jumps she had seen 1000x, getting super strong, and generally being a sassypants. Nothing at all dangerous, just not our usual badass selves.

After a couple reminders to her mediocre rider that a) I’m allowed and encouraged to actually keep my leg on b) staring at the jump is counterproductive unless I want my horse to stop and stare at it too and c) sometimes breathing helps you not be a potato, we finally had a great lesson the other week! We ended up doing a 3’ course (see thecluelessbutcuriousrider for details on it!) and ended with the cutest knees-to-chin oxer ever. I felt like I had my happy pony back! Of course, pony was happy the whole time, it was her bumbling driver getting all bamboozled.

And then some sad stuff happened. My grandmother, my amazing Yia-yia, passed away about two weeks ago. She had been sick for quite a while and it wasn’t a huge surprise, but we’re definitely feeling her loss. I was able to catch a flight home two days later and spend time with family; exactly what we all needed. It was a bitter reason to get everyone together, but I have no doubt that my grandmother would’ve smiled to see all her (12!) grandkids sharing memories and being together.

I could talk for days about what an amazing woman she was- strong and beautiful and so incredibly devoted to her family and friends. I could talk for days about how she taught us to swim, let us make up our own recipes in the kitchen, snuggled us to sleep, and her contagious laughter. I’m incredibly lucky to have all these memories.

But I’m now back in VA and back to work and back at the barn, which is a blessing and a curse. Because as I’ve alluded to several times now, I got a promotion over the summer. It doesn’t change much about my responsibilities or reporting structure- it just means I have a little more authority. And with great authority comes great workload. Or something like that, right?

I’m being overdramatic here, of course. I get to work on interesting assignments with awesome intelligent people so it isn’t all bad by any measure. There may have been a week or two where I was booked for 3 or 4 different projects that added up to 60-70 hours per week, but those are not the norm. However, the new norm is staying late on non-barn days to ensure I can leave on time when I do have a lesson to get to. I’m also leading more projects- meaning that my deadlines now fall under my responsibility of getting done in time. Checking blogs and my email during work breaks have had to fall by the wayside as those breaks have gotten shorter and almost disappeared.

I don’t want you to think I’m grouping this under the “crazy bad” category- simply “crazy.” I’m genuinely enjoying all the new tasks I get to be responsible for- I even get to present at a conference my company is hosting next week!- and have been adjusting to the new workload. It’s not as bad as engineering school, so I just have to gear back up a little bit.

Thankfully, I got to ride my pony Monday for the first time since before my grandmother passed. 10 days may not be super long to some people, but it felt like forever away from my girl! Her owner did ride while I was away so she got to play a couple times, but I like to think she was happy to have me back on board. We popped over a couple tiny jumps since she was feeling so relaxed and happy, and homegirl loved it! Waited to the base, jumped carefully, landed fairly balanced, and was hunting down the next jump. I couldn’t even get her to walk to cool down- she kept laser-locking onto jumps and trying to trot over them. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to have that reminder that Addy genuinely loves her job.

Fun side fact: I talked with one of my trainers about the difficulty with refusals we’ve been having lately, and she responded with a version of, “well yeah Olivia, that’s what green horses do.” Wait, what? Addy isn’t green, is she? Apparently greener than I thought! Her owner didn’t jump super consistently with her and mostly focused on building her flatwork (which is so funny because while she has tons of fancy buttons, Addy much prefers jumping), so she only has maybe 2 consistent years of jumping, most of which has been 2’6” and under. Knowing that these bobbles are “greenie moments” actually makes me feel a lot better about them. I can work with greenie moments. It also makes me even prouder of my wonder-pony for giving me everything I ask for!

So I’d like to apologize for my muteness the last couple of weeks, and apologize in advance for the next couple weeks. I told myself when I started this blog that it would be purely for enjoyment and I would not allow it to become a source of stress. I’m still reading and loving all your updates and I’m still loving having this platform, but we all know that sometimes life happens. I’m going to update as I can and hopefully connect with some of you as I can, but know that even if I’m not super active I’m still thinking of you and rooting you on from VA!

Just Workin’ on My Fitness

I have hemmed and hawed and debated and changed my mind about sharing this post, but goshdarnit I’m proud of my hard work and I want to share that with my readers.

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten in shape. Lost a few pounds, toned up my muscles, and I honestly think I’m in the best shape of my adult life.

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Addy actually gives zero effs about whether I’m shape as long as I stuff her face with cookies.

I haven’t really gotten a great reaction to this when I’ve mentioned it to people, and it makes sense. I’ve always been on the slender side, and literally no one wants to hear the thin girl talk about getting in shape. The kinder folks brush me off with dismissive looks and little laughs and the “bolder” people tell me that I don’t understand the true struggle of getting into shape, as if it’s some club that I don’t deserve membership to.

And who knows, maybe I don’t truly understand the struggle like someone else would. We all have our own struggles and approach them in our own ways. But I’ve made some lifestyle changes and worked hard, and I’ve seen the changes in my body.

I really can’t blame them for not seeing the same changes though. They can’t see that my stomach now has real life abs under the squish instead of being pure squish. They can’t see that my legs have gotten more toned and muscular, and they didn’t see me running 2 miles (which is 1 mile more than I’ve ever managed). They have no idea that my leg is more stable over jumps or that I can post without stirrups for a longer time, and they have no idea that when I walk into work without limping from muscle soreness, that is a victory my new muscles have given me.

I’ll agree with those who have told me that I can’t take credit for some of this- I’m genetically predisposed to be fairly lanky, and I still have my early-20s metabolism. But I’ve been cooking healthy food for every meal instead of ordering take-out, staying super active, and drinking tons of water, so I will take some of the credit. To the people who have told me to “enjoy my metabolism” or that it’s “just good genes,” I’d like to point out that my healthy choices have made a difference in my body. It can’t all be metabolism and genes. I’ve chosen to make healthy choices even when it was easier to take the unhealthy route, and I’m thrilled that it has shown in a tangible way.

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Although the genes likely do explain my propensity for ridiculous flailing in any given situation. Probably also explains the pit-stains.

I honestly don’t know what I’m hoping to get from this post- I’m not asking for congratulations or kudos from you all, because Addy has clearly shown her happiness that I’m not as floppy as I once was. I’m not really asking for encouragement either, because I’ve gotten that from manfriend as I’ve kept up with him on a run, and from my trainer as she’s seen me wrangle the Beastly Unicorn around more difficult courses. I’m especially not asking for anyone to diminish what I’ve worked hard for, because I’ve gotten plenty of that in real life as well.

Forgive me if this sounds defensive. It’s not meant to be. I suppose that the real reason I’m sharing this is because I have made such amazing connections with so many of you, and friends celebrate their accomplishments together.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to talking about the ups and downs and successes and setbacks of a working ammy. But today I’m going to take a deep breath and smile at myself a bit and eat a GIGANTIC freakin’ bag of Doritos because GOSHDARNIT I’M SO SICK OF CHICKEN. And I hope you’ll be eating Doritos with me in spirit.

PS- Thank you times a million to Jenn from Stories in the Saddle, who encouraged me to celebrate and write whatever the heck I feel like and forget the haters 🙂

Weekend Call to Action

Hi there readers!

Instead of writing a post on something interesting, this post is going to be asking you all to share.

Here’s the deal: as you may have seen on Wednesday, I’m now on Twitter! You can find me there at my usual handle- @hellomylivia.

What I need from you: Advice. Despite the fact that my generation invented the darn thing, I really don’t understand Twitter that much. All I know is that it’s supposedly a great tool to connect with people, bloggers love it, and I now have an avenue for the occasional snarkfest.

So please share in the comments:

  1. What’s your favorite way to use Twitter?
  2. How did you learn about Twitter? Any articles, blog posts, word of mouth, anything! I need an education.
  3. What’s your handle? I’d like to follow you guys!

I’m out of town this weekend (At a lake house with manfriend, his hockey team, and assorted hangers-on; should be as ridiculous as it sounds), so I won’t be checking the comments until Monday. Please share your wisdom with me!

Comment PSA

Hey folks! This is going to be a very short post, just wanted to let y’all know something:

I want to comment on your posts. I want so badly to chime in with encouragement or sympathy or what-have-you. But if your commenting system looks like this:

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then I am not able to. I do most of my blogging and commenting during my lunch break at work (after work is usually taken up with barn stuff or laundry or adulting stuffs), and for some reason the firewall/internet gnomes block that type of commenting system.

I’m pretty much limited to WordPress and self-hosted blogs. So to all of you guys on Blogger or Blogspot, I’m sending you warm fuzzies! Hopefully the internet gnomes will let this happen eventually, or I’ll give in and log in from home at some point.

Happy Friday!