two fourty four lake.

There are very few things I'm hesitant to share on the internet...I'm not worried about sharing my full name, lots of photos, travel schedules, really embarrassing stories and most identifying details. But one of the few things I've kept mum are outside photos of my home. As a girl who lives alone in a smaller town...posting an easily recognizable home photo felt like too much to share with strangers...or weird exes who still read this blog. (It happens. Seriously. It's one of the few things that makes blogging creepy for me.)

Speaking of exes, a few years ago my at-the-time boyfriend lived next door to my dream home. I'd drive past and ogle this big, beautiful white house on the corner of Lake St. and 3rd Avenue...just trying to get a peek inside. Most of the windows were blocked by trees or curtains. One little side window on the second floor allowed a teeny glimpse: cream walls, white moulding and twinkly lights lining the rooms year round.

Someday I'll live in a house like that, I thought.

And then I did, in that very same twinkly light apartment I once drooled over...until this morning when I somewhat tearfully returned my keys.

It's positively insane that 365 days ago I sprawled on these empty floors...new key in hand...scheming about what the next year would bring. Just a few days after moving in, I left for Paris. I came home with a fiance and a ring on my finger. Several months later, I flew to California to celebrate New Years...and returned to this apartment wearing a wedding ring and with a husband by my side.

From girlfriend to fiance to wife of five months. All within a year's lease.

Four days from now, I fly to the Middle East to start a new life with my husband. No more rings in my future (although I do have a birthday coming up + would welcome another sparkler) and no more major relationship changes or curveballs. Just changes of geography, culture and perspective.

Living in this home was literally a dream come true, and my 22 year-old self would be jazzed that 25 year-old-me actually lived here. While it's hard to say goodbye to this big, white dream home that deeply ingrained itself in my heart...there are new dreams to chase. Dreams that 22-year-old me never thought possible.

Dreams that are bigger than twinkly lights and white baseboards.

Keep on keepin' on, beautiful 100-year-old house. May many more stories be written within your walls.


bare bones.

Well, that was effective! It seems when you invite everyone you know + a bunch of blog readers to come raid your house, they really take it seriously and do quick work. This box is all that's left: a mismash of leftover craft supplies, a few dishes, books and pieces of clothing. :)

I'm strangely proud of myself for vaporizing most everything I own. Without getting too personal about others, the problem of keeping too many "things" runs in my family. I grew up in it, saw it in my extended family, too, and carried it out in this smaller vintage-decor-niche way. Perhaps it's just a problem with our society, too. I was always on the hunt for more "things". New dishes. New wall hangings. New clothes. In my years of battling depression, I turned to things to bring me that moment of joy I couldn't experience otherwise. But too many "things" is just noise. You can't appreciate the items and space you actually love. And let's face it: things don't bring you happiness.

I'm fully aware of that now.

This morning I woke up in my mostly-empty house, and I can't say I was any less joyful than the days that came before, when my place was decked with cute vintage-style furniture and accessories. Today, my entire "keep pile" is now confined to the bedroom, and most of it could fit in my closet. I held onto a few furniture pieces that my parents will use, enough clothes to get by with, sentimental items like plane tickets to Paris or Ireland and my crafting supplies. Oh, and I kept this crazy  white ceramic umbrella holder which I use to hold rolls of wrapping paper.

Cause some things you'll just never trip across again, especially when you snagged them for $5. :)

But, as a girl who loves her things, I'm gasping that I'm about to say this...it feels good to be bare bones.


collecting little moments.

Last night, I had an insane craving for Pizza Del Re, this dirty pizza buffet in our hometown. The place is awful and has been since I first ate there ate age five, but at a young age I was too dazzled by the buffet promise of endless chocolate + vanilla pudding to notice. 

And yet to me, its nostalgic as anything...everyone I grew up with remembers it. It was the site of many-a-pizza-party in my younger years, and somehow I manage to boomerang back every few trips around the sun just to relive the nostalgia...and laugh at the mediocre pizza. Of course my family banded together to indulge my craving before I move. And as always, the pizza was terrible. The decor was ever the same. My company was fabulous, and I ate an entire bowl of pudding.

Oh, and I drained a dollar in quarters in the arcade area.

I've spent the past week collecting little moments with my family. Late night ice cream trips, lunches out, dinners, a day at a vineyard. Evening bonfires, quick shopping trips. I haven't let myself think about saying goodbye. Mostly because I start crying as soon as it hits me that at the end of the month, I have to say goodbye. I've never really lived further than ten minutes away from my family. For now I'm just making a list of the moments I'd like to collect: bowling, more bonfires, mini-golf, taking our dog to the park.

And maybe Pizza Del Re. Again. It's strangly comforting. Like, no matter what else changes in life, some things will always be there, and always be the same. Even if it's just the promise of salty, flat pizza and old arcade games...I'll take it.

Thanks so much for the sweet comments on Things I'm Afraid to Tell You. And for pledging to read even if I can't promise photos of flowers or pretty little things. Whew. :)


things i'm afraid to tell you.

(twinkly lights in Boston, taken while walking home from Fenway)

I'm about two weeks behind in social media life. When we were in Boston, I stepped away from everything but Instagram and the occasional Facebook photo share. It was nice. But I'm still catching up on emails, blog reading, blog writing...at a slow pace between packing and such.

Which is why I'm finally reading everyone's "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" posts. I love them. I'm guilty of buying into the belief that other bloggers' lives are sunshine + unicorns, because they consistently curate all kinds of beautiful life moments. And also guilty of feeling like my life has to be that put together to be a part of the blogworld.

I'm jumping on the sharing bandwagon. So, here we go:

1. I worry that I won't do anything with my life. Honestly, I'm not a confident girl. (Example: I've never seen photos, but in my mind, all my husband's exes were Heidi Klum look-a-likes...and he got stuck with frumpy ol' me.) Admittedly, I'm that girl who believes everyone else is more intelligent, more creative, has a more interesting perspective, can do it better. Deep down, I know I have a few talents to put to use, but my biggest fear is I'll finally gain that needed confidence when opportunities to use those skills have already passed me by.

2. When I'm home alone, I use paper plates. And plastic flatware. Because I hate dishes that much. If you see a photo here with food on a REAL plate...that was just for you. Just a lil' treat for your eyes. ;)

3. My weight yo-yos all over the place. Since getting married, I've had a 25 pound weight variance. I'm aware that I should also see a doctor about it, but I've got this inconvenient fear of doctors, hospitals and the like. I'll also admit that I've sidestepped a fair number of social situations, save those with family or really close friends, because I just don't feel great about myself. Finally, I'll admit that I rock a lot of yoga pants due to this whole situation...which is why you probably haven't seen a lot of photos of me in recent months. I avoid them.

4. I still drive the car I bought when I was 17, The Blue Beast. It's so not glam. It is rusty. It makes terrible noises. And there are all kinds of quirks: the dashboard light doesn't come on, the driver's side window doesn't roll down and sometimes the blinker makes clicking noises for no reason at all. But I paid it off years ago, and the insurance is $38 a month. So I keep it.

5. In face to face life, I'm not fabulous at being emotionally vulnerable. Sometimes Gabe doesn't even know what's going on in my head, until it's spelled out here. (I let him read the "preview" before I hit publish!) I'm not that precious or demure in person! Well, I'm kind and upbeat. But I'm a little loud, and not afraid of a dirty joke or a cuss word. This blog is just where I dock the quieter side of myself, the part that's more difficult to show in real life. 

6. I've worried people will stop reading because I'm moving to Kuwait, where life will be less pretty. There. I said it. And it sounds just as awful and self-involved as it did in my head. We'll be in a company-issued furnished apartment, and it's not attractive. Even my kind mother had nothing nice to say about the apartment photos. Add that to the fact that I can't take photos in public places in Kuwait, or even wear clothes I enjoy since showing a shoulder or knee is frowned upon...and you can bet I already had a crying meltdown on my husband's shoulder. I'm just not sure how I'm going to fit in, or feel creatively fulfilled in Kuwait. Publically, I've been keeping my crap together about this whole move. But behind closed doors, I've been a mess at times. But it's something I've got to figure out once I'm there.

Whew. Alright. That's all for now. Off to go layer plates and bubble wrap.

As always, thanks for hanging around here. :)


giving it away...for free.

Lots of friends have asked specifically what I’m doing with this item or that now that I’m moving to the Middle East--would I be willing to sell it? It got my wheels spinning. You guys have seen photos of my apartment. I have tons of stuff. Things I love and have spent time curating--things that others kindly gifted to me--but things that can't exactly come with me to Kuwait. And yet, because I'm ridiculously attached these possessions, I can't stand shoving this stuff into storage. Thinking of it getting dusty just makes me sad.

I can part with my things, I realized, if I know they're going somewhere they'll be enjoyed.
So, I'm inviting you over to raid my home. For free.
My friends, family and blog readers...anyone who happens to be in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area on Saturday, May 19th from 6:00pm-8:00pm...needs to be at my home, taking my things. Please stop by, peruse my stuff and take what you’d like...a no-price-tag-situation here!
Here's what I've got:

Home décor items
Tons of clothes
Furniture (sofa, chairs, rugs, lamps, tables, etc.)
Various items like art easels, a microwave, a piano keyboard
If you're interested in coming, drop me an email at hello@rinserepeatblog.com! Early next week, I'll send out details (a photo preview, my address + directions and a photo of my home to make sure you get to the right place!).  Please, please do come, I would LOVE to see you leave with an armload! I promise to have treats and grown-up drinks for you to enjoy while you raid. :)
Really, your presence will be the hugest favor...I'm purging most everything I own, save some clothes, furniture pieces and sentimental items...I am not looking forward to seven donation trips to Goodwill. :)

Just to address any questions: 

Really for free? Yes, seriously! I don't want your filthy money. ;) I'll have a guilt jar for people who can't handle taking stuff. But I'm not expecting a dollar!

Can I come early? I'm so sorry, but I don't think I'll be available! You're certainly welcome to drop by a bit early on Saturday evening, but from now until Saturday evening I plan to be in the throws of moving or spending time with my family. :)

Can you mail things to me? We'll see! Because I'm living in a sea of boxes + mailing things to Kuwait, at this moment I don't have time to box up other items for shipping. However, if I find myself with extra time and boxes in the week following, I'll post about any worthwhile leftovers. :)


boxes and decisions.

In my years of living alone and being at a distance from Gabe, I've learned that I write and craft to feel less lonely, to make my world smaller. When Gabe and I are together, I push that part of me aside because life feels perfectly busy + full.

But don't worry. Gabe leaves for Kuwait on Monday, and I'm aiming to be packed, cleared out of my apartment and ready to jet in about two weeks. Once I get to Kuwait, I'm aware there will be plenty of lonely hours, times that I need my world to feel smaller, meaning I'll be back to blogging regularly. We don't know anyone in Kuwait, most of the American men don't bring their wives over, even to visit...and Gabe will work twelve hour days. So I've already developed a loneliness "to do" list:

Learn French. (I have the software...time to put it to use!)
Learn to use my camera better.
Read like crazy.
Craft regularly.
Delve into Photoshop.
Write regularly.

I'm excited for all that...and it should keep me busy and sharing right here. :)

It's truth time: Life has felt a bit overwhelming, and full of so, so many decisions. And boxes. Every night I wake up and lie awake there for at least two hours trying to make decisions. I'm the worst at decision-making! Yet each corner of my home, every shelf is another decision: keep it + store it in the US, mail it overseas, give it away, throw it away. Every time my phone buzzes, it's another decision: Do I have time to see this person or go to that social function? Should I schedule my overdue doctor's appointment before I leave the US? Should I cram in a quick out of town visit to see a friend? Can someone stop by early and peruse my unwanted stuff?

And it's not that I'm complaining. This is an interesting and exciting time...but I naively thought moving overseas would be like moving across town, but a little trickier. It's trickier for sure, and definitely involves more sniffles + tissue. :)

All that to say...apologies for being quieter than normal. If you don't hear from me in another week...I'm trapped under a pile of boxes...please send help. Otherwise, I promise to share more as time allows. ;)


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