Names, Personal Evolution, Changing My Name, Uncategorized

A Rose By Any Other Name

Our names are often the first thing we share with others.  We all have various images that come to mind at the mention of  certain names. These images may be of a person we know with that name, or a picture our mind generates seemingly at random.

I have always been interested in the naming process.  I’d  even tried to name my little sister, but my parents weren’t having it. As a child, I asked my mom why so many people we knew named their male  children after people in the same house; “It’s tradition.” she’d say. Until my mom assured me I could name any future children as I pleased, I assumed I’d have to marry a man with a name I liked in the event we decided to have children and one was a boy.  What a relief!

It was during sixth grade when finally, I was given a naming opportunity.  My sole positive memory of my time in Catholic School was the privilege of choosing my very own  confirmation  name. In an effort to pick the perfect name, I spent months   with my nose buried in the baby naming book my mom had purchased for me. The process wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, and I was disheartened to find my options were  limited to choosing either a saint’s name, or a name derived from that of a saint.

I didn’t know many saints, and kept picking fancy french names. My pious sixth grade teacher was not amused. She wanted me to pick something basic. There was no way that was happening. I eventually settled on something saint derived but, at the time, unique.

As is the case with most people, I was generally accepting of my birth name. It wasn’t particularly beautiful, but it was by no means awful either. It was overly  common though, and each time I met someone who shared my birth name they were very much a tomboy. The name fit them better than I.  This  bothered me. Worst of all, many people called me an awful sounding  shortened version of my birth name,which I hated!   I did have my  childhood nickname, which I preferred over the ugly built- in nickname that had come with my birth name; however, only a few people called me by this.

In my early twenties, I began to feel the persistent urge to change my name.  At that time, a legal name change was a highly tedious and expensive process, so I held off.  Nearly a decade later, I finally I decided to take the leap.  I had no idea what name I’d choose, but the options were plentiful.  To me, the possibilities alone were a source of excitement.

I knew  I wanted something feminine and nature derived. Choosing my middle name was quite simple. In contrast to the simplicity of choosing a middle name, settling on my new first name took several months.  I had it narrowed down to about five choices when I surprised myself by choosing an exotic version of my birth name. It would be an easy transition for everyone, and it just felt fitting and comfortable.

In the state where we live, I wasn’t required to go before a judge. The process basically consisted of filling out paperwork, sending it to the courthouse, waiting several weeks for the paperwork to return to me with court stamped approval, and going to the DMV for my new license. The entire process cost $380, and a fair amount of patience. It was tedious, but absolutely worth it.

You may be wondering  what happened aferward; I’ll start with the negatives: my parents were mildly upset with me for a while, my sister made fun of the odd spelling of my new name, and a few people still  occasionally call me the dreadful shortened version of my old name ( I suppose I need to ask them to stop doing that).  That about sums up the negatives!

Almost everyone in my life made a seamless transition into calling me by my new name, even my 85 year-old grandmother. Alot of people who know me have told me the new name suits me better; I  have felt that as well. The unexpected perks of my name change have been the frequent  compliments I receive, and the always comedic question, “Are your parents hippies?”.  More important than any of the aforementioned, was the sense of relief I felt when my new name was approved. I remember saying,” I finally got my pretty name!” (and then awkwardly remembering I was home alone, realizing that I’d never be cool, and embracing this fact as I twirled around the dining room, documents in hand).

I’m sure there are people who find my decision to change my name dramatic and self-indulgent, and that’s alright; they’re free to keep the name their parents gave them. For me, when my name is called it feels natural and reflective of my personal  evolution. It’s who I’ve always been except a bit better, like the rosebud that finally began to blossom into it’s full glory after a long winter.

Have you changed your name? Has anyone you know done so? Would you consider changing your name? If so, which name would you choose?

Date night, activities, clean living,sober living, exploring, girls night, Uncategorized

What to Do: Good Clean Fun for Friends and Sweethearts.

img_20170219_131340_017Dinner and a movie may be a go to for friends and couples, but let’s be honest, it gets old quickly. I could think of many activities I’d rather enjoy than sitting in a noisy restaurant or stuffy movie theatre. The following list offers a variety of low key  activities  for couples, friends, or solo time. All of the activities are well suited to clean living. Bookmark this list and try each activitity that appeals to you.

Visit the craft store and choose a project (ex. decorating a picture frame, candle making).

Team up with a friend and make a challenging recipe you wouldn’t attempt alone, enjoy it together.

Have a themed movie night where movies, accompanying snacks, and activities match up to the theme of your choice. The options are limitless!

Head to the store and get any supplies you need for a home mani/pedi, and treat your feet (and hands) right: nail file, trimmer, buffer, scrub, cream, and a pretty polish.  This one is fun alone or with a friend.

6. READING ROADTRIP                            Plan a mini road trip somewhere you can spend the day or weekend. Download a thought provoking audiobook about any subject of mutual interest as a conversation piece for  the drive. You learn about each other, and deepen your connection  in these moments.

Go stargazing with someone you love. Remember the blankets, pillows, and snacks!

Prepare or purchase lunch, and have a picnic at your local park or beach. Afterwards, enjoy a long walk.

Visit your favorite state or national park for the day (or better yet, a few days). Spending time in nature is an ideal way to clear your mind,and grow closer with your significant other.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, and plan a visit with each other. If distance is an issue, remember talking over tea and cookies  is still fun over Skype!

Formally introduce yourself to something you’ve always wanted to try. No need to commit until you find something that moves you. Some ideas: dance, pottery, cooking, sewing, yoga,etc.

Plan a trip or staycation. Will you go alone, or with a loved one?  Camp out in a tent or a fancy boutique hotel? The length and distance aren’t what matters, it’s about having a new experience in your town or elsewhere.

Make a Groupon date! Check Groupon for local deals that may be of interest, then experience a day of Groupon activities. You’ll feel like a tourist in your own town.

Visit the spa ,or for a deep discount your local beauty school, and get the royal treatment. What are you looking for? A new hair color or style? Perhaps a makeover? Many makeup counters offer complimentary makeovers with product purchase. How about trying home spa recipes? Some are coming up on the blog!

Take a long bath complete with bubbles,candles, and a good book.

Check out free activities and events in your community. Our local library offers various events and classes free of cost, and our local park hosts free jazz concerts. See what your community has to offer.

Dress up and attend the theatre. Some towns even have theatre under the stars, where you can enjoy a show in an open air setting.  Whether it’s the ballet, the orchestra, a play, or a musical, you’re sure to be entertained. Afterward, go out for dessert or a late night snack.

Weather permitting, go  pedalboating, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding at your local lake. Remember your sunblock!

Go for a swim. Check out your neighborhood pool or invest in an inflatable three ring pool for your own yard or patio. Serve tropical drinks and snacks.

Grab a friend or partner, and head  out to the store of your choice. Set a budget (I’d recommend between  $5 and $25 dollars each ). Choose gifts for each other, and exchange them.

21. FOR MY LOVE (or any loved one)…
Write a list of things you love and appreciate about each other. Frame the list and give it to them as a gift.

What would you contribute to this list? Comment below.