Playing Catchup on Life

Jeepers crow you guys, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to breathe lately!

Frankie is doing just fine, getting loved on by our resident Talented Junior Rider(TM) and getting a bit of a break from the intense training we’ve been in. I’ll be out this week to ride, but there’s lots going on in the non-horse world that’s keeping me busy!

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Frankie LOVES his TJR. She makes him work hard, but loves on him and takes him for walks. He’s one happy boy.

First off- as I already mentioned, last week I came home to a new apartment! All my stuff is unpacked but it’s definitely still in transition as my dude moves his stuff in as well over the next few weeks. We also won’t have a couch for roughly a month (worth waiting to get one for free IMO). So it’s a bit chaotic and a bit unorganized but it’s also fantastic. I’m a 3 minute drive (or a 10 minute walk if I ever stop being a lazy butt) from work, we have tons of closet space, and are close to friends and family. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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All I wanted was a porch. And we got a porch. I’m so happy.

 

Nick and I also drove up to the Buffalo area this past weekend for a family reunion! His mom’s side of the family gets together every year and this was my first intro to most of them before the wedding. There’s nothing quite like meeting 40+ of your future in-laws in one go. It was a serious blast- we picked cherries, we played tug-of-war with the cousins, basked in the pool, ate TONS of good food, and generally enjoyed the summertime with family.

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We went for lots of golf cart rides around the farm because it was SUPER BEAUTIFUL
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This dog’s name was Buster and he was literally the best at being a dog. The happiest, friendliest, chillest black lab on the planet.

We also snuck by Niagara Falls for literally 90 seconds on our way home so I could see them while we were up there.

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SMILE OK GREAT NOW RUN BACK TO THE CAR BECAUSE THE FREE PARKING WAS ONLY 20 MINUTES

Between Lake Placid and this trip, I really don’t want to have to drive to upstate New York again for a little while. No more road trips pls.

And then things are moving forward on the wedding-planning front! All the big vendors have been booked, so we’re kinda in a lull. The big decisions are made, and it’s not reeeeally time for the detailed decisions yet. But I’ve got my checklists and timelines and spreadsheets (duh) so I think we’re still in great shape.

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Fun fact- Minted liked our save the date cards so much, they asked to use our picture. They changed the info obvi, but cool to see us in advertisements!

After a really intense few months in the thick of show season, it feels good to switch gears back to my “civilian life” for a little bit for a change of pace. I’m eager to settle into a new routine in the new place, and find a balance between training and progressing with Frankie in our off season and being a functioning adult.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?